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Project Officer - Stemming Deer Impacts

Invasive Species Council
  • Reports to: CEO, Invasive Species Council
  • Hours: 2 days per week
  • Basis: Part time
  • Location: Melbourne or regional Victoria
  • Duration: One-year role, extension possible
  • Salary range: $72-82,000 pro rata plus super based on skills and experience

Are you passionate about conservation and protecting our natural environment? Do you have strong experience coordinating projects, building alliances, communicating complex issues and helping to bring about change?

Growing problem of feral deer in Victoria

Feral deer are emerging as one of Australia’s most serious environmental and agricultural threats. Throughout most of Victoria they are damaging vegetation, competing with native animals and degrading waterways - feral deer are transforming the state’s native ecosystems. Sambar deer are listed in Victoria as a potentially threatening process yet the state has five species of deer and all are expanding their ranges and numbers, increasingly impacting on natural environments and farmlands.

Victoria has possibly the largest deer population in Australia, estimated to be well over a million animals. With a lack of predators and diseases and great habitat flexibility, deer are set to become one of Victoria’s and ultimately Australia’s most damaging pest animal invaders.

Deer were first deliberately released into Victoria in the 1860s for sport hunting and for a long time numbers remained low. This changed in the 1990s after the mass release of deer led to the collapse of the deer farming industry. This, and the repeated deliberate illegal releases of deer for hunting, means deer now flourish and impact most parts of Victoria. However, deer remain protected in Victoria under the Wildlife Act and while exemptions apply, management of deer in Victoria remains stuck in a paradigm of ‘sustainable’ harvesting as a game animal for recreational hunting.

What is needed is a vertebrate pest management approach to the threat of feral deer. This would see protective measures removed, deer formally designated as a pest species and a cross-tenure approach taken to the control and containment of deer using the most effective available measures.

Key responsibilities

The project officer will be responsible for managing the Stemming Deer Impacts Project.

The project officer will:

  • Develop and implement a project plan.
  • Coordinate a project reference group.
  • Develop and disseminate communication materials.
  • Build relationships with potential allies.
  • Undertake advocacy.
  • Seek funds to support the project.
  • Undertake project administration including reporting and budgeting.

The role will have a strong focus on alliance building, education and advocacy. The project officer will draw on expert pest management advice to bring about evidence-based policies for managing the threat of feral deer in Victoria.

Project direction will be provided by a project reference group.

Selection criteria


Highly developed communication skills such as meeting facilitation, technical and public writing, interpersonal skills.

  • Experience in community, government and/or political advocacy.
  • Skills and/or track record in developing diverse alliances.
  • High-level project management skills and experience with a context of coordinating diverse activities according to tight deadlines.
  • Commitment to nature conservation and evidence-based decision-making.
  • Willingness to travel within Victoria and to Canberra.
  • Ability to work in a decentralised organisation with limited supervision.


  • Developed networks within the Victorian environmental NGO sector and other potential partner sectors.
  • Understanding of vertebrate pest management, ecological processes and environmental conservation and land management in Victoria.
  • Experience using the Microsoft Office suite, website content manager platform WordPress, email marketing programs such as Mailchimp and CiviCRM.
  • Current drivers licence and access to a vehicle.

About the Stemming Deer Impacts Project

The Stemming Deer Impacts Project seeks to reduce the environmental impacts of feral deer in Victoria by:

  • Increasing awareness about the full range of the impacts of feral deer and the need for action.
  • Advocating for the designation of feral deer as a pest animal in Victoria and the implementation of an effective deer management policy.
  • Encouraging a greater state and federal government focus on deer control and containment research, including for more-effective methods of control.
  • Securing resources for feral deer control and containment programs with a particular focus on Victoria.

The project will work closely with conservation and farming organisations, local government, land managers, Indigenous people and professional pest controllers.

About the Invasive Species Council

The Invasive Species Council is a non-government organisation that seeks better laws and policies to protect the Australian environment from weeds, feral animals, insects, pathogens and other invaders. Formed in 2002, we were the first environment group in the world to focus solely on invasive species.

The organisation’s focus is on prevention and early action. Our primary objective is to achieve improvements to state and federal laws, policies, institutions and activities to systematically lower the risk of new invasive species establishing in Australia.

Feral deer are one of the most serious emerging vertebrate pests in Australia that, if not contained and their extent and numbers reduced, will impact most of Australia.

Visit the Invasive Species Council website at invasives.org.au.

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