Threatened Species Commissioner
The Minister for the Environment, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, announced the appointment of Gregory Andrews as Australia’s first Threatened Species Commissioner on 2 July 2014.
- Media release - 2 July 2014
- Follow the Threatened Species Commissioner on Twitter
The role of the Commissioner
This new role brings a new national focus to conservation efforts and is helping to address the growing number of native flora and fauna in Australia facing extinction.
The commissioner works collaboratively with the national Threatened Species Scientific Committee and the community, including the non-profit sector, industry, scientists and all levels of government to broker solutions that avoid the extinction of Australia’s native species. The commissioner consults on, and raises awareness and support for, threatened species in the community. The role includes building on, and initiating, new initiatives and strategic approaches to threatened species conservation.
The commissioner takes a practical, evidence-based approach and is ensuring that conservation efforts and investment are better targeted, more coordinated and more effective.
The commissioner’s role complements the government's responsibilities for threatened species protection and recovery under Australia’s national environment law - the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 - by having oversight of the development, implementation and reporting of threatened species recovery programmes. The work of the commissioner also supports and supplements the statutory responsibilities of the Threatened Species Scientific Committee.
The Office of the Threatened Species Commissioner acknowledges the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures and to their Elders both past and present. We are committed to working respectfully with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and give particular acknowledgement to their use, knowledge and custodianship of Australia's native plants and animals over countless generations.
The Department supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their aspirations to maintain, protect and manage their culture, language, land and sea country and heritage. For more information please see the Reconciliation Action Plan.
Mr Gregory Andrews
Mr Gregory Andrews Threatened Species Commissioner
Gregory is part of the senior executive team in Australia’s Department of the Environment.
Before taking up the Threatened Species Commissioner position, Gregory was managing implementation of natural resource management programmes and was responsible for over $100 million of investments, including protecting the Tasmanian devil and threatened birds.
Gregory previously worked in the former Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency where, as the Deputy Head of Australia’s delegation to the United Nations Climate Change Convention, he led negotiations on key issues with developing countries.
Gregory has worked for the Australian Government in senior positions on social and Indigenous policy reform and has twice taken leave to work on Indigenous community development issues, including with the Northern Land Council in Kakadu and West Arnhem Land where he assisted and supported the traditional owners with land management decisions.
Gregory began his career as a diplomat with Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 1991 and has been on postings to China and Japan. When in China, Gregory worked on environmental issues including negotiating a bilateral agreement to protect habitat for migratory bird species.
Gregory graduated with first class honours in Economics (majoring in Environmental Economics) from the University of Newcastle in 1991 and wrote his thesis on contingent valuation of environmental assets. He also completed a Masters in Foreign Affairs and Trade at ANU in 1995.
The commissioner works closely with the Threatened Species Scientific Committee and makes use of the committee’s knowledge and expertise.
A group of informal expert advisers also provide guidance and technical advice to the Threatened Species Commissioner. These expert advisers have expertise in research and academia, conservation management planning and practical experience in conserving threatened species. The group includes:
- Professor Helene Marsh (James Cook University, Chair,Threatened Species Scientific Committee)
- Rachel Lowry (Director, Wildlife conservation and Science at Zoos Victoria, President of the International Zoo Educators Association)
- Samantha Vine (Head of conservation, BirdLife Australia).
- Atticus Fleming (CEO, Australian Wildlife Conservancy)
These expert advisers will play a key role in connecting the commissioner with the best available scientific knowledge and best-practice conservation.
Terms of reference
The terms of reference outline the responsibilities of the Threatened Species Commissioner.
Contacting the Threatened Species Commissioner
Consulting with and listening to the community is an important part of the commissioner’s work. Contact details for the commissioner’s office are:
Mr Gregory Andrews
Threatened Species Commissioner
Department of the Environment
GPO Box 787
CANBERRA ACT 2601