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Field Management Whitsundays - Commonwealth of Australia (Reef Authority)

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Career opportunities   

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is one of the world's most treasured natural assets. As the Reef Authority, we are proud to manage this beloved icon for Australia and the world. The Great Barrier Reef is a World Heritage area; its spectacular beauty and diverse marine life attract millions of visitors annually. 

Managing a reef roughly the size of Italy demands many skills and talents, so you don't have to be a marine biologist to contribute to our mission. From finance to marketing roles, we have a team almost as diverse as the ecosystem we protect.

Our people are our strength. Their commitment and dedication to our work for the Great Barrier Reef and the Australian public will have a long-lasting impact. 

At the Reef Authority, our people are our strength. 

“The Reef Authority is a wonderful place to work, and our role has never been more important. If you are interested in joining a diverse and committed group of professionals with a shared mission of protecting the Reef for future generations, then I strongly encourage you to apply." 

Josh Thomas, Chief Executive Officer, Reef Authority.

Our commitment and dedication to the Great Barrier Reef and the Australian public have a long-lasting impact.

We are looking for individuals who can bring their unique skills, experience, and knowledge to our diverse and high-performing organisation.

Our main office is in Townsville; however, we also have regional offices in Cairns and Yeppoon.

We also have a small office in Canberra that provides ministerial and parliamentary liaison to the Department of Environment portfolio and other Australian Government agencies.

Please note: most of our team and the roles on offer are located in Townsville.

Benefits of working with us

  • As a Reef Authority team member, you will:
  • join and inclusive community of diverse and passionate individuals
  • enjoy variety in your work, building capabilities with exposure across different areas of the organisation 
  • see real opportunities for career development and advancement  
  • be proud of your work, knowing you are contributing to the protection, sustainable use, understanding and enjoyment of the Great Barrier Reef
  • solve complex challenges with real-world impact
  • have free access to an Employee Assistance Program for help with personal and work-related problems 
  • have access to numerous fitness centres across the country through the Fitness Passport program.


The Reef Authority is committed to building a capable and diverse workforce that reflects the Australian community.

Our success relies on attracting and retaining the best possible talent regardless of background, gender, race, religion, ability or sexual orientation.

We pride ourselves on being an employer of choice, embracing our staff's rich diversity and striving to provide a work environment for all team members to thrive and succeed.

Personal and professional development

The Reef Authority offers a range of professional learning and development opportunities, including a leadership development program, training courses, eLearning, study assistance and short-time placements at higher levels.


We know that maintaining a positive work/life balance is an important part of staying engaged and productive at work. You may want to make more time for family and friends, undertake study or take a holiday.

  • We offer:
  • a supportive and flexible working environment 
  • flexible working hours 
  • opportunities for part-time employment and home-based work. 

Working in the Australian Public Service (the APS)

The Australian Public Service is one of Australia's biggest employers, with careers to suit just about anyone at all stages of life, from school leavers and graduates looking to start in the workforce to senior executives and professionals who shape the future of Australia.

While there are some roles in the Reef Authority where an understanding of and experience in the APS is required, many roles have duties, responsibilities and eligibility requirements suited to people from a wide range of professional backgrounds.

If you are looking for an opportunity to transition into a role with a federal government employer, this could be a great way to commence your APS career. 

  • Some benefits of being an APS employee are:
  • Annual salary advancement in the pay scale for your classification based on effective work performance
  • 15.4% superannuation in addition to salary and access to the Public Sector Superannuation scheme 
  • APS Level 1-6 employees can access flexible work hours (known as flextime). Under flextime arrangements, employees have the ability to accumulate additional, which can be exchanged for time off.
  • Learn more in the Reef Authority's Enterprise Agreement

Organisational Structure

  • The Reef Authority consists of four branches:
  • Strategic Policy and Partnerships
  • Marine Park Operations
  • Major Projects
  • Corporate Services

Strategic Policy and Partnerships

The Strategic Policy and Partnerships Branch synthesises knowledge and innovates to inform adaptive management and influence decision-makers.

The branch develops and implements key strategies and policies, undertakes strategic and tactical communications, connects internationally and delivers targeted education and engagement to support reef resilience.

  • Teams with opportunities include:
  • Communications
  • Reef Education and Engagement
  • Strategic Governance
  • Strategic Policy


Marine Park Operations

The Marine Park Operations Branch provides in-park management across the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area to protect and rehabilitate reefs, islands and species and provide opportunities for people to enjoy the Great Barrier Reef.  

The Branch is critical in ensuring people who use the Marine Park respect and comply with laws, permits and cultural authority of Traditional Owners.

  • Teams with opportunities include:
  • Environmental Assessment and Protection
  • Field Management Operations
  • Field Management Strategy
  • Reef Interventions
  • Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreement


Major Projects

The Major Projects Branch focuses on delivering priority projects, in a timely and cost-effective manner and with high-quality outcomes.

The branch has a suite of defined projects with large funding commitments.  
Additionally, a range of expanded programs has been initiated to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our work. 

  • Teams with opportunities include:
  • Marine Park Planning
  • Douglas Shoal Remediation
  • Reef HQ Aquarium
  • Science for Management
  • Charging Structure Review 


Corporate Services

The Corporate Services Branch provides efficient, effective and contemporary services in key functional areas such as Finance, Legal Services, Technology and Digital Services, People Services, and Business Operations. 

The branch works collaboratively with other Reef Authority branches to enable them to deliver on their work tasks.  

  • Teams with opportunities include:
  • Business Operations
  • Finance
  • Legal Services
  • People Services
  • Technology and Digital Services
  • Your application must contain the following: 
  • A two-page pitch (see pitch below for more details) 
  • A recent copy of your CV or Resume in MS Word or PDF format. 
  • Proof of your Australian citizenship. 
  • All positions require a Baseline security clearance; therefore, all candidates must be Australian citizens.



  • As part of your application, you must address the following in a two-page pitch:
  • An explanation of how your skills, knowledge and experience will be relevant to the role/s you are applying for.
  • What are the aspects of your experience, skills, personality, knowledge or qualifications that make you a great fit?
  • What are the linkages between what you have achieved and the work the department does?

Your two-page pitch is a chance to tell us why you want to work for the Reef Authority and why you are interested in the specific opportunities or work you will perform. 

Take a detailed look at all the information in the job description, mainly focusing on the competencies described in "Core Accountabilities" and "The Person".

Please note: your pitch response document should be in MS Word or PDF format using standard margins and size 11 arial font. 



  • All applications will be assessed by a panel using a set methodology:
  • Shortlisted applicants progressing through to the next stage will be contacted following confirmation of the candidate shortlist to organise a time to attend an online interview.


  • The interview process:
  • Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend an interview with a panel of Reef Authority team members. 
  • Interviews may take place via MS Teams or in person. 
  • Read our interview tips.


Reference check 

  • Referee process:
  • Applicants invited to interview will also have a reference check undertaken following their interview. Referees' details are required on every application and confirmed at the interview.
  • You are encouraged to supply someone who has directly supervised your work or has a clear managerial perspective.
  • It is also best practice to ensure you have advised your referee that you have submitted an application along with their details.
  • Applicants who are found suitable after progressing through the interview and referee stage will be placed on the Reef Authority merit list and may be contacted with an offer of employment.
  • All offers made at this stage will depend on the successful completion of a Baseline security clearance being granted.

Merit list

  • Merit list process: 
  • While there are currently available opportunities, the Reef Authority will also establish a merit list of suitable candidates through this recruitment round. 
  • If you are assessed suitable, and no opportunity is available at the time, you will be placed on a merit list which the Reef Authority will use in the near future as vacancies arise. 
  • The benefit of being placed on a merit list is that as available opportunities arise, you can be offered employment without undergoing another recruitment process.

Security clearance

Unsuccessful applications

  • If found unsuccessful:
  • If you are not found suitable, you will receive a notification via email.
  • Individual feedback is available upon request following the completion of the recruitment round.


  • Helpful tips:
  • Check your eligibility for engagement. 
  • If you have received a redundancy payment in the last 12 months from the Australian Public Service (APS) agency or a non-APS Commonwealth employer, ensure you are outside your redundancy payment period. 
  • Failure to include relevant documents for the position, including proof of any mandatory qualifications, may result in not being considered for the position. 
  • Carefully read the position description and other documentation provided. 
  • Ring the contact officer if you have any enquiries, including the particulars of the position, the proposed selection process, the work environment and any other questions you may have relating to the position. 
  • If you are new to the Australian Public Service, check the Recruitment and Movement page on the APSC website. 
  • Read the Cracking the code page on the APSC website - this page contains tips and hints on applying for jobs in the APS. 

Living and working in Townsville

The Reef Authority's head office is located in Townsville, the capital of North Queensland.

Situated on the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Townsville is a tropical paradise and the ideal home for Australia’s lead managers of the Great Barrier Reef.

Townsville is also the headquarters for reef science (with the Australian Institute of Marine Science and James Cook University) and reef education (the home of Reef HQ Great Barrier Reef Aquarium).

It is the largest city in northern Australia, with a skyline dominated by the distinctive Castle Hill and the beautiful tropical island, Magnetic Island, located just eight kilometres offshore.

Townsville is a beacon for nature and wildlife lovers as well as adventurers and keen outdoors people with access to the Reef, rainforest, the outback and some of the nation’s most diverse landscapes.

Attracting visitors from across Australia and around the world, Townsville locals enjoy vibrant restaurants and bars, a world-class sporting stadium, chef-hatted restaurants, and a rich history and culture.


Townsville facts


Outside the southeast corner, Townsville is the largest city in the state. The official population count is 196,800 persons (ABS, 2020)


  • Townsville has a dry tropical climate that is dominated by two distinct seasons:
  • The wet season, summer (November to April)
  • The dry season, winter (May to October)

With over 300 days of sunshine each year, December is the warmest month of the year, with an average temperature high of 31*C and a low of 24*C.

July is the coolest month, with an average temperature high of 25*C and a low of 14*C


The Townsville Hospital is a 580-bed university teaching hospital that underwent a $437 million redevelopment in 2011.

With an expanded Emergency Department, expanded Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and expansion of oncology services, their Emergency Department is the largest in Queensland.


Townsville boasts two championship-winning national sporting teams, the North Queensland Cowboys and the Townsville Fire.

The Queensland Country Bank Stadium is a 30,000-seat world-class, multipurpose venue and home to the Cowboys.


There are over 60 private and state primary and secondary schools within the Townsville area.

James Cook University is based in Townsville and is Australia’s only university established to focus on the issues of Northern Australia and the Tropics worldwide; and has internationally renowned researchers.

CQ University and TAFE Queensland also have campuses in the local area.

Updated 4 Apr 2024
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