Great Barrier Reef Water Quality Manager


Australian Marine Conservation Society


Brisbane or regional Queensland

Our oceans need you. Make a difference as you work to protect the spectacular Great Barrier Reef. The Australian Marine Conservation Society is seeking an experienced senior-level operator to be our Great Barrier Reef Water Quality Manager. Your role is to be a catalyst for change, leading our work to help reduce agricultural pollution of the Reef and sequester carbon in its adjacent catchments.

  • Salary: Competitive Not For Profit salary package available based on skills and experience
  • Hours: Full time (38 hours/week). The role requires some travel and occasional work outside normal hours
  • Contract period: Initial two-year contract with potential to extend dependent on funding 

Purpose of the position:

The Great Barrier Reef is under increasing pressure. After climate change, agricultural sourced pollution is the most serious threat to Great Barrier Reef coastal and marine ecosystems. The Reef’s capacity to endure and recover from the impacts of climate change will be greatly enhanced by reducing the burden of sediment, nitrogen and pesticide pollution.

As the Manager, Great Barrier Reef Water Quality, you will lead the development and implementation of our work to protect and conserve the Great Barrier Reef by reducing nitrogen and pesticide pollution, conserving aquatic ecosystems and sequestering carbon to improve the resilience of the Reef in the face of climate change. You will work with the AMCS Great Barrier Reef and Fisheries teams, partner organisations, stakeholders and government to deliver environmental and sustainability improvements with an emphasis on a key region in the GBR catchment.

Key functions:

  • Develop and lead the implementation of the AMCS’s work to improve Great Barrier Reef water quality.
  • Draw on available information sources and decision support tools aimed at reducing Reef pollution, conserving coastal biodiversity and sequestering carbon through catchment restoration.
  • Build relationships and support amongst a wide network of stakeholders, including governments, conservation and NRM managers, First Nations People, non-government organisations, farmers, scientists and researchers, to advance objectives in a key region of the GBR catchment.
  • Lead on advocacy for increased investment in improved Reef water quality and full compliance with the Reef water quality regulations.
  • Deliver communications that support environmental, economic, social and cultural objectives, including working in collaboration with the AMCS Communications team.

Primary tasks and responsibilities:

Engagement and Advocacy

  • Analyse and synthesize relevant current information about nitrogen and pesticide runoff and pollution, loss and degradation of coastal aquatic ecosystems and the potential of blue and green carbon sequestration along the Reef coastline.
  • Draw on programs in catchments of the GBR that have demonstrated success in transformational change and agricultural community engagement, and available tools and processes to address these issues such as Reef credits and carbon credits.
  • Commission research reports and short-term consultants, where appropriate, to 1) support the accelerated implementation of these tools and processes; 2) provide evidence if new policy is needed; and 3) review the effectiveness of compliance with Reef water quality regulations.
  • Engage and develop critical relationships with stakeholders relating to a key region of the GBR catchment to strategically build support to bring about transformational change on the ground, based on the best available science and expert advice.
  • Lead advocacy, with strong local support, for a substantial increase in government and non-government investment in the region to achieve the 2025 Reef water quality targets, conserve coastal biodiversity and sequester carbon.
  • Represent AMCS in relevant Reef water quality stakeholder forums (meetings, working groups, etc.).
  • Write submissions to government on matters relating to Reef water quality.


  • Coordinate AMCS’s work to ensure improved water quality in the Great Barrier Reef, leading the development and implementation of our work in this area.
  • Collaborate with AMCS’s Great Barrier Reef and GBR Fisheries teams, and other AMCS teams to deliver on goals and objectives.
  • Collaborate with partners in other conservation and social change organisations to deliver on goals and objectives.


  • Work with the AMCS Communications team and, where appropriate, external agencies to develop materials that translate technical information into plain English that all stakeholders can understand.
  • Represent AMCS in the media on Reef water quality issues.
  • Provide content to AMCS GBR and Communications teams on Reef water quality issues.

Other Responsibilities

  • Ensure AMCS staff and Board are briefed on Reef water quality issues.
  • Represent AMCS to its members, supporters, government, industry and the wider community as needed.

Essential selection criteria

  • At least five years’ experience with catchment, coastal and/or marine issues.
  • Proven knowledge and contacts in the fields of water quality, ecosystem services and/or carbon sequestration.
  • Excellent interpersonal and written communications skills, as well as group facilitation.
  • Experience working with and engaging with different stakeholders, including farmers, scientists, First Nations People and governments.
  • Demonstrated ability to engage with technical details and deal with complex problem solving.
  • Ability to operate effectively in a small team and with partner organisations, as well as being a self-starter, and comfortable working with limited supervision.
  • The ability to develop, plan and implement work plans and projects, including the ability to prioritise competing demands.
  • An understanding of Queensland and federal politics, and an awareness of Great Barrier Reef related legislation/policy.
  • Commitment to protecting the marine environment. 

Desirable selection criteria

  • Relevant tertiary qualification (e.g. environmental management, environmental economics). 


The position reports directly to the AMCS Great Barrier Reef Campaign Manager.

About AMCS

We are Australia’s only national charity dedicated solely to protecting our precious ocean wildlife. We are staffed by a committed group of scientists, educators and passionate advocates who have defended Australia’s oceans for over 50 years. AMCS works on the big issues that risk our ocean wildlife. Together, we have protected critical ocean ecosystems with marine reserves around the nation, including Ningaloo and the Great Barrier Reef. We have led the movement to ban whaling, stopped super-trawlers, and protected threatened and endangered species like the Australian sea lion. Together, our community of ocean lovers defends our oceans every day.

AMCS is an equal opportunity employer. Indigenous Australians are encouraged to apply.

How to apply:

View details

Date published:


Closing date:

28-Sep-2020, 5pm

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