User Reference Group

Bruce Elliot
Observer (Chair of the User Reference Group)

Mr. Bruce Elliot has been with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority since September 2008, initially as the General Manager Corporate Services and more recently as the General Manager Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use. Prior to his current appointment, he was an Assistant Commissioner with the Australian Taxation Office, where he was responsible for capability leadership of Intelligence and Risk and the provision of support to compliance programs.

Prior to his time with Tax, Bruce was a commissioned officer in the Australian Army, primarily as an Intelligence officer. His career highlights included unit command, operational tours to the East Timor and the Middle East and postings to New Zealand, Indonesia and the US. He has a Masters of Defence Studies, a Bachelor of Professional Studies and an Advanced Diploma in Indonesian Language.

Eva Abal
Great Barrier Reef Foundation

Associate Professor Eva Abal is the Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) for the Great Barrier Reef Foundation in a part-time capacity. In her role as CSO, she is the Secretary to the International Science Advisory Committee for the Foundation, and works very closely with the CEO to develop and package research projects into a research portfolio, which aim to understand and promote resilient reef ecosystems adapting to climate change, for investor funding.

Eva is also employed as the Director of the recently-established University of Queensland (UQ) Water, which aims to coordinate research activities in water across UQ’s faculties, institutes and centres, to enhance UQ's profile, funding and reputation in this multi-disciplinary field of growing global importance. Prior to this she directed the Science/Innovation Program and Ecosystem Health Monitoring activities of the South East Queensland Healthy Waterways Partnership (SEQHWP) in Australia, including strategic research plan development and dissemination of information to stakeholders, including Ecosystem Health report cards. Shehas a PhD in Marine Botany from the University of Queensland, and MSc in Marine Biology and BSc in Marine Biology from the University of San Carlos, Philippines.

Rob Cocco
Reef Catchments

As CEO, Mr. Rob Cocco manages and builds the business of Reef Catchments and its subsidiaries, motivates staff and proactively engages with stakeholders, members, partners and clients. He is responsible for coordinating implementation of the Reef Catchments Strategic Plan and associated operational plans and sub-program strategies and is leading business development activities that align with the strategic plan and the outcomes it seeks for the Mackay, Whitsunday and Isaac Communities.

In 1994 Rob commenced his working career as a rural extension officer working within the sugar industry in North Queensland. In 2000 he took on the role of general manager for Burdekin Canegrowers where he managed supply and commercial services contracts and provided agri-political representation on behalf of the 800 producers of the region. In 2004 he moved to Mackay where he held the position of Regional Area Development Manager for BSES Ltd, a role that involved the development of new business and services support activities within and outside of Australia for the provision of research, development and extension services. In 2009 he joined what was then the Mackay Whitsunday NRM Group where he held the position of Operations manager and in late 2009 took on the role of CEO of Reef Catchments. In this role he now leads a highly motivated team focused on the sustainable use and management of natural resources within the region and across key initiatives that operate on state, national and global scales.

In his role Rob currently holds key director and committee positions aligned to sustainable food supply chains, sustainable economic development and growth and conservation of the Great Barrier Reef. He has tertiary qualifications in Applied Science and Business Administration.

Peter Doherty

Dr Peter Doherty is a Fellow (post-retirement) of the Australian Institute of Marine Science. He is a fish ecologist with a PhD from Sydney University and six years on the faculty of the School of Australian Environmental Studies at Griffith University. After his PhD, he was hosted by AIMS as a Queens Fellow in Marine Science and later returned as a staff scientist. His career with the Institute included leading the Tropical Fisheries Program and a decade as Research Director.

In tandem, Peter led the Ecosystem Quality Program in CRC Reef, and its successor in the Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility. This evolved into being Science Leader of the Tropical Ecosystems Hub in the National Environmental Research Program covering GBR, Torres Strait, and the Wet Tropics bioregion. Other external roles include membership of science advisory bodies for Queensland Fisheries (HarvestMac, TrawlMac), GBRMPA (ERAC), and Industry (MEAG). Current roles include the Antarctic Research Advisory Committee (Chair), the Marine National Facility SAC, Reef Plan Independent Science Panel, GBR Water Quality Taskforce Review Group, and the international Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research.

Paul Lawrence
DSITI representative

Dr. Paul Lawrence is the Director for Landscape Sciences in the Queensland Government, with 35 years of working in natural resource and catchment management, undertaking monitoring, modelling and providing science to inform policy and planning. He coordinates the delivery of DSITI’s science projects under the State Government Reef Water Quality Program and the Paddock to Reef Program to support the Reef Report Card.

Paul is the Queensland representative on the National Soils RD&E Strategy Implementation Group, and was Chair of the National Committee on Land Use and Management Information. He has a Bachelor and Masters Degrees from Griffith University, and a PhD from the University of Arizona in multiple criteria decision support systems. He completed an OECD Post-Doctoral Fellowship and an Executive Masters in Public Administration from Monash University.

John Bennett
Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection

Mr. John Bennett has had 40 years water quality planning and management experience with the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (formerly the DERM and EPA). This has ranged from “hands on” roles leading water quality modelling and monitoring studies to applying this experience to guiding waterway/water quality planning and catchment management strategies, such as SEQ Healthy Waterways Strategy and all the Great Barrier Reef Water Quality Improvement Plans.

John has also participated on a number of national water committees, including the current reviews of the National Water Quality Management Strategy and Water Quality Guidelines. He is currently Chief Scientific Officer for the Reef Policy team and helps provide the link between science and policy. He has a M.Sc. from University of Newcastle upon Tyne and a B.E. (Civil) from University of Queensland.

Claire Andersen
Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection

Ms. Claire Andersen is Director of Reef Coordination and Partnerships in the Office of the Great Barrier Reef in the Queensland Government Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP). She is responsible for coordinating implementation of the Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan and the Reef Water Quality Protection Plan. She is also responsible for reef monitoring and reporting, including the Paddock to Reef program and a number of regional waterway health report card programs. Her team also provides secretariat support for a range of reef stakeholder and scientific expert committees, including the new Great Barrier Reef Water Science Taskforce, which is providing advice on the best way to achieve ambitious water quality targets and identifying priorities for investing an additional $100 million over five years from 2015.

Claire is passionate about working with different stakeholders to bring science and policy closer together. Prior to working at EHP, she worked at the Department of the Premier and Cabinet coordinating reef matters and prior to that at the Department of Primary Industries, as a fisheries manager. Claire has qualifications from the University of Queensland, University of British Columbia and Griffith University.

Angela Stokes
Department of the Environment

Ms. Angela Stokes is the Director of the Reef Delivery section within the Australian Government Department of the Environment. Angela is responsible for managing delivery of the Australian Government Reef Programme and joint implementation with Queensland Government of the Reef Water Quality Protection Plan. This work supports the protection and sustainability of the Great Barrier Reef through investments focussing on the adoption of improved agricultural practices to address the impacts of agricultural runoff on water quality, as well as supporting managers and researchers across the Great Barrier Reef catchment to address key threats. Angela has a Bachelor of Education.

Cedric Robillot
eReefs Project Director

Dr. Cedric Robillot is Managing Director for HeadStart Development Pty Ltd, providing strategic advisory and program management services in a range of sectors. He was until 2012 Executive Manager for Seqwater (Queensland Bulk Water Supply Authority) in charge of the Western Corridor Recycled Water Scheme and Gold Coast Desalination Plant ($3.5 billion asset portfolio).

Prior to joining the water industry, Cedric worked for 10 years in the biomedical field, co-founding the biotechnology company Cleveland Biosensors where he provided technology leadership in the development of proprietary diagnostic platforms and conducted business development activities in a range of countries across Europe and in the USA. He holds a PhD in Environmental Toxicology from the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, an Engineering Degree from the Paris School of Physics and Chemistry (ESPCI) and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.