The Director of National Parks is a corporation established under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), the principal Commonwealth legislation for establishing and managing protected areas. The corporation is constituted by the person appointed to the office named the Director of National Parks.
Under the EPBC Act, the Director of National Parks’ responsibilities include:
- Managing Commonwealth reserves and conservation zones
- Protecting biodiversity and heritage in Commonwealth reserves and conservation zones
- Carrying out research relevant to Commonwealth reserves
- Cooperating with other countries to establish and manage national parks and nature reserves in those countries
- Making recommendations to the Australian Government Minister for the Environment
Commonwealth reserves that are wholly or partly on Indigenous people's land are managed in conjunction with a Board of Management. There are also Advisory Committees who provide advice to the Director on the management of other reserves. These boards and committees play crucial roles in determining the policies and priorities for the management of each protected area.
A Board of Management is established under the EPBC Act for Commonwealth reserves that are wholly or partly on Indigenous people's land. The Board's role is to prepare reserve management plans, make decisions to implement those plans, monitor management and provide advice to the Minister. A majority of board members must be Aboriginal people nominated by the traditional owners of that reserve.
Boards of management have been established for three Commonwealth reserves:
As well as six Commonwealth Marine Reserves networks, there are two other marine protected areas to conserve important marine ecosystems and habitats.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is also recognised as a World Heritage Area and is managed by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority under separate legislation.