New Director of National Parks appointed

Minister for the Environment and Water Tanya Plibersek today announced the appointment of Mr Ronald (Ricky) Archer as Director of National Parks.

Mr Archer, a Djungan man from the Western Tablelands region of North Queensland, is the first ever First Nations person to hold this position.

Mr Archer will be responsible for the protection and conservation of some of the country’s most precious natural areas, including the World Heritage listed Uluru-Kata Tjuta and Kakadu National Parks and our precious marine parks.

He will work with National Parks staff, Traditional Owners, and community members to care for the parks and ensure crucial conservation, infrastructure and tourism projects are completed.

Parks Australia proudly employs a large number of First Nations people across a range of roles including parks managers, rangers, natural resource management, cultural heritage and engagement, science, tourism, corporate, and administrative roles. First Nations staff represent 23% of the total workforce, with a significantly higher percentage of 57% across the three jointly-managed parks.

The Director of National Parks is a statutory office holder, who leads the conservation of Australia’s biodiversity and cultural heritage in Commonwealth reserves and conservation zones.

Mr Archer will formally commence in the role from 24 November 2023.

Quotes attributable to the Minister for the Environment and Water, the Hon Tanya Plibersek MP:

“I am proud to appoint the first Aboriginal director of National Parks. We are lucky to be home to some of the most incredible natural wonders, each with their own rich history that spans generations.

“The Federal Government is proud to jointly manage our National Parks with Traditional Owners and want to see those relationships strengthened.

“We know that when we lean on First Nations expertise and work together with Traditional Owners, we better protect our environment and we give visitors a better understanding of what makes these places special.

“Mr Archer brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience in joint management of parks, land conservation and sea management.

"I know he will work to build and improve relationships between First Nations peoples, management, and the community."
Quotes attributable to the Mr Ronald (Ricky) Archer:

“Australia’s National Parks protect some of our most stunning and valuable natural and cultural assets.

“I look forward to working with the Minister and Parks Australia teams across the country to continue their efforts to manage and protect our National Parks assets for the benefit of all Australians.

“As Australia’s first First Nations person to hold the position, I look forward to supporting and strengthening the role of Traditional Custodians in caring for their country in partnership with Parks Australia.

“We have an amazing opportunity to make greater impact in the ways we manage our natural and cultural resources whilst supporting and strengthening the skills and expertise of our stakeholders, including Rangers, Parks Australia staff, First Nations people, community, and the conservation sector.”

Mr Ronald (Ricky) Archer was most recently CEO of the North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance and has previously worked as a ranger and in conservation and leadership positions for several years. He has qualifications in conservation and land management, social science, and management.

Mr Archer is a Djungan man from the Western Tablelands region of North Queensland with high levels of cultural competency.

He brings a great depth of experience and understanding of the issues around joint management of parks, land and sea management, and managing relationships, and the intersection of those relationships between First Nations people, the conservation sector, and community.

He also has experience in working with government through his roles on a range of Commonwealth committees, including the Indigenous Advisory Committee, the National Landcare Advisory Committee, and his contribution to the Samuel review; the independent Review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.