Liz Wren is passionate about creating positive impacts for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Traditional Owners. Liz has heritage from the Trobriand Islands; Eastern Torres Strait, and Western NSW but now lives with her family within the Great Barrier Reef on Yunbenun (Magnetic Island) Wulgurukaba Country. Liz has just embarked on a new role with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation as Program Director – Traditional Owner Partnerships. In this role Liz will continue to work with Great Barrier Reef Traditional Owners to establish the strategic direction; co-design and co-delivery of the Reef Trust Partnership Agreement.
In 2018 Liz worked under the Reef and Rainforest Research Centre as the Project Lead and Director for the Reef 2050 Traditional Owner Aspirations Project, which included co-investment and support from Consortium members – the Northern Australia Land and Sea Management Alliance (NAILSMA), the Cape York Institute (CYI), the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), James Cook University (The Cairns Institute) and the Australian Institute of Marine Sciences (AIMS). This important project was funded by the Australian Government under the joint Australian and Queensland governments’ Reef 2050 Plan and advised on the best design for the most effective delivery arrangements under the Reef 2050 Plan for future policy and programs relevant to Traditional Owners of the Great Barrier Reef. In doing so it investigated traditional and corporate governance arrangements; power sharing dynamics and co-benefits that apply to Traditional Owners of the Reef and their key partners. This work underpins the future roadmap for co-design; co-management; co-governance and genuine partnership creation within the context of a multi-user marine protected area and World Heritage property.
Liz’s other key achievements include the design and implementation of $42m package for Working on Country (Regional) Indigenous Rangers Program that realised 110 Indigenous rangers in real jobs across Australia; significant Traditional Owner content in the Reef2050 Plan; directed $20M investment in the Land and Sea Country Partnerships program supporting Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreements and enhanced compliance efforts; $5M Commonwealth and State (Qld) Turtle and Dugong Management initiative; and $2M Specialised Indigenous (Compliance) Ranger Program.
Liz has a Degree in Applied Science in Environmental Resource Management and a Diploma in Public Sector Management and Leadership. Liz’s efforts on key economic and environmental policy initiatives were recognised by the Australian Government when she received an individual Australia Day Medal from the Australia Council.