Stephen Oxley is an independent consultant with extensive experience in Government. Until his move to the Central Victorian Goldfields in 2022, he was based in Canberra and worked as a Senior Executive Service Officer in the federal Department of the Environment. In that role, he held lead responsibility for heritage policy and programs at the Commonwealth level – a position he held for a period of seven years.
From 2017 to 2021, he was head of Australia’s delegation to the World Heritage Committee and became a member of the Committee in late 2017 when Australia was elected to the Committee for a four-year term. He was active as a national expert representative in the recent review process to modernise the Committee’s climate change policy.
Stephen joined the Environment Department in 2004 to work on marine conservation, going on to lead the development of Australia’s marine parks network and marine bioregional plans as head of Marine Division. There are now some 60 marine parks in Commonwealth waters that together constitute what is the largest representative network of marine parks in the world.
The Great Barrier Reef has been a key focus for Stephen. He has led advocacy on the Reef in the World Heritage system; oversaw the 2020 review and update of the Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan; and led the foundational policy work that culminated in the Federal Government funding establishment of the Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program and other key Reef activities through its $444 million grant to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.
Prior to joining the Environment Department, he spent three years working on Indigenous policy. As a Senior Executive Service Officer, he has worked closely with Federal Ministers and has a deep working knowledge of government processes. During his time in Canberra, he spent 10 years working as a political adviser, including three years as Chief of Staff to a senior Federal Cabinet Minister and Deputy Prime Minister. He has also worked as a journalist and editor.