New appointment to the Australian Heritage Council

04 April 2023

Minister for the Environment and Water, Tanya Plibersek MP, today announced the appointment of Mr Peter Cochrane to the Australian Heritage Council.


Mr Cochrane joins the Council as a Natural Heritage expert. He brings with him a wealth of knowledge and an extensive research background in nature conservation policy and programs.


This follows the departure of Dr Steve Morton, who served as an invaluable member of the Council for two three-year terms.


Mr Cochrane joins the Council’s other Natural Heritage expert, Professor Kerrie Wilson, who has recently commenced her second three-year term.


The Australian Heritage Council is the principal adviser to the Minister for the Environment and Water on heritage matters, assessing nominations for the National Heritage List and Commonwealth Heritage List. 


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

“I’m committed to protecting, maintaining and enhancing Australia’s heritage. To do this I rely on independent, expert advice from the Australian Heritage Council.


"I am delighted to announce the appointment of Mr Cochrane to the Australian Heritage Council as a Natural Heritage expert.


“Mr Cochrane will bring over 30 years’ experience in government and the private sector. He previously served as director and CEO of Parks Australia, as well as undertaking former director roles at Ecotourism Australia and Earthwatch Australia.


“I would like to thank Dr Morton for his invaluable commitment to heritage conservation, protection and celebration of Australia’s unique heritage, providing independent advice for the last six years.


“Dr Morton should be particularly proud that he has contributed significant foundational work promoting Indigenous heritage as a key part of Australia’s national identity which will see an increase of Indigenous cultural heritage sites represented on the National Heritage List.


“I look forward to continuing to work with all members of the Australian Heritage Council to identify, protect and conserve our most important heritage sites for our children and grandchildren.”


Mr Peter Cochrane is a Vice President of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). He is based in Sydney Australia and chairs the Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS), the Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute, and Australia’s Tropical Herbarium. He is a director of the SIMS Foundation and TierraMar Ltd.


Peter is a Commissioner with the New South Wales Independent Planning Commission, an Assistant Commissioner with the NSW Natural Resources Commission, and chair of Australia’s Marine National Facility National Benefit Assessment Committee. He is a member of the External Reference Group on Nature for the Responsible Investment Association of Australasia.


In 2013 he retired as Director of National Parks after 14 years with the Australian Government. He has over 30 years of senior government and private sector experience in the environment and resources sectors, with a career spanning plant ecology research, policy advice, the oil and gas industry, and nature conservation policy and programs.


He has a BSc and Master of Public Policy from ANU, is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and an Adjunct Professor in the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science University of NSW.