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Partnership welcomes new Executive Officer and Chair

This month the Dry Tropics Partnership for Healthy Waters welcomes both a new Executive Officer in Kara-Mae Coulter-Atkins, and a new Independent Chair in Dr Keith Noble. 

With the two leaders come decades of land and water management experience, and a passion for Townsville, the Great Barrier Reef, and Dry Tropics landscapes. 

“I believe a partnership approach to management is the way of the future,” Kara says.  

“Make a collective impact. Minimise duplication of effort. Build and use a common language. There is so much potential for this Partnership in our region.”  

The great-granddaughter of one of Australia’s first female commercial fishing operators, Kara’s career has brought her through marine science, conservation education, and environmental project management to lead the Healthy Waterways collaboration into its next era.   

“The relationship between people and place is key,” adds newly appointed Chair, Keith.  

“This has always mattered to me: as a land use planner, a farmer, as a researcher, and in my roles with land management organisations across Northern Australia.  

“I look forward to helping our Partners and the community connect across disciplines through this organisation. At the end of the day, we’re all navigating how people and places can work better together.”  

Both Kara and Keith see the independent Dry Tropics Partnership for Healthy Waters as a network that will serve to bridge gaps: in collaboration between local community, business, and government waterways stakeholders; in data management for waterway and reef health; and ultimately in the way people of the Dry Tropics think of and steward their landscapes.  

Outgoing and founding Chair, Di Tarte, will remain a close associate of the Partnership through her role as Chair of the Technical Working Group.  

“Di is a wealth of knowledge and has modelled the importance of active listening in the success of this partnership,” Kara says. “And former Executive Officer Jake Hammelswang has bolstered our technical and data capability.  

“The Partnership is in a strong position — I look forward to us building on this together.” 

Kara and Keith are busy meeting Partners and planning for the year ahead. To connect with them, contact or 


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