So Bob Carr has resigned as NSW Premier after 10 years at the helm. The last 10 years has seen an increase in the number of environmental activists given key roles within the bureaucracy.
Mr Peter Cosier was working as a WWF activist before being appointed to the positions of Deputy Director General and Chief Scientist in the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources (DIPNR) in December 2003.
I understand Mr Cosier has no formal scientific training or research experience.
Following is the text of the memo from the Director General Jennifer Westacott (who has a BA in Political Science) to DIPNR staff, sent on 19th December 2003:
With the integration of our organisation taking shape and the Government’s natural resources and infrastructure planning reforms gathering momentum, it has become clear that our executive structure also needs to change to meet these growing challenges. Key natural resource and planning initiatives must be linked in an effective fashion to enable us to meet community, business and government expectations.
The co-ordinated leadership of knowledge, information, science and research linked to economic development and social responsibility, is the most effective way of meeting this challenge. For this reason I have created a new position of Deputy Director General to lead this program area.
I am pleased to advise you that approval has been given to the appointment of Mr Peter Cosier to this new position.
Peter is presently the Director of Conservation for WWF Australia and has previously acted as an adviser to both Federal and South Australian Governments on natural resource management, water policy and urban development.
Peter’s professional skills represent a unique combination of science, town planning, public policy and public advocacy at local, state and national levels. Peter has worked in the private and public sectors in both natural resource management and urban and regional planning. This experience at the national and international level has given Peter the opportunity to influence fundamental reforms in natural resource management across Australia.
Most recently Peter has been the convenor of the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists and he chaired the negotiation process between NSW Farmers and environment groups to produce the Wentworth Group’s new model for landscape conservation in New South Wales.
As Deputy Director General Peter will undertake the role of Chief Scientist, oversighting the organisation’s research and development program and ensure the relationship of these programs to sustainable economic growth outcomes. Peter will fulfil the role of the organisation’s senior social and economic analyst to ensure the effective balance of economic, community and social imperatives in policy and operations.
Peter will also play a key role in strategic policy advice, development and direction across the organisation. The Centre for Natural Resources and the Social and Economic Impact Group will report to Peter.
Peter will join us in the new year and I’m sure you will provide him with a warm welcome when he arrives.
UPDATE 1ST AUGUST
According to the DIPNR 2003/2004 Annual Report Peter Cosier has a BSc,Dip.URP. and leads the Office
of Knowledge,Science. and Information.
I am seeking further clarification including whether or not he still holds the position of Chief Scientist.
UPDATE 2ND AUGUST, 3.40PM
I have been advised by the DIPNR that Dr John Williams is now the Chief Scientist of DIPNR. I am still seeking clarification of Peter Cosier formal qualifications.
UPDATED 12TH AUGUST
I have just received the following information by email:
Dear Dr Marohasy
Mr Peter Cosier is a Deputy Director General of DIPNR and head of the Office of Knowledge, Science and Information. He has professional qualifications and expertise in science (B.Sc.) majoring in natural resources management and urban and regional planning (Dip. U.R.P.).
Mr Cosier does not hold the title of Chief Scientist. The DIPNR Chief Scientist is Dr John Williams, Chair of the Science and Information Board. Dr Williams is the former Chief of CSIRO Land and Water.
I trust this satisfies your enquiry.
Executive Assistant to the
Deputy Director General
Office of Knowledge, Science and Information