AIMS Council

The AIMS Council sets the Institute's key objectives and research strategies and oversees AIMS' management. 

The AIMS Council consists of a Chairman, AIMS' Chief Executive Officer, a member nominated by James Cook University, and four other members.  The AIMS Act requires that at least three members of Council must have scientific qualifications.  All members of Council, with the exception of the Chief Executive Officer, are non-executive appointments made by the Governor General on the nomination of the Minister. Appointments can be up to five years and re-appointment is permissible. The Chief Executive Officer is appointed by the Council for a period not exceeding five years and is eligible for re-appointment.

Council Chairman - The Hon. Penelope Wensley

The Hon. Penelope Wensley


Council Chairman: 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2019

As a former career diplomat (1968–2008) and Governor of Queensland (2008–2014), Ms Wensley has a distinguished record of public service and extensive experience of government processes and public policy formulation.

She has held many leadership roles, nationally and internationally, and, in addition to her deep knowledge of foreign and trade policy, brings to the AIMS Council particular expertise in strategy development and implementation, communication and negotiation, and community and stakeholder engagement.

In 2001, Ms Wensley was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for her distinguished contributions to Australia’s international relations and in 2011, a Companion of the Order (AC) for eminent contribution to the people of Queensland and to Australia’ s international relations through senior diplomatic representational roles and as a key contributor to initiatives of the United Nations. These senior roles included: Australian Ambassador to the UN, in both Geneva and New York; Ambassador to France; High Commissioner to India and Ambassador for the Environment.

An Arts Honours graduate of the University of Queensland, Ms Wensley holds honorary doctorates from UQ, Griffith University, James Cook University and the Queensland University of Technology.

She is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of International Affairs (FAIIA) and an Honorary Fellow of the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand (HFEIANZ).

She is a Director of the Lowy Institute, Chairman of the Reef Advisory Committee (advising the Queensland and Australian governments on implementation of the Long-term Sustainability Plan for the GBR (Reef 2050)), and National Patron of Soil Science Australia.

Council Member - Professor Sandra Harding

Professor Sandra Harding

AO, BSc (Hons), MPubAdmin, PhD, Hon Doc JIU, FACE, FQA, FAICD, FAIM

Council member: 10 May 2007 to 27 May 2020

Professor Harding is Vice Chancellor and President of James Cook University, represents the university on the AIMS Council and maintains links with the wider education and business sectors.

In 2019, Professor Harding was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for her distinguished service to education at the national and international level, and to the community of Queensland.

A former Chair of Universities Australia, Professor Harding is an economic sociologist with an interest in education policy, the global tropics and economic development.

She is a member of a number of boards, including the Australian American Education Leadership Foundation, Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation Board, Townsville Enterprises Limited and Advance Cairns. She is Governor of the Committee for Economic Development of Australia.

CEO and Council Member - Dr Paul Hardisty

Dr Paul Hardisty

MSc, P.Eng, FIEAust

CEO and Council member: 24 July 2017 to 23 July 2022

Dr Hardisty, a recognised thought leader and sought-after speaker in his field, was appointed CEO of AIMS in July 2017. An engineer who has worked extensively in marine and coastal environments and marine research projects, he is experienced in both the public and private sectors.

Dr Hardisty co-founded international environmental consultancy Komex Environmental Ltd, which he developed from a start-up to a $50 million-a-year company with 1000 employees.

More recently, he was director at CSIRO’s Climate Adaptation Flagship, and business unit director in CSIRO’s Land and Water division.

Dr Hardisty holds a Master in Hydrology, and a Doctorate in Environmental Engineering from Imperial College, London. He is an adjunct Professor at The University of Western Australia.

Council Member - Ms Anna Matysek

Ms Anna Matysek

BEcon (Hons), MEnv

Council member: 15 June 2017 to 14 June 2022

Ms Matysek is an experienced economist, and an expert business development and investment strategist. She is a senior executive and independent consultant with a strong background in stakeholder engagement, and policy development in the resources, energy and infrastructure sectors.

Ms Matysek has worked with leading global mining companies, utilities, agribusinesses, and government including holding senior positions in Rio Tinto, economics consulting firms, at the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and the Productivity Commission.

Ms Matysek was a lead author on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report, and the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development.

Council Member - Dr Stephen Morton

Dr Stephen Morton

BSc (Hons), PhD, Doc (Hon. Causa), GAICD

Council member: 16 December 2014 to 15 December 2019

Dr Morton is an Honorary Professorial Fellow with Charles Darwin University, a Doctor of Philosophy in animal ecology, an author, and has published more than 150 scientific articles.

He was formerly chief of CSIRO’s Sustainable Ecosystems and Group Executive for Environment and Natural Resources, for Energy and Environment, and for Manufacturing, Materials and Minerals.

Dr Morton is an independent consultant and sits on councils and scientific advisory panels including the Western Australian Biodiversity Science Institute, and the steering committee for the Threatened Species Recovery Hub, National Environmental Science Program.

Council Member - Mr Roy Peterson

Mr Roy Peterson


Council member: 11 December 2014 to 10 December 2019

Mr Peterson is Chairman of the AIMS Audit Committee, and a leader in his field. He is a Chartered Accountant with strong governance and audit committee experience, including internal audit, risk management, process improvement and taxation.

Mr Peterson has chaired the North Queensland Committee for the Australian Institute of Company Directors and was a member of the Taxation Institute National Taxation Liaison Committee.

He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, and the Taxation Institute of Australia.

Council Member - Ms Jeanette Roberts

Ms Jeanette Roberts

BEng (Hons) FIChemE

Council member: 21 June 2018 to 20 June 2023

Ms Roberts is a chemical engineer and a senior executive with more than 30 years’ international experience in the oil and gas industry, including in China, India, Russia, Africa, Europe and the Asia–Pacific.

A director of her own company, Jeanette Roberts Consulting, she has major global merger and acquisitions experience, including divestments, global restructures, risk management and governance.

Ms Roberts has worked on policy development at both state and Commonwealth level, as well as in the research sector, building partnerships and collaboration frameworks, particularly around marine environments and sustainable development. She has worked for oil and gas operators and service companies both in Australia and internationally.