First listed on: 10 January 2023

Creating a brighter future for life in the Tropics and beyond, through education and research that makes a difference locally, and globally, James Cook University (JCU) now have an exciting opportunity for a Principal Strategic Regional Planner to join our vibrant team of professionals in the Cairns Institute on a range of regional development projects. The position is full-time, fixed term to June 2024 and can be based in either Cairns, Townsville, Darwin, Brisbane or Canberra. Remuneration is at Academic Level D: $142,460 - $156,540 per annum plus up to 17% employer superannuation contributions. Relocation assistance may be considered for the preferred candidate.


In collaboration with the Reef and Rainforest Research Centre, the Rural Economies Centre of Excellence, the Tropical North Queensland Drought Hub and the Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia, the project’s focus is on strategic regional planning for sustainable development and natural resources management, supporting the economic transition of regions and communities, building rural supply and value chains, de-risking for agricultural investment, supporting Indigenous led-development and strategic approaches to water and energy development planning.


The next phase of work is forging strategic partnerships within national, state and regional contexts to drive the implementation of key projects across Northern Australia. Your role will focus on improving the system of governance in Northern Australia to achieve better economic, social development and environmental outcomes, specifically on supporting new approaches to regional planning that improve the operation of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, lift investment in sustainable approaches to water and agricultural investment and supporting the transition to a zero-net emissions economy in Northern Australia’s unique landscapes. You will assist with the strategic implementation of the Cape York and Torres Regional Drought Resilience Plan and forge strategic partnerships for implementation and informed policy development in Northern Australia.


  • Postdoctoral qualifications and recognised experience and/or track record in applied regional or community planning, policy development or development studies, environment and natural resource management, Indigenous-led development, or similar disciplines relevant to regional and community development in Northern Australia.
  • Advanced knowledge of, and practical engagement with planning or regulatory processes related to water, energy, native title or land and natural resource management.
  • Extensive experience in driving strategic planning and research partnerships at high levels with diverse stakeholders in multi-disciplinary teams.
  • High-level interpersonal and communication skills with innovative engagement experience working with diverse stakeholders in governments and regional and rural communities, and experience in working in complex, ambiguous and changing environments.
  • Demonstrated management expertise including project management and reporting.
  • Experience in conducting research, writing policy and research papers, and analysing data.


JCU offers a culturally diverse working environment with opportunities for professional and personal growth. Employee wellbeing is at the core of our values, and we support our people through the provision of flexible working conditions and many other exclusive benefits including;

  • A generous superannuation scheme with up to 17%employer contributions with UniSuper
  • 5 weeks of annual recreation leave
  • 15 days of paid sick/personal/carers leave per year
  • Flexible working options
  • Attractive options for salary packaging
  • Fitness Passport
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Professional development support
  • Access to online media subscriptions
  • Corporate discount on health insurance premiums
  • Well-equipped campus facilities in Cairns and Townsville.


If you are interested in contributing to this valuable area of research with our world-leading University, please visit the Careers at JCU website and apply today.

Vacancy reference 18218 – applications close 7 February 2023.

For a confidential discussion about the role, please contact Professor Allan Dale on 0418 736 422 or via email

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