Stephen Oxley is an independent consultant with extensive experience in Government. Until his move to the Central Victorian Goldfields in 2022, he was based in Canberra and worked as a Senior Executive Service Officer in the federal Department of the Environment. In that role, he held lead responsibility for heritage policy and programs at the Commonwealth level – a position he held for a period of seven years.
From 2017 to 2021, he was head of Australia’s delegation to the World Heritage Committee, and became a member of the Committee in late 2017 when Australia was elected to the Committee for a four-year term. In his time on the Committee, he was a strong advocate for upholding the integrity of the World Heritage List and the Committee’s processes for inscribing new properties on the List and overseeing the state of conservation of World Heritage places. He was active as an national expert representative in the recent review process to modernise the Committee’s climate change policy. In Australia, he worked to reinvigorate Commonwealth engagement with the States and Territories on World Heritage property management, policy and funding.
In addition to his World Heritage responsibilities, Stephen was a senior adviser to the Australian Heritage Council and worked closely with the Council to deliver on its priorities for the National Heritage List, and on its work to initiate reforms to Indigenous heritage protection nationally through a co-design process with Indigenous heritage bodies.
Stephen joined the Environment Department in 2004 to work on marine conservation, going on to lead the development of Australia’s marine parks network before switching his focus to heritage. Prior to joining the Environment Department, he spent three years working on Indigenous policy. As a Senior Executive Service Officer, he has worked closely with Federal Ministers and has a deep working knowledge of government processes. During his time in Canberra, he spent 10 years working as a political adviser, including three years as Chief of Staff to a senior Federal Cabinet Minister. He has also worked as a journalist and editor.