Griffith Science's 2020 Outstanding First Peoples Alumnus

Doctor of Philosophy

Graduate Certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language

Dr Troy Byrnes is the Principal Advisor – Planning and Innovation at the Gold Coast Waterways Authority.

A significant change to the life of an electrician, Troy went on to complete his Doctor of Philosophy in coastal management at Griffith University and is now a well-regarded expert in his field, having contributed to several internationally recognised peer reviewed publications and presentations.

"Since altering career directions from electrical contracting to environmental science, my higher education and professional career has focused on the philosophy of a society that aims to be robust, equitable and environmentally sustainable," said Dr Byrnes.

For the past sixteen years, he has worked in various environmentally focused roles, including ship-sourced pollution management at Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) and waterways management at the Gold Coast Waterways Authority (GCWA).

Whilst working for Maritime Safety Queensland, Dr Byrnes was focused on delivering ‘cleaner water solutions’ for the Queensland public, by ensuring the appropriate management of ship-sourced pollution, which involved researching legislation, industry standards and technology. He also facilitated a series of community education and engagement activities for the commercial and recreational boating public, and manufacturers and suppliers of equipment.

Dr Byrnes now lives and works on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia - the perfect environment and lifestyle for a life dedicated to coastal management. In his role for the Gold Coast Waterways Authority, he enjoys the responsibility of ensuring the waterways are in the best condition for the community.

Always one to foster community involvement and coastal management appreciation, he has initiated community contributions for improved waterways management through projects delivered as part of the Scientific Research and Management Program. These have included the ‘Assessment of congestion and conflicting use management for Gold Coast waterways’, the ‘Environmentally Friendly Moorings Replacement Project’ and the ‘Local Shorebird Review’.

"Through my academic qualifications and my subsequent professional roles, I have had the opportunity to apply my training and experience to address some of the key environmental issues of our time, primarily as they relate to improving the quality of our waterways through better management of ship-sourced waste (working to minimise deliberate and negligent pollution discharges) and better management of, and education about, the users and uses of our waterways," said Dr Byrnes.

Dr Byrnes is an influential communicator and advocate with government agencies and local communities, especially in his work on environmental-management-driven public policy developments and internal operational service standards. This has not gone unnoticed, with Dr Byrnes receiving praise from the CEO of the Gold Coast Waterways Authority, Mr Hal Morris.

'Troy has quickly demonstrated an understanding of the strategic direction for the Gold Coast Waterways Authority and has consistently delivered results from projects and initiatives that have helped deliver the objectives.

'He has demonstrated a clear ability to respond to a range of emergent legislative, regulatory and management issues, with good humour and tenacity,' said Mr Morris.

A genuine life-long learner, after completing his PhD he went on to do further study, a Graduate Certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language.

Dr Byrnes' sustained remarkable success in his chosen profession and ongoing commitment to his community, saw him named the Griffith Science's 2020 Outstanding First Peoples Alumnus.

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