Parks Victoria Executive Team
Matthew Jackson, Chief Executive Officer
Matthew joined Parks Victoria as Chief Executive Officer in February 2017.
Matthew is responsible for the strategic direction, leadership and overall management of the organisation and co-ordinates external relationships, liaising with allied organisations, government and statutory authorities.
He takes a leading position in influencing the development of policies and practices to respond to the emerging risks and adaptations posed by global climate change. He is also committed to ensuring effective organisational and people management including cultural change.
Matthew has been involved in nature-based tourism and education for most of his career. He has extensive experience in environmental research, conservation, wildlife management, operational management and stakeholder relations. He has also worked in the private sector in marketing and distribution.
Prior to Parks Victoria, Matthew was the Chief Executive Officer at Phillip Island Nature Parks. He oversaw significant change at Phillip Island Nature Parks that involved a high level of community consultation and the delivery of major environmental outcomes and significant new tourist attractions.
Matthew holds a Master of Business Administration from Southern Cross University.
He is a current Board member of the Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) and committee member of the Victorian Government’s Visitor Economy Ministerial Advisory Committee (VEMAC).
Matthew is a Victorian Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA) and a Club Melbourne Ambassador.
Simon Talbot, Chief Operating Officer
Simon joined Parks Victoria in May 2017 before being appointed Chief Operating Officer in October.
Simon is responsible for the overall management of park operations, planning and commercial delivery ensuring high quality outcomes as a result of promoting a performance oriented culture that encourages accountability and service/project delivery. He is committed to improving visitor facilities and commercial opportunities by ensuring accurate and transparent performance analysis and driving a Safety First culture.
Simon has more than 25 years’ experience across the mining, agriculture, forestry and food sectors. He has worked extensively with both Federal and State governments and has a deep passion for the land. In his previous role, as the Chief Executive Officer of the National Farmers’ Federation, Simon was appointed to co-create a refreshed vision for Australian Agriculture and lead a complex transformation agenda. He has also held senior roles in food and rural sectors and worked across seven countries including New Zealand, Malaysia, China, Vietnam, Indonesia and The Netherlands.
Simon’s roles have been diverse and complex ranging from corporate branding, First Nations partnerships, critical incident management and sustainable economic systems.
Simon holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of New South Wales, a Bachelor of Science from the University of Tasmania and is a qualified Occupational Health and Safety auditor.
Margaret Gillespie, Executive Director Legal, Risk and Compliance and Chief Legal Counsel
Margaret joined Parks Victoria in 2006 as the Chief Legal Counsel and became Executive Director Legal Risk and Compliance after taking over responsibility for managing the risk, compliance, insurance, information management and health safety and environment functions.
She is passionate about ensuring organisational integrity, championing Parks Victoria’s Ethical Framework by running workshops with staff to embed the Public Sector Values and Parks Victoria’s Commitments. Margaret is an experienced commercial lawyer whose career has spanned private practice and in-house private sector positions in large listed companies in New York, London and Melbourne. She has extensive experience managing commercial transactions and large litigation including a Royal Commission and class action.
Margaret holds a Masters of Public International Law from the University of London and a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne. She is a member of the New York Bar.
Dr Mark Norman, Chief Conservation Scientist and Executive Director of Environment and Science
Mark joined Parks Victoria as Chief Conservation Scientist in April 2016.
Mark is responsible for Parks Victoria’s nature conservation and research programs, ensuring effective evidence-based conservation management and support for environmental program delivery across the state. The Environment and Science Division works closely with a wide range of researchers, partner agencies, Traditional Owners, stakeholders and community groups in addressing nature conservation needs and challenges.
Mark has extensive experience in wildlife research, biodiversity surveys and science communication. He is also well known as an effective science communicator.
Previously, Mark was Head of Sciences at Museums Victoria. His research background has been in marine biology but he has also worked extensively in the establishment of marine protected areas, fisheries research, bird and seal ecology, conservation programs, running terrestrial, freshwater and marine wildlife surveys, science communication, media and ecotourism.
Mark holds a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Zoology, a Diploma of Education (Biology and Environmental Science), and a Doctorate of Zoology from University of Melbourne.
Ben Skinner, Executive Director Infrastructure and Information Technology
Ben joined Parks Victoria in January 2018 as Executive Director of Infrastructure and Information Technology.
Ben is responsible for Parks Victoria’s Infrastructure Capital Projects, Infrastructure Operations and Information Technology. He oversees the delivery of the annual capital works program and asset management planning function including fleet and facilities management. He ensures the organisation is equipped with fit for purpose technology and IT support to improve efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery.
Ben has 16 years’ experience in engineering and capital project delivery across the private and higher education sectors in Australia and the United Kingdom.
Previously, Ben held the Acting Deputy Director Capital Works role at RMIT University and was responsible for the annual delivery of $150-200 million in capital works.
Ben holds a Masters of Business Administration and Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical – CPEng).
Lisa Patroni, Executive Director Marketing, Communications and Partnerships
Lisa joined Parks Victoria as Executive Director of Marketing and Communications in October 2017.
Lisa is responsible for leading unified communication to raise Parks Victoria’s profile and maintain its brand and public reputation. She is overseeing Parks Victoria’s digital transformation, which involves a new website, social media presence and accommodation booking system. Lisa is committed to building relationships with government, the tourism industry and community organisations. Her division implements volunteering, accessibility, health and wellbeing and education programs as well as increasing profile of significant heritage places.
Previously Head of International, Tourism, Government, Community and Communications at Victoria Racing Club Lisa has a strong background in marketing, stakeholder management, government relations, tourism, and major events, with a proven ability to manage complex stakeholder relationships.
Kylie Trott, Executive Director Melbourne
Kylie joined Parks Victoria in 2005, holding numerous operational and strategic delivery roles before being appointed as Executive Director Regional Victoria in April 2016. Kylie has been Executive Director for Melbourne Division since November 2018.
Kylie is responsible for the management of park operations in the greater Melbourne area, ensuring high quality outcomes as a result of promoting a performance oriented culture that encourages accountability and service/project delivery. She is committed to connecting Victorians to nature by improving visitor experiences in urban parks, waterways and the local ports (Port Phillip and Western Port). She is committed to maintaining a working environment that is safe and without risks to the health, safety and wellbeing of all.
Kylie has extensive leadership, planning, policy development, project management, strategic and business reform experience. She started her career in local government as a gardener and park manager in regional parks.
Kylie holds a Bachelor of Applied Science (Environmental Management), Graduate Certificate of Applied Science (Environmental and Heritage Interpretation), Diploma of Business (Project Management) and a Diploma of Management.
Ian Sargent, Executive Director People and Finance and Chief Financial Officer
Ian joined Parks Victoria in July 2016 as Executive Director People and Finance and Chief Financial Officer.
Ian is responsible for the organisation’s financial strategy, corporate and business planning as well as the procurement function and compliance ensuring Parks Victoria operates in accordance with the requirements of the Financial Management Compliance Framework (FMCF). Ian develops, implements and regularly reviews financial policies and procedures to ensure they are consistent with accounting standards, financial reporting directions and relevant legislation and promotes leading financial management practises.
Ian champions Parks Victoria’s preferred culture, promoting team work, employee development and empowerment in order to foster a culture of high performance.
Ian brings a wealth of experience to Parks Victoria, having worked in senior finance roles across multiple industries including utilities, resources, property development, regulation and insurance across the public and private sectors.
Prior to joining Parks Victoria, Ian was the Chief Finance Officer at Barwon Health and WorkSafe Victoria.
Ian is a Certified Practising Accountant, holds a Masters of Applied Finance at Macquarie University and a Bachelor of Business (Accounting) at Victoria University.