Parks Victoria leader awarded Australia Day Public Service Medal
Friday 27 January, 2017
Congratulations to Parks Victoria alumnus Mr Graham Parkes who has been awarded a Public Service Medal in the 2017 Australia Day Honours for his outstanding contribution to the Victorian community.
Mr Parkes received the medal for his significant and dedicated contribution to fire and emergency management, tourism and regional development, natural environment conservation and visionary park planning.
He began working for the Victorian National Parks Service as a park assistant in 1973, later becoming the Ranger in Charge of the Grampians National Park in 1994 and was District Manager for South Western Victoria prior to his retirement in 2016.
Mr Parkes is particularly highly regarded in western Victoria, having led the emergency response to some of the most severe fire and flood events in living memory. He drove recovery programs which protected sensitive environments and rebuilt essential park infrastructure, as well as supported the local tourism industry to recover and continue to contribute to regional and State economies.
Mr Parkes is well known for his capacity to build strong partnerships with people and organisations, including Traditional Owners, community groups, volunteers, all levels of government and the tourism industry. These partnerships have delivered innovative conservation, cultural and recreation works across many parks, particularly in south west Victoria.
He successfully advocated for employment opportunities for Aboriginal community members and to deliver Traditional Owner aspirations within parks. He has also worked hard to protect Cultural Heritage sites.
Mr Parkes’ vision and dedication in helping to imagine, plan for and secure the $30 million funding for the iconic Grampians Peaks Trail is one of his most spectacular successes, helping to bring international visitors, employment and opportunity to the west of Victoria.
Quote Parks Victoria’s Acting Chief Executive Margaret Gillespie:
“Graham is a highly respected and well-loved former employee of Parks Victoria. Over his 43 years he built many strong friendships within Parks Victoria and created enduring partnerships with external agencies, organisations, businesses, government, community groups and many others.
“His vision, leadership and expertise have helped to create liveable and sustainable regional communities, particularly across South West Victoria.“We encourage Victorians to celebrate in the way Graham most approves: visit one of Victoria’s beautiful parks and reap the benefits that spending time in nature brings.”