Welcoming Mitchell Sheppard

    The Cairns Institute welcomed its newest member; Mitchell Sheppard (pictured above) who joins the Tropical Development team led by Professor Allan Dale. The team includes Jennifer McHugh and Hurriyet Babacan. Mitchell’s role is a Strategic Regional Planner in the Research and Innovation Division of the Cairns institute. Mitchell has strong interests in environmental policy and adaptive and resilient governance systems that improve biodiversity protection and conservation, build systems’ resilience and adaptive capacity, and deliver strong and sustainable outcomes for regional communities and economies.

    Mitchell completed his Bachelor of Laws (Class I Honours) and Bachelor of Science (Zoology and Ecology Major) with JCU. His research thesis explored the need for strong and proactive conservation laws to address the dynamic and complex threat of climate change. It proposed adaptive and resilience based governance approaches to reforming the EPBC Act to improve protection and conservation of species vulnerable to climate change. This was evidenced by the state of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and the current implementation of the EPBC Act. Mitchell has also studied the impacts of climate change in Fiji which provided valuable, on-ground perspectives of communities facing disproportionate and multifaceted social, economic and environmental challenges.

    Mitchell has experience as a law clerk/legal administrator which provided exposure to agribusiness and landholder negotiations with large development proponents. He also recently undertook a graduate policy officer program with the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment which provided opportunities to work on national climate adaptation policies and EPBC Act reform.

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