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Dr Cass Hunter

Indigenous Social-Ecological Researcher

Contact details:

PO BOX 12139


Cass joined CSIRO in 1998 as an Indigenous cadet with interests to learn about the benefits of science. She is now a research scientist for the Coastal Development and Management program in Oceans and Atmosphere, Cairns. Cass leads research on collaborative environmental design, useability and uptake of tools, research translation, and development of participatory tools to support sustainable livelihoods and ecosystems. For over a decade, she has engaged with many inspiring Indigenous young people, rangers, leaders, educators and scholars through invitations to forums, STEM camps, Indigenous panels and keynote talks. Her focus is on building our national and international networks of Indigenous practitioners to share and develop learnings to place Indigenous people at the heart of environmental and economic co-design and advancements.

Dr Cass Hunter is an Indigenous woman with connections to Far North Queensland. She is a descendent of Kuku Yalanji and Maluiligal nations. Cass is passionate about the new era of partnerships based on co-design and co-delivery for catalysing legacy change within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. I am motivated by opportunities to stretch influence upon agencies and industries by championing agendas that place Traditional Owners at high-level decision-making tables.

Other Interests

My main personal interest is enjoying family time with our boys.

Current Roles

  • Indigenous Advisory Group member
    NESP Sustainable Communities and Waste Hub

  • Chair of the GBRF Traditional Owner Water Quality Technical Working Group
    Input into the co-design and co-delivery of a Reef-wide programme of works, including in priority areas within the Reef Catchment

  • Member of the Australian and New Zealand Leadership Forum – Indigenous Business Sector Group - Technology, Trade and Investment workstream
    Strengthening the trans-Tasman relationship between senior Indigenous business and government leaders about ways to improve business and trade between Australia and New Zealand

  • GBRF Traditional Owner Integrated Monitoring and Reporting Technical working group member
    Co-designing with the Reef’s First Nation Peoples through developing an integrated portfolio of Traditional Owner-led Reef protection projects

Academic Qualifications

  • 2000

    Bachelor of Environmental Science
    Griffith University

  • 2001

    Honours - Stock assessment project
    University of Queensland

  • 2010

    Doctor of Philosophy - Quantitative Marine Science
    University of Tasmania

  • 2015

    Indigenous Post-doctoral Fellow
    James Cook University

Professional Experiences

  • 1998-2001

    Indigenous cadet

  • January 2002-December 2002

    Experimental Scientist

  • 2003-2009

    PhD Student
    Univsersity of Tasmania

  • August 2009-April 2010

    Impact Modeller

  • August 2010-Current

    Post-doctoral researcher
    James Cook University

  • September 2015-Current

    Indigenous social-ecological researcher

Achievements and Awards

  • 1999

    Academic Excellence
    Griffith University

Other highlights

  • Feb 2019-Nov 2019

    Indigenous scientist co-lead towards the establishment of the new CSIRO Indigenous Science Program

  • July, 2019-

    Keynote speaker at the Australian Marine Science Association Conference

  • Nov, 2019-

    Keynote speaker at the Ecological Society of Australia conference

  • Oct 2020-current

    Indigenous co-author of the Marine and Coasts Chapters of the SoE report


  • 2003-2006

    TAFI Postgraduate Award. Assessing the impact of intraspecific and interspecific interactions on Tasmanian rock lobster (Jasus edwardsii) caught in traps: analysis and modelling. Supervisors: Malcolm Haddon and Keith Sainsbury

  • 2003-2005

    CSIRO top-up PhD scholarship. Assessing the impact of intraspecific and interspecific interactions on Tasmanian rock lobster (Jasus edwardsii) caught in traps: analysis and modelling. Supervisors: Malcolm Haddon and Keith Sainsbury

  • 2010-Current

    Australian Research Council. Developing predictive tools for rapid assessment of multiple impacts, including climate change, on the marine ecosystem of Torres Strait (Australia). Co-investigators: S Skewes, J Butler, S Turton, D Brewer. $180k

  • 2016-2019

    Advance QLD, Queensland Government. Transforming hidden data: An integrative information system for Torres Strait. $240k