Dr Maxine Newlands (BA (Hons), MA, PhD, FHEA) is a political scientist and policy analyst, currently based at the Australian Academy of Science.

Maxine is an advisor to governments and holds a number of roles with the Department of Climate change, Energy, Environment and Water; the United Nations Environment Program,  Queensland Department of Environment and Science, the International Coral Reef Inititative and the Australian Political Studies Association, Environmental Politics and Policy specialist group.

Maxine is an Adjunct Principle Research Fellow at The Cairns Institute where she is Director of the Blue Humanities Lab. Maxine is also an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Centre for Policy Futures, University of Queensland.

Current / previous leadership roles include

  • Co-lead on the Reef Restoration and Adaptation, Regulatory subprogram 
  • Led author on the 2022 Scientific Consensus Statement on Reef water quality
  • Founder of the Blue Humanities Lab, TCI
  • Co-convenor of the Women of the Reef professional network
  • Managment team member for the Australian Citizen Science Association


Often quoted in the media, Maxine has been regular political correspondent for ABC North Queensland since 2020, and other media commentary can be found here.

  • PL2006: Political Communication in the Global Environment (Level 2; TSV)
  • PL5006: Political Communication; Ecology and Environmentalism (Level 5; TSV)
  • Political science; Marine Park governance; Climate change adaptation and governance; Global Environmental Governance; Regulating emerging and novel technologies Decarbonisation regulation and policy design; Social and climate justice; Marine and environmental social science
  • 2015 to present - Research Fellow, Cairns Institute (Cairns, Qld.)
  • 2019 to 2026 - Expert member, International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) ad-hoc restoration committee (Global)
  • 2020 to 2025 - Member, Office of the Great Barrier Reef (QDES) human dimensions working group (Brisbane)
  • 2022 to 2024 - Executive member, Australian Political Studies Association: Environmental policy and politics committee (South Australia)
  • 2019 to 2022 - Management committee member, Australian Citizen Science Association (NSW / national)
  • 2018 to 2022 - Research Associate, Centre for Policy Futures (University of Queensland)
  • 2016 to 2020 - Editor (Reviews), Journal of Environmental Education (Aus.)
  • 2015 - Visiting Academic, National University of Samoa (Apia, Samoa)
  • 2010 to 2014 - Fellow, London East Research Institue (London, UK)
Socio-Economic Objectives
  • 2016 - Research Fellow- The Cairns Institute, Ciarns
  • 2014 - Overall Winner - TropECO Excellence award for Outstanding contribution to sustainability at JCU and in the wider community
  • 2019 to 2020 - Journalism Educators and Research Association of Australia (JERAA) Annual Research award
  • 2016 to 2017 - Scholarship- Australian Higher Education Sector Leadership Colloquium; Australian School of Applied Management.
  • 2014 to 2017 - 2014 Winner: Division of Tropical Environment & Societies: Three Minute Thesis Competition 2017 Runner up - ECR dtes 3 MT Competition
  • 2016 - New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant ($110,000) over two years, working with colleagues in Samoa.
  • 2018 to 2023 - Research Associate at the University of Queensland's Centre for Policy Futures
  • 2015 to 2018 - Visiting Fellow, Media and Journalism, National University of Samoa
  • 2010 to 2014 - London East Research Institute (LERI)
  • 2018 - Mentor for ECR at the Australian Political Studies Association (APSA) and APSA Environmental Politics and Policy Standing Research Group.
  • 2018 to 2023 - International Political Science Association (IPSA)
  • 2018 to 2022 - Australian Coral Reef Society
  • 2018 to 2021 - Management Board Member for the Australian Citizen Science Association (ACSA)

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles
Book Chapters

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 67+ research outputs authored by Dr Maxine Newlands from 2008 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

Queensland Department of Environment and Science - Tender

Understanding the influence of media and community narratives on Great Barrier Reef water quality management

Indicative Funding
$249,546 over 2 years
News media play a key role in communicating knowledge about the Great Barrier Reef and the risks it faces (Foxwell-Norton and Lester 2017). While media influence on community responses in contested marine protected areas has been demonstrated (Voyer et al. 2013), the multiple pathways through which media can influence outcomes for the GBR are not well understood. This project will map the GBR media landscape - the sources of mainstream and social media, the communication networks and the narratives, values and behaviours in water quality decision-making and practice that media both shape and reflect. Ultimately, the analysis will deliver practical outputs through collaboration with GBR water quality management end users.
Maxine Newlands, Tracey Mahony and Erin Bohensky (College of Arts, Society & Education, College of Business, Law & Governance and Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation)
Water Quality; Media; Governance; Social Media; Networks; behavioural

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority - Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

Reef 2050 stakeholder network analysis.

Indicative Funding
$43,476 over 1 year
Applying a Small World Theory (Watts,1999; Crossley, 2008) this project will generate data for analysis that will identify within the marine and GBR space, the existing highly connected yet geographical distant networks. Small World Theory data can then be used to support adaptive management practices within RIMReP and wider Reef related agencies. The project will assess the current landscape and provide an initial interface network map to show the multilayered nature of existing stakeholders.
Maxine Newlands in collaboration with Pedro Fidelman (College of Arts, Society & Education and The University of Queensland)
Barrier Reef; Marine Parks; Human Dimension; Monitoring; Governance; Evaluation

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority - Reef 2050 Integrated Monitoring and Reporting Program (RIMReP) - Contract Research

Great Barrier Reef stewardship classification review

Indicative Funding
This project aims to conduct a systematic review that will led to a classification system for understanding ?stewardship? and how to evaluate outcomes of ?stewardship activities? in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
Maxine Newlands (College of Arts and Society & Education)
Stewardship; Management; Governance; Marine Parks; Human; Etymology

Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia - Research Grant

How has journalistic practice shaped public knowledge of the Great Barrier Reef: A discourse analysis of the media clippings 2003-2018

Indicative Funding
The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is a national and global icon, yet only in the past five years have journalism scholars (c.f Lester and Foxwell-Norton (2018), Lankaster, Newlands, Bohenski, (2015 & 2020); Lloyd, Newlands, Petray, (2014;) begun to study the media reporting of GBR related issues. The decline of the GBR?s health in 2016/17 from back-to-back bleaching means there is a growing sense of urgency to better understand the journalistic practices of how such events and wider issues (such as mining and port expansions) frames Australia?s cultural understanding of this endangered ecosystem. This project with the digitalising of newspapers archives will benefit current and future journalism scholars and educators, add to an emerging field, and contribute towards better public understanding of what drives our understand of the GBR especially during and after catastrophic events such as bleaching.
Maxine Newlands (College of Arts and Society & Education)
Journalism; Barrier Reef; Governance; Marine Parks; Central Queensland; Discourse

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

  • Investigating the challenges and needs of small island developing states to develop improved processes for the monitoring of fouling marine invasive species (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Investigating corruption in Papua New Guinea through the patron-client structure: The citizens' perception (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • The Blurred Line Between Science Communication and Advocacy: Exploring the Influence of Researchers’ Identity in Science Communication (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Oil, Fisheries and Coastal livelihoods: A Political Ecology of Coastal Governance in Niger Delta, Nigeria (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Mobilising Communities for Reef Restoration and Stewardship (PhD , Secondary Advisor)

These are the most recent metadata records associated with this researcher. To see a detailed description of all dataset records, visit Research Data Australia.


The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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