18 October 2017

At the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) we love to celebrate our new recruits!

Neville Johnston has recently joined AFMA through the Indigenous Australian Government Development Program (IAGDP). Neville’s first rotation will be working in the Policy, Environment, Economics and Research team.

Neville Johnston, AFMA’s latest IAGDP participant

Here’s what Neville had to say about what inspired him to apply for the program and commence working at AFMA.

Can you tell us a bit about your background?

I was born in Thursday Island but moved to Cairns for school when I was 11 years old. My mum has Torres Strait Islander heritage from Boigu Island which is located in the Top Western section of the Torres Strait. My father is a descendant of the Wulgurukaba tribe who are the Traditional people from Magnetic Island and parts of the Greater Townsville area, as well as a descendant of the Kuku Yulangi tribe from the Mossman Gorge area just north of Cairns. My great grandfather was a Timorese man who came to the Torres Strait to work in the famed Torres Strait Pearling industry.

After graduating from year 12, I successfully completed a trade certificate in green keeping. I then spent 10 years working in the hospitality industry before relocating to Thursday Island in 2013 to work as a mentor at the Thursday Island high school where my role was to coordinate a program for disengaged youth.

 What inspired you to apply for the IAGDP?

The IAGDP is highly appealing because it is helping me to become a better-rounded individual, equipping me with a diverse breadth of knowledge and experience, as well as developing my skills in working collaboratively with other AFMA officers. Before accepting the position at AFMA through the IAGDP, I received glowing recommendations from friends and colleagues who have previously completed the program, all of whom commended the opportunities, development and support received throughout their placement. This was a strong driver in motivating me to apply.

What made you interested in accepting your position with AFMA?

The opportunity to work in a new industry that has strong linkages to my Indigenous heritage is the main reason that I was keen to work at AFMA, as well as extending beyond my comfort zone into a field that really interests me.

 What are you most looking forward to working at AFMA?

Working with experienced staff so that I can learn from the best and I’ve certainly hit the jackpot as my first rotation will be with Yvonne and the team from the Policy Environment Economics and Research team.

I also want to gain an understanding of the impact of the work that AFMA has done in the past and is looking to do in the future in relation to Recreational & Indigenous fishers.


 In 2017-18 AFMA are participating in the Indigenous Australian Government Development Program (IAGDP), with the Department of Employment. The IAGDP is an entry-level employment and development program designed to significantly contribute to improving employment opportunities, experiences and outcomes for Indigenous Australians in the APS.

 More information on working at AFMA can be found at afma.gov.au. More information on the IAGDP can be found at employment.gov.au.