Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 02 Hansard (Tuesday, 20 February 2018) . . Page.. 347 ..
Dr Baker was key in securing world heritage status for the Great Barrier Reef and also initiated aquaculture and marine biodiversity research at the Australian Institute of Marine Science, which led to great successes for Australia’s prawn industry.
In 1993 Dr Baker was appointed as the ACT’s inaugural Commissioner for the Environment, a position which he held for 11 years. His passion for the environment and his work ethic throughout his term did not let up. He was a consummate professional and demonstrated real dedication to the role. He also laid strong foundations for the ACT’s Office of the Commissioner for the Environment and Sustainability and oversaw the first five ACT state of the environment reports.
Dr Baker was also a member of various academic and scientific institutions throughout his time. He was a foundation member at James Cook University, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the Queensland Academy of Sport. He was a director at the Roche Research Institute of Marine Pharmacology, the Australian Institute of Marine Science and the Sir George Fisher Centre for Tropical Marine Studies at JCU. Dr Baker held the title of Chief Scientist at what is now the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and served as chairman of the National Landcare Council and the Australian Heritage Commission. He was also a patron of the Australian Marine Sciences Association.
Dr Baker received many awards for his work, including the Order of the British Empire, in 1982, for services to marine science. He was appointed as an officer in the Order of Australia, in 2002, for contributions to environmental studies and chemistry. In 2001, as the Chief Minister said, he was declared a “Queensland Great” and was so honoured with a plaque in Brisbane. He also did Queensland proud in 1959, when he played two matches for the state Rugby League team.
Dr Baker remained a humble servant of the public, and continued his work in the scientific and local community until the end. Dr Baker sadly passed away on 16 January this year. His legacy will continue across both sport and science. The territory was very fortunate to have such an accomplished man as a leading public servant in the ACT.
Again, on behalf of the opposition, I would like to express my condolences to his family; in particular to his wife, Val, and his children and grandchildren.
MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (10.10): I rise to express my deep regret at the death of Dr Joe Baker, the ACT’s very first Commissioner for the Environment, a role he held with distinction from 1993 to 2004. Dr Baker—or Joe, as he was uniformly known—was born in regional Queensland in 1932. It was Joe’s interest in environmental science that ultimately brought him to Canberra, where he not only assumed the role of commissioner but worked tirelessly to promote the environment in community contexts. His academic and environmental science achievements were distinguished, and they have been outlined here today by the Chief Minister.
It is important to observe that in the first state of the environment reports, Dr Baker examined the Australian Capital Territory’s environment with care and rigour. In