Margaret River, Western Australia
1–3 December 2020


David Edwards

Projects Chief Executive, Department of State Development, Tourism and Innovation QLD

David Edwards


David’s professional background is in economics, infrastructure, project management and public policy. David is the Projects Chief Executive of the Tourism Development Projects Division, with responsibility as the State’s representative for the $3.6 billion Queen’s Wharf Brisbane, the largest private property development in the nation. David also leads the Queensland Ecotourism Trails program, which delivers adventure and nature based tourism experiences at iconic Queensland destinations in collaboration with Traditional Owners and regional communities.

In addition to his role with the department David is the Chair of the Board of Trustees for Ipswich Grammar School, Queensland’s oldest secondary school, Chairman of Lifetec, a not for profit organisation supporting people with disabilities, a board member for Wesley Mission Queensland, a not-for-profit community service organisation that provides a range of services to support people in need.


Ecotourism and Opportunities for Traditional Owners

Queensland is full of unique natural places and Indigenous culture. Through the Queensland Ecotourism Trails program, the Government is creating sustainable ways to share these unique experiences with domestic and international visitors. The program focuses on three key pillars: protecting culture, preserving and presenting natural assets and future-proofing regional communities. It uses a collaborative model with Governments, Traditional Owners, local communities and the private sector, to create genuine ecotourism experiences, unlock new income streams for the preservation and management of parks and create long-term opportunities economic opportunities for Traditional Owners on country.

Following commencement of the program in 2018, the Government has been working closely with local Traditional Owners for each project to understand aspirations and progress meaningful opportunities that have been identified by the Traditional Owners themselves. This includes the creation of genuine cultural tourism experiences developed by Traditional Owners to share their stories with visitors to the region as a result of these new ecotourism projects. Importantly, we are also creating opportunities for Traditional Owners to be on country, offering their knowledge and skills to help with the design of new ecotourism experiences and the parks’ conservation and protection.

This session will explore the success of the collaborative model of the Queensland Ecotourism Trails program and the opportunities that are being created for Traditional Owners.