IPAA SA’s On the Couch sessions are a series of informal interviews with key leaders of the public sector. In their current roles, these leaders are seen as having a high degree of responsibility and influence over the future of the public sector and the people who work within it.

These interviews are aimed at looking at the person behind the role and focus on their interests, influences, leadership styles, career highlights, journey, aspirations, values and what they see as their priorities in their current role and insights for the future.

Our special guest for this event was John Schutz, Chief Executive, Department for Environment and Water. Mr Schutz commenced his role as Chief Executive in October 2018. Prior to this, in 2012 he was Group Executive Director, Parks and Regions, Department of Environment Water and Natural Resources and in February 2017 John took on the additional role of Deputy Chief Executive Department of Environment Water and Natural Resources.

This was a great opportunity to hear first-hand about the life and ideas of John Schutz in an informal interview conducted by Adrian Skull, Chief Executive Officer of the City of Marion. The interview concluded with a brief Q&A session with questions from the audience.

All IPAA events include purposeful networking which allows you to:

• Build relationships with the speaker/s and fellow guests
• Develop your capabilities
• Establish connections across the SA public sector.

Since its inception, the series has acted as the host for a very significant number of public sector leaders including David Reynolds, Chief Executive of Department of Treasury and Finance, Commissioner Grant Stevens, Police Commissioner and Hon. Bruce Lander QC, Independent Commissioner Against Corruption just to name a few.

Learn about our speakers

John Schutz

Chief Executive
Department for Environment and Water

Starting his career in production nurseries and vineyard management, John joined the Botanic Gardens, South Australia, as a horticulturalist at Mount Lofty Botanic Garden in 1983. In 1988 he was appointed Curator of the National Rhododendron Garden at Olinda in Victoria, and in 1990 he moved back to South Australia and again joined the Botanic Gardens working in various positions including Curator and Senior Curator Mount Lofty Botanic Garden, Senior Curator Adelaide Botanic Garden, Manager of the Hills Botanic Gardens (Mount Lofty, Wittunga and Beechwood Heritage Garden), Manager of Mount Lofty Precinct which included the Hills Gardens, Cleland Wildlife Park and Cleland Conservation Park. John commenced as Head of Gardens, Botanic Gardens of Adelaide in January 2001.

In 2006 John was appointed Director, Regional Conservation, Department for Environment and Heritage until 2008 when he took on the role of Executive Director of Regional Conservation Delivery. During this time John provided leadership, vision and strategic direction for the Directorate for the implementation of state-wide biodiversity, land conservation and land management policies and programs. He also supported Aboriginal engagement in the conservation of natural ecosystems and processes both on and off Aboriginal traditional lands.

John’s responsibility included the majority of the Department’s on-ground programs including the management of the State’s public lands (national parks and wildlife reserves and Crown land), maintenance of built assets and visitor facilities and delivery of state-wide programs including fire management, investigations and compliance, wildlife licensing and volunteer programs.

In 2010 John was appointed to the position of Executive Director Regional Services, Department of Environment and Natural Resources. 

In 2012 he became Group Executive Director, Parks and Regions, Department of Environment Water and Natural Resources and in February 2017 John took on the additional role of Deputy Chief Executive Department of Environment Water and Natural Resources. 

John provided overall leadership and direction for the Parks and Regions Group covering the eight Natural Resources Regions, over 100 operational sites and employment of 900 operational staff across regional South Australia. 

John also holds the statutory position of Director National Parks and Wildlife South Australia since August 2013, is an ex officio member of the South Australian National Parks and Wilderness Council, a member of the Friends of Parks Inc. Board covering more than 120 Friends Groups and over 3000 volunteers, and is a founding Board Member of Nature Play SA. In October 2018, John was appointed as Chief Executive for the Department for Environment and Water.

Thursday, 25 July 2019