Environmental Initiatives

Patrick O'Leary

Officer, Outback Australia, The Pew Charitable Trusts

Patrick O'Leary

Email: poleary@pewtrusts.org


Patrick O'Leary joined Pew in 2009. He focuses on strengthening Pew’s indigenous partnerships, enhancing environmental protection across Northern Australia and pursuing linkages between reducing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting biodiversity.

O’Leary’s initial work as a researcher in river ecology and conservation evolved into organizational and advocacy roles with environmental nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) focused on forest and threatened species conservation. After moving to Australia’s Northern Territory in the late 1990s, he focused on marine conservation policy, advocacy and communication with an emphasis on marine protected areas and fisheries and aquaculture sustainability.

His work on the overlap between issues of indigenous peoples and environmental protection led to a position as the marine policy officer for Australia's largest Aboriginal Land Council, the Northern Land Council. There he assisted aboriginal people with negotiation, planning and advocacy for better environmental, cultural and economic management of their marine and coastal estates. More recently, O’Leary worked in senior policy roles for government on marine and, later, climate change policy. He also has played voluntary governance, administrative and fundraising roles in local and national environmental NGOs.

O’Leary holds a bachelor’s degree in ecological science from Monash University.

News Room

  • Indigenous Conservation Programs

    • Nov. 12, 2013
    • OtherResource

    The Australian Outback is one of the most unusual places on Earth. Composed of forests, woodlands, and grasslands, this vast area remains wild, abundant, and largely untouched by development. More

  • No Seabed Mining in NT for Three Years

    • Mar. 6, 2012
    • MediaCoverage

    (Nine News) The Northern Territory government says no seabed mining will occur in its coastal waters until at least 2015.


  • Jumbo Solution for Outback

    • Feb. 3, 2012
    • MediaCoverage

    (New Zealand Herald) Biologist David Bowman knew he was going to kick up a jumbo-sized storm with his latest idea for saving Australia's fragile north, and he was right.


  • Elephant Solution Proposed for Australian Bush

    • Feb. 2, 2012
    • MediaCoverage

    (Australian Broadcasting Network) Australia could introduce large herbivores such as elephants as part of a radical biological solution to the problem of bushfires and invasive species, says one expert.


  • Fresh Warnings on Seabed Mining

    • Dec. 19, 2011
    • MediaCoverage

    On December 19, Pew Environment Group Manager of Conservation Partnerships in Australia Patrick O’Leary was interviewed in a segment broadcast by Australian Broadcast Corporation’s Pacific Beat program.  He discussed the risks to marine life posed by potential seafloor mining off the country’s Northern Territory coast.


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