Chief Plant Health Officer, Department of Industry, Tourism, and Trade

Dr Walters is the Chief Plant Health Officer for the Northern Territory.

In this role, Dr Walters oversees a team of 45 staff who administer the Plant Health Act 1998 and support industry to comply with the movement conditions for plants and plant products into and out of the Northern Territory.

The plant biosecurity team, which is part of the Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade in the Northern Territory, plays an active role in preventing the incursion of agricultural pests and diseases, responding quickly in the event of a pest detection, and assisting the Northern Territory community and industry to build resilience to pest incursions.

Key to Dr Walters success in this role is her close collaboration and working relationships with industry, stakeholders, and inter-jurisdictional Chief Plant Health Officer Colleagues.

Dr Walters is currently the Deputy Chair of the National Plant Health Committee and will commence her tenure as Chair in December 2022.

In 2021, Dr Walters was instrumental in the eradication of Citrus Canker from Australia and is passionate about ensuring that we, as a nation, continue to learn from these experiences. She also has a keen interest in promoting research and development to enhance knowledge about risks and to develop novel approaches to enhance biosecurity outcomes.

Dr Walters has a passion for empowering others, and for the past four years, has led a Northern Territory Government Women’s Leadership Network to help other women to realise their goals and aspirations.

The intent of the Network is to bring women together to inspire and be inspired, to encourage cultural change through positive leadership, to promote female role models, and to provide women with opportunities to develop, network and share. The key to this program is building confidence among existing and emerging leaders.

Dr Walters attributes much of her personal and professional success to her empathetic and inclusive leadership style, her communication skills, her willingness to continually learn and self-reflect, and her honesty, openness, and authenticity.

Dr Walters has an undergraduate degree in Aquaculture, a first class honours degree and a PhD in Ecology, and a Masters in Business Administration.

In 2020, Dr Walters was awarded the 2020 Telstra Business Women’s Award for Public Sector and Academia in the Northern Territory.