About us

The Department of Lands, Planning and the Environment facilitates sustainable development in the Northern Territory (NT). 

It is responsible for:

  • land use plans
  • land releases
  • looking after Crown land until it is required for development
  • development assessment
  • building control
  • government land information
  • land information
  • supporting the NT Planning Commission.

Minister for Lands and Planning

Hon. David Tollner MLA

Read more on the Legislative Assembly website.

Minister for the Environment

Hon. Gary Higgins MLA

Read more on the Legislative Assembly website.

Senior management team

Chief Executive Officer

Rod Applegate

Rod Applegate started as Chief Executive at the Department of Lands, Planning and the Environment in March 2015. He is the former Chief Executive of the Department of Land Resource Management. Before this he worked as Deputy Chief Executive at the Department of the Chief Minister. 

Between 2004 and 2009 he worked as Executive Director and then Deputy Chief Executive in the lands and planning area of the Department of Lands and Planning. 

Rod has a Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Hons) from the University of Queensland and a Graduate Certificate in Business Administration (Executive) from Mt Eliza Business School. He is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a graduate of ANZSOG's Executive Fellows Program.

Director, Policy

Linda Hausler

Linda Hausler joined the Department of Lands, Planning and the Environment in March 2015. Previously Linda held the positions of Senior Policy Officer and  Executive Officer to the Chief Executive at the Department of Land Resource Management.

Linda has also worked in policy roles with the Intergovernmental Relations Group of the Department of the Chief Minister and the former Natural Resources Division of the Department of Natural Resources, Environment, the Arts and Sport.

Linda holds a Batchelor of Arts (Visual) from Charles Sturt University and commenced work in the NT Public Service with the Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries in 1998, working in the Katherine and Douglas Daly region in administration and technical roles.

Executive Officer

Myrene Lyle

Myrene Lyle started at the department in March 2015, transferring from the Department of Land Resource Management as Executive Officer to the Chief Executive.

She has over a decade of work experience in the Northern Territory public sector, providing high level executive support across government and to a number of statutory boards and committees. Myrene is responsible for providing high level support and advice to the Chief Executive to assist in the delivery of strategic objectives and priorities of the department.

Prior to joining the public sector in 2001, Myrene worked in private enterprise. She completed the Professional Management Program through the University of Adelaide in 2012.

Executive Director, Land Development

Bruce Michael

Bruce Michael commenced as Executive Director with the Department in October 2014.

Bruce was Deputy Chief Executive Officer with Department of Housing from January 2014 to October 2014. He was formerly the Assistant Under Treasurer at the Department of Treasury and Finance, where he covered economic analysis, commercial issues and intergovernmental relations. Bruce commenced in Treasury in September 2001 and has worked in senior positions across both the Economic and Financial Management groups. Bruce has represented the Territory on a range of intergovernmental committees.

Prior to Treasury, Bruce was a Senior Research Analyst in the Planning and Land Development Divisions of the then Department of Lands and Planning, and previously the Director Client Services and Director Home Ownership at the Department of Housing.

Bruce has extensive private sector experience, having worked as an Associate Director at JLW Advisory (now part of Jones Lang LaSalle) and Hillier Parker. Bruce has a Bachelor of Arts from Macquarie University majoring in Human Geography.

Project Director, Land and Economic Development

Graeme Finch

Graeme Finch joined the Department in July 2013, working with the Land and Economic Development unit.

Graeme has broad experience across the development industry which was gained prior to joining government. Graeme has worked within the civil construction and development industry, undertaking project management and development management roles in significant developments in Western Australia and the Northern Territory, including the building of Bellamack.

Graeme has a Masters degree in Environmental Management and has worked in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.

Executive Director, Land Services

Fabio Finocchiaro

Fabio Finocchiaro started in the Northern Territory public sector as a town planner in 1981 after completing a Bachelor of Arts in Town Planning. 

He has worked in management and leadership roles since 1990 in the areas of statutory planning, building control and land information and has developed extensive experience in management and strategic roles.

After leading the Statutory Planning area for six years, Fabio held the statutory position of Director Building Control for 15 years. During this time he led the introduction of builders registration and represented the department and the NT government on a number of boards, committees and working parties including National Building Codes Committees, Australian Standard Committees and relevant community and industry forums. 

Director, Building Advisory Services

Armando Padovan

Armando Padovan has worked as Director, Building Advisory Services in January 2014. Prior to this he was the Assistant Director.

Armando holds the statutory role of Director of Building Control which has responsibility for the investigations and auditing into building related matters. He represents the Northern Territory on the Australian Building Codes Board’s national building and plumbing technical committees, is a member of NT statutory industry boards in his capacity as Director Building Control and represents the department on the NT Plumbers and Drainers Licensing Board.

Armando has also worked in natural resource management in South Australia, New South Wales and Western Australia. He graduated from the University of Adelaide with a Masters in Science. 

Executive Director, Business Services

Sarah Temple

Sarah Temple started as Executive Director Business Services in September 2014. She has experience in strategic planning, change management and restructuring, organisational development and leadership.

In her previous role as Director Human Resources, Sarah represented the department on various negotiations including at enterprise level. 

She leads a multidisciplinary team providing corporate and shared services. Sarah spent nine years with NT Treasury as manager of human resources. During this time Sarah was also Director Corporate Support, Departmental Liaison Officer and was a financial analyst.

Sarah joined the NTPS in 1998 as a graduate with the Office of the Commissioner for Public Employment and holds a Bachelor of Business in management and accounting.

Chief Financial Officer

Fotis Papadakis

Fotis Papadakis joined the department as its Chief Financial Officer in April 2014. Prior to this, Fotis held the position of Director of Budgets and Finance within the Department of Health for over two years.

Fotis previously acted in the position of Chief Financial Officer for the Land Development Corporation. He has also worked within the Transport and Lands and Planning portfolios.

Fotis joined the public sector as a graduate in 2003 and has a Bachelor of Business and a Bachelor of Information Technology.

Director, Human Resources 

Sandra Butcher

Sandra Butcher joined the department in July 2015. She has extensive corporate experience in the Northern Territory public sector, particularly in people management, strategic planning and change management.

She has held senior human resource management roles in a number of agencies including the Department of Land Resource Management, Department of Natural Resources, Environment, the Department of Arts and Sport, Department of Corporate and Information Services and the Department of Health and Community Services.

Sandra holds a Masters in International Management, a Graduate Diploma in Public Sector Executive Management, a Graduate Certificate in Public Sector Management and a Bachelor of Public Administration. She is a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Regional Director, Katherine

Claire Brown

Claire Brown is no stranger to the Katherine region, having been born and raised on cattle stations in the Victoria River District.  

Following the completion of her Bachelor of Agricultural Science degree, Claire joined the Northern Territory Government with the Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries in 2000.  

In 2003, Claire returned to Katherine and worked in the areas of land management extension, weed management and water resource management with the Department of Lands, Planning and Environment, and later the Department of Land Resource Management. During this time Claire held various regional management and strategic planning positions, and has represented the Northern Territory Government on a number of national working group committees.

Regional Director, South

Stephen Brooks

Stephen Brooks moved to the Northern Territory in 2007. Before this, he worked in New South Wales as a consultant delivering projects for NSW Public Works. He returned to the Northern Territory to take on the role of Regional Director Department of Infrastructure.

Steve has extensive experience in contract management, procurement  and project delivery. He is studying a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in business law and is a member of the Australian Institute of Project Managers.

Last updated: 22 April 2016