Research Students

Hitelai Dorothy Polume-Kiele (PhD candidate)

Hitelai began her PhD in July 2013. The topic is 'The governance of natural resources: Issues affecting better management of revenues and distribution of wealth within Papua New Guinea.'

Hitelai holds a Bachelor of Law and Master of Laws Degree, and has twenty-three years of experience as a civil, and a Government lawyer (17 years in the Department of Justice and Attorney General). Her legal career included the negotiation of commercial transactions involving investors and
landowners for major natural resource projects in Papua New Guinea (PNG). This experience has had a major impact in the decision to pursue this research. In January 2007, Hitelai was appointed to head the Department of Justice and Attorney (on an acting basis), a position held for three years and assumed the role as the Attorney General of Papua New Guinea for 8 months.

Exxon Mobil led PNG LNG Gas Agreement, the Inter Oil Gas Project and the International Finance Corporation share-holding in the Bank of South Pacific and many other commercial transactions involving the PNG government and investors. PNG's rich natural resources generate great wealth and contribute to PNG's development. Mining, oil and gas companies are operating in Porgera, Ok Tedi, Lihir, Hidden Valley, Sinivit, Simberi; and Kutubu, Gobe, Moran, Hides and Elk (PNG Report, 2012). However, governance and management issues do affect the delivery of essential services to rural areas, stability within government, and the expectations of landowners. Failures of law and policy may be a catalyst for conflicts such as in Bougainville, PNG. The Porgera gold mine and the Kutubu Oil projects agreements are examples of a process where the provincial governments and landowners were consulted during the development. However, after more than 15 years of production, there are widespread concerns about benefits not being distributed to all landowners and landowners' aspirations regarding these developments are not praiseworthy. On the other hand, groups such as the Lihir gold mine landowners are benefiting immensely as a result of development. Thus questions have to be asked as to: What issues have contributed to the discrepancies in the distributions of benefits and why is it that some landowners are benefiting more than the others?

Christopher McLaughlin

Doctoral Candidate, Australian Centre for Agriculture and Law

Phone: 0400 736 355



Chris has completed a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) at James Cook University, Queensland, and Master of Laws (LLM) at the University of New England, New South Wales, Australia. Chris is a practicing Australian Legal Practitioner of the Supreme Court of Queensland and High Court of Australia, practicing predominantly in Government, Land Law and Litigation in his early career. Later in his career, Chris relocated to the Torres Strait region, home of the First-Nation Torres Strait Islander People of Australia, situated between the tip of Cape York, Australia and Western Province, Papua New Guinea. Chris took up employment as Chief Legal Officer with the Torres Strait Island Regional Council (“Council’), Australia’s third tier of Government; Local Government. Eight (8) years on, Chris remains with the Council, however now as a member of the Executive Management Team as Executive Manager Corporate Services, responsible for, amongst many other portfolios, the Legal Services Division. The Torres Strait is synonymous with the landmark 1992 High Court of Australia decision of Mabo (No.2) recognising at Common Law for the first time in Australia, the existence of Native Title pre-dating colonisation and overturning the feudal doctrine of Terra Nullius. Chris has a unique and comprehensive understanding of land tenure management in remote Indigenous communities for which he has dedicated the past decade, a professional and personal network aiding to inform this speciality, each complimenting a burning passion to support the Torres Strait region, its People, and its culture.  Chris is completing his doctoral studies (PhD) with the Centre for Agriculture and Law at the University of New England and through this research, seeks to identify legal and institutional mechanisms to better support Torres Strait Islander People to maintain their cultural secrets.


LLB (JCU),  LLM (UNE),  admitted to the Roll of Practitioners of the Supreme Court of Queensland and High Court of Australia.,  Australian Legal Practitioner licensed by the Queensland Law Society.  


Queensland Law Society

Local Government Association of Queensland

Local Government Managers Association (Qld)

Research Interests

Land/Property Law, Indigenous Law (Native Title/ Cultural Heritage), Privacy Law, Intellectual Property Law, Contract Law, Government Law and Litigation

Current Research

Cultural Secrecy in the Torres Strait; Considered, Legal and Institutional Mechanisms to Better Support Torres Strait Islander People to Maintain Their Cultural Secrets

Vivek Nemane

Vivek V. Nemane

Research Topic: Improved Legal and Institutional Arrangements for Peri-Urban Invasive Animal Management (part of a larger initiative by Invasive Animals CRC titled “Facilitating Effective Community Action” Project Number 4E3: Reduction of Legal and Institutional Impediments

Summary of Research:

Vivek’s research project is concerned with the implementation of biosecurity laws and policy for the control and management of invasive animals. He is investigating the potential for legal and institutional changes to facilitate the application and adoption of invasive animal control and management. The relevant issues involve the role of regulations for lethal control, animal welfare laws, legal liability of stakeholders, political and media intervention in facilitating invasive animal control and management. It is expected that his research will result in actionable proposals to advance the implementation of more effective controls of invasive animals in peri-urban areas.


Vivek has a multi-disciplinary background in law, public policy and international development. He holds an LL.M. degree from University of Arkansas School of Law, USA. He completed the European Commission’s program in international development (at the International Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, The Netherlands) and in public policy (at the Central European University, Budapest, Hungary). In addition, he has significant experience working with law offices, international organisations (including the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization), universities and research institutions.

Natalie Taylor

Natalie Taylor commenced her PhD at UNE in July 2015 under the supervision of Paul Martin and Don Hine.  Her research is concerned with the implementation of a new legal duty which is being introduced across Australia, a ‘General Biosecurity Obligation’.

Natalie has over 12 years’ experience as an international senior marketing and communications manager for large multi-nationals, NGOs and State and Commonwealth Government. In 2008, Natalie changed careers, from 2008 practising as a lawyer in insurance/in house counsel and environmental law.

Natalie has experience as a lecturer and research assistant at UWS and the WHO Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health, researching environmental health projects in South East Asia-Pacific.  Her teaching expertise includes science (environmental ethics, environmental management and research methods) and law (environmental law, environmental health law and remedies).  Her future research interests include environmental justice, environmental crime and invasive species/biodiversity issues.  In her free time she is an ISU Championship (Olympic level) ice dance judge for Australia and enjoys travelling to interesting places, and meeting interesting people as a result.