Diane James AM

Coastal conservationist and leadership builder


Honours and awards

Member of the Order of Australia for service to conservation and the environment, particularly through the development of coastal planning and management in Victoria.


Diane James AM is a leader in the water industry in Victoria, currently serving as chair of Goulburn-Murray Water and, until recently, also of Southern Rural Water. Previously, she was a Barwon Water director. In addition to her numerous appointments to state and national board roles, Diane has had a successful business career, establishing two start-up companies and was a founding director of GenU, a national disability, ageing and lifestyle services organisation.

Diane's interest in community affairs and public policy led to a long involvement in coastal and oceans planning. She served as chairman of the Victorian Coastal Council for more than a decade, and held chairing roles with the National Oceans Office and Coastal CRC. She campaigned strongly for Victoria's first marine protected areas, which saw the world's largest system of marine national parks proclaimed in 2002.

In the private sector, Diane established an executive relocation company, Positive Move. The company helped businesses and industries in Geelong and the Western District relocate executives and their families to the region. After the sale of this business, Diane established a global market for the award-winning Liberty Swing, a swing for children and adults who use wheelchairs, which is used in recreational and therapeutic settings.