Yesterday the state government announced the newly created role of chief conservation scientist for Parks Victoria had been filled by Dr Mark Norman.

The government agency, which has been stripped of $122 million in state funding since 2011, is said to be “running on the smell of an oily rag”, by an anonymous insider, prompting calls to raise funding.

Having gained 30 years of experience in wildlife research, biodiversity surveys and science communication, Norman has been selected to conduct a review of Parks Victoria’s science and research programs and make recommendations regarding the agency’s future.

The minister for the environment, climate change and water, Lisa Neville announced the appointment, saying Norman is “a scientist of considerable calibre and experience.”

“In a rapidly changing environment, we need the best available expertise to support our park management decisions,” Neville said.

Norman, whose expertise is in marine biology, has been the head of sciences at Museum Victoria for the past six years. He has also gained experience in the establishment of marine protected areas, fisheries research, bird and seal ecology, conservation programs, and running terrestrial, freshwater and marine wildlife surveys.

“His appointment will be a great opportunity to strengthen Parks Victoria’s position as a world class service that is adapting to climate and social change.”