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Who we are

Our Board and Executive

NRAR has an independent board responsible for decisions about its compliance and enforcement functions. The board started work in late 2017 on the formation and strategic direction of NRAR.

The NRAR board has four members, appointed by the NSW Minister for Water, Property and Housing, Melinda Pavey. Whilst the board reports to the minister, it is an independent body. Any directions by the minister must be made in accordance with the provisions of the Natural Resources Access Regulator Act 2017.

Learn more about the board, including its role, operation and function in the NRAR Board Charter below.

NRAR Board Charter (PDF, 145.3 KB)

Our Board

Hon. Craig Knowles AM - chair

NRAR chair Craig Knowles’ previous statutory appointments include a four-year spell as chair of the Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) from 2011-2015. In that role, he represented Australia at the 2014 United Nations General Assembly Forum on Water and Energy as part of the UN mission to develop Sustainable Development Goals in the context of climate change.

Illona Millar - board member

Illona has more than 20 years’ experience advising on natural resources law, including innovative responses to climate change and sustainability problems. She has been involved in legislative and policy reviews and advises on the implementation of the Water Management Act 2000 (NSW) and the Water Amendment Act 2008 (Commonwealth).

Bruce Brown - board member

Bruce has served as both a director and member of a number of government committees at state and federal level, including the National Rural Advisory Council (1999-2005). He was also a university lecturer in agricultural economics and farm management prior to transitioning to the private sector via a lobbying role with a farmer organisation.

Phil Duncan
Phil Duncan – board member

Phil joined the NRAR Board in 2020. He also serves as chair of the Basin Community Committee of the Murray Darling Basin Commission.

Throughout his career and volunteer community work, Phil has worked extensively with Indigenous people and government to improve the lives of First Nations people. He also provides high-level policy, strategic advice, and leadership to key Indigenous representative organisations, universities, and state and federal government agencies.

Our Executive

Grant Barnes
Grant Barnes - NRAR Chief Regulatory Officer

As NRAR’s Chief Regulatory Officer, Grant is responsible for the day-to-day operations of NRAR. This includes building NRAR’s regulatory capacity and capability to deliver on the NSW Government’s commitment to best practice regulation, as well as building and sustaining effective relationships with key stakeholders, establishing good governance and high levels of ethical practice within NRAR, and working with the board to progress its agenda.

Grant has more than 10 years’ experience in senior leadership roles in freshwater science, strategic planning and science leadership in both established organisations and start-ups.

Gregory Abood
Gregory Abood, Director Regional Water Regulation (East – Coastal / Metro)

Greg is a qualified chemist and environmental engineer. He has more than two decades of experience in environmental protection, including 17 years as a leader and regulator with the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA). In the EPA he led natural resource management and environment protection regulation of native forestry on both private and public land in NSW.

During his time with the EPA, Greg also regulated a variety of heavy industries in the greater Sydney region including mines, oil refineries, ports and chemical facilities. His work at the EPA included leading groups to grant licences and approvals and undertake auditing, investigations and law enforcement including strategic prosecutions and innovative forms of law enforcement. He was also engaged in education and awareness-raising activities and effective stakeholder engagement.

As Director Regional Water Regulation (East – Coastal/Metro), Greg is leading a group of committed regulators to deliver contemporary risk-based regulation. He is overseeing a number of regionally based teams working across eight offices along the NSW coast from Nowra to Murwillumbah, inspiring staff to proactively regulate and achieve on-the-ground outcomes in water management.

Graeme White
Graeme White, Director Regional Water Regulation (West – Murray Darling)

Graeme has a strong background in delivering significant reforms in natural resource management, particularly the provision of environmental assessment advice, establishment and management of marine parks and reforms to commercial fishing.

Graeme has led teams responsible for compliance planning and the prosecution of offences in NSW, along with the management of contracts related to the provision of compliance in Commonwealth marine reserves.

As Director Regional Water Regulation (West – Murray Darling), Graeme leads the regional delivery of contemporary risk-based regulation, including the assessment of complex licensing applications and approvals.

He oversees a number of regionally-based teams of water regulation officers, and NRAR’s work with stakeholders within the West region. His team will proactively monitor and oversee stakeholder referrals and leads proactive regional compliance and enforcement campaigns, compliance monitoring, investigations and enforcement to ensure compliance with water legislation.

Margaret Sexton
Margaret Sexton, Director Regulatory Innovation

Margaret leads the development and implementation of our regulatory framework and regulatory priorities, developing organisational capability in intelligence and innovation, research, data analytics, remote sensing and technology.

Prior to NRAR Margaret ran the NSW Leadership Academy, a program for high potential senior executives. It afforded her the privilege of working with and learning from incredibly talented people and reinforced for her the value of taking on new challenges and continuing to develop. It was during her time at the Public Service Commission that Margaret was introduced to the regulatory craft.

Margaret’s professional background in the public sector includes executive leadership, education, child protection, disability services and water. Her strengths include strategic thinking and an ability to align people’s varied perspectives.

Tim Gilbert
Tim Gilbert, Director Regulatory Capability & Coordination

Tim has extensive experience across natural resource and environmental management in a regulatory, project management and management capacity. Tim joined the former Waste Management Authority in 1991, worked in the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) from its commencement in 1992 to 2005 and then variously with the Department of Climate Change, the National Water Commission and more recently, with the Office of Environment and Heritage in a range of policy and compliance areas.

He has also worked with Irrigation Australia and the Irrigation Association of Australia. As Director Regulatory Capability & and Coordination, Tim leads the development of contemporary regulatory policies, procedures and business processes for water resource compliance and enforcement. He has oversight of business planning and reporting, the provision of education and information to the regulated community and ensuring the capability of NRAR staff.

His team is the entry point for applications, approvals, reports of alleged breaches and inquiries ensuring the efficient assessment, allocation, tracking and resolution of these matters.

Kristy Ruddock
Kirsty Ruddock, Director Regulatory Investigations and Compliance

As an environmental lawyer for most of her career, Kirsty has worked with the Australian Government Solicitor, Office of the Attorney General in Samoa, the Public Solicitor’s Office in the Solomon Islands, Cape York Land Council, and the Environmental Defenders Offices in both NSW and North Queensland.

In the past few years she has run investigation teams at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the NSW Department of Planning and Environment. As Director Regulatory Investigations and Compliance, Kirsty leads a team of investigators and lawyers working on Barwon-Darling matters and NRAR prosecutions.

Board minutes

The board meets 11 times each year, taking a well-deserved break in January. The minutes from the previous board meeting are endorsed at the next one and then uploaded below.

2021 Minutes

2020 Minutes

2019 Minutes

2018 Minutes