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Who we are

Our Board and Executive

Our board

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. While 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, 116.54 KB)

Our board members

Hon. Craig Knowles AM - Chair


Hon. Craig Knowles AM

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.

Ilona Millar

Ilona Millar

Ilona 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

Bruce Brown

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

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

Grant is NRAR's Chief Regulatory Officer. He oversees the daily operations of NRAR, with a focus on building regulatory capacity to deliver the NSW government’s commitment to best practice regulation. Grant fosters stakeholder relationships, establishes good governance practices and high-level ethical practices, and drives the board agenda. With over 20 years of experience in science leadership, freshwater science and strategic planning, he brings valuable expertise to his leadership role.

Keeley Reynolds

Keeley Reynolds

Keeley is NRAR’s Director of Education and Engagement. She leads a branch whose focus is on helping NRAR reach and influence the regulated water community through direct and indirect education programs and strategic engagement activities. Keeley has more than 10 years of experience developing and executing campaigns to raise awareness and change behaviours and perceptions. Keeley has worked nationally and internationally on successful media & communications, marketing and engagement programs.

Margaret Sexton

Margaret Sexton

Margaret is NRAR's Director of Innovation, Systems, and Intelligence. She is responsible for developing regulatory policy and priorities, as well as improving the agency's capabilities in intelligence, analytics, innovation, and technology. Margaret's team provide suitable systems, research, information, and technology to enable operational staff to carry out their work more easily and effectively, whether in the field or remotely. She is skilled in leadership and development, leading high-performing teams to achieve continuous improvement and lasting value in water management in NSW.

Tim Gilbert

Tim Gilbert

Tim is NRAR’s Director of Regulatory Excellence. He leads efforts to improve water management regulations where they impact on compliance. He also ensures continuous improvement in NRAR's processes, staff capabilities, and funding base to maintain efficiency and effectiveness. Tim has a Masters degree in Environmental Management and over 30 years of experience in natural resources management regulation. His vision is to create fair and equitable water access for all users and the environment through easily understood and accepted rules.

Lisa Stockley

Lisa Stockley

Lisa is NRAR's Director Investigations and Enforcement. She is responsible for leading investigations into alleged offences and non-compliance with the Water Management Act. Lisa's team are tasked with securing compliance and enforcement outcomes that build public confidence in NRAR. Lisa has over 20 years’ experience and was previously the Assistant Director (Industry Regulation) for the NSW Police Force Security Licensing & Enforcement Directorate (SLED), and spent many years in investigative roles for the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption.

Ian Bernard

Ian Bernard

Ian is NRAR’s Director of Regulatory Initiatives. He plays a key role in setting the organisation's priorities and building regulatory expertise. He has designed approaches to solve some of NRAR’s most complex compliance issues including non-urban metering, floodplain harvesting and irrigated agriculture. Ian has over 10 years’ experience in regulation and enforcement and leads intelligence-led strategic programs, influences industries, and champions cultural change, inclusivity, and diversity.

Ila Lessing
Ila Lessing

Ila is NRAR’s Director Regulatory Coordination. Ila is responsible for leading the corporate services function for the agency including communications, front-of-house and call centre, financial management, business performance, PMO & project governance, as well as coordination between the different services within NRAR. With an Executive MBA focused on business and financial management, Ila has managed teams responsible for governance, budget management and portfolio management across the government and banking sector.

Sarah-jane Morris

Sarah-jane

Sarah-jane is NRAR’s Director Legal, from the NSW Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (NSW DCCEEW). She supports NRAR's crucial work in enforcement of the State's water laws, ensuring positive outcomes for people, the environment and economy. She is a highly experienced government lawyer and manager who values a collaborative approach to solving complex problems in water regulation. Sarah-jane has over 20 years’ experience providing legal advice and representation, including administrative law, criminal law, and environmental law. She was previously a Director and Special Counsel at the NSW Crown Solicitor’s Office.

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.