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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 Lands and Water. 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, 176.23 KB)

NRAR board member Craig Knowles
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.

NRAR board member Ilona Millar
Ilona Millar - board member

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).

NRAR board member Bruce Brown
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 Education and Engagement

Passion for environmental protection, years of regulatory experience, a thorough understanding of the Natural Resource Access Regulator’s purpose, vision and values and a natural connection with people are among the skills and qualities Gregory Abood brings to the role of Director Education and Engagement.

Gregory was previously NRAR’s Director Water Regulation East where he led innovative compliance programs and strategic engagement activities that have supported NRAR's stakeholders while enhancing the organisation’s reach and influence.

He has led NRAR to improve understanding among water users and voluntary water law compliance, and he has championed protection and recognition of Aboriginal cultural and spiritual values connected to water.

Greg has spent the last 15 years leading people in environmental protection and regulatory agencies in NSW. He has led to solve complex regional, industrial, and statewide regulatory issues and is a collaborative leader who inspires staff to form strong working partnerships and connections across government and stakeholder organisations.

Margaret Sexton
Margaret Sexton, Director Innovation, Systems and Intelligence

Margaret Sexton is Director Innovation, Systems and Intelligence and leads development of NRAR's regulatory policy and regulatory priorities and builds organisational capability in intelligence, spatial and data analytics, innovation and technology.

Margaret is responsible for setting strategy by identifying and solving important compliance problems and directing the operational efforts of the agency. Her team identifies compliance trends, anticipates future requirements, and delivers intelligence, integrated analysis, and expert advice to guide decision-making and improve regulatory practice. Margaret’s remit includes NRAR’s ICT and operational technology strategies and providing innovative business solutions to solve regulatory problems efficiently and effectively.

Margaret’s objective is to improve NRAR by providing suitable systems, information and technology to allow operational staff to carry out their regulatory and compliance work more easily, quickly, accurately and safely, across wide areas, large numbers and complex circumstances, both proactively and responsively, remotely and in field.

Margaret is a leadership and development expert, adept at building and leading high performing teams. She leads to inspire continuous improvement and delivery of measurable results and enduring value to water management in NSW.

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.

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.

2022 Minutes

2021 Minutes

2020 Minutes

2019 Minutes

2018 Minutes