Crown Land Taskforce

The Crown Land Taskforce has been established by The Secretary of the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment to provide oversight, advice and assistance to Crown Lands with the implementation of Crown land 2031 – State Strategic Plan for Crown land.

There are nine members in the Crown Land Taskforce, including ex-officio members from the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, and external appointments.

Richard Bush, NSW Crown Land Commissioner (Chair)

Richard Bush, NSW Crown Land CommissionerNSW Crown Land Commissioner Professor Richard Bush is a prominent Australian Environmental Scientist and academic leader. His focus is in policy and strategy which promotes economic, environmental and social balance for sustainable regional development. The Commissioner is an independent statutory officer and sits separately from the Crown Lands department.


Michael Wright, Group Deputy Secretary Housing and Property

Michael Wright, Group Deputy Secretary Housing and PropertyMichael Wright has 25 years of executive leadership experience in the NSW public sector across policy, operations and service delivery functions. He has held the role of Group Deputy Secretary, Housing and Property since December 2020. Prior to this Michael was Deputy Secretary, Mining, Exploration and Geoscience. Other roles held by Michael include Head, National Parks and Wildlife Service, Head, NSW Maritime and Acting Chief Executive, Office of Environment and Heritage.


Melanie Hawyes, Deputy Secretary Crown Lands

Melanie Hawyes, Deputy Secretary Crown LandsMelanie Hawyes joined Crown Lands in the role of Deputy Secretary in November 2020. Melanie has worked in the NSW public service across social, economic and environmental portfolios and in a range of leadership roles. Melanie is known for her drive and commitment to public service, passion for social justice and practical hands-on approach to managing change. In her current role she is committed to implementing the first ever NSW State Plan for Crown Land – Crown Land 2031 to drive the protection, utilisation and activation of Crown land assets in the public interest and to deliver Aboriginal land rights and interests in NSW.


Paul Grimes, Coordinator-General, Environment, Energy & Science

Paul Grimes, Coordinator-General, Environment, Energy & ScienceDr Paul Grimes leads the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment’s Group responsible for biodiversity conservation and environmental regulation; energy and sustainability policy; and the National Parks and Wildlife Service. Dr Grimes has held senior roles at the federal, state and territory levels, including serving as Secretary of the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture and Secretary of the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.


John Faulkner

John FaulknerJohn Faulkner served in the Australian Senate for 26 years. He was a cabinet minister in the Keating, Rudd and Gillard Governments and Leader of the Opposition in the Senate for eight years. He currently chairs the Bondi to Manly Walk Steering Committee and the Whitlam Institute within Western Sydney University.


Darren Vaux

Darren VauxDarren Vaux is President of the Boating Industry Association of Australia, Vice President of the International Council of Marine Industry Associations, Chairman of the ministerial Maritime Advisory Council in New South Wales and Director of Empire Marina Bobbin Head in Sydney. Darren has over 30 years experience in the property and marina industries and has a wide breadth of knowledge and experience in navigating complex regulatory frameworks and delivering large and sophisticated projects.


Russell Balding, AO, B Bus, DipTech (Comm), FCPA, MAICD

Russell BaldingRussell Balding has held numerous Directorships and senior executive positions in both the private and public sectors. Russell is Chairman of Racing NSW, Deputy Chairman of Destination NSW, a Director of Racing Australia Limited and a Director of The Trust Company (Sydney Airport) Limited. Russell’s previous positions include Chairman of Cabcharge Australia Limited, Chairman of The NSW Visitor Economy Taskforce, a Director of NSW Business Chamber Limited, a Director of ComfortDelGro Cabcharge Pty Ltd, and a Director of CityFleet Networks Ltd (UK). Russell previously held the positions of Chief Executive Officer of the Sydney Airport Corporation and Managing Director of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.


Abigail Goldberg, M Business Administration (Executive), M Urban Design, BSc Urban and Regional Planning (Hons)

Abigail GoldbergAbigail Goldberg is an experienced Chair, NED and CEO who specialises in the infrastructure, property, transport, tourism and planning sectors. Abigail chairs a number of Planning Panels, Audit and Risk Committees and Community Consultative Committees, and is a Non-Executive Director of several companies. Abigail is a senior Gateway Reviewer for NSW Treasury, Infrastructure NSW, Schools Infrastructure NSW and the EPA NSW. Abigail’s previous roles include Member of the independent NSW Planning Assessment Commission, Chief Executive Officer of Metro Transport Sydney, General Manager of South Sydney Development Corporation and Assistant Director of the Urban Design Advisory Service. Abigail is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Planning Institute of Australia.


Robynne Quiggin

Robynne QuigginProfessor Robynne Quiggin is a member of the Wiradjuri nation, and Associate Dean (Indigenous Leadership and Engagement) at UTS Business School and Law Faculty. As a solicitor and consultant, Robynne has a long-standing commitment to a rights based framework as a mechanism for individuals and communities to pursue their social, economic, cultural, linguistic and artistic priorities. Robynne is chair of the NSW Aboriginal Housing Office board, chair of the board of the Human Rights Law Centre, chair of Westpac's Indigenous Action Plan Committee, board member of Supply Nation and has previously served as Deputy Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission.