Natural Resources Access Regulator

About NRAR | Our board | Establishment of NRAR | Program of work | Policies, procedures, guidelines & fact sheetsDecisions & determinations

Murray River

What's new

The NRAR is conducting a range of recruitment over the coming months. Current recruitment can be accessed at iworkfor.nsw.gov.au.

NRAR Executive team appointed

The NRAR Executive team has been appointed and will commence their roles on 30 April when NRAR becomes operational. Read the media release

Establishment of NRAR

The NRAR was established following Mr Ken Matthews’ investigation into water management and compliance conducted in 2017. Mr Matthews called for an independent and more effective regulator with total carriage of the compliance and enforcement of water regulation in NSW.  Prior to the NRAR, these functions were split between the department and WaterNSW.

The NRAR will be operational in Quarter 2 2018.

Download the NRAR's Establishment Plan, a key recommendation of the Ken Matthews AO final report.

About NRAR

The Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) is an independent regulator established under the Natural Resources Access Regulator Act 2017The current regulatory focus for the NRAR is water regulation.

The principal objectives of the NRAR are:

  • to ensure effective, efficient, transparent and accountable compliance and enforcement measures for the natural resources management legislation
  • to maintain public confidence in the enforcement of the natural resources management legislation.

Work is underway to establish the NRAR and build its regulatory capability towards best practice.

The NRAR has an independent board that is responsible for decisions relating to the regulator's compliance and enforcement functions. The board started work in late 2017 on the formation and strategic direction of the NRAR.

A Chief Regulatory Officer is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the agency and is currently being recruited. An interim Chief Regulatory Officer was appointed in September 2017 to assist in the design and implementation of the regulator.

Our board

The NRAR Board consists of three members appointed by the minister. The board’s inaugural members were appointed on 17 December 2017.

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.

The minister has issued a letter of expectations to the NRAR Board.

The board operates under the NRAR Board Charter and its members are required to adhere to the NRAR Board Code of conduct. The board's governance and working arrangements are outlined in the NRAR Board Operating manual

NRAR Board

Craig Knowles AO, Chair

Craig KnowlesMr Knowles statutory appointments include as Chair, Murray Darling Basin Authority (2011-2015) and a member of the Central Sydney Planning Committee (2009-2015).  In his role as Chairman of the MDBA, Mr Knowles 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 global climate change.

In 2015, Mr Knowles was awarded The Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for "significant service to local government, to the Parliament of New South Wales, and to the community through a range of health initiatives". In the same year, he was also awarded the River Murray Medal for "outstanding service toward restoring the health of the River Murray" (the first non-engineer/river operator to have received the medal in its 162 year history).

Mr Knowles was a senior Minister in the New South Wales Government holding a variety of portfolios including Health {1999-2003), Planning and Housing (1995-1999), Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources (2003-2005) and Forests and Lands (2003-2005).

Mr Knowles was a Member of NSW Parliament for 15 years (1990-2005) representing the electorates of Macquarie Fields and Moorebank. He was also a Member of Liverpool City Council for 13 years (1982-1994) serving as Mayor during that period. Prior to these roles, Mr Knowles worked in the NSW Premiers Department (Office of State Development), The Department of Business and Consumer Affairs, The Macarthur Development Corporation and in private practice as a valuer.

Ilona Millar

Ilona MillarMs Millar has more than 18 years’ experience in environmental law and policy and a strong background in natural resource management and climate change law. She has been involved in legislative and policy reviews and advices on the implementation of the Water Management Act 2000 (NSW) and the Water Act 2008 (C'th). Ms Millar was previously the Principal Solicitor at the NSW Environmental Defender’s Office oversighting litigation work related to natural resource management.

Ms Millar joined Baker McKenzie's Environmental Markets Practice in May 2008 and is currently Special Counsel.  Ms Millar has worked at the Foundation for International Environmental Law and Development (FIELD) and International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) in London. Before that she was the Principal Solicitor of the Environmental Defender's Office Ltd (NSW). She has been a casual member of the NSW Planning Assessment Commission since 2015 and was a board member of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition from 2010–2015.

Bruce Brown

Bruce BrownMr Brown is currently a Director of Coleambally Irrigation Co-operative Ltd (also Chair, Finance & Risk Committee) and Coleambally Mutual Co-operative Ltd. He is also a Director of Dampier Street Investments Ltd (formerly Tamworth Rural). He has served as both Director and Member of a number of Government committees (State and Federal) and been a university lecturer in Agricultural Economics and Farm Management prior to transitioning to the private sector via a lobbying role with a farmer organisation.

Between 1986 and 2003 he has worked with major agribusiness and finance entities including in various General Manager roles with NZI Securities, Elders Pastoral, Commonwealth Development Bank, ANZ Banking Group and Queensland Cotton Holdings Ltd. Mr Brown also held General Manager roles in the Namoi Catchment Management Authority and the North Coast Local Land Services which were involved in natural resource management, agricultural advisory services, bio-security and emergency management activities between 2005 and 2017.

Board minutes

The board meets fortnightly and minutes are available below.

NRAR Board program of work

January to June 2018

ActionStatus
Board appointed Completed
Building the NRAR’s regulatory capacity to deliver on the NSW Government’s water reforms Commenced
Establish metrics and reports for external bodies In development
Establish improved governance and ethical practice within the NRAR In development
Prepare and publish a NRAR Establishment Plan Completed
Prepare and publish a NRAR Strategic Plan and regulatory policies In development
Build strategic relationships with key agencies, such as WaterNSW, Murray Darling Basin Authority and IPART Commenced
Ongoing
Build effective relationships with key stakeholder and community groups Commenced
Undertake proactive targeted compliance operations In development

Policies, procedures, guidelines and fact sheets

Decisions and determinations

NRAR has the authority to determine, subject to legal advice, whether enforcement actions under natural resources management legislation should be commenced.

Decisions and determinations will be published on this website.

Stakeholder engagement

On 13 March the Board Chair, Craig Knowles AO, addressed stakeholders at the launch of the department’s regional consultation process on the water reforms. Read Mr Knowles' speech on the launch of public consultation.

The NRAR Board is meeting with key stakeholders, government agencies, environmental groups and industry associations to hear their views and perspectives and inform its forward direction. Records of discussions with stakeholders are available below.

The NRAR moved quickly to strengthen water compliance and enforcement regimes in the Murray–Darling Basin, signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA). Read the media release