Who we are

The NRAR has been established under the Natural Resources Access Regulator Act 2017 to be an independent, transparent and effective water regulator with total responsibility for the compliance and enforcement of water laws in NSW.

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

In March 2018, the NRAR executive team was appointed.

Our board

The NRAR board consists of three members appointed by the minister. 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 PDF, 612.64 KB. The board is bound by the requirements of our conflict of interest procedure PDF, 195.08 KB.

The board operates under the NRAR Board Charter PDF, 55.26 KB and its members are required to adhere to the NRAR Board Code of Conduct. PDF, 161.39 KB The board's governance and working arrangements are outlined in the NRAR Board Operating Manual

NRAR Board

The Hon Craig Knowles AM, Chair

Craig Knowles The Hon Craig Knowles AM joined Austrade in July 2018 as Senior Trade Commissioner Auckland, with responsibility for Austrade operations in New Zealand, PNG, and Pacific Islands. Mr Knowles also holds the position of Consul General of Australia to Auckland.

Mr Knowles’ statutory appointments include Chair, Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) (2011-2015) and member of the Central Sydney Planning Committee (2009-2015). In his role as Chair 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 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 Planning and Housing (1995-1999), Health (1999-2003), Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources (2003-2005) and Forests and Lands (2003-2005).

Mr Knowles was a Member of the 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 Premier’s 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 20 years’ experience advising on natural resources law, including complex multi-jurisdictional transactions as well as the development of 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 (Cwlth). Ms Millar was previously the Principal Solicitor at the Environmental Defenders Office New South Wales, overseeing strategic litigation work related to natural resource management.

Ms Millar joined Baker McKenzie in May 2008 and is currently a Partner in the Environmental Markets team. Ms Millar has worked at the Foundation for International Environmental Law and Development (FIELD) and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) in London. She has been a Commissioner of the NSW Independent Planning Commission since 2015 and was a board member of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition from 2010-2015.

Bruce Brown

Bruce Brown

Mr Brown is currently a director of Coleambally Irrigation Co-operative Ltd (also Chair, Finance and Risk Management Committee) and Coleambally Irrigation Mutual Co-operative Ltd. He has served as both director and member of a number of government committees (state and federal), including the National Rural Advisory Council (1999-2005). He was 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 Mr Brown in various general manager roles with major agribusiness and finance entities including 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, biosecurity and emergency management activities between 2005 and 2017.

Phil Duncan

Phil Duncan, NRAR Board MemberPhil Duncan, a Gomeroi man and Chair of the Basin Community Committee of the Murray Darling Basin Commission with homelands in Moree and Terry Hie Hie, has joined the board of the Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR).

Throughout his career and volunteer community work, Mr Duncan has worked extensively with Indigenous people and government to improve the lives of First Nations people. He has dedicated his career to encouraging recognition of the rich cultural history of Indigenous Australia, the return of lands, the improvement of living conditions and education of the next generation.

Alongside working to improve the livelihoods of First Nations people, Mr Duncan also provides high-level policy, strategic advice, and leadership to key Indigenous representative organisations, universities as well as state and federal government agencies.

Mr Duncan is motivated by the teachings of his grandparents and parents who instilled strong cultural values and a thirst for knowledge in him. He continues to pass these teachings onto the next generation.

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.

NRAR Executive

Grant Barnes, NRAR Chief Regulatory Officer

Grant has over ten years’ experience in senior leadership roles in freshwater science, strategic planning and science leadership in both established organisations and start-ups. As General Manager Licensing & Regulatory Compliance Services for Auckland Council, Grant has been responsible for ensuring compliance across a wide range of building consent, environment protection and resource management matters. As NRAR’s Chief Regulatory Officer, Grant is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the regulator which is charged with adding transparency and building community confidence in water compliance and enforcement in NSW. This includes building the NRAR’s regulatory capacity and capability to deliver on the NSW Government’s commitment to best practice regulation, building and sustaining effective relationships with key stakeholders, establishing good governance and high levels of ethical practice within the NRAR and working with the Board to progress its agenda.

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

Greg is a qualified chemist and environmental engineer, who has more than two decades of experience in environmental protection, including over 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 through building awareness about our water laws, using the full array of regulatory tools at their disposal.

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

Graeme has a strong background in delivering significant reforms in natural resource management in particular the provision of environmental assessment advice, establishment and management of marine parks and reforms to commercial fishing. Graeme has lead 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 will lead the regional delivery of contemporary risk based regulation, including the assessment of complex licensing applications and approvals. He will oversee a number of regionally based teams of water regulation officers, and the NRAR’s work with stakeholders within the West region. His team will proactively monitor and oversee stakeholder referrals and lead proactive regional compliance & enforcement campaigns, compliance monitoring, investigations and enforcement to ensure compliance with water legislation.

Kaia Hodge, Director Regulatory Innovation

Kaia leads the development and implementation of the regulatory framework and regulatory priorities for NRAR, developing organisational capability in cutting edge data analytics, and technology, research and innovation, and building a community of best practice regulation across the Industry cluster.

Prior to joining NRAR, Kaia held executive and senior management roles in Sydney Water, leading long term strategy and organisational change programs, and business units responsible for urban planning and development, stormwater and waterway management, energy management, sustainability, research, and environmental management. Kaia has also previously worked with the Environment Protection Authority in regional New South Wales.

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 & 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.

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.