NRAR welcomes first Indigenous board member

Media release | 16 December 2020

The Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) board welcomes Phil Duncan, a Gomeroi man with more than 38 years' experience working with Indigenous people, communities and government.

NRAR Chief Regulatory Officer (CRO) Grant Barnes said Mr Duncan would complement the experience of the existing board and ensure efficient decision-making processes.

“We are humbled to welcome Mr Duncan. With the board’s existing experience in law, natural resources management, compliance and regulation, Mr Duncan’s experience in water management and his deep connection to Australia’s Indigenous community will bring a crucial new perspective,” Mr Barnes said.

Mr Duncan is well-respected within the water community and has acted as the Chair of the Basin Community Committee of the Murray Darling Basin Commission since January 2020. He also represents the rights and interests of Indigenous people in NSW as a member of numerous other committees and councils.

NRAR was established in 2018 to ensure compliance with NSW water laws. As the independent water regulator, NRAR reports directly to its board which is responsible for decisions about compliance and enforcement actions.

Mr Duncan will join the Hon. Craig Knowles AM, Ilona Millar and Bruce Brown on NRAR’s board.

Mr Knowles said Mr Duncan’s career and accomplishments are a testament to his good character and work ethic, which will serve NRAR well.

“Mr Duncan is a proud Aboriginal man with almost four decades’ experience working with Aboriginal people and government to improve the lives of First Nations people,” Mr Knowles said.

“He will bring a current and well-practiced understanding of community concerns and the cultural importance of water to our board and we are looking forward to his contribution.”

Mr Duncan said he is excited to play a key role in endorsing the regulator’s new strategic plan and weighing in on the development of its regulatory priorities and risk principles.

“I stand on the shoulders of giants before me who have shaped and influenced Aboriginal society,” Mr Duncan said.

“As an Indigenous Australian, the preservation and management of water is deeply personal for me. We only have to look at the state’s most recent record-breaking drought to understand just how vital water management is.

“I want to have a significant cultural impact on what we do, because I know we can be better together. I am very much looking forward to the opportunity to sit on NRAR’s board and to play a role in protecting and preserving this precious community resource through effective enforcement of water laws in NSW.”

Mr Duncan concluded saying he hopes his leadership echoes those who he admires most – Murrandoo Yanner, Aden Ridgeway, Stan Grant, Joe Morrison, June Oscar and Linda Burney.

"But in particular, I hope my leadership reflects my ancestors, my community, my family and my Nation, the Gomeroi,” he said.

To see the work NRAR does, go to its public register on the NRAR website industry.nsw.gov.au/nrar. Go to ‘Reports and data’, then ‘NRAR Public Register’.

To make a confidential report on suspected water misuse, contact the NRAR Hotline on 1800 633 362 or email nrar.enquiries@nrar.nsw.gov.au.

For further information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Keeley Reynolds
Senior Communications Officer, NRAR
Email: communications@nrar.nsw.gov.au
Mobile: (0) 428 374 416

Phil Duncan, first Indigenous NRAR board member
Phil Duncan, first Indigenous NRAR board member