Commissioners and executive


Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte


Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte was appointed to the role of Commissioner of the Natural Resources Commission in June 2020. Hugh is an internationally recognised scientist and a world authority on artificial intelligence and robotics. In addition to his present role as Commissioner, he is also the current NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, and has been in that role for two years providing independent science advice in support of policy delivery. This advice spans all government from water and resources, to energy and transport. Before this, he was the Chief Scientific Advisor, UK Ministry of Defence. Hugh has extensive experience leading organisations, providing independent scientific and strategic advice and liaising with industry and academia and is regarded as a world authority on machine learning and robotics. This work has had a transformational impact in large scale field robotics both locally and internationally in autonomous robot navigation and in large-scale intelligent systems with world-first commercial applications in areas such as automated cargo handling, autonomous mining, unmanned air, ground and subsea systems. Hugh is a Fellow of the Royal Society of London, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Australian Academy of Sciences and recipient of numerous awards including MA Sargent Medal, Institute of Engineers Australia and the NSW Scientist of the Year. Hugh has also been Director of the Centre for Translational Data Science at the University of Sydney, Chair of the NSW Government’s Innovation and Productivity Council and head of National IT Australia.

Peter Cochrane

Assistant Commissioner

Peter is also a Commissioner of the Independent Planning Commission of NSW since 2017. He was appointed to co-chair the Commonwealth Marine Reserves Review that re-examined zoning of 40 marine reserves proclaimed by the Australian Government. Peter also chairs the National Environmental Science Program’s Marine Biodiversity Hub Steering Committee, chairs the board of Sydney Institute of Marine Science, chairs the Australian Tropical Herbarium Board, and is a member of the National Marine Facility’s National Benefit Assessment Panel. He has been a Council and Bureau Member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature since 2016. As Director of National Parks and CEO of Parks Australia, Peter oversaw the management and administration of 66 Commonwealth reserves. He was a member of the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder Review Panel, and a panel member for the review of Geoscience Australia’s Marine Science Program.

Susan Madden

B. Ag Eco (Hons) University medal
Assistant Commissioner

Susan has over 20 years’ experience working in agriculture and natural resources management. This includes experience in undertaking economic analysis and providing policy advice on major reform initiatives in water, native vegetation, fisheries, forestry, biosecurity and agriculture. She has been on the board of the Murray Darling Basin Authority since 2016. Susan is also Chair of the Central West Local Land Services and was first appointed in 2017. She is a Technical Director – Natural Resources and Agriculture with GHD Pty Ltd. Prior to this, Susan was the Executive Officer, Macquarie River Food and Fibre, and a representative on the NSW and National Irrigators’ Councils for six years. She has a strong interest in farming – living and working on a family cattle stud near Dubbo.


Bryce Wilde

BA (Hons), ExecMPA
Executive Director

Bryce started his career working in the private sector as a researcher, facilitator and later as a management consultant of his own business. He has over 20 years experience working in the NSW Government, with the last 13 years at the Natural Resources Commission. Since 2012, Bryce has been the Executive Director leading the Commission’s team to provide robust evidence based advice and thought leadership across diverse areas, including catchment management, forestry, biodiversity conservation, water planning and biosecurity. Prior to joining the Commission, Bryce was a senior manager at the Department of Juvenile Justice, primarily in learning and development.