Director and CEO

RiverSmart Australia was established by Dr Bill Phillips.

He was born in Lake Cargelligo, in central NSW, and grew up in the farming communities of Trundle, Harden-Murrumburah and then Tocumwal on the Murray River. He attended Finley and then Bowral High Schools before completing a Bachelor of Science and PhD in Zoology at the Australian National University in 1985.  Bill then joined the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service (ANPWS). 

While employed by the ANPWS, Bill worked across a range of program areas including the National Koala Conservation Program, Ocean Rescue 2000, Save the Bush and One Billion Trees.

Bill Phillips was also a key player in the establishment of Waterwatch Australia - a community education program focused around water quality monitoring and promoting integrated catchment management.

In 1989 Bill led the establishment of Australia's National Wetlands Program, and then served as Deputy Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention based in Switzerland from 1997-2000. 

Upon returning to the Federal Environment Department in early 2000 Bill was promoted to Assistant Secretary with responsibility for water programs - an area of specialisation he has developed through his 25 years of Australian and international experience. 

Since 2000, Bill Phillips has worked at the 'coal face' of river management issues; facilitating a range of community-based solutions to river and wetland management challenges, and gaining a first hand understanding of the needs, issues and concerns of Australia's river managers.

RiverSmart's other Directors

Mr Jim Barrett

Jim Barrett was the founding Director of the Native Fish Strategy (NFS) for the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB), which is a 50 year plan supported by six governments to rehabilitate native fish populations, which are estimated to have declined to 10% of their levels in the last 200 years.   Prior to this he coordinated a National Management Strategy for Carp Control, and also co-authored a national research plan for carp control and a guide to enable regional community groups to prioritise carp management activities in their own catchment. 

Jim has also managed national programs on feral animals, wildlife management, and a comprehensive reserve system for Australia.  He co-conducted a Review into the Wildlife Protection (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1982, and participated in on-ground initiatives to band migratory birds, tag turtle and eradicate rats on Australia’s small island territories.

As Director of the NFS, he has authored numerous papers on carp and other invasive fish in the MDB; the provision of fishways (including a program nearing completion that will provide 2500km of continuous fish passage along the Murray river); and the design and implementation of large-scale rehabilitation reaches.

Since leaving the Murray-Darling Basin Authority in 2010, Jim is continuing his interest in natural resource management issues both as a private consultant and as an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Institute of Applied Ecology.


Photo coming soon


Mr Doug McKay


Doug is a practising legal practitioner living in Warren in western NSW.  He specialises in commercial law and has been practising in Warren since 1980.


Doug was born in Wilcannia and has a strong interest and range of involvements in community projects; being a keen member of the Warren Chamber of Commerce among others.


Doug and his wife live on the banks of the Macquarie River and also have a property in the Macquarie Marshes.


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