Our leadership team

The department’s executive is collectively responsible for leading the organisation, and individually accountable for the strategic and operational activities of their specific areas.

  • Jim Betts, Secretary, Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
  • Kirstie Allen, Deputy Secretary, Strategy and Reform
  • Sarah Hill, Deputy Secretary, Strategic Directions and Integration
  • Gary Barnes, Coordinator General, Regions, Industry, Agriculture and Resources
  • Anissa Levy, Coordinator - General, Environment, Energy and Science
  • James Hebron, Chief Legal Counsel
  • Jody Broun, Cluster Lead: Aboriginal Strategy and Outcomes
  • Alex O’Mara, Deputy Secretary, Place, Design and Public Spaces
  • Marcus Ray, Deputy Secretary, Planning and Assessment
  • Alison Frame, Deputy Secretary, Housing and Property
  • Jim Bentley, Chief Executive Officer, Water (Deputy Secretary)
  • Shaun Smith, Deputy Secretary, Corporate Services
  • Sally Anne Friedlander, Deputy Secretary, People, Performance and Culture

A breakdown of our leadership team can be found in our organisation chart [PDF, 118KB].

Jim Betts


Jim Betts is the Secretary of the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, which holds key responsibilities within the New South Wales Government for long-term planning, infrastructure priorities, natural resources, the environment, energy and growing the State’s industries.

Jim joined the Department in 2019, following almost six years as the Chief Executive Officer at Infrastructure NSW and five years as the Secretary of the Victorian Department of Transport.

As part of his role at Infrastructure NSW, Jim led the development of the 2014 State Infrastructure Strategy Update and the 2018 State Infrastructure Strategy, which provided over 200 project and policy recommendations to Government.

During his time in Victoria, Jim was involved in the delivery of the $38 billion Victoria Transport Plan, the overhaul of Victoria’s legislative framework to integrate the planning of transport and land use, and overseeing the construction of the $4.3 billion Regional Rail Link project.

Kirstie Allen

Deputy Secretary, Strategy and Reform

Working in partnership with the whole Cluster, and with government and industry, Kirstie is charged with delivering the Cluster’s strategic and reform agenda. Kirstie will work along with Cluster partners to deliver policy and strategic planning reform in areas including water, planning, waste and housing. Kirstie is also charged with implementing the NSW government’s place-based business cases, and smart cities strategy.

Kirstie previously worked at Infrastructure NSW, where she successfully delivered the 2018 State Infrastructure Strategy: Building Momentum, and subsequently implemented the Strategy’s Government accepted recommendations across the transport, environment and telecommunications sectors. Before Infrastructure NSW, Kirstie held positions across the NSW public sector including at Sydney Water and the Environmental Protection Authority.


Sarah Hill

Deputy Secretary, Strategic Directions and Integration

Sarah Hill is the CEO of the Greater Sydney Commission and joins the Cluster leadership team to provide powerful and experienced advocacy for modernisation and reform in the planning of our cities, towns and regions. While the Commission operates independently of the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, Sarah’s additional position on our leadership team  will allow her to guide collaborative and aligned engagement between both organisations in delivering quality outcomes for Greater Sydney and NSW.

Gary Barnes

Coordinator General, Regions, Industry, Agriculture and Resources

Gary joins the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment from the Department of Premier and Cabinet where he was the Deputy Secretary for Regional NSW. Gary’s was responsible for delivering a government-wide approach to providing quality services and infrastructure to drive sustainable economic growth across our regions.

Before joining the Department of Premier and Cabinet, Gary held a number of senior executive public service roles across Australia including Deputy Secretary, Economic, Skills & Regional Development in the NSW Department of Industry; Coordinator-General, Office of Major Projects, Infrastructure and Investment, Chief Executive Officer, Department of the Chief Minister and Cabinet, and Chief Executive Officer, Department of Education and Training in the Northern Territory; and Deputy Chief Executive of the Public Service Commission in Queensland.


Anissa Levy

Coordinator - General, Environment, Energy and Science

Anissa is responsible for leading the Department’s Environment, Energy and Science Group and delivering on significant policies, initiatives and strategies on climate change, renewable energy and energy security, environmental sustainability, waste management, biodiversity and conservation. She also oversees the regulatory functions of the Environment Protection Authority and the NSW Resources Regulator.

A civil engineer by profession, Anissa has had over 30 years’ experience across strategic planning and the infrastructure planning and delivery sectors. Prior to joining the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, Anissa was the Deputy CEO and Head of Investor Assurance at Infrastructure NSW where she oversaw the development, implementation and operation of the Infrastructure Investor Assurance framework - a risk-based framework for the oversight of the government’s ambitious infrastructure program.

Anissa has had experience across the private, state government and local government sectors. Past positions held by Anissa include Acting Chair and CEO of the Environment Protection Authority and Deputy Director General, Planning and Programs at Transport for NSW.

James Hebron

Chief Legal Counsel

James was previously the Chief Counsel for the Department of Planning and Environment and now performs this role for the new cluster. James worked in Darwin and Perth before settling in Sydney and his background includes private practice as well as governance and legal work with Woodside  Energy and Sumitomo Corporation. A legal 'deep generalist', James worked across many areas prior to and since joining the public service. He focuses on people, outcomes, and delivering results for the state. Recent highlights include a creative and engaged team and a less than wildly successful paragliding career.


Jody Broun

Cluster Lead: Aboriginal Strategy and Outcomes

Jody will retain her role as Chief Executive of the Aboriginal Housing Office alongside her Cluster Lead role, to advance the interests of Aboriginal people throughout NSW, and to use the combined power of the department to deliver better social and economic outcomes for Aboriginal people and their communities.

Jody is an Yinjibarndi woman from the Pilbara in Western Australia and has worked extensively with Aboriginal communities in WA and NSW, and across Australia. Over more than 30 years Jody has held a number of senior roles in government and the not for profit sectors including in housing, Aboriginal affairs, Red Cross and as Co-Chair of a national representative body for Australia’s First Peoples. In all these roles Jody has worked to empower communities to address disadvantage through community led approaches, collective effort and strategic leadership.

Alex O'Mara

Deputy Secretary, Place, Design and Public Spaces

Alex is charged with re-orienting our planning system around people, places and communities, with a strong emphasis on upfront strategic planning and integration of planning and infrastructure. She’ll focus on excellence in design, respect for local neighbourhood character and welcoming public spaces. Planning for environmental infrastructure and biodiversity are key to her role.

Alex has led many multi-dimensional projects, particularly policy and reform projects related to planning and environmental issues and complex stakeholder engagement. While Deputy Secretary for Create NSW, she delivered the largest investment in cultural infrastructure in NSW since the Opera House was built.  Alex has a first class honours degree in Arts/Law and a Masters in Administrative Law and Policy. She has been a member of several boards and is currently a member of the State Archives and Records Authority board.

Committed to diversity and inclusion and values-led leadership, Alex is passionate about creating great places and public spaces for people across NSW.


Marcus Ray

Deputy Secretary, Planning and Assessment

Marcus is responsible for improving our planning and assessment functions and leading the digitalisation of the planning system.

Marcus drives a strong customer and community focused culture to build confidence in the assessment of the State’s most significant projects and infrastructure proposals. Ongoing compliance also plays a critical role ensuring industry complies with conditions of approval.

Key to his role will be supporting the Office of Local Government and leading strategic planning and local environmental plan making in regional NSW. He’ll be focused on making the planning system more competitive to sustain sustainable economic regional areas.

Marcus has 25 years’ experience in planning and natural resources in the NSW Government. Following a successful career in law and 17 years in senior executive roles in government focused on service delivery, law, planning policy and reform, Marcus makes decisions based on principle, not process.

Alison Frame

Deputy Secretary, Housing and Property

Alison leads the new Housing and Property Group which has been formed to maximise economic outcomes and deliver community benefits through the more efficient utilisation of government owned land and property in the delivery of diverse housing, economic activities and public spaces.

The Housing and Property Group provides strategic oversight and coordination to ensure that government owned property and government led development is advanced as a whole-of-government agenda to deliver improved economic, environmental, cultural and social outcomes. A new functional capability in the Group will support whole-of-government consideration to realise best use of existing and underutilised land to maximise community benefit in the delivery of housing and public spaces.

In her previous role, Alison led resource, industry, and urban planning policies and oversaw the successful passage of major reforms to the NSW Planning system.


Jim Bentley

Chief Executive Officer, Water (Deputy Secretary)

Jim Bentley joined the department on 1 July from Hunter Water Corporation and now holds the NSW Government’s most senior water role. He is responsible for negotiating for our sustainable and affordable access to water with other states and the Commonwealth, and for coordinating with colleagues across government, state-owned corporations and local utilities to ensure we are delivering resilient water services for the people of New South Wales.

Jim is a senior executive with extensive experience, particularly in the water sector, working across both the private and public sector. His deep knowledge of water utilities will be useful in his role where he will oversee billion-dollar water infrastructure programs and the prioritisation of water projects, and work closely with utility companies. Jim has a history of evidence-based decision making, with a background in infrastructure services consulting. As the department continues to roll out Regional Water Strategies, his expertise and skills will be invaluable in securing both metropolitan and regional water supplies.

Shaun Smith

Deputy Secretary, Corporate Services

Shaun previously served as Deputy Secretary, Corporate Service Partners and will continue in this expanded role in our new department. Before joining the department he worked in the Department of Finance Services and Innovation (DFSI) where, among other achievements, he led the establishment of the Strategic Programs and Performance Management Office, reporting to the Secretary.

Shaun brings prior experience in large commercial roles within property, engineering and construction before joining NSW State Government where his career included roles as Director, Executive Director and Managing Director for the Department of Premier and Cabinet and DFSI. He is also the chair of NSW Government Community of Change Professionals and brings strong leadership, operations and customer focus skills to the Department.


Sally Anne Friedlander

Deputy Secretary, People, Performance and Culture

Sally Anne will lead the People and Culture teams across the Cluster, along with internal and external communications, to help leaders at all levels turn the departmental vision into a reality for our staff. She is responsible for developing and executing strategies to manage our talent and plan for their progression and succession, develop and enhance our working culture, ensure our communications are effective and informative, and keep us safe and healthy in the workplace.

Sally Anne brings with her vast experience from executive positions at national and international construction businesses and organisations including Qantas Airways, Boral Limited and most recently as Executive Director, People and Performance at NSW Health Infrastructure. She is passionate about diversity and inclusion, as demonstrated by her personal commitment to the Inspired Women’s Leadership Series for Health Infrastructure, the National Association of Women in Construction, the Construction Industry Culture Task Force, the Open Doors program, and as a volunteer steward for the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras.