Commissioner biographies

Ms Karlene Maywald (Chair)

Karlene-MaywaldKarlene Maywald brings a high level of expertise in water resource management to her role as Chair of the Commission.  As representative for the seat of Chaffey in the South Australian House of Assembly from October 1997 until March 2010, she was South Australia's Minister for Water Security and the River Murray during one of the worst drought periods in living memory. She has a proven, long-standing track record in water management and is passionate about water reform in Australia.

Together with her extensive ministerial appointments and portfolio experience in South Australia, Ms Maywald has served on numerous national ministerial councils including the Murray Darling Basin Ministerial Council, the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council, the Primary Industries Ministerial Council and the Regional Development Ministerial Council. Ms Maywald has strong board-level expertise in public policy, drawing on both public and private sector experience. She has served as a board member of the South Australian Water Corporation, together with related SA Water Board Committees.

Ms Leith Boully

Commissioner Leith Boully

Leith Boully has a diverse portfolio of business interests in agriculture, property and human resource development, together with tertiary qualifications in science and business. She is an experienced company director and is Chair of Healthy Waterways Ltd, the Centre of Excellence for Water Recycling, and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s Catchment and Coastal Reef Advisory Committee (term concluded in 2014). In addition, she is a member of Infrastructure Qld and serves as a board member of Seqwater and Murrumbidgee Irrigation Ltd. 

Ms Boully has been involved in water resource management at local, state and national levels for more than 20 years and is experienced in community engagement, governance, and research and development. She is a former Chair of the Community Advisory Committee to the Murray–Darling Basin Ministerial Council, and has also served on the boards of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Land & Water Australia, and the Cotton Research and Development Corporation.

Dr Jane Doolan

Jane Doolan

Jane Doolan is currently a Professorial Fellow in Natural Resource Governance at the University of Canberra and has extensive experience in sustainable water resource management, having provided policy advice at senior levels on issues such as urban and rural water supply and security, national water reform and water sector governance. She has driven important initiatives in river health, environmental water allocation and catchment management at state and national levels.

Professor Doolan’s career encompasses intergovernmental policy development and negotiations, particularly in relation to the management of the Murray–Darling Basin, and the oversight of major water projects and programs. She holds a BSc (Hons) and PhD in Zoology from the University of Melbourne, and is currently a Director of Western Water Authority and eWater Ltd. 

Mr Rob Freeman


Rob Freeman is an acknowledged leader in water and natural resource management in Australia. As a former senior executive in the Queensland, South Australian and Australian governments, he has a long and diverse background in policy development and implementation in the areas of water reform and natural resource management.

He served as Deputy Director-General of the Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines (1998–2002), Chief Executive of the South Australian Department of Water, Land and Biodiversity Conservation (2002–08), and Chief Executive and member of the Murray–Darling Basin Authority (2008–11). Mr Freeman has participated in and been selected to chair many boards and national committees. He was a Commissioner and Deputy President of the former Murray–Darling Basin Commission (2002–08).

Dr Des Lord

National Water commissioner Des Lord

Dr Lord is an internationally recognised scientist and engineer with nearly 40 years of experience in the water and offshore marine industries. He has practised widely in the management of natural resources in Australia, South Africa, Canada and Japan, where he has worked with  water resource managers, a range of industries, academic institutions and consultants. Des has been a Board member of a number of private companies in Australia during the last 22 years and is currently Director, DA Lord and Associates Pty Ltd.

Dr Lord holds undergraduate degrees in science, a PhD in Limnology/Oceanography and Chemistry, and was appointed Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Science at the University of Western Australia in 2003. He has chaired extensive review processes on matters such as the Victorian, South Australian and Western Australian desalination projects, options for protecting the lower lakes during the drought, and expert advisory groups for the Swan River Trust.  Des has also provided advice on water resource planning and management to a number of utilities across Australia.

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