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The Planning and Environment Cluster was formed in April 2014.

The vision for the Department and the Cluster is:

Planning for growing NSW – inspiring strong communities, protecting the environment.

Our role is to plan for growth in NSW, by building great places for people to live and work in a modern and smart way.


We need a greater variety of homes and more of them; more jobs, and an easy way to get between the two.


Our focus is on creating great places to live and work, while protecting what is important to us as a community such as green space and access to our important natural assets.

About our cluster

The Planning and Environment Cluster advises the Minister for Planning, the Minister for the Environment and the Minister for Local Government.  

Our people can be found working in the Department of Planning and Environment or our closely affiliated agencies:

Our main offices are in Sydney. Other offices are located throughout NSW including Parramatta, Dubbo, Gosford, Grafton, Jindabyne, Newcastle, Queanbeyan, Tamworth and Wollongong.

Executive team

The Department’s structure reflects our priorities and goals: 

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Carolyn McNally


Carolyn has extensive experience in public sector reform, corporate governance and the leadership of major capital infrastructure initiatives. 

Brendan Nelson

Deputy Secretary
Growth, Design and Programs

Brendan has more than 20 years experience both in Australia and internationally having worked for more than a decade in a number of Queensland local governments. He then split his time between private consulting and working for the Queensland State Government.  He is the National President of the Planning Institute of Australia and is passionate about strategic planning and practical urban outcomes.
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Alison Frame

Deputy Secretary
Policy and Strategy

Alison is well-recognised for her contributions to public policy at both the Commonwealth and State levels and brings to the Department a customer-focused perspective on planning and environmental issues.
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Marcus Ray

Deputy Secretary
Planning Services

Marcus has 21 years' experience in planning and natural resources in the State Government. Marcus has been at the senior executive level in Government for 13 years focusing on service delivery and planning policy and reform. He was a lawyer in private practice for seven years before starting with government.

Oona Nielssen

Executive Director
Media, Community and Stakeholder Engagement

Oona has a communications career spanning 25 years, having worked both in-house and in-agency providing strategic leadership to major companies as well as the public sector.


Simon Officer

Chief Financial and Operating Officer

Simon has expertise in the design and implementation of finance, human resources, payroll, procurement and reporting systems across a variety of not-for-profit and private sector organisations. 
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James Hebron

General Counsel

James has extensive experience as a General Counsel leading large teams, and most recently led the delivery of legal services and advice for Sumitomo Corporation, a multinational trading and investment firm that operates in mining, energy, agriculture and commodities. He has previously worked for Gridex Power, Woodside Energy and the University of Sydney, and as a Managing Partner in private practice.

Page last updated: 15/12/2016