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Personal profile


Darren has published widely on environmental regulation and governance, and on occupational health and safety regulation in the mining industry. His major research contributions are:

1. Regulatory pluralism in an environmental context, in particular, ‘smart regulation’ and instrument choice. He co-authored (with Gunnigham and Grabosky) the international book Smart regulation: Designing environmental policy.

2. ‘Next generation’ environmental regulation, particularly for small and medium sized enterprises and diffuse sources of pollution, such as agriculture. He co-authored (with Gunnigham) the international book Leaders and laggards: Next generation environmental regulation.

3. Regulatory of occupational health and safety in Australian mining. He co-authored (with Gunningham) the book Managing mining hazards: Regulation, safety and trust.

4. Regulation and governance of non-urban water use in the Murray Darling Basin, the United States, Spain and France. In particular, compliance and enforcement, and the relationships between markets, compliance, technology and participatory governance. He has co-edited and co-authored (both with Holley) two international books, Reforming water law and governance: From stagnation to innovation in Australia and Intelligent regulation: Water markets, compliance and technology.

He has been a consultant to government and industry, and produced many policy reports.

He represented Australia at the United Nations International Framework Convention on Climate Change (Geneva 1993 and 1994); and he co-designed the self-regulatory and trading scheme to phase out the use of ozone-depleting gases under Australia’s commitment to the Montreal Protocol.

His current research interests are:

  • Water regulation and governance, in particular, compliance and enforcement of non-urban water use and the role of technology in regulating water extractions.
  • Regulation and governance of mercury emissions (under the Minamata Convention).
  • Prudential regulation, climate change and the finance sector.

Academic qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, The Australian National University.
  • Master of Environmental Law, The Australian National University.
  • Bachelor of Science (1st Class Honours), University of Sydney.

Academic appointments

  • 2018-present. Associate Professor and DECRA Research Fellow, Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis (IGPA), University of Canberra.
  • 2016-2018. Senior Research Fellow, School of Regulation and Global Governance, The Australian National University.
  • 2003-2016. Research Fellow, Fenner School of Environment and Society, Faculty of Science, The Australian National University.
  • 1996-2002. Senior Research Associate, Australian Centre for Environmental Law, Faculty of Law, The Australian National University.

Government appointments

  • 1991-1996. Assistant Director, Sustainable Development Section, Department of Industry, Science and Tourism, Commonwealth of Australia.

Visiting fellowships and affiliations

  • 2018-present. Co-convener of the Australian Mercury Research Project – Australian National University, University of Canberra, UNSW, Macquarie University, University of Melbourne, La Trobe University and University of Wollongong.
  • 2018-present. Visiting Fellow at the School of Regulation and Global Governance – The Australian National University.
  • 2014-present. Research affiliate of the Connected Waters Initiative (CWI) Research Centre – UNSW.
  • 2010-present. Member of the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (NCGRT) – The Australian National University, Flinders University, UNSW.

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regulation Social Sciences
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Projects 2017 2021

Research Output 2001 2019

Fossil Fuels
Private Sector
Climate Change

Governing Water Markets: Achievements, Limitations and the Need for Regulatory Reform

Holley, C. & SINCLAIR, D., 2018, In : Environmental and Planning Law Journal. 33, p. 1-31 31 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

sales policy

Reforming Water Law and Governance

Holley, C. (ed.) & SINCLAIR, D. (ed.), 2018, Singapore, Singapore: Springer. 298 p.

Research output: Book/ReportEdited Book

environmental law

Replenishing Australia’s water future: From stagnation to innovation

Holly, C. & SINCLAIR, D., 2018, Reforming water law and governance: From stagnation to innovation in Australia. Holley, C. & Sinclair, D. (eds.). Singapore, Singapore: Springer, p. 1-31 31 p. (Reforming Water Law and Governance).

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookChapter


Water markets and regulation: Implementation, successes and limitations

Holley, C. & SINCLAIR, D., 2018, Reforming water law and governance: From stagnation to innovation in Australia. Holley, C. & Sinclair, D. (eds.). Singapore, Singapore: Springer, p. 141-168 28 p. (Reforming Water Law and Governance).

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookChapter