Meet the team

The first NSW Cross-Border Commissioner was appointed in March 2012, and the current Commissioner, James McTavish, was appointed in July 2014.

Our vision is to see equitable access to opportunities, and seamless service delivery for people and businesses in cross-border communities.

We are committed to being a trusted advocate for cross-border communities and adviser to the NSW Government, championing better cross-border outcomes for people, businesses, and government agencies. Anyone may contact our office to raise an issue including community members, businesses, local governments and representatives of cross-border communities.

The team in the Office of the NSW Cross-Border Commissioner:

James McTavishJames McTavish – NSW Cross-Border Commissioner

James has been the NSW Cross-Border Commissioner since mid-2014 and is based in Wagga Wagga. Prior to this role he held appointments in the NSW SES and the Australian Regular Army which saw him living and working across borders and in all Australian states. He is an enthusiastic but frequently unsuccessful fisherman, and enjoys spending time outdoors with his family gardening, camping or working on their small farm at Jugiong. James is looking forward to being able to travel more in the next 12 months as things return to greater normality.

Emma WattsEmma Watts – NSW Cross-Border Assistant Commissioner

Emma Watts joined the Office of the Cross-Border Commissioner as Assistant Commissioner in January 2020 six weeks before state borders started closing for the first time in a century. Emma has over 20 years of experience working with industry organisations, government and not-for-profits on public policy, strategic engagement and communications. She has specialised in high profile and transformative policy initiatives for energy, climate change, and water. Based in Queanbeyan, she was raised in North-West New South Wales. She is an established practitioner of the art of tsundoku.

Caroline MacSmith – Executive Officer

Caroline provides high-level executive, secretariat, and project support to the Commissioner, such as strategic advice, managing communications and implementing strategies.  A memorable highlight of this role was securing cross-border agreements between NSW and the ACT, and Queensland. This took many months of negotiation and Caroline takes great pride to see the agreements develop over time. In a past life, Caroline was adventuring through the top end, escorting international media through the outback for the Northern Territory Tourism Commission.  Today, she lives in Wagga and enjoys nature with her young daughter and rare quiet moments with a book.  When they can, the family love to travel to Victoria and our border towns for holidays.

Kellie Urquhart – Senior Project Officer

Kellie joined the team in 2020 and drives our engagement with local stakeholders and our border communities and supports many of the projects that the office leads.  Kellie has long worked with under-represented communities, groups and not-for-profit organisations and has had a front seat organizing NSW Government events and projects in our regions. Kellie has spent most of the past three years supporting the government response to drought, bushfires and pandemics and is excited to focus her attention on the issues facing border residents and businesses. Kellie walked the Camino Santiago in 2006 and again in 2009, and in between she led language training courses for Spanish businesses.  Kellie lives in Orange NSW with her family and is grateful for the cool climate and open skies.

Maree Ingram - Administration Coordinator

Maree is transforming the Office of the Cross-Border Commissioner with her meticulous administrative skills and skilful people management. Rural NSW is in Maree’s blood as she is the fourth generation of her family to call Wagga Wagga home.  After running her own small business for 12 years, Maree understands the challenges and joys of regional businesses and her time in Wagga Wagga City Council has only deepened her appreciation of everyone growing up, working and building a life in our regions.  A decade before joining our team, Maree’s role in Council meant she worked closely with the Commissioner during the 2010 and 2012 Wagga flood emergencies, and she recalls the privilege of supporting those efforts for her community.  When Maree isn’t performing minor miracles in our office, she very much enjoys spending time with her family and pottering in her garden.