Neil was the Commissioner responsible for environment, agriculture and natural resource management issues in the Productivity Commission (PC) from April 1998 to March 2010. He presided over twenty-six public inquiries and directed the PC’s environmental economics program.
Previous appointments were: at the Bureau of Agricultural Economics in Canberra; teaching resource and environmental economics and development economics at ANU; Chief Technical Adviser of a United Nations Project in Dhaka, Bangladesh; and Assistant Director General of the Centre for International Forestry Research, based in Indonesia.
Since 1980, Neil has advised more than 20 governments in Asia, the Pacific, Africa and Latin America, on effectively integrating rural development with better environmental and social outcomes. Clients included international agencies (including World Bank, ADB and UN agencies like FAO, UNDP, ITTO and UNEP), many bilateral donor agencies, and large private corporations.
Since 2008, he has been an Adjunct Professor in Environmental Economics at the ANU then at the University of Canberra. In 2014/15 he chaired an independent review of Biodiversity Legislation in NSW, which led to the drafting of a new Biodiversity Conservation Act.