Hills-Jones was chief executive of the Public Fundraising Association in the UK before it was merged into the institute in 2016. He then became the institute's director of compliance, a position he held until November this year.
The PFRA in Australia approached him in the middle of this year about the possibility of succeeding Paul Tavatgis as its chief executive.
"It was a fantastic opportunity," Hills-Jones told Third Sector. "I always wanted to work abroad."
He said the UK Public Fundraising Association had been "the catalyst for a move towards better regulation of fundraising globally", which had seen similar organisations established in Australia, New Zealand and the United States.
One of his goals, he added, was to establish a global network that would share best practice about the regulation of face-to-face fundraising.
Looking back on his time in the UK, he said the reasons for the merger of the Public Fundraising Association into the institute were "absolutely valid", but he said replicating the "entrepreneurial spirit" of the old stand-alone organisation was "occasionally a struggle" at the institute.
"It is now for the institute to consistently meet the needs of its members with quality services, which raise not only the standard of fundraising but the self-belief and reputation of fundraisers as well," he said.
The Australian fundraising market, said Hills-Jones, was relatively young compared with the UK. "Many of the mistakes we made in the UK, whether on data sharing or mass marketing, can be avoided with a careful building of genuine partnerships between charities and agencies," he said.
Hills-Jones, who took up his post in Melbourne last month, has three regulatory compliance staff. He said three more employees would be recruited in 2018.
An institute spokesman said it had appointed a successor to Hills-Jones and would reveal the person’s name in the new year.