Hunter River Salinity Trading Scheme Operations Committee

The Operations Committee advises the EPA on the operation and the performance of the Hunter River Salinity Trading Scheme.

The scheme uses water salinity monitoring and economic incentives to regulate the flows into the river of salty water from coal mining and electricity generation activities. The scheme ensures that the Hunter River’s water quality is suitable for agriculture.

The primary function of the committee is to advise the EPA on matters referred to it in connection with the operation of the scheme.

Committee membership

The Operations Committee represents the interests of licensees, irrigators, and the environment. Representatives from the Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority (as Chair) and Water NSW are also on the committee.

Chair and Hunter Local Land Services representative

Wej Paradice AM

Wej Paradice

Dr W.E.J. (Wej) Paradice AM is Conjoint Professor at the University of Newcastle, NSW, a member of the NSW Independent Water Advisory Panel and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Dr Paradice grew up in Scone in the Upper Hunter and received his undergraduate degree in natural resources from the University of New England in Armidale, NSW. Wej received a Master of Science from Colorado State University and a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Idaho, USA. Wej is past Chairman of the Hunter Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority. He was a Trustee of the Hunter Catchment Management Trust for 14 years and chaired the committee which developed the current set of water sharing plans now operating throughout the Hunter Region. Wej served as Chief Executive Officer and Director of Research at the Hunter Valley Research Foundation between 1985 and 2013.


Industry representatives

Gary Mulhearn
Gary Mulhearn

Mr Mulhearn is Manger Environment and Community at Yancoal Mt Thorley Warkworth Coal Mine, Mount Thorley. His responsibilities with this role include planning approvals, licence and permit management, compliance with conditions of consent and licences, liaison with government and community engagement. Mr Mulhearn is supportive of a fair and equitable operation of the Hunter River Salinity Trading Scheme to support the needs of industry and the wider community.


Chris Rooney

Chris Rooney

Mr Rooney is the Water Plant Coordinator for AGL Macquarie, responsible for all bulk water management on site, and represents the largest partner in terms of water volume within the Hunter River Salinity Trading Scheme. Mr Rooney has ongoing experience with the Scheme where he is currently serving his second membership as an Industry Representative,  and is a current member of the Hunter and Coastal Customer Advisory Group (CAG) with Department of Industry, Land and Water.



Craig White

Lisa Richards


Irrigators representative

Ken Bray

Ken Bray

Mr Ken Bray is currently the President of the Hunter River Water Users Association  and has over 50 years extensive experience in the wine and tourism industry of the Hunter Valley, and associated irrigator/water management. Mr Bray has been a long-term supporter and advocate of the Hunter River Salinity Trading Scheme and its successes. Mr Bray has held delegated positions in various stakeholder groups including the NSW Irrigators Council, NSW Minerals Council and Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Association and Viticulture subcommittee.


Environmental representative

Dr Thava Palanisami


River catchment management representative

Robyn Parker

Robyn Parker

Having lived almost all of her adult life in the Hunter, Ms Parker has a deep understanding of the Hunter region and it’s diverse agricultural, industrial and environmental landscapes. Ms Parker has over 30 years of public sector experience which included roles in child and family services, as a TAFE teacher and as CEO of ageing and disability services. Ms Parker served in the NSW Parliament for twelve years serving first as a Member of the Legislative Council followed by four years as the Member for Maitland. Ms Parker was the NSW Minister for the Environment and Minister for Heritage (2011-2014). As Environment Minister Ms Parker established the EPA as a stand-alone statutory authority and provided greater resourcing for regulatory and environmental protection measures. Since leaving Politics Ms Parker is a non-executive Director to a number of environmental, education and for-purpose organisations and she represents the Hunter Local Land Services Board on the Committee.


Water NSW representative

Danielle Doughty

Danielle DoughtyDanielle is currently the Manager of Regional Coastal Planning within the Water Branch of the Department of Planning and Environment. Danielle has worked in Natural Resource Management for 24 years. The majority of her work in water management has been in the development of water sharing plans for both groundwater and surface water. Danielle is passionate about ensuring a balance between environmental needs and human use of water.