Air quality on the agenda in the Namoi

Air quality was at the top of the agenda at the Boggabri Golf Club recently with community, local council, industry and government representatives coming together for the first meeting of the Namoi Region Air Quality Advisory Committee.

NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Manager Regional Operations at Armidale Lindsay Fulloon said the meeting on June 14 brought the different groups into the same room to openly discuss air quality in the region.

“It provides members with the opportunity to provide feedback and advice to the EPA on the management of air quality in the region and to then pass information back through to their own networks,” he said.

The NSW Government is committed to providing the community with information on air quality, and established air quality monitoring stations in Gunnedah and Narrabri last year. The stations form part of the NSW air quality monitoring network, which is the most comprehensive network in Australia.

“At the meeting, the committee discussed the operation of the new network as well as opportunities to add further value to the monitoring network to ensure air quality data is accessible and relevant to local communities.”

The Namoi Region Air Quality Advisory Committee was established by the Minister for the Environment at the end of 2017. The committee will meet four times a year initially. Similar committees already operate in Newcastle and the Upper Hunter.

“We’ll be looking to partner with and learn from other similar committees in the Newcastle and Upper Hunter areas,” Mr Fulloon said.

Information from the Gunnedah and Narrabri monitoring stations is available in near real-time from the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) website and community members can also subscribe to receive air quality updates via email or SMS. Data from air quality monitoring stations operated by the mines at Werris Creek, Breeza, Wil-gai and Maules Creek are also available on the EPA’s website here.

Members of the Committee include;

Chair the Committee, Mr David Ross

Narrabri Shire Council, Ms Marcela Lopez

Gunnedah Shire Council, Ms Carolyn Hunt

Liverpool Plains Shire Council, Ms Donna Ausling

Narrabri community member, Mrs Catherine Collyer

Gunnedah community member, Mrs Colleen Fuller

Hunter New England Population Health, Associate Professor Craig Dalton

NSW Department of Planning and Environment, Ms Leah Cooke

Whitehaven Coal Limited, Ms Kirstin Gollogly

Boggabri Coal Operations Pty Ltd, Mr Peter Forbes

The EPA and OEH also attend meetings, providing administrative support and technical advice. More information on the committee is available on the EPA website: https://bit.ly/2K7cdTw

A number of positions are yet to be filled on the committee. If you are interested in applying, please complete the nomination form on the webpage or contact the Armidale office of the EPA on 6773 7000.