The scope of the Committee is to provide advice to the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) on matters specifically related to:
- The monitoring of air quality in the Namoi region,
- The management of air quality in the Namoi region, and
- How best to communicate air quality issues and outcomes of Committee meetings.
The Committee enables local communities in the Namoi region to engage with their industrial neighbours, the EPA and other government agencies involved in managing the potential air quality impacts of industrial activity on the health of the community and the environment. The Committee also may advise the EPA on how the community wishes to be notified and kept informed on matters related to regional air quality.
The Committee is established under the Protection of the Environment Administration Act 1991, Part 6. Division 4 Advisory Committees.
Appointment of the Committee
The Committee is to be called the Namoi Region Air Quality Advisory Committee and will cover the local government areas of Narrabri Shire Council, Gunnedah Shire Council and Liverpool Plains Shire Council.
The Committee is to be comprised of the following members, each of whom is appointed by the Chair and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the EPA or the CEO’s delegate:
- One person who will chair the committee;
- One officer of Narrabri Shire Council, who is responsible for environmental management;
- One officer of Gunnedah Shire Council, who is responsible for environmental management;
- One officer of Liverpool Plains Shire Council, who is responsible for environmental management;
- One person representing the community’s environmental interests in the Narrabri local government area;
- One person representing the community’s environmental interests in the Gunnedah local government area;
- One person representing the community’s environmental interests in the Liverpool Plains local government area;
- One person nominated by the indigenous communities of the Namoi region;
- One representative nominated by Hunter New England Population Health;
- One representative nominated by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment;
- Three representatives for the mining companies in the Namoi region; and
- Local NSW Farmers representative.
The Committee is to have access to independent technical expertise as required. The Committee may form sub-committees to address an issue if required.
The EPA will provide secretariat and administrative resources for the Committee, including recording the minutes of each meeting. The minutes of each meeting will be made available to the public via a dedicated page on the EPA website.
Each person who is appointed as a member of the Committee is to be a person who, in the opinion of the EPA, demonstrates a strong connection with the interest group he or she seeks to represent, the skills to represent that group, taking into consideration the views of other groups and commitment to the purpose of the Committee.
If the EPA declines to appoint a person nominated as a member of the Committee by a person or body referred to above, the EPA may invite the person or body to nominate another person as a member of the Committee.
The Committee’s Chairperson is to be independent and preferably will not be associated with any of the interest groups listed. The Chairperson will demonstrate high level skills and extensive experience in effectively chairing meetings, committees, or liaison groups.
Functions of the Committee
The Committee has the following functions:
To advise the EPA on such matters as may be raised by their interest group that fall within the scope of the Committee. Matters may relate to:
Air quality monitoring sites;
Quality assurance for air quality monitoring sites and data collection; and
Air quality monitoring data reporting.
- To consider any matter about regional air quality referred to it by the EPA; and
- To report back to the members’ respective communities or organisations on the outcomes of each Committee meeting.
Constitution of the Committee
The constitution of the Committee is outlined in Schedule 1 below.
Schedule 1: Constitution of the Namoi Region Air Quality Advisory Committee
1. Terms of office members
A member of the Committee may hold office for a period of two years. Committee members whose membership has expired and who continue to meet the assessment criteria, are eligible for reappointment.
All non-industry and non-government members are eligible to receive remuneration (including travelling and subsistence allowances) as outlined in the remuneration framework for NSW Government boards and committees.
- Committee members may request a person to be the deputy of that member. The EPA may agree to such a request.
- In the absence of a member, the member’s deputy may, if available, act in the place of the member.
- While acting in the place of a member, a person:
- has all the functions of the member and is taken to be a member; and
- is entitled to receive remuneration (including travelling and subsistence allowances), as determined by the EPA.
- For the purposes of this clause, a vacancy in the office of a member is taken to be an absence of the member.
4. Vacancy in office of members
- The office of a member becomes vacant if the member:
- is medically unfit;
- completes a term of office and is not reappointed;
- resigns from the office in writing addressed to the EPA;
- is removed from the office by the EPA under this schedule and clause;
is absent from four consecutive meetings of the Committee, of which reasonable notice has been given to the member personally or by email or post, except where advice requesting an absence has been accepted by the EPA;
becomes bankrupt, applies to take the benefit of any law for the relief of bankrupt or insolvent debtors, compounds with his or her creditors or makes an assignment of his or her remuneration for their benefit; and
is convicted in NSW of an offence that is punishable by imprisonment for 12 months or more, or is convicted elsewhere than in NSW of an offence that, if committed in NSW, would be an offence so punishable.
- The EPA may, at any time, remove a member from the Committee.
5. Filling a committee position
If a position on the committee becomes vacant, the EPA will issue an expression of interest for nominations to fill the vacancy. Where no nomination is received, the Committee may continue until such time that a suitable person nominates and is appointed.
The person vacates office as Chairperson if the person:
- is removed from office by the EPA; or
- ceases to be a member of the Committee.
The EPA may at any time remove the Chairperson from the position of Chairperson. The Chairperson will be entitled to be paid such remuneration (including travelling and subsistence allowances) as stated in item 2 of this Schedule.
7. Disclosure of pecuniary interests
If a member of the Committee has a direct or indirect pecuniary interest in a matter being considered or about to be considered at a meeting of the Committee, and this interest appears to raise a conflict with the proper performance of the member’s duties in relation to the consideration of the matter, the member must, as soon as possible after the relevant facts have come to the member’s knowledge, disclose the nature of the interest at a meeting of the Committee.
At the meeting of the Committee, if the member makes a disclosure that the member:
- is a member, or is in the employment of a specified company or other body; or
- is a partner, or is in the employment of a specified person; or
- has some other specified interest relating to a specified company or other body or to a specified person;
then that is sufficient disclosure of the nature of the interest in any matter relating to that company, other body or person which may arise after the date of the disclosure and is required to be disclosed under the Terms of Reference.
Particulars of any disclosure made under this clause must be recorded by the Committee in the minutes of the meeting concerned.
A member of the Committee is not disqualified from taking part in any deliberation of the matter, or in a decision with respect to the matter, because of the member’s pecuniary interest.
A contravention of this clause does not invalidate any advice of the Committee.
8. Procedures of the Committee
Subject to this Schedule, the procedures of the Committee are to be drafted by the EPA and supported by the Committee.
The quorum requirement for a meeting of the Committee is that a majority of its members are present for the duration of the meeting.
10. Presiding member
The Chairperson is to preside at a meeting of the Committee.
The presiding member has a deliberative vote and, in the event of an equality of votes, has a second or casting vote.
A discussion supported by a majority of the votes cast at a meeting at which a quorum is present is a decision of the Committee.
The Committee is required to keep minutes of proceedings at its meetings. EPA acts as secretariat to the Committee.
13. Meeting frequency
As a minimum, the Committee is expected to meet twice a year.