Newcastle Community Consultative Committee on the Environment - Terms of Reference

Scope

The scope of the Newcastle Community Consultative Committee on the Environment is to enable local communities in the Newcastle Local Government Area to engage with their industrial neighbours and provide advice to the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), other relevant NSW Government agencies and the Minister for Energy and Environment.

The Committee is established under the Protection of the Environment Administration Act 1991, Division 4 Advisory Committees.

Further information about the Newcastle Community Consultative Committee for the Environment is available on the NSW EPA website. 

A.  Appointment of the Committee

  1. The Committee is to be called the Newcastle Community Consultative Committee on the Environment and will cover the Newcastle Local Government Area.
  2. The Committee is to be comprised of the following members, each of whom is to be appointed by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the EPA or the CEO’s delegate:
    1. one independent chairperson
    2. three representatives of the local community
    3. three representatives of industry in the local area
    4. one representative of an environmental group
    5. one representative of the City of Newcastle Council
  3. Each person 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 that person seeks to represent, the skills to represent that group, taking into consideration the views of other groups, and commitment to the establishment of the Committee. Committee members will also be selected to ensure that the Committee represents a cross-section of community interests.
  4. If the EPA declines to appoint a person nominated as a member of the Committee by a person or body referred to in subclause (2), the EPA may invite the person or body to nominate another person as a member of the Committee.
  5. The Chairperson referred to in subclause (2)(a) is to be independent and preferably will not be associated with any of the interest groups listed in subclauses 2(b)-(e). The Chairperson will demonstrate high-level skills and extensive experience in effectively chairing meetings, committees, or liaison groups.
  6. The EPA will provide secretariat and administrative resources for the Committee.
  7. The EPA may invite representatives of other NSW Government agencies to attend Committee meetings so that the Committee can advise them on relevant issues.

B.  Functions of the Committee

  1. The Committee has the following functions:
    1. To advise the EPA, other NSW government agencies and the Minister for Energy and Environment on existing, new or emerging matters of environmental concern in the Newcastle Local Government Area.
    2. To advise the EPA, other NSW government agencies and the Minister for Energy and the Environment on the effectiveness of measures and actions required to monitor, mitigate or reduce environmental impacts from industries and activities associated with major industries in the Newcastle Local Government Area.
    3. To promote dialogue between industry and the community to rebuild the community’s confidence in the environmental performance of industry.
    4. To contribute to the continued implementation of the environmental monitoring systems in the Newcastle area.
    5. To identify and review any community concerns or complaints regarding any environmental and amenity issues associated with the nearby industrial activities.
    6. To inform the community and industry of any actions to be undertaken by the EPA in response to matters raised.
    7. To consider and advise the EPA, other NSW government agencies and the Minister for Energy and Environment on the mechanisms by which the community wishes to be notified and kept informed in the event of an environmental incident, and the emergency response and to review emergency response procedures and plans across precincts within the Newcastle Local Government Area.
    8. To facilitate ongoing communication and transfer of information between industries and the local community.
    9. To consider any matter referred to it by the EPA, or any other relevant matter.

C.  Constitution of the Committee

Please refer to Schedule 1 for the constitution of the Committee.

Schedule 1: Constitution of the Newcastle Community Consultative Committee on the Environment
NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA)

1.    Terms of office of members

A member of the Committee may hold office for a period of two years. Committee members whose membership has expired, and continue to meet the assessment criteria, are eligible for reappointment.

2.    Code of Conduct

The Code of Conduct applies during Committee meetings, and any associated correspondence between Committee members and advising agencies. Committee members will be expected to follow this Code when dealing with other members, observers, guest speakers, technical experts, and any other person/s that attends a meeting or is involved in correspondence relating to this Committee.

Each Committee member is subject to the following Code of Conduct requirements. Any advising agency or external attendee who attends a Committee meeting, will be subject to this Code of Conduct.

  1. Act in an honest and ethical manner
  2. Respect and show consideration to others;
    1. Value diversity, differing roles and opinions
    2. Consider people equally without prejudice or favor
    3. Allow others to be heard
    4. Refrain from being offensive or disrespectful
  3. Do not act on behalf of, or represent the Committee, in any circumstance including external correspondence, meetings, or any engagement with others, unless it has been agreed upon by the Committee.
  4. Attend all meetings or give apologies. If a member cannot regularly attend meetings, provide an alternative representative as their deputy (See 4 Deputies).
  5. Provide any agenda items to the Chair prior to a meeting and follow the agreed Agenda during the meeting.
  6. Accept group decisions, and only re-visit closed agenda items if new, relevant subject matter emerges.

3.    Remuneration

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.

4.    Deputies

  1. Committee members may request a person to be the deputy of that member. The EPA may agree to such a request.
  2. In the absence of a member, the member’s deputy may, if available, act in the place of the member.
  3. While acting in the place of a member, a person:
    1. has all the functions of the member and is taken to be a member
    2. is entitled to receive remuneration (including travelling and subsistence allowances), as determined by the EPA.
  4. For the purposes of this clause, a vacancy in the office of a member is taken to be an absence of the member.

5.    Vacancy in office of members

  1. The office of a member becomes vacant if the member:
    1. is medically unfit
    2. completes a term of office and is not reappointed
    3. resigns to the office in writing addressed to the EPA
    4. is removed from office by the EPA under this schedule and clause
    5. is absent from four consecutive meetings of the Committee of which reasonable notice has been given to the member personally or by post, except where advice requesting an absence has been accepted by the EPA
    6. 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
    7. 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.
  2. The EPA may, at any time, remove a member from the Committee.

6.    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.

7.    Chairperson

  1. The person vacates office as Chairperson if the person:
    1. is removed from office by the EPA, or
    2. ceases to be a member.
  2. 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 Part 3 of this Schedule.

8.    Disclosure of pecuniary interests

The Committee is a non-statutory committee formed to enable local communities in the Newcastle Local Government Area to engage with their industrial neighbours, the EPA and the Minister for Energy and Environment. The disclosure of pecuniary interests for this Committee is an EPA requirement.

  1. 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.
  2. A disclosure by a member at a meeting of the Committee that the member:
    1. is a member, or is in the employment of a specified company or other body, or
    2. is a partner, or is in the employment of a specified person, or
    3. has some other specified interest relating to a specified company or other body or to a specified person, 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.
  3. Particulars of any disclosure made under this clause must be recorded by the Committee in the minutes of the meeting concerned.
  4. 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.
  5. A contravention of this clause does not invalidate any advice of the Committee.

9.    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.

10.  Quorum

The quorum requirement for a meeting of the Committee is that a majority of its members are present for the duration of the meeting.

11.  Presiding member

  1. The Chairperson is to preside at a meeting of the Committee.
  2. The presiding member has a deliberative vote and, in the event of an equality of votes, has a second or casting vote.

12.  Voting

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.

13.  Minutes

The Committee is required to keep minutes of proceedings at its meetings. EPA acts as secretariat to the Committee.

14.  Meeting frequency

As a minimum, the Committee is expected to meet twice a year.

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