Upper Hunter Air Quality Advisory Committee

The Upper Hunter Air Quality Advisory Committee was established by the Minister for the Environment in 2010. The Committee’s role is to advise the Minister for the Environment the EPA and other relevant NSW Government agencies on issues relating to the operation of the Upper Hunter Air Quality Monitoring Network and the management of regional air quality in the upper Hunter Valley.

The Committee enables local communities in the Upper Hunter region to engage with their industrial neighbours, the EPA and other government agencies involved in managing potential air quality impacts on the community and environment. The Committee also provides advice on how the community would like to be notified and kept informed on matters related to regional air quality. 

The Committee membership represents a broad range of views to ensure a balanced approach and open and honest dialogue between members of the local community, the coal mining and power generation industries, non-coal industries and local government.

Chair

headshot of John Turner

John Turner
Mr Turner was a solicitor who practised law in a number of places in the Hunter region.
He was an Alderman (Councillor) and Deputy Mayor on Cessnock City Council and a member of the State Parliament for 23 years.
Since retirement from Parliament Mr Turner has undertaken various activities including being the Administrator of MidCoast Council as well as serving as the independent chair of twelve community consultative committees associated with the mining and quarry industries and still chairs some of those committees.
He is also Chair of Regional Development Australia - Hunter.

Community representatives

headshot of John Krey

John Krey
Mr Krey has served as a community representative on the committee since 2014. Mr Krey is president of the Bulga Milbrodale Progress Association. John’s goal is to have EPA accept and implement recommendations from the committee to measurably improve the air quality in the Upper Hunter during this Committee term.

headshot of Michael White

Michael White
Mr White is a mining engineer with more than 25 years’ experience in mine operations for manganese, diamonds and coal. He worked for BHP from 1990-2013 in Australia and internationally and has held senior technical and management roles including the role of General Manager at Mt Arthur Coal from 2008-2013. Since 2014 he has operated his own resources consultancy business. Mr White has lived in the Muswellbrook area since 2001 and is eager to improve the management of air quality issues in the Upper Hunter.

headshot of Dr Bob Vickers

Dr Bob Vickers
Dr Vickers is a local born and raised GP working in Singleton, NSW. He has worked at Singleton Hospital Emergency Department and has provided surgical obstetric services to Singleton Hospital.
Dr Vickers has an Advanced Diploma in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, and provides advanced care in women’s health. He has fellowship from the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine.
Dr Vickers is an advocate for local public health measures, particularly improving the air quality in the Hunter Valley. He has spent many years researching the health effects of adverse air quality on human health.

Environmental representative

headshot of Wendy Wales

Wendy Wales
Ms Wales was a founding member of the committee and re-joined in 2020 as the environmental representative, in connection with her membership on the Hunter Environment Lobby (HEL) and Denman Aberdeen Muswellbrook Scone Healthy Environment Group (DAMS HEG). Ms Wales lives in the Upper Hunter and is a retired Science Teacher. She became concerned about air quality and its monitoring while studying for a Masters in Environmental Education and after taking a student excursion to the hospital, the day after “a bad air” day.

Industry representatives 

headshot of Catherine Chicken

Dr Catherine Chicken
Dr Chicken is an equine veterinarian who lives in Scone.  She is a consultant to the Scone Equine Hospital on pathology and infectious disease, based at the Scone Equine Hospital Laboratory.  She is a non-coal/power industry representative on this Committee, a position she has held since 2013.  Catherine is deeply concerned about the deteriorating air quality of our region and is highly motivated to do what is required to improve air quality, and therefore quality of life, for all living in the Upper Hunter.

headshot of Ned Stephenson

Ned Stephenson
Mr Stephenson is the Environment and Climate Change Manager for Glencore Coal Assets Australia and has been in this role since late 2019. Prior to that he was at Glencore’s Mt Owen and Bulga Underground mines. Mr Stephenson is responsible for liaison with Glencore's NSW operations and driving improvement in the areas of compliance and assurance, air, water and noise management, as well as energy and greenhouse data management across Glencore's Australian coal assets.

headshot of Gary Mulhearn

Gary Mulhearn
Mr Mulhearn is Environment & Community Manager at the Yancoal Mount Thorley Warkworth (MTW) coal mine. 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.  MTW operates its own air quality monitoring network around its mining operations, and also utilises data from stations of the Upper Hunter Air Quality Monitoring Network. Mr Mulhearn was appointed to the UHAQAC in 2020. 

headshot of Summer Steward

Summer Steward
Ms Steward is the Environment Business Partner for AGL Macquarie’s Bayswater and Liddell Power Stations. Ms Steward is responsible for overseeing regulatory compliance and driving environmental improvement. She has been employed at the Power Stations for 6 years and has also worked in coal mining.

Council representatives

headshot of Cr Maurice Collison

Maurice Collison
Mayor Collison represents Upper Hunter Shire on the committee. Maurice has been an Upper Hunter Shire Councillor since 2012 and was first elected as Deputy Mayor in April 2015, a position he held until his election to Mayor in 2020. He has been a grazier in Woolooma for many years and lived in the Scone region all his life. 

headshot of Tracy Ward

Tracy Ward
Tracy Ward is a Sustainability Officer at Muswellbrook Shire Council where she has worked for the past ten years. She lives in Denman and is aware of air quality issues in the Upper Hunter. She is Council’s contact with Australia Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation’s national air quality program and is keen to do whatever she can to improve air quality in the Upper Hunter. 

headshot of Danny Thompson

Danny Thompson
Danny has a lifetime interest in air quality and its effects on human health.
His family history is that his father and his brothers suffered from Tuberculosis.  Both his grandparents died from the disease and his father spent most of his life with 30-35% normal lung capacity.  So, air quality and its effects on respiratory function has always been important to him.
Danny has been a resident of Singleton his entire life, with the exception of his time away at university.
In his working life, Danny is a Hospital Scientist.  Danny has knowledge of the chemistry and hopefully an understanding of the pollutants in our atmosphere and their effects on the residents of the Hunter Valley.

Meeting Number 37: Tuesday 25 May 2021, 10am–12.30pm

Chameleon Room, Charbonnier Singleton, 44 Maitland Road, Singleton
Last meeting date: Tuesday 25 February 2021
Next meeting date: Tuesday 24 August 2021

Present: John Turner – Chairperson, Danny Thompson – Singleton Shire Council representative, John Krey – community representative, Michael White – community representative, Ned Stephenson – coal industry representative, Tracy Ward – Muswellbrook Shire Council representative, Wendy Wales – environmental representative, Summer Steward – power industry representative, Adam Gilligan – EPA, Bianca Morton – EPA, Scott Thompson – DPIE, Matthew Newton – Resources Regulator, Heidi Watters – DPIE Planning

Apologies: Maurice Collison – Upper Hunter Shire Council representative, Gary Mulhearn – coal industry representative,Bob Vickers – community representative, Catherine Chicken –industry representative

Agenda items

1. Introduction

1.1. Welcome, Acknowledgment of Country and COVID-19 Procedures

The Chair opened the meeting at 10.05am and acknowledged the Wanaruah people as the traditional owners of the land. Mrs Morton ran through COVID-19 procedures and housekeeping.

1.2. Present, apologies and declarations of interest

The Chair welcomed the Upper Hunter Air Quality Advisory Committee (the Committee) and noted the apologies. There were no declarations of interest other than noted previously.

2. Previous Minutes and Outstanding Actions

2.1. Review previous minutes

The previous minutes for both the previous quarterly meeting and the out of session meeting were adopted by the members present at this meeting.

2.2. Outstanding actions

It was noted by Mr Krey that two action items had not been actioned from meeting No 35, and appeared to have dropped off the list of action items. He requested they be included and actioned appropriately. They have been included in the list below.

Action Item No

Action

Person Responsible

Status

1

Meeting 35, Action 2: Update the presentation from the UHAQAC Planning Forum outcome and recommendations and revisit the actions from the previous work of the Committee

Adam Gilligan

To be presented to the next meeting

2

Meeting 35, Action 4: Circulate factsheets from the Muswellbrook drop-in session

Ms Morton

 

Ms Morton circulated to the Committee on 5/7/21.

3

Meeting 36, Action 3: consider options with liaising the Science Teachers Association

Ms Morton

Ms Morton provided an update on this Action. They have engaged with an internal team within the EPA (Education and Programs) to discuss potential options going forward. Ms Morton will provide an update when the team gets back to her.

Ms Wales asked Ms Morton how long the EPA have had a relationship with the Science Teachers Association. Ms Morton was unsure and committed to following up with the relevant EPA team to get back to Ms Wales.

Action Item No

Action

Person Responsible

1

Report back on existing relationship with the Science Teachers Association

Ms Morton

3. Department questions and updates

3.1. Resources Regulator: Mine Rehabilitation Portal

Mr Newton provided a presentation on the Operational rehabilitation reforms. This included:

  • An overview and background for the reform
  • The new rehabilitation obligations
  • How to stay up to date with the Resource Regulator’s activities

Mr White asked whether the annual rehabilitation report is in addition to the annual reviews that are currently undertaken?

Mr Newton highlighted that these reforms are about streamlining these reports and requirements, and over time these changes will replace the existing requirements. He acknowledged that there was a little bit of duplication at this stage.

Mr Stephenson pointed out that the annual review also covers more than just rehabilitation, it also includes air, waste, and noise requirements.

Ms Ward asked whether anyone can access the Mine Rehabilitation Portal to look at polygons of data to see the progress of the rehabilitation through imagery.

Mr Newton said that the SEED Portal, which talks to the Mine Rehabilitation Portal, is accessible to anyone. They can see the progress through the SEED Portal. The Mine Rehabilitation Portal is just for industry use.

Mr Newton also promoted subscribing to the Mine Rehabilitation News, and would circulate the link.

Action Item No

Action

Person Responsible

2

Link to be circulated for subscribing to the Resource Regulator’s Mine Rehabilitation News.

Mr Newton

 

Mr Krey highlighted that there was confusion in the community with the various regulators and their roles for mines. He asked whether you can only vary licences through the development consent.

Mr Newton responded that within the development consent, you can apply for a modification if it is a planning issue and related to the land. However, the Mining Act is not related to the land but through a lease granted to a mining company. Under the Mining Act, conditions on a lease can be varied at any time in relation to environmental management.

Mr Krey highlighted that there have been some contentious articles in the media about money available for rehabilitation of mines should the company not be able to do the work.

Mr Newton explained that they require the money upfront, as part of a submission for a rehabilitation cost estimate. The Government holds security to cover the full cost to rehabilitation should a title holder default on its obligations. The issues that have been highlighted in the media are in relation to filling voids. Filling voids is generally not an obligation set in a development consent and as such the RCE amount is based on rehabilitation of the void that will remain in situ (e.g. making sure it is safe and stable and fit for purpose for the final rehabilitation outcome as set by the consent). The security deposit amount does not include costs to fill the void where there is no legal obligation set out in the development consent.

He also pointed out that they have not had to call on the rehabilitation site security for a long time, and it is a fallback mechanism if all else fails.

Mr Krey asked if the mine can go into care and maintenance, to avoid the requirement to rehabilitate.

Mr D Thompson asked who activates the call for closure.

Mr Newton responded that rehabilitation obligations continue for sites in care and maintenance, and the new regulations have improved obligations to ensure rehabilitation is undertaking as soon as reasonably practicable after mining activities have been completed. If the company runs out of resources and there is no potential for future viable operations, the company will need to demonstrate that rehabilitation is undertaken as soon as reasonably practicable. If they go into care and maintenance, we can now ask more detailed questions around this, to ensure that it is genuine care and maintenance, and not just trying to delay rehabilitating the site.

Mr D Thompson asked whether Council are involved in this process, or can they ask to start that process.

Mr Newton said yes, there are a range of other agencies also involved, but Council can be involved and start those discussions.

Ms Wales raised the issue of weeds, and how they are assessed, as the spread of weeds is an issue for community.

Mr Newton explained that there are criteria around weeds, they must control these weeds before closure, and it is part of the targeted assessment program.

Ms Wales asked how long that responsibility lasts?

Mr Newton said they hold the security bond until they are happy with the outcome. The land needs to be in a similar state to adjacent agricultural land. He added that they do have the power to come back to the former title holder to address rehabilitation issues post-closure if needed.

Mr D Thompson asked whether the final land use always had to be agricultural. At Council they have had inquiries about potential light industrial sites in the area. Would it be acceptable to leave some of the industrial areas as industrial for those uses?

Mr Newton said yes, if they want to investigate other uses they can, however it would have to go through a formal development consent process, and also ensure that it isn’t just a way for companies to get out of rehabilitating the site in accordance with their legal obligations.

3.2. Q&A for Departments

Mr White raised a question for Department of Planning prior to the meeting:

In relation to the following consent, how is DPIE managing compliance to the condition, what is being required and accepted by DPIE as reasonable and feasible.

Ensure that all non-road mobile diesel equipment used in undertaking the development includes reasonable and feasible diesel emissions reduction technology

Ms Watters responded that it is a new condition and falls under the air quality umbrella. It is ultimately up to industry to determine how they would meet that condition, and they would have to report on that themselves.

Mr White highlighted that in Europe and United States, they have specific guidance on this, and asked whether the Department will do something similar.

Ms Watters said there is no guidance from Planning on this, it is up to industry to prove and describe that in their management plan.

Mr White asked whether the EPA has anything to do with this condition.

Mr Gilligan responded that he would have to take that on notice and get back to the Committee. He added that there is a real value of those conditions on new mines with new fleets where you can expect higher standards. It would be more difficult for existing infrastructure, which would be why it would be assessed on a case by case basis.

Mr Stephenson added that the Federal Government is setting National Standards for off road diesel, and industry are looking at those standards as well for guidance. He added that we all want to go in the same direction, and also noted that off road diesel is bigger than mining, it is an issue for other areas as well such as agriculture.

Mr White asked if he looked through an air quality plan, whether he would be able to see the details of how this is managed.

Mr Stephenson replied that he wasn’t entirely across this, so couldn’t give a definite answer, but did assume that the focus would be more on particulates and exposed areas.

Action Item No

Action

Person Responsible

3

Mr Gilligan will provide more information about whether the EPA had any input into the condition

Ensure that all non-road mobile diesel equipment used in undertaking the development includes reasonable and feasible diesel emissions reduction technology

Mr Gilligan

4

Mr Stephenson to provide more information on what’s included in the air quality plan

Mr Stephenson

 

4. Network feedback – standing item

4.1. Upper Hunter Fine Particle Characterisation Study discussion – Mr White

Mr White raised the issue that decisions are being made about PM2.5 and fine particles based on a study with 2012 data. He highlighted that this concern is shared by a number of people, and since 2012, we have seen mine expansions, new mines coming in to the area, and wood smoke reduction programs. He raised that he is concerned that there is information that is being relied upon that is no longer relevant.

Ms Ward added that she would be very interested to see the impact that has been made from their Council’s work on wood smoke

Mr Turner suggested that the Committee could submit a request that the study be updated to present conditions. Mr White agreed with this approach, as did the Committee.

Mr Gilligan added that he would like to arrange for Matt Riley, Director Climate Change & Atmospheric Science, Economics Insights, to the next Committee meeting to discuss the options.

Action Item No

Action

Person Responsible

5

The Committee will submit a letter to Government outlining their request for a new Particle Characterisation Study

Mr Turner

 

4.2. Information sharing and feedback from broader networks

Mr Krey raised a concern with the alert system for air quality. He highlighted that the alerts are not included in the quarterly reports. He also highlighted that the alerts have been steadily increasing, however that is not reflecting in the reporting.

He believes those alerts should be investigated, and gave an example where he called the EPA about a dust issue, and the EPA followed up with the mine who were not doing anything differently. He believes the issue was that the dust was settled over night, and when the temperature rose, it resulted in the dust leaving the mine site. He would like the EPA to investigate every alert.

Mr Gilligan responded that we are happy to go back and look at the reporting to see where it could be refined to the needs of the community. With respect to the investigations, those 14 monitoring sites are there for a range of reasons, some of those sites are closer to industry and others are about measuring against ambient standards. When we see exceedances of ambient criteria, it doesn’t necessarily correlate to a breach in mining operations.

He acknowledged the situation that Mr Krey was describing where meteorological impacts can result in moving dust, however that doesn’t correlate to taking action on a mine.

Mr Krey highlighted that all the community wants is decent air, not to hunt down mines every day. He just wants more focus on looking at the data and whether the mine is complying with best practice.

Mr Turner asked Mr Krey to summarise what he would like done about this issue.

Mr Krey said he would like the EPA to consider alerts in the reporting, and further consideration of how to use the reports.

Mr Gilligan added that the EPA does have Bust the Dust which is similar to what is being discussed, as it is a focus on mining operations during the time where we see the driest conditions.

Mr D Thompson added that if the alerts are put in the reports, they need to be put into context to allow community members to understand and interpret them.

Mr D Thompson informed the Committee of the Redbank Power Station modification application which is currently in the Land and Environment Court, being appealed by the proponent as a deemed refusal. They are seeking to use Biomass as an alternative to coal. He highlighted that it is currently proposed at 700,000 tonnes which he believes is outside the scope of Local Government to assess that, and it should be a State Significant Development.

5. EPA Update – standing item

5.1. Regulatory Operations Metropolitan North

Mr Gilligan said that primarily the focus has been on the day to day regulation. He also added that there is a media release that will come out shortly regarding a Penalty Notice that was issued to AGL with respect to an air pollution incident at Liddell.

Ms Steward added that the issue was investigated by AGL and addressed, and acknowledged that Liddell is an old Power Station and that presents challenges with keeping up with best practice, but they are doing their best to make improvements.

Mr Gilligan also added that the EPA Board had visited the Hunter around a month ago, they visited Vales Point Power Station, Orica, Koppers, Truegain and Mount Thorley Warkworth coal mines. He extended his thanks to Mr Mulhearn for hosting the visit. He highlighted that it gave the Board a good sense of the scale of those operations, and also was able to talk about the inherent challenges to exposed areas.

My Stephenson added that they were approached by the Minerals Council for another visit as well.

6. Air Quality Monitoring Network Seasonal Newsletter – standing item

6.1. Summer 2020-21 Newsletter

Mr Scott Thompson presented an overview of the Summer 2020-21 seasonal newsletter:

  • Air quality in the Upper Hunter region was good during summer 2020-21
  • Regional air quality levels were greatly improved compared to summer 2019-20 and earlier years
  • Levels of fine particulate matter PM2.5, nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulphur dioxide (SO2) were good, all remaining below national benchmark concentrations.
  • There were 2 days above the PM10 daily benchmark, at Warkworth

Mr D Thompson asked why (when looking at the PM2.5 rolling averages) Muswellbrook was just on the benchmark, but Camberwell was not.

Mr S Thompson said that he wasn’t sure but said it could be due to woodsmoke.

Ms Ward highlighted that council have done a lot in that area around woodsmoke, and she believes woodsmoke is an excuse that is used in Muswellbrook.

Mr Gilligan said that it was good to see that there was a general trend downwards, excluding the 2019-2020 data that was due to bushfires.

Ms Wales replied that it wasn’t good, it was a bad news story as the weather conditions this summer period where wet.

7. General Business

7.1. Other

No other issues were raised.

7.2. Next meeting date

Mr Turner advised the next meeting date is 24 August 2021 and closed the meeting.

Previous meeting minutes

 

Presentations made to the Committee

The scope of the Upper Hunter Air Quality Advisory Committee is to provide advice to the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), other relevant NSW Government agencies, and the Minister for Energy and Environment on matters related to the monitoring and management of regional air quality in the upper Hunter Valley.

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

Further information about the Upper Hunter Air Quality Monitoring Network

A.  Appointment of Advisory Committee

  1. The committee is to be called the Upper Hunter Air Quality Advisory Committee.
  2. The Advisory 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. two representatives of the coal mining industry
    3. one representative of the power generation industry
    4. one representative of Muswellbrook Shire Council
    5. one representative of Singleton Shire Council
    6. one representative of Upper Hunter Shire Council
    7. three representatives of the local community
    8. one representative of an environmental group
    9. one representative of Upper Hunter commerce or industries other than the mining or power industries
  3. Each person appointed as a member of the Advisory Committee is to be a person who, in the opinion of the EPA, demonstrates a strong connection with the interest group they seek to represent, the skills to represent their group, taking into consideration the views of other groups, and a commitment to the establishment of the network. 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 Advisory Committee by a person or body referred to in subclause (2), the EPA may invite the person or body to nominate another person as member of the Advisory Committee.
  5. The Chairperson referred to in subclause (2)(a) is to be independent and preferably will not be associated with any interest group listed in subclauses 2(b)-(i). The Chairperson will demonstrate high-level skills and extensive experience in effectively chairing meetings, committees or advisory groups.
  6. The EPA will provide secretariat and administrative resources for the Advisory Committee.
  7. The EPA may invite representatives of other NSW Government agencies to attend committee meetings so that the Advisory Committee can advise them on relevant issues.

B.   Functions of Advisory Committee

  1. The Advisory Committee has the following functions:
    1. To advise the EPA, other NSW government agencies and the Minister for Energy and Environment on such matters as may be raised by their interest group that fall within the scope of the Committee.
    2. To consider issues which may be referred to it by the EPA in connection with regional air quality monitoring and management.

C.   Constitution of the Advisory Committee

Please refer to Schedule 1 for the Constitution of the Advisory Committee.

Schedule 1: Constitution of the Upper Hunter Air Quality Advisory Committee
NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA)

1.    Terms of office of members

A member of the Advisory 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.

2.    Code of Conduct

The Code of Conduct applies during Advisory 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 any such 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, and
    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 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 Advisory 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, or
    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 Chairperson 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 office as 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 interest

The Advisory Committee is a non-statutory committee formed to advise the EPA on the Upper Hunter Air Quality Monitoring Network and the management of regional air quality in the Upper Hunter Valley. The disclosure of pecuniary interests for this advisory committee is an EPA requirement.

  1. If a member of the Advisory Committee has a direct or indirect pecuniary interest in a matter being considered or about to be considered at a meeting of the Advisory 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 Advisory Committee
  2. A disclosure by a member at a meeting of the Advisory 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 a sufficient disclosure of the nature of the interest in any matter relating to that company or other body or to that person which may arise after the date of the disclosure and is required to be disclosed under subclause (1) of the Terms of Reference.
  3. Particulars of any disclosure made under this clause must be recorded by the Advisory Committee in the minutes of the meeting concerned.
  4. A member of the Advisory 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 Advisory Committee.

9.    Procedures of Advisory Committee

Subject to this Schedule, the procedures of the Advisory Committee are to be drafted by the EPA and supported by the Advisory Committee.

10.  Quorum

The quorum requirement for a meeting of the Advisory 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 Advisory 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 decision supported by a majority of the votes cast at a meeting of the committee at which a quorum is present is a decision of the Advisory Committee.

13.  Minutes

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

14.  Meeting frequency

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

 For more information on the monitoring network itself, visit the Upper Hunter Air Quality Monitoring Network webpage.

If you have comments or feedback on the Upper Hunter Air Quality Monitoring Network please email: airmonitoring.upperhunter@environment.nsw.gov.au.

Page last updated