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.


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.

Presentations made to the Committee

 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.

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