Interim Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam gas and Coal Mining

The Committee

Photo of Committee membersThe Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development (the Committee) provides scientific advice to decision makers on the impact that coal seam gas and large coal mining development may have on Australia's water resources.

The Committee was established as a statutory committee in 2012 by the Australian Government under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) in response to community concerns about coal seam gas and coal mining.

Committee members possess strong scientific qualifications and expertise in the fields of hydrogeology, hydrology, ecology, geology, ecotoxicology, natural resource management and environment protection.

The Committee aims to improve the collective scientific understanding of the water-related impacts of coal seam gas and large coal mining developments through an independent and transparent process that builds confidence in the science used in decision making.

The Committee provides:

  • Expert scientific advice on coal seam gas and large coal mining proposals as requested by federal and state government regulators.

    This advice is provided to enable the regulator's decisions about coal seam gas and large coal mining developments to be informed by the best available science about the potential water related impacts associated with those developments.

  • Advice to the Australian Government on bioregional assessments, other research projects and research priorities.

    Bioregional assessments will gather information about groundwater and its relationships with surface water, flora and fauna in priority regions. The Committee has been involved in the development of the scientific framework which will provide guidance on how bioregional assessments should be undertaken.

    Bioregional assessments and other research will build on existing knowledge, develop baseline data, improve our scientific understanding of the water-related impacts associated with coal seam gas and large coal mining, enabling strengthened decision making.

The Committee is not responsible for making decisions about whether or not to approve coal seam gas or large coal mining development proposals. This continues to be the role of the relevant state and/or federal government regulator.

The Committee's terms of reference are outlined in the National Partnership Agreement on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development:

Members of the Committee

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Ms Lisa Corbyn (Chair)

Photo of Ms Lisa CorbynMs Corbyn is the chair of the Committee and was CEO of the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, Director General of the NSW Environment Protection Authority and Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water from 2000 to 2012. Ms Corbyn holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration - Natural Resource Management from the University of Washington in the USA, and undertook a fellowship at Princeton University focusing on Environmental Economics.

Professor Craig Simmons

Photo of Professor Craig SimmonsProfessor Simmons is a Professor of Hydrogeology at Flinders University and Director of the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training. He is a leading international authority in hydrogeology and is considered one of Australia's foremost groundwater academics. Professor Simmons has been a significant contributor to global advances in the science of hydrogeology for many years.

Emeritus Professor Angela Arthington

Photo of Emeritus Professor Angela ArthingtonProfessor Arthington is a leading authority on the ecology of Australian rivers, including the ecology of endangered and alien species, and the ecological roles of environmental water flows. Her research and consulting work spans tropical, sub-tropical and arid-zone river systems in Australia, South East Asia and South Africa. She is an aquatic ecologist in the Australian Rivers Institute at Griffith University, a member of the Commonwealth Environmental Water Scientific Advisory Panel, and serves on the Lake Eyre Basin Scientific Advisory Panel.

Ms Jane Coram

Photo of Ms Jane CoramMs Coram leads the Groundwater Group at Geoscience Australia and has expertise in the development of multidisciplinary, regional assessments of the role of groundwater processes in groundwater-surface water dynamics, dryland salinity and groundwater sustainability.

Emeritus Professor Peter G Flood

Photo of Emeritus Professor Peter G FloodProfessor Flood is a geologist with 44 years experience in basin studies, including within the highly relevant Gunnedah, Bowen and Surat Basins where he studied the impacts of mining and coal seam gas extraction on water resources.

Dr Andrew Johnson

Photo of Dr Andrew JohnsonDr Andrew Johnson is a natural resource scientist and a senior CSIRO executive with responsibilities for leading the organisation's water, land, climate, marine, biodiversity, urban sustainability and regional development research.

Professor Dayanthi Nugegoda

Photo of Professor Dayanthi NugegodaProfessor Nugegoda is an expert in environmental toxicology and ecosystem health. She heads the Ecotoxicology and Environmental Biology research team at RMIT University in Melbourne, is a research leader at the Victorian Centre for Aquatic Pollution Identification and Management, and is the current President of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Australasia.

Mr Jim McDonald

Photo of Mr Jim McDonaldMr McDonald has extensive experience in natural resource management and has served in senior board positions, most relevantly and recently as the former Chair of the Namoi Catchment Management Authority and member of the Namoi Groundwater Ministerial Taskforce and the New South Wales Groundwater Adjustment Advisory Committee.

Interim Committee

Prior to the commencement of the statutory Committee in November 2012, an interim Committee provided the Australian Government with expert scientific advice. For more information on the interim Committee visit the Interim Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Coal Mining .

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