The EPA Board
What is the EPA Board?
The EPA is a single, consolidated environmental regulator responsible for protecting the people and environment of NSW now and for future generations. The EPA Board is a statutory body established under s. 15 of the Protection of the Environment Administration Act 1991 (POEA Act) and reflects the Government’s reform initiative to modernise the EPA as an independent, strengthened authority, headed by a statutory position of EPA Chair and a reconstituted EPA Board. The EPA Board will act as an advocate for the community and local government, to hold industry to account for its actions, and to strengthen environmental regulation in NSW.
EPA Board members from left to right: Alec Brennan, Julie Savet Ward, Barry Buffier, Christine Covington and Chris Knoblanche
Who are the EPA Board?
The Board consists of five members comprising a Chair and four part-time members. The four part-time members have demonstrated expertise in environmental law and science, corporate, financial and risk planning and management, as well as established ties to, and understanding of, community groups.
The EPA Board was appointed on 29 February 2012, with the Chair appointed on 2 April 2012.
Chair and CEO, Barry Buffier
Barry Buffier is the Chair and CEO of the EPA. Mr Buffier has had significant Senior Executive and Board experience in the public and private sectors. This has included roles as Director-General, Department of Primary Industries; Director-General of State and Regional Development and National Manager, Agribusiness at Westpac. He has a Bachelor of Rural Science (Honours) degree and is a Master of Economics. He is a Churchill Fellow and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Under Section 19 of the POEA Act, the Chair is charged with the responsibility of managing and controlling the affairs of the EPA, in accordance with the policies determined by the Board and any other decisions of the Board, but subject to any directions of the Minister under the POEA Act. The Chair is also the presiding member of the Board.
EPA Board members
The other EPA board members are part-time and have been appointed based on their respective expertise in environmental science; environmental law; corporate, financial and risk planning and management; and business. They are:
Mr Brennan brings to the EPA Board 40 years' experience in business across a range of industries including more than 20 years' experience as a public company director. He has a Bachelor of Science degree and a Food Technology (Honours) degree, and is a Master of Business Administration. He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Chair of publicly-listed Emeco Holdings Limited and a director of several private companies. Mr Brennan is a Fellow of Senate, Sydney University and Chair of two key Senate committees, the Finance and Audit Committee and the Human Resources Committee. He is also involved in a number of other not-for-profit activities. He brings to the Board extensive business experience in areas such as strategy, process management, governance, finance and risk management.
Ms Covington is a solicitor of the Supreme Court of NSW. She has over 26 years' experience in environmental, planning and property law. She is currently the National Practice Group Leader of the Environment and Planning Group at the law firm, Corrs Chambers Westgarth. She has served as a NSW Government appointee to the Central Sydney Planning Committee. Christine has experience in working with local governments and on community engagements. She also has extensive experience in the NSW Land and Environment Court and the Supreme Court in planning appeals and environmental prosecutions.
Mr Knoblanche is currently Senior Advisor, Corporate and Investment Banking, Australia and New Zealand for Citigroup. He has been advising local and multinational companies for over 32 years in areas such as corporate strategy, financing, risk control and management. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting and Financial Management) degree, is a Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and is a Fellow of the Australian Society of Certified Practising Accountants. He has held key Board positions and in 2003 was awarded the Centenary Medal by the Australian Government for services to business and the arts.
Julie Savet Ward
Ms Savet Ward has a Bachelor of Science (Applied Physical Geography)(Honours) degree, is a Master of Landscape Planning and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Ms Savet Ward has 25 years' experience in science, planning and the environment. She has particular expertise in the regulatory environment for sustainability and a deep understanding of the planning, approval, design, construction and delivery of infrastructure, property and natural resource projects. She has particular skills in brokering and managing relationships between government and the community. Ms Savet Ward is the Chairperson of a charity and a private consulting company.
What does the EPA Board do?
The primary source of information on the role, functions, membership and reporting and operational arrangements for the Board is contained within the POEA Act and the POEO Act. Generally, the EPA Board:
- determines the policies and long-term strategic plans of the Authority
- oversees the effective, efficient and economical management of the Authority
- develops and make available for public information, guidelines relating to the institution of criminal and related proceedings
- determines whether the Authority should institute proceedings for serious environment protection offences referred to in s.17 of the Act
- advises the Minister on any matter relating to the protection of the environment (at the request of the Minister or on its own initiative).
The Board, under s.16 of the POEA Act, is also required to provide the Minister with an annual statement that contains or addresses the following matters:
- an assessment of the success of the Authority in reducing risks to human health and in preventing the degradation of the environment and whether the level of environment protection achieved by the Authority is satisfactory in comparison with other Australian jurisdictions
- an assessment of the performance of those industries regulated by the Authority in reducing risks to human health and in preventing the degradation of the environment, and the impact that those industries have on the environment
- such other matters as may be prescribed by the regulations.
The Board has adopted a Charter (13213epabchart.pdf 35KB) that describes the Board's functions, its governance issues and the responsibilities of other positions that interact with it.
Page last updated: 04 April 2013