About our Air program

Discover why we need the Air program and what drives it, the outcomes to be achieved by the program and how we achieve them.

The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water's Air program is a major NSW Government program that has operated for over 60 years. The program seeks to understand current air quality and its impacts, and determine how these have changed over time and are likely to change into the future. It aims to deliver high-quality and fit-for-purpose data and information on air quality in New South Wales to a wide range of end users.

Our program logic

The program logic model (PDF 142KB) describes how the Air program is intended to work. Read bottom up, it shows a clear line of sight linking the program's scope, capabilities and on-ground operational activities to its outputs. These outputs then enable the department and other parties (individuals, organisations and communities) to achieve a set of outcomes or changes which drive the program’s broader strategic goals.

Why do we need the Air program?

The program delivers 3 key strategic benefits or high-level impacts:

  • improved air quality across New South Wales
  • strengthened air quality management to reduce air pollution and exposure in New South Wales (National Clean Air Agreement)
  • improved resilience of community and business to climate change, environmental hazards and risks (the department's Corporate Plan and the NSW Climate Change Policy Framework).

What are some of our program activities?

The program underpins the goal of protecting human and environmental health by assessing impacts of air pollution and by contributing to the scientific evidence base that drives air quality management in New South Wales. The Air program enables the department to:

What outcomes must the Air program achieve?

Outcomes represent the short-term results or changes required to achieve high-level strategic impacts. The program logic model describes outcomes at 3 stages of program life.

Immediate outcomes

These describe the first step of building a shared understanding of and participation in the program:

  • End users are aware of the significance of local air quality issues.
  • Community, government and business decision makers have access to the right information at the right time and at the right scale.
  • Stakeholders have enhanced engagement and collaboration on air quality science and management.

Intermediate outcomes

These describe the subsequent use of program outputs:

  • Communities use air quality information to take preventative action to minimise personal exposure.
  • End users know how to use air quality information for risk assessments and cost-benefit analyses.
  • The community and policy investigators use air quality science information in decision and policy making.

End-of-program outcomes

These describe the expected unique contribution of the program to the broader strategic goals:

  • The people of New South Wales have greater protection from air pollution.
  • New South Wales has enhanced amenity and livability outcomes.
  • New South Wales benefits from improved decisions on environmental and public health due to enhanced evidence of air quality impacts.

How does the program achieve these outcomes?

The Air program seeks to:

  • monitor, map and forecast air pollution
  • characterise the impacts of air pollution
  • develop an evidence base for improved air quality.

The program generates a scientific evidence base on air pollution and provides advisory services and communications on air quality issues to all levels of users. This creates an environment enabling desired program outcomes like participation, knowledge building, user uptake of information and enhanced influence on other government programs, all of which enable decisions on personal health, public health and environmental health.