The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (formerly Office of Environment and Heritage) 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 program 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 three key strategic benefits or high-level impacts:
- improved air quality across New South Wales (this is drawn from the Clean Air for NSW Consultation Paper (PDF 2.1MB))
- 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 Corporate Plan and the NSW Climate Change Policy Framework).
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 three stages of program life.
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.
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.
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 which enable decisions on personal health, public health and environmental health.
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:
- monitor the state of air quality in New South Wales through a network of monitoring stations across the state
- publish air quality data including the hourly updated Air Quality Index
- accurately forecast air pollution in New South Wales
- increase air quality monitoring and reporting targets for the NSW Government by establishing new monitoring stations in the state
- collaborate with research partners to investigate the composition and sources of particle pollution in New South Wales to better inform the EPA’s regulation of particle emissions
- model and assess air quality related impacts and the benefits to be achieved by implementing air quality management actions.