Air quality monitoring network
New South Wales operates Australia's most comprehensive air quality monitoring network, with more than 80 monitoring sites across the state. See our most recent station numbers. The major air quality monitoring networks operate in these regions:
- Greater Sydney
- Lower Hunter
- Upper Hunter
- Greater New South Wales including the North-West Slopes, Northern Tablelands, North Coast, Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Central Tablelands, Southern Tablelands and South-West Slopes
- Rural New South Wales including central and western NSW, north west Victoria and east South Australia.
Review of air quality monitoring
The NSW Government continually reviews its air quality monitoring activity. The formal reviews are conducted independently, and publicly available reports have been published:
- Reviews of industry-funded monitoring networks in the Hunter region.
- A best practice review on the design of background air quality monitoring stations.
We are currently conducting a comprehensive review of the NSW Air Quality Monitoring Plan, which was first established in 2001. This review follows the 2011 Review of the National Environment Protection (Ambient Air Quality) Measure 2011, and is guided by recommendations from the Air NEPM Review Expert Working Group’s 2015 project, Review of Air Quality Monitoring Network Design.
The updated NSW Air Quality Monitoring Plan
The updated NSW Air Quality Monitoring Plan is being prepared. The updated Plan:
- now includes all types of air quality monitoring networks in New South Wales, including NEPM and industry-funded networks.
- identifies network gaps in growing population centers in regional NSW, the NSW North Coast, and the current Sydney network. It proposes methods such as low-cost sensors for ozone and particle monitoring to fill these gaps.
- identifies all Australian Bureau of Statistics Significant Urban Areas (SUAs) in NSW with populations over 25,000, the pollutant monitoring currently conducted in each and trends in specific pollutant levels.
- notes that all New South Wales SUAs with populations above 25,000 comply with the minimum number of monitoring stations required, with some even far exceeding the requirement (e.g. Sydney, Newcastle and the Illawarra). In Sydney, 8 monitoring stations are mandated to be required based on the 2016 population of 4.5 million, but due to its unique meteorology and topography, 16 stations are active in the basin.
- addresses population size rather than population risk, as a national framework for risk-based assessment is yet to be finalised.