Advisory committee chairperson

Murrumbidgee Environmental Water Advisory Group community nominations have closed.

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment invited members of the community to apply for the position of Chairperson for the Murrumbidgee Environmental Water Advisory Group (EWAG). Applications closed 5 March 2021.

The Murrumbidgee EWAG provides advice to the Department on the use of water for the environment in the Murrumbidgee Valley for water-dependent ecosystems. An EWAG may include water managers, recreational fishers, conservation groups, landholders, Aboriginal people, independent scientists and a number of partner agencies.

The successful applicant will ensure that decision-making processes are robust, and that established EWAG Terms of Reference, codes of conduct and other protocols are followed. The chairperson should make best use of the committee's knowledge, skills and experience to assist environmental water managers with annual watering priorities, adaptive management and implementation of the NSW Water for the Environment program.

Specific capabilities included:

  • Exhibit goodwill and support an inclusive and collaborative approach
  • With the Department, manage probity, conflict of interest and the integrity of group processes
  • Maintain an impartial reference-point for robust and respectful debate
  • Communicate effectively, including the ability to listen attentively to others, absorb alternative points of view and facilitate a consensus view
  • Analyse information and arguments, think critically and objectively about a complex problem and articulate a concise summary
  • Employ appropriate interpersonal skills
  • Have relevant experience leading boards or committees
  • Have regard for Aboriginal people, culture and communities
  • Lead the group to achieve its purpose and objectives by providing quality advice to the Department

The successful applicant will be appointed for a term of up to 3 years. The EWAG is expected to meet on 4 occasions annually (in varying regional locations) with additional field trips conducted on occasion. Please note that this is a non-salaried position. Chairs will be compensated for their time and expenses, in line with NSW Government guidelines.

For further information please contact Natalie Young on 02 6229 7159, email natalie.young@environment.nsw.gov.au

The Department is committed to the principles of the Equal Employment Opportunity, Work Health and Safety, Cultural Diversity and Ethical Work Practices and encourage applicants from diverse backgrounds.

Murrumbidgee Environmental Water Advisory Group

The Murrumbidgee Environmental Water Advisory Group (EWAG) is a committee formed under Section 388 of the Water Management Act 2000 and referenced in the Murrumbidgee Regulated Water Source Water Sharing Plan. The EWAG's focus is the river and wetlands within the Murrumbidgee valley. The EWAG's purpose is to provide advice to the Minister for Energy and Environment, or their delegate, on the management of environmental water to maximise ecological benefits.

Purpose of the role

The purpose of the chairperson is to work with EWAG Executive Officer and EWAG membership to fulfil its primary objectives. Chairs must ensure that decision-making processes are robust, and that established EWAG Terms of Reference, codes of conduct and other protocols are followed. This includes participants of a meeting being able to contribute effectively, act respectfully and adhere to the purpose of the group. The chairperson should also seek to maximise the outcomes from the limited meeting times of the EWAG by focussing discussion towards an action or motion, as required.

Key responsibilities

  • Commitment to achieving the EWAG's objectives
  • Lead the group in conducting business to fulfil EWAG's objectives
  • Chair the meetings in an impartial manner
  • Relay environmental watering information to interested people or organisations
  • Act as EWAG Spokesperson and representative, if required
  • Liaise with the EWAG Executive Officer to ensure the smooth operation of business, including managing meeting priorities, the agenda, motions, actions and observing developed guidelines (Terms of Reference, Code of Conduct, Grievance Procedure, etc)
  • Liaise with EWAG Executive Officer to invite and manage meeting guests, and monitor guest participation to ensure the effectiveness of the group
  • Review documentation between meetings, when necessary
  • Be available to contribute between meetings, if required
  • Communicate with the members and/or Executive Officer between meetings, when necessary
  • Ability and willingness to attend meetings 2-4 times per year, which may include regional travel (community member costs will be met). This should not preclude community members with responsibility as caregivers
  • Ensure the scope of the group's responsibilities is observed
  • Ensure that members are given an opportunity to participate, and that their performance and conduct is appropriate

Key challenges

  • Considering and respecting the views of others to maintain an inclusive and collaborative approach
  • Collating and considering information on a highly technical and complex topic
  • Articulating EWAG decisions to a broader community
  • Developing and maintaining an awareness of social, institutional, political and ecological issues relevant to local wetlands, water quality and river flows

Key relationships

Internal Executive Officer
  • Cooperate to plan and manage EWAG meetings
  • Manages EWAG administrative business
  • First point of communication and liaison to Department staff
  • Manages meeting actions and dissemination of information
EWAG Members and Alternatives
  • Encourage full participation to consolidate, deliberate and develop advice
  • Manage the process for developing consensus in advice
EWAG Observers
  • Participate in meetings as a guest, but does not participate in decision making
External Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
  • Provides administration and support to EWAG
  • Receives advice of the EWAG and makes decisions for environmental watering
  • Resources other areas of environmental water management such as monitoring, reporting, etc.
EWAG Chairs
  • Collaborate to mutually improve performance

Capabilities for the role

The chairperson must

  • Maintain an impartial reference-point for robust and respectful debate
  • Communicate effectively, including the ability to listen attentively to others, absorb alternative points of view and articulate a message
  • Analyse information and arguments, think critically and objectively about a complex problem and summarise
  • Exhibit good will and support an inclusive and collaborative approach
  • Employ appropriate interpersonal skills
  • Understand and manage conflicts of interest
  • Be skilled in facilitation and conflict management, to engage both sides on a sometimes contentious topic
  • Have experience on boards or committees
  • Have regard for Aboriginal people and communities in relation to land and water, cultural values and challenges for representation and participation
  • Lead the group to achieve objectives
  • Lead complex decision making by consensus where possible

Ideally, a chairperson should:

  • Communicate effectively with media and external stakeholders (Liaise and represent the EWAG effectively)
  • Understand NSW's water management arrangements, including the significance of environmental water in meeting Murray Darling Basin Plan commitments
  • Understanding of the role of water for local and regional communities and their environments- have knowledge of, or background understanding of, the stakeholders in the valley and their perspectives