The Environment Advisory Committee is a new committee, formed to advise and assist with promoting a wider appreciation of the diversity of the Region’s living landscapes. The committee will also provide input on Council policy and strategy development on environmental matters including natural values, urban greening, sustainable development, and climate resilience.

 

Objectives

  • providing feedback to Council on policy aimed at the protection and enhancement of the Region’s natural assets
  • assist to promote a wider appreciation of the diversity of the Region’s living landscapes
  • assist with identifying and discussing development issues where there is a conflict between the built form and natural environment including input to urban greening policies
  • advising Council on matters of local environmental significance, biodiversity and sustainable urban design (built environments)
  • providing feedback to Council on policy and strategy aimed at improving climate resilience; and responding to the challenge of climate change
  • advising Council on matters relating to sustainability such as energy, waste and water cycle management
  • assist with identifying issues within the Toowoomba Regional Council area requiring further research and action
  • assist by liaising and seeking input, when necessary, from the community, and other groups and organisations including community groups who share similar values/interests/concerns
  • assist with investigating sources of funding and opportunities for partnership for strategic environmental research and projects.

 

Meeting times

The Environment Advisory Committee will meet quarterly on the fourth Thursday of the month from 4 pm to 6 pm, commencing February 2021, in the community rooms at Level 3, Toowoomba City Library (Corner of Victoria & Herries Streets).

Meeting dates for 2022 are as follows:

  • 22 March 2022
  • 26 May 2022
  • 25 August 2022
  • 24 November 2022

All ordinary meetings of the Environment Advisory Committee are open to the public.

Due to COVID-19 restriction and room capacity, the number of public attendees is limited to 15. Council requests that members of the public wishing to attend the meeting please RSVP by email to SPEDAdmin@tr.qld.gov.au by 5pm on Tuesday prior to the meeting.

 

Meeting minutes

Confirmed Meeting Minutes - Environment Advisory Committee 27 May 2021

Confirmed Meeting Minutes - Environment Advisory Committee - 26 August 2021

Meeting Minutes - Environment Advisory Committee - 25 November 2021 (Unconfirmed)

Meeting Minutes - Environment Advisory Committee - 22 March 2022 Amended

How to contact the committee

If you would like to contact the Environment Advisory Committee please email us at SPEDAdmin@tr.qld.gov.au. This email will be received by our Strategic Planning and Economic Development team who will ensure it is forwarded to the relevant committee member.

 

Membership

Environment Advisory Committee members bring diverse backgrounds and experience to the group. Committee members are selected for their experience and above all, an understanding of environmental matters including natural values, urban greening, sustainable development, and climate resilience.

The membership of the Environment Advisory Committee will consist of up to 18 members in total:

  • up to four Councillors (including the Chair)
  • up to 13 community members
  • a Council Officer (from Strategic Planning and Economic Development Branch).

Current members

  • Councillors:
    • Planning and Development Committee - Councillor Megan O’Hara Sullivan and Councillor Bill Cahill
    • Environment and Community Committee - Councillor Tim McMahon
    • Infrastructure Committee - Councillor Melissa Taylor
    • Waste and Water Committee - Councillor Rebecca Vonhoff
  • Community members:
    • Bernie Ingle
    • Jude Cook
    • Cam Mackenzie
    • Hubert Krenske
    • Michael Kennedy
    • Sid Plant
    • Jayne Thorpe
    • Penny Claringbull
    • Vicky Green
    • Ian Whan
    • Alistair Silcock
    • Vincent Parisi
    • David Carberry
  • Toowoomba Region Strategic Planning and Economic Development Branch:
    • Josie Raftery 

Background/scope

The Environment Advisory Committee is constituted under Section 264 of Local Government Regulation 2012, which empowers the Council to appoint advisory committees.

Tenure of committee

The Environment Advisory Committee is established for the term of the current elected Council, unless disbanded earlier by Council resolution.

(Subject to any Council resolution to the contrary, if a Committee is appointed for a particular purpose or for a limited time, the Committee is abolished and appointment of Members to the Committee is terminated upon the fulfilment of that purpose or the expiration of that time.)

Purpose

The Environment Advisory Committee will provide guidance and assistance on the functions and responsibilities listed below.

Functions

The main functions of the Committee are to provide recommendations and advice to Council on the following:

  • feedback to Council on policy aimed at the protection and enhancement of the Region’s natural assets;
  • promoting a wider appreciation of the diversity of the region’s living landscapes;
  • identifying and discussing development issues where there is a conflict between the built form and natural environment including input to urban greening policies;
  • advising Council on matters of local environmental significance, biodiversity and sustainable urban design (built environments);
  • feedback to Council on policy and strategy aimed at improving climate resilience; and responding to the challenge of Climate Change;
  • advising Council on matters relating to sustainability such as energy, waste and water cycle management;
  • identifying issues within the Toowoomba Regional Council area requiring further research and action;
  • liaising and seeking input, when necessary, from the community, and other groups and organisations including community groups who share similar values/interests/concerns;
  • investigating sources of funding and opportunities for partnership for strategic environmental research and projects.

Committee membership

(a) The Environment Advisory Committee will consist of up to 18 Members, which will include up to four Councillors one of whom shall be designated as the Chairperson by the Council. Where a Councillor cannot attend a meeting of the Committee, another person delegated by Council or by the Councillor may act as a Member of the Committee for that meeting.

(b) Membership will consist of the following:

  • Up to 4 Councillors representing Toowoomba Regional Council
  • Up to 13 Community members
  • One officer from the Strategic Planning and Economic Development Branch.

The majority of the community members of the Environment Advisory Committee must have:

  • accredited qualifications in the environmental or scientific field (or equivalent); or
  • documented experience in showing environmental outcomes; or
  • current experience in farming or grazing and land management or similar

(c) Appointment will be made, on a biennial basis, after nominations have been invited in newspapers circulating in the area and on Council’s website and social media, seeking expressions of interest from residents.

(d) All Members of the Advisory Committee may vote on business before the Committee, except where the Member has a conflict of interest.

(e) If any Member of the Committee is absent from three consecutive meetings without having obtained leave of absence from the Committee, the Member's continued membership of that Committee will be referred to the Chief Executive Officer for determination.

Resignation and replacement of committee members

(a) A committee member may resign at any time by way of written or emailed advice to the Chairperson.

(b) When a resignation is received, the resigning member may be replaced as follows:

  • Where such resignation is a Toowoomba Regional Council representative (Councillor or Officer) Council may appoint a suitable replacement representative.
  • Where such resignation is from a Community Representative, Council will call for expressions of interest for a suitable replacement unless the resignation is received less than six months from the conclusion of the biennial term of the committee.

Chairperson

Council shall appoint the Environmental Advisory Committee chair.

Acting chairperson

If the Chairperson is absent or unavailable to preside, a Member of the Advisory Committee chosen by the Members present at the Committee meeting will preside.

Quorum

The Quorum of any Advisory Committee meeting will be a minimum of 51% of the membership.

Times and places for meetings

The Advisory Committee may determine the dates, times and places for its meetings.  Council will be responsible for providing a suitable venue.

Meeting procedures

Unless otherwise provided in these Terms of Reference, the Advisory Committee will generally adopt informal meeting procedures.  Where more formal procedures are required, the procedures described in Council's Standing Orders shall apply.

The Group will be provided with a support officer from Toowoomba Regional Council, Strategic Planning and Economic Development Branch to assist in the administration of meetings.

The support staff will not be a Member of the Advisory Committee.

Voting

(a) Each Member of the Advisory Committee has a vote on each question to be decided.

(b) Voting at a meeting must be open and questions decided by a majority of the votes of the Members present however, if the votes are equal, the Member presiding has a casting vote.

Conflict of interest

(a) Where Committee Members have a conflict of interest, or could reasonably be taken to have a conflict of interest, in an issue being considered or to be considered at the meeting, the Member must declare the conflict of interest to the meeting and must not be present while the matter, or a related matter, is being considered by the Committee or otherwise take part in any decision of the Committee in relation to the matter or a related resolution.

(b) For the purposes of this clause, a Member has a conflict of interest in an issue if there is a conflict between the Member's private interest and the public interest.

Open to the public

(a) Meetings are to be open to the public, except where confidential matters are discussed.

(b) When the Committee proposes to close a meeting to the public, the Chair will direct all persons, other than Members of the Committee, to leave the meeting and every person will immediately comply with the direction.

(c) Non-members may, with the permission of the Chairperson, address the Advisory Committee on any item of business listed on the agenda however, a non-member will not vote on any matter at an Advisory Committee meeting.

Confidential matters

(a) Should matters of a confidential nature be discussed at a meeting, the meeting may be closed to the public in accordance with Section 275 (1) of Local Government Regulation 2012 .

(b) A person who is or has been a Member of an Advisory Committee must not make improper use of information acquired as a Member:

  • to gain, directly or indirectly, a financial advantage for the person or someone else;
  • to harm the local government; or
  • to release information that the person knows, or should reasonably know, is information that is confidential.

Reporting

The Environment Advisory Committee will submit a report (Minutes listing actions, responsibilities, timeframes and outcomes) on each of its meetings to the Chief Executive Officer, who will list any recommendations for Council’s consideration on an agenda of a meeting of a Council Committee.

Media contact

Media statements will only be made by the Chairperson.

Sub-committees

The Advisory Committee has the authority to establish special interest sub-groups and working groups as required to address specific matters identified by the Advisory Committee.  These sub-groups (established under the same terms and conditions as the Advisory Committee) are to report back to the Advisory Committee. 

Remuneration

The Council will not generally authorise payment or provide remuneration to Members of Advisory Committees however, where special circumstances exist, Council may resolve to pay remuneration, reimburse expenses and/or provide facilities to Members of Advisory Committees.

Insurance

The Council will ensure that all Members of Advisory Committees are covered by appropriate insurances (e.g. voluntary workers, public indemnity).