Committee members are leading scientists in their fields. The Australian Government Minister with responsibility for the Environment appoints them for their qualifications and expertise. Our members have extensive scientific qualifications and expertise in geology, hydrogeology, hydrology, ecology and ecotoxicology.
Dr Chris Pigram AM FTSE - Chair
Dr Pigram is a geologist with over 40 years’ experience and is a leader in research and management of minerals, marine and petroleum geoscience programs, and geospatial and earth monitoring. Dr Pigram was formerly the CEO of Geoscience Australia, where he held the role for seven years. Consequently, he has extensive experience in managing the interface between science and government and in stakeholder engagement.
Professor Wendy Timms - Geology and Hydrogeology
Professor Timms has extensive geology, hydrogeology and engineering expertise with over 25 years of professional experience. In 2020 she was the Distinguished Lecturer for the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training, on Digg’n deeper – the state of mining hydrogeology. She has engineering project and research experience at coal, gas, uranium, metals and potash sites in Australia, Asia and Canada. Wendy is Professor of Environmental Engineering at Deakin University, teaching geology for geotechnical engineering and leading research in geological carbon sequestration, water tracer technology, and groundwater hydrology. She has published over 200 technical reports and more than 50 peer reviewed journal papers and until recently, served as Vice-President of International Association of Hydrogeologists.
Professor Rory Nathan - Hydrology
Professor Nathan has over 35 years’ experience in engineering and environmental hydrology and is currently Professor of Hydrology and Water Resources at the University of Melbourne. He has made a substantial contribution to industry best-practice in a range of engineering and environmental fields, particularly in the characterisation of hydrologic risk, the assessment of hydrologic impacts, and hydrologic model development and application.
Dr Jenny Stauber - Ecotoxicology
Dr Stauber has 40 years of research experience in the fields of ecotoxicology, water quality, contaminant environmental risk assessment and human toxicology. She serves as an expert ecotoxicologist on a wide range of advisory panels for national and international agencies. Dr Stauber is currently a Chief Research Scientist in CSIRO Land and Water. She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science.
Dr Andrew Boulton - Ecology
Dr Boulton’s research spans river and groundwater ecology, especially in semi-arid areas, with 4 books and over 130 peer-reviewed articles. He has been on international and national panels to assess riparian zone policies, environmental flows, groundwater-dependent ecosystems and biodiversity of intermittent rivers. Dr Boulton is Adjunct Professor in Ecosystem Management at the University of New England and has held academic positions at other national and international universities.
Professor Jenny Davis - Ecology
Professor Davis has expertise in freshwater biodiversity and wetland conservation with more than 200 published papers and reports. She was awarded the Limnology Medal for excellence in freshwater research in 2006. Professor Davis co-chairs the Wetlands Working Group of the International Association for Ecology (INTECOL). She is a member of the Research Institute for Environment and Livelihoods at Charles Darwin University.
Associate Professor Phil Hayes – Hydrogeology
Associate Professor Hayes is a geoscientist, hydrogeologist and groundwater modeller with over 25 years’ experience in Australia, the United Kingdom and South America. He has worked across sectors from water resource management and groundwater protection to impact prediction and mitigation for mining, oil and gas, contaminated land, infrastructure, and nuclear waste. He is Associate Professor of Water Resources at the University of Queensland, leading research at the interface between reservoir engineering and hydrogeology, and in groundwater modelling uncertainty analysis.
Dr Juliette Woods – Hydrogeology
Dr Woods has worked in hydrogeology for 26 years, specialising in groundwater modelling, often investigating the interconnections between groundwater, hydrology and ecology. She currently leads a groundwater modelling team within the South Australian government and has previously worked in academia and industry, fostering knowledge transfer across these sectors. Dr Woods’s recent research explores interactions between surface water, groundwater, and vegetation in saline floodplains.
Fields of expertise
IESC committee members are leading scientists in the fields of hydrogeology, hydrology, ecology, geology and ecotoxicology. This composition meets the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) (EPBC Act) requirement for a majority of the IESC possessing scientific qualifications in one or more of the following areas:
- Geology: focuses on the Earth’s rocks and the processes by which they change over time.
- Hydrology: focuses on the movement, distribution, availability, quality and management of water on and beneath the Earth’s surface.
- Hydrogeology: the area of geology that deals with the distribution and movement of groundwater in the soil and rocks of the Earth’s crust.
- Ecology: the study of relationships between living organisms and their physical environment, including the consequences of human activity on the environment.
While ecotoxicology is not a requirement under the EPBC Act, having a member with qualifications in this field provides the IESC with expertise on the toxic effects of chemical, biological, and physical agents on the aquatic and terrestrial environment.
The appointments process
The IESC is to consist of at least five, but not more than eight, members. The appointments process aims to ensure that the IESC maintains the primary requirement for scientific expertise, while meeting secondary considerations of addressing the Australian Government’s gender diversity target and providing a greater geographical spread of members.
Appointments to the IESC follow a substantial due diligence process including research and assessment of a candidate’s scientific qualifications, and consultation with relevant state and Commonwealth agencies and relevant Ministers.
The Minister for the Environment appoints IESC members by written instrument, and on a part-time basis. Members hold office for the period specified in the written instrument, however, that period must not exceed five years.
Members are appointed as individuals. They are not appointed as representatives of any particular body, group or community. A member may be re-appointed to the IESC, with a re-appointment treated as a new appointment for the purpose of the maximum period in which they may serve. The same due diligence process is conducted when recommending a member be re-appointed.
Responsibilities of membership
Members must adhere to strict probity protocols, which include declaring any potential real or perceived conflicts of interest prior to reviewing project documentation, and at the commencement of each committee meeting. Declarations are recorded and made public in the published minutes of IESC meetings.
Members with real or perceived conflicts of interest are excluded from the process of deliberating on and developing advice in relation to the Request for Advice from the IESC on the project.