NRM Council Charter

1 Overview

National natural resource management (NRM) programs are funded and delivered through a regional delivery model, comprising over 50 regional bodies representing all areas of Australia. The Australian Government provides base level funding to regional NRM bodies and provides opportunities for further NRM investments through competitive funding rounds.

The ACT Government undertakes state and local government functions and is recognised by the Australian Government as being an NRM regional body for the delivery of its NRM programs. The ACT Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate (the Directorate) is responsible, on behalf of the ACT Government, for regional delivery of NRM investments in the ACT.

To support and contribute to the Directorate fulfilling its regional body role, the Directorate relies on the independent and expert advice of the NRM Council (the Council).

2 Role

2.1 Purpose

The role of the Council is to provide independent strategic advice to the Directorate on Australian Government funding for ACT NRM investments for the purpose of transparency of decision making and enhanced investment outcomes.

The Council will contribute, test and enrich ideas, and act as a sounding-board in providing advice and feedback on:

  • aligning national, regional, territory and local NRM priorities and investment, in particular in the context of the ACT NRM planning framework;
  • developing proposals for submission to the Australian Government by the Directorate;
  • engaging with the community on NRM investments;
  • achieving continuous improvement in regional delivery through monitoring, evaluation and reporting; and
  • any other matters specified in writing by the Director-General.

The Council will participate in national fora for chairs of regional NRM bodies where participation advances the interest of the ACT region and pending resource availability.

2.2 Relationship with the Directorate

The Council will provide advice independent from the Directorate’s management. It does not have executive powers, management functions or the capacity to implement actions, or delegated financial responsibilities.

The Directorate is accountable for obligations under funding agreements between the ACT Government and the Australian Government. As such, the Directorate is responsible for submitting applications to the Australian Government, contracting project delivery, financial management, and monitoring and reporting.

3 Membership

3.1 Composition

The Council shall consist of five to seven members with experience, skills and knowledge relevant to, but not limited to at least one of the following:

  • sustainable agriculture;
  • biodiversity and nature conservation;
  • Indigenous land management:
  • rural land management
  • natural resource management science;
  • biosecurity including pest animal and weed management;
  • catchment, parkcare and landcare management;
  • community engagement in natural resource management;
  • cultural awareness;
  • environmental, social and economic analysis.

The Director-General, as the person authorized to act on the Directorate’s behalf, will make appointments to ensure that a range of disciplines are represented so collectively the Council can provide advice across a broad range of NRM issues with a high degree of competence. In making appointments, consideration will be given to gender balance and cultural diversity in accordance with the ACT Government Boards and Committees Handbook.

The Council shall consist of Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson and members who are external to the ACT Government and able to provide an independent perspective.

3.2 Current membership

Schedule A to this Charter details the current members and their details, including appointment periods.

3.3 Observers

Reflecting the importance of the key stakeholders in the development and implementation of NRM investments, representatives from the Australian Government and/or from the Catchment and Landcare Association will be invited to attend Council meetings, or part therein, when deemed appropriate by both the Chairperson and the Directorate.

3.4 Appointments

The Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson and other members of the Council will be appointed by the Director-General of the Directorate.

Members will be appointed for a period of up to three years.

Membership will be reviewed by the Director-General on a regular basis, but as a minimum every three years.

3.5 Conflict of Interest

During the first meeting of each financial year members will provide written declarations to the Chairperson, for provision to the Director-General, declaring any potential or actual conflicts of interest they may have in relation to their responsibilities as a member of the Council. The Chairperson will provide their conflict of interest declaration directly to the Director-General. Members should consider past employment, consultancy arrangements and related party issues in making these declarations and the Chairperson should be satisfied that there are appropriate processes in place to manage any real or perceived conflict(s).

At the commencement of each meeting members are required to declare any potential or actual conflict of interest that may apply in respect to any agenda items. Where required by the Chairperson, the member(s) will be excused from the meeting or from the Council’s consideration of the relevant agenda item(s). Details of any conflicts of interests will be appropriately minuted.

Further instruction and advice on the management and recognition of conflict of interests is contained in sections 3.3.7 to 3.3.11 of the ACT Boards and Committees Handbook.

3.6 Code of Conduct

All members are required to declare in writing that they will abide by the ACT Governments Boards and Committee Code of Conduct which outlines the standards of behaviours and ethical conduct expected of all people servicing on ACT Boards and Committees.

3.7 Code of Ethics

The ACT Government Code of Ethics is outlined in Section 9 of the Public Sector Management Act 1994 (PSM Act) and details the requirements of a public employee in the ACT in performing his or her duties. Members of the Council are responsible for being aware of their obligations consistent with the PSM Act. A copy of the Code of Ethics will be provided to all Council members on commencement and prior to signing a code of conduct declaration.

3.8 Induction

New members will receive relevant information and briefings on their appointment to assist them to meet their Council responsibilities.

3.9 Terminations

The Director-General may remove any appointed member from office where the member:

  • is absent for 3 consecutive meetings without reasonable cause;
  • fails to adequately disclose a conflict of interest;
  • fails to appropriately conduct themselves in light of an actual or perceived conflict of interest; or
  • breaches the Code of Ethics or the Code of Conduct.

Notification of termination must be in writing from the Director-General to all Council members.

3.10 Resignations

Resignation by members must be received in writing by the Chairperson (or Deputy Chairperson in the case of the Chairperson resigning) and the Director-General.

3.11 Dissolution

The Director-General may dissolve the Council by notice in writing to all Council members.

4 Administration

4.1 Frequency of meetings

It is proposed that meetings will take place quarterly. The need for fewer or additional meetings will be determined and agreed by the Chairperson and the Directorate.

4.2 Quorum

A quorum will comprise at least three members (where total number of members is five) or at least four members (where total number of members is six or seven). Should the Chairperson be absent for a meeting, the Deputy Chairperson in the first instance, will undertake the Chairperson’s role for that meeting.

4.3 Remuneration

The level of remuneration received by the Chairperson and members of the Council will be determined by the Director-General and guided by the standards set by the Remuneration Tribunal.

4.4 Resources

The Directorate will provide or source appropriate resources for the Council to undertake its role as deemed appropriate by the Directorate.

4.5 Agenda and supporting papers

A formal agenda will be prepared for each meeting and endorsed by the Chairperson. The agenda and agenda papers are to be circulated no later than one week prior to each meeting, unless agreed by the Chairperson.

4.6 Minutes

Proceedings of Council meetings will be minuted and include a record of decisions and actions.

4.7 Secretariat

The Directorate will ensure appropriate secretariat/administrative services are provided to the Council.

4.8 Advisors

When issues arise requiring further clarification or explanation, Directorate officers or other parties with subject matter expertise may be invited by the Directorate to attend Council meetings to assist the Council in developing and providing advice.

4.9 ACT Government

A senior officer from the Directorate will represent the Directorate at meetings of the Council. However, the senior officer does not have a determination role in relation to advice provided by the Council.

4.10 Presenters

Presenters to the Council may be invited by the Chairperson or on recommendation from the Directorate to speak to the Council.

Presenters may be asked by the Chairperson to absent themselves from any discussions of the Council.

5 Reporting

5.1 Review of Charter

The Council will review the Charter annually to ensure it remains current and reflects the Council’s role. Recommended changes will be considered by the Director-General and will be adopted at the Director-General’s discretion.

5.2 Reporting to the Director-General

The Council, through the Chairperson, will provide an annual report to the Director-General on:

  • How the Council has fulfilled its role as stated at section 2 of this Charter;
  • Any issues associated with Council’s relationship with the Directorate.