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In 2021, the department refreshed its pool of suitably qualified chairpersons appointed to chair community consultative committees for state significant projects in NSW.

As the nature and complexity of issues can vary substantially from one committee to the next, the department has selected chairpersons with a wide and varied range of expertise to meet community expectations for independent and meaningful consultation on specific projects.

Independent chairperson requirements and responsibilities

Independent chairpersons are selected based on their:

  • experience in community relations, facilitation and mediation
  • understanding of the regulatory requirements and issues associated with state significant projects
  • proven experience in managing and convening stakeholder committees.

Responsibilities of a community consultative committee chairperson include:

  • managing all aspects of committee meetings in a fair and independent way
  • preparing meeting agendas, minutes and annual reports of committee activities
  • ensuring committee members abide by the code of conduct and resolving disputes between committee members
  • liaising with key stakeholders and the department on matters raised in committee meetings.

Pool of chairpersons

Independent chairpersons

Lisa Andrews

Lisa Andrews has extensive experience dealing with both community and industry having held various positions within local government over a 30-year career. As a qualified town planner, with a strong background in customer service and executive administration roles, she has an excellent understanding of planning legislation, processes, compliance requirements and engagement. Lisa has been working successfully as an Independent Chairperson for four years in the Resource and Energy Sectors including coal mining, wind farms, quarrying and metalliferous industries. Lisa's experience in managing complex relationships between all major stakeholders, combined with strong mediation and conflict resolutions skills provides the necessary balance for this role.

Mike Archer

For the past five years Mike Archer has served as the independent chair of both the Dendrobium CCC and the Dendrobium Community Enhancement Committee, giving him extensive experience with community consultation in the mining industry. Mike has worked for OK Tedi Mining in Papua New Guinea as well as for BHP and BlueScope Steel in both Melbourne and Port Kembla. As BlueScope’s Port Kembla External Affairs Manager for 19 years he oversaw the public relations management of several corporate issues that were of significant concern to the local community, including long-term representation on the Port Kembla Pollution Meeting.

Brendan Blakeley

Brendan Blakeley holds qualifications in dispute resolution, mediation and negotiation. He also holds positions on several CCC and Advisory Groups including the Tallawarra Power Station CCC, Energy Australia Lithgow Region CCC, Green Square Community Liaison Group, Lynwood Quarry CCC and is the Alternate Chair for the Jupiter Wind Farm CCC. Mr. Blakeley has over 15 years experience in helping communities in metropolitan and regional areas provide input to the development of policy and land use plans and facilitating engagement processes for infrastructure and resource projects. He is currently a director of Elton Consulting.

Ian Colley

Ian Colley owns his own facilitation, change and learning business. He has held independent chairing roles for community liaison committees including for the Barangaroo Development Authority and Taralga Wind Farm. He is currently the independent chair for the Orica Botany Liaison Committee and the Port Enfield Community Liaison Committee. Ian has successfully completed complicated facilitation projects for TAFE, the Department of Premier and Cabinet, Price Waterhouse, Land and Housing Corporation, Government House, NSW Family and Community Services, Telstra and St Vincent de Paul Society. He has won the Global Best Practice Industry Education Partnership Award and a Premier's Public Service Award.

Kath Elliott

Kath Elliott has more than 30 years experience in strategic communications, specialising in community consultation and engagement management in a wide range of industry sectors. She is an experienced facilitator, mediator and is the independent chair of three CCCs and she has an excellent track record in ensuring balanced outcomes between business and the community. Kath is currently a Councillor on Newcastle City Council and is a board director of Disabled Wintersport Australia and the Huntlee Academy. Ms Elliott holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, and an Advanced Diploma of Business Management.

Brian Elton

Brian Elton has served as independent chairperson on several CCCs in both regional and urban areas. His project portfolio includes the Epping to Chatswood Rail Link, the Cross-City Tunnel Air Quality, Jupiter Windfarm and Dargues Goldmine CCCs. He has a strong understanding of urban planning, infrastructure, community engagement and resources management and he has extensive dispute resolution skills and consensus building techniques to help groups develop workable solutions to emerging issues. Brian is a Fellow of the Planning Institute of Australia and a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Dr Colin Gellatly (AO)

Dr Colin Gellatly (AO) is one of Australia’s most successful public servants having served as Director General in several Government Departments, including the Premier’s Department, the Industrial Relations, Employment, Training and Further Education Department and the Land and Water Conservation Department. He has chaired the NSW Government’s Electricity Sale Steering Committee as well as the Rural and Regional Taskforce and has served as General Manager and Director of Management Review in the NSW Office of Public Management. Dr Gellatly has also been a member of a diverse range of Boards and Committees in the public sector. He was a member of the University of New England Council and a member of the UNE Foundation.

Abigail Goldberg

Abigail Chairs the Advisory Board for Water Infrastructure NSW as well as the Sydney Central City Planning Panel and the City of Sydney Local Planning Panel. She also Chairs a number of Community Consultative Committees and Audit and Risk Committees, and is a Non-Executive Director for several companies. Abigail is a senior Gateway Reviewer for government agencies and was a Commissioner for the NSW Planning Assessment Commission up to 2012.

Abigail’s career features numerous senior private and public sector roles, including as Chief Executive Officer of Metro Transport Sydney and General Manager of South Sydney Development Corporation. She was the inaugural Assistant Director of the Urban Design Advisory Service, a business unit within the Department of Planning, NSW. She is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Planning Institute of Australia.

Peter Gordon

Peter Gordon is experienced in working with institutions and community organisations and believes in placing a strong emphasis on networking and community engagement. He is currently the CCC. Chair of Crookwell 2 and 3 Wind farms, Gullen Range Wind Farm, Granite Hills Wind Farm and prospectively Capital 2 Wind Farm. He chairs the Patons Lane Resource Recovery Centre's Community Liaison Committee. Mr Gordon believes the role of an Independent CCC Chair is to find a way for companies and local communities to work together for mutually beneficial outcomes.

Dr John Frederick Griffin

Dr John Frederick Griffin is a highly qualified electrical and mechanical engineer who has served as General Manager of Tweed Shire Council and the City Manager of Keilor (Victoria). He serves on the Northern NSW Local Health District Board, is a member of the NSW Joint Regional Planning Panels, a member of the Sydney Independent Hearing and Assessment Panels and held a Statutory Appointment as a Services Member of the Veteran's Review Board. Dr Griffin was a senior manager with the State Electricity Commission of Victoria and General Manager of the Northern Territory Electricity Commission. He is an Australian Institute of Company Directors, Fellow as well as an Institution of Engineers Australia Fellow. As a former Royal Australian Naval Reserve Lieutenant Commander, Dr Griffin has strong leadership skills and as a Mediator from Bond University's Dispute Resolution Centre he is well placed as an independent chair of the CCC. He currently chairs three CCC's.

John Hann

John has over 20 years’ experience leading and overseeing community-based stakeholder engagement programs across both the private and public sectors and multiple state jurisdictions, including participating in VCAT (Vic) and SAT (WA) mediation programs.

John was appointed Commissioner with the NSW IPC (formerly PAC) in 2015 and over the course of his 6-year term with the IPC has been responsible for the determination of multiple, strongly contested and complex State Significant cases, either as Chair or Commission Panel Member and most recently as Deputy Chair of the Commission. The IPC SSD cases spanned residential, industrial, commercial and extractive industry and in all instances, involved strong, transparent stakeholder engagement. John also Chaired the IPC Risk and Compliance Committee in 2020/21. John is committed to effective, transparent and trusted community engagement across all stages of development and understands the value well designed and executed programs can bring particularly to communities and all stakeholders.

Margaret Harvie

Margaret Harvie is committed to creating opportunities for the public to have a say about matters that impact their lives. She works with proponents to help them to forge constructive relationships with what might be perceived as challenging communities. She is accustomed to applying strategies for dealing with opposition and outrage in public participation as a trainer for a course by this name developed by the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) and Dr Peter Sandman. She is a Director and co-founder of PlanCom Consulting Pty Ltd, a company that specialises in planning and community engagement. She is one of the very few trainers in Australia for the internationally recognised 5-day certificate IAP2 training program. Margaret is also an Associate of the University of Technology, Sydney.

Ross Hornsey

Ross is a Director at Ethos Urban with over 18 years’ experience working with communities, stakeholders, governments and proponents to guide responsible decision making in matters of major urban renewal and regional development. An expert in community and stakeholder engagement, strategic communications, facilitation and mediation, he has worked in both the public and private sectors in Australia and the UK on the delivery of major infrastructure and urban renewal projects that span transport, renewable energy, social infrastructure, housing, commercial and complex mixed-use precincts.

In leading the development and implementation of successful strategies across all stages of the policy making and project development lifecycle from strategic planning through design, regulatory approvals, procurement and delivery he has also developed an advanced understanding of the NSW planning system including environmental, social and economic impact assessment.

Sandy Hoy

Sandy Hoy has more than 25 years' consulting experience in the fields of open space, recreation and environmental planning as well as land use planning and management. She is currently the Director of Parkland Planners, and was previously an Associate and Recreation/Environmental Planner with Manidis Roberts Consultants. She holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Applied Physical and Human Geography, a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning, and has an International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) Australasia Certificate in Engagement. Sandy's experience and qualifications enable her to seek a balance between the needs of local and wider communities, development, and the natural environment.

David Johnson

David Johnson is a qualified geologist and environmental scientist, and an experienced community consultation, mediation and stakeholder liaison practitioner. He is a Member (Commissioner) of the NSW Government's Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) advising on environmental science and planning, pollution control and waste management. David lectures in environmental science, at the Australian Catholic University. He is also a member of the Lane Cove and Parramatta Councils' Independent Hearing and Assessment Panels (IHAP) and the Inner West Council Independent Planning Panel. He has worked as an Acting Commissioner in the NSW Land and Environment Court. David believes the most important role of an independent chair is communicating accurate, high quality, balanced and transparent decisions to stakeholders.

Suzanne Little

Suzanne Little is a sustainability scientist with strong communications skills. During a 40-year career she worked as an environmental practitioner in infrastructure, utilities and major corporations. Her utilities were electricity, gas, telecommunications, and waste management. She was the Environment Director of Sydney’s Olympic Games and the Environment Manager of three national corporations. She has worked from both the corporate and government perspective of development. During the last ten years she has been a non-executive director of six environmental boards - mostly in natural resource management. These include a statutory authority, a not-for-profit organisation, and three environmental certification schemes in forestry, agriculture and household products. Suzanne has also developed a technical knowledge and practical understanding of the planning and development process through her experience preparing Environmental Impact Statements.

Helen Lochhead

Helen Lochhead is an experienced chair of planning panels, committees, and boards with qualifications in dispute resolution, mediation and expertise in facilitation of challenging urban development and infrastructure processes with diverse stakeholders. Her career has focused on the inception, planning and delivery of complex projects ranging from city-wide improvements programs to major urban renewal projects. Helen has held senior roles in the NSW government, and currently serves on the Independent Planning Commission, the Australian Heritage Council, the Infrastructure NSW Assurance Panel (INSW) and as Chair of Sydney South Planning Panel and various NSW Local Planning Panels. She is an emeritus professor of architecture and urbanism at UNSW Sydney, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects, the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and a member of the Planning Institute of Australia.

Margaret MacDonald-Hill

Margaret MacDonald-Hill has had an extensive career in Local Government roles, concluding as the Executive Officer for NSW Association of Mining Related Councils. She is a previous Member of the Ministers' Arbitration Panel and has specialised in community consultation and dispute resolution for over three decades. Her history of chairing many State Significant Development CCCs is far-reaching and includes experience in a range of resource projects including open cut and underground mining; petroleum, metalliferous and other mineral extraction as well as wind farms. Margaret is a Board Member of Subsidence NSW Advisory and has received a NSW Premier's award for working with mining communities.

Jan McClelland AM

Jan McClelland AM is an experienced independent chairperson of boards and committees. She is currently Deputy Chancellor of the University of New England and independent chairperson of boards and committees in government, industry and not for profit sectors. Jan has extensive experience in NSW government administration and is a former Director General of the NSW Department of Education and Training, Managing Director of TAFE NSW, and Acting Secretary of NSW Health. She is also a former Director of the Central Coast Redevelopment Authority, Waste Services Environmental Solutions and State Transit Authority, member of the Administrative Decisions Tribunal and Chair of the Australian Consumers Association. Jan has strong communication and facilitation skills and extensive experience in engaging with a diverse range of stakeholders in government, industry, and communities on complex and sensitive issues to achieve effective outcomes.

Deborah Palmer

Deborah Palmer is a skilled facilitator and community engagement specialist who has worked on several significant NSW projects in both regional and urban areas. This has given her a strong understanding of community engagement, urban planning, and infrastructure. Some of the more high-profile projects in which Deborah has demonstrated her extensive facilitation skills have included the Freight and Ports Plan for NSW, the Northern Beaches Event Strategy and Framework, the NSW Government's Local Government Reform and its Social Housing Reform discussion paper. Throughout these projects Deborah used her dispute resolution skills to encourage open and balanced conversations aimed at developing workable solutions.

William Edward John (WEJ) Paradice AM

WEJ Paradice (AM) currently chairs the Mount Pleasant CCC, is a member of the NSW Independent Water Advisory Panel as well as a Member of the Newcastle International College Academic Board. He has significant experience as a board member on Government panels and has served on numerous steering committees and advisory boards. He was awarded the Order of Australia in 2008 for services to conservation, the environment and the community of the Hunter Region of NSW. WEJ Paradice has held several Board positions with the Hunter Catchment Management Trust and the Hunter Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority. He also led the Hunter Valley Research Foundation in an executive role for 30 years until his retirement from that organisation. He currently Chairs the Operations Committee of the Hunter River Salinity Trading Scheme and is a Conjoint Professor at the School of Environmental and Life Sciences at the University of Newcastle.

Chris Peat

Chris Peat is a highly experienced stakeholder and community engagement professional who has worked across some of Australia's largest infrastructure projects, Chris is highly valued as a trusted advisor by clients and the community.

Chris is valued for his facilitation and negotiation skills having chaired, facilitated and acted as secretariat for a diverse range of projects including the Epping to Chatswood Rail Link Community Liaison groups, Western Sydney Corridors program for Transport for NSW, during the EIS phase for Sydney Metro West during COVID, chairing and facilitating meetings with resident action groups and facilitating and conducting meetings with the community, residents and business owners affected by property acquisition for Sydney Metro. Chris works to ensure all parties have a voice at the table and brings parties together to develop solutions and find common ground.

David Ross

David Ross is an experienced community relations and stakeholder engagement expert who specialises in facilitating meetings and mediation between opposing stakeholders. He is currently the independent chair of the Boggabri, Tarrawonga and Maules Creek coal mine CCCs. David also runs stakeholder advisory committee meetings across NSW on behalf of the State Government's requirements to support delivery of the Murray Darling River Basin Plan. He has diverse experience in issues affecting local communities including those associated with coal mining, river basin management, waste management, coal seam gas, community economic development, wastewater and windfarms.

Roberta Ryan

Roberta Ryan is nationally recognised for her expertise in mediating and facilitating shared outcomes that meet both the government's and stakeholder’s objectives in contested environments. She is currently chair of NSW Ports, St Catherine's School, Emanual School, Iglu Mascot and Whitehaven Mine Expansion CCCs. Currently appointed by Minister Stokes as the Independent Community Commissioner of the Aerotropolis, Roberta is also the state appointed member of the Central Sydney Planning Panel and an alternate for others.

Donna Rygate

Donna Rygate currently holds various board, panel and committee chair and/or member roles. Donna was previously Chief Executive of Local Government NSW, and CEO of the NSW Office of Communities (responsible for Sport & Recreation, Venues NSW, Sydney Olympic Park Authority, Penrith Lakes, Youth, Veterans' Affairs, Volunteering, the Commission for Children & Young People, the Children’s Guardian and Aboriginal Affairs). Donna previously headed a division in the then NSW Department of Planning & Infrastructure, was a Deputy Director General with the then NSW Department of Community Services, and her experience also includes roles in central agencies, transport and environment protection. She has an Economics degree (Hons) and a Masters in Planning, is an Australian Institute of Company Directors graduate, is currently studying for her Juris Doctor degree, and was made a Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration in 2012.

Michael Silver

Michael Silver has extensive local government experience having spent 44 years working for Gunnedah local government authorities, most recently as Planning & Environment Director with Gunnedah Shire Council, overseeing the building, planning and environmental fields. Michael now runs his own community planning and project management consultancy. He is currently the independent chair of the Western Slopes Pipeline CCC and was previously Gunnedah Council's representative on the Watermark Coal Project and Caroona Coal Project CCCs. His experience with highly sensitive community issues has him well placed to deal with community concerns and achieve negotiated acceptable outcomes for all parties.

John Turner

John Turner is a qualified solicitor who has served in the NSW Legislative Assembly as both Member for Myall Lakes and the Deputy Speaker of the House. He has been an Alderman and Deputy Mayor of Greater Cessnock Council. He has extensive experience in CCCs having chaired ten in the past, including Bulga Coal, Cabbage Tree Road Sand Quarry and Maules Creek Coal Mine. Mr Turner also has served on NSW committees looking in to intermodal transport hubs in rural and regional NSW and re-writing the Local Government Act. He has also served as the Administrator of MidCoast Council following council amalgamations in NSW. Currently he is chair of Regional Development Australia-Hunter, part of a national network of committees set up by the Federal Government to enhance regional development throughout Australia.

Michael Ulph

Michael Ulph is a highly experienced community relations practitioner, facilitator and meeting chair, who has worked on consultation projects of all sizes for local, regional and state governments, and for private organisations. He has a good understanding of infrastructure delivery, community and stakeholder engagement, and a strong commitment to working collaboratively with stakeholders to establish a genuine relationship with the communities in which projects are delivered.

Project types that Michael has been involved with include rail, road, quarries, renewables, contaminated sites, demolition and remediation, water, drought and other disasters. Some of these projects have required outrage management and often include Indigenous engagement.

Scott Warren

Scott Warren has a lengthy career in New South Wales in major infrastructure public affairs, statutory consultation and community relations, working both government-side and for private sector agencies. That experience includes establishment and operation of a Public Private Partnership (CBD and South East Light Rail) and State Significant Developments spanning road and rail transport, freight, health, education and residential property, in both metropolitan and regional locations. He has established and participated in Community Consultative Committees, chaired Community Liaison Groups and is an experienced facilitator and chair.

Darryl Watkins

Darryl Watkins is a leading communication and engagement specialist. As an Adviser to both State and Commonwealth Ministers and in his current role as Executive Director of specialist communication and engagement company KJA, Darryl delivers solutions for high profile and contentious projects. Darryl works with the community and government to provide solutions for issues management, stakeholder engagement and community relations. Darryl has applied his unique mix of skills and experience to projects involving sensitive environmental issues as well as balancing commercial considerations with community impacts.

Brian Weir

Brian Weir has extensive experience in local government planning and community consultation, having served 25 years as Shellharbour City Council's Town Clerk and General Manager. He is currently the Independent Chairman of the Gerroa Sand Mine Community Consultation Committee (CCC) as well as the Albion Park Quarry CCC. Brian has chaired a number of community based organisations in the Illawarra and beyond and remains on several boards.

He was awarded the Public Service Medal in the 2009 Queens Birthday Honours and has received the Fellowship of Local Government Managers Australia (NSW).

Garry West

Garry West was previously the Northern Regional Joint Regional Planning Panel chairman and member of the NSW Planning Assessment Commission. These roles have required the provision of advice and the determination of State and Regional significant projects. During the past decade, Mr West has chaired several CCCs and undertaken land use planning reviews. He served as an elected Member and Minister in the NSW Parliament for 20 years before retiring to take up a role in corporate affairs in an international company.

Peter Whelan

Peter Whelan is a highly experienced community relations practitioner who has worked on large consultation projects for local, regional and state governments, to create productive conversations with the different communities that may be affected. He has a solid understanding of urban planning and infrastructure delivery, community and stakeholder engagement, and a strong commitment to working collaboratively with stakeholders to establish a genuine relationship with the communities in which projects are delivered. Some of the projects Peter has been involved with include the CBD and South East Light Rail, Sydney Intermodal Terminal Alliance (Moorebank), the Pacific Highway upgrade, the South West Rail Link and the Northern Sydney Freight Corridor.

Denise Wilson

Denise Wilson is a well-regarded, highly experienced facilitator and mediation practitioner.

Denise has chaired many construction and community committees including M5 East Air Quality Committee, Lane Cove Tunnel Air Quality Committee, Westlink M7, Legacy Way (QLD), Kurnell Desalination Plant and the Sydney Cross City Tunnel at the height of its controversial opening.

Denise is recognised for her ability to resolve disputes and negotiate appropriate solutions for contentious issues on complex projects and is well regarded for her interpersonal clarity and consistency, her ability to lead, motivate and influence others. As a planner and communication professional, Denise understands the planning process, the construction process and communication needs in dynamic and sensitive environments. Denise is regionally based in Northern NSW.