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Independent Expert Advisory Panel – Energy Transition

The Independent Expert Advisory Panel for Energy Transition has been established to give NSW Planning and the Independent Planning Commission of NSW (IPC) access to world's-best scientific advice when we assess energy projects related to the NSW Renewable Energy Zones under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

The establishment of the panel is modelled on the Independent Expert Advisory Panel for Mining (IEAPM).

Terms of reference

When requested, the panel will give Planning NSW or the IPC technical advice on development applications, post-approval matters and policy relating to the assessment and management of environmental impacts associated with energy projects. Detailed terms of reference (PDF, 79 KB) are available.

The panel comprises an independent chair and experts in the fields of ecology, roads and traffic and may be extended to included additional expertise as required.

The chair manages any conflicts of interest when appointing members to give advice. A Code of Conduct (PDF, 110 KB) guidance note is available.

Panel members

Simon Smith (Chair)

Simon has over 20 years’ experience in regulation, program delivery and policy development in connection with environment, energy and economic development. He served in NSW as Secretary of the Department of Industry and as deputy in the Premiers Department and in Environment. Early in his career he had extensive involvement in developing frameworks and tools to better quantify environmental impacts to support objective decision-making on impact avoidance, mitigation, offsetting and management measures. He left the public sector in 2018 and then worked in the private sector in consulting and for a technology firm. He also currently serves as a Director of RACE for 2030, a Cooperative Research Centre established to help Australia make a successful transition to renewable, affordable and clean energy.

Neil Scales OBE

Neil is an experienced transport planner with over 40 years of transport and engineering experience in Australia and Europe. Neil holds a Bachelor of Science (Engineering), a Master of Science (Control Engineering and Computer Systems), a Diploma in Management Studies and a Master of Business Administration from the Open University. Neil was the former Director General for the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads for 11 years, where he was responsible for the delivery of the $28 billion capital program and additionally the multi-billion dollar Cross River Rail project as a board member and as Chair of the Board. Neil is also considered a World Bank expert and has undertaken project reviews and problem solving for the World Bank and European Union, has been involved in appraisal of major projects in Latvia and Russia whilst working for the European Commission within the then energy directorate, and evaluated multi-member state projects. He also has demonstrated experience in the delivery of integrated transport services and practical experience with turbine delivery routing and facilitating agreements between developers, Local and State governments for road upgrade funding and delivery.

Peter Duncan AM

Peter has over 40 years’ experience in government major project delivery including 25 years’ experience in road design, modelling and delivery and 5 years as Chief of the NSW Road Authority. He has extensive experience in major project assurance, planning and delivery, including membership of the advisory board of the Office of Projects Victoria and the Northern Rivers Reconstruction Authority. Peter is currently the Chair of Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), and a Director of Water NSW and the Local Government Boundaries Commission. Peter has also held former positions including 6 years at the Independent Planning Commission of NSW as a Commissioner where he Chaired several projects for determination in the Mining, Energy, Renewables, Education and Land Development Sectors. He has also successfully chaired project delivery boards such as the $3.8 billion NSW Prison Upgrade Program and has served on the board of the Office of Projects Victoria for 6 years, was the Chief Executive of the State Roads Authority, accountable for the delivery of the Pacific Highway upgrade and he has recently been the Acting Secretary of the Premier’s Department and Cabinet Office.

Graham McCabe

Graham is an experienced transport planner and traffic engineer and has 28 years’ experience working within State and Local Government as well as working in consulting for the last 10 years. Graham has undertaken a variety of SSD traffic and transport assessments for major projects including renewable energy projects in NSW and Victoria, Western Sydney Airport, Newcastle Light Rail, and new schools and medical facilities. Graham holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Civil, Hons 2) from Wollongong University, a Masters of Transportation and Traffic from Monash University, and a Master of Business Administration (Technology Management) from Latrobe University/Chifley Business School. Graham has extensive experience with assessment and resolution of congestion and road upgrade decision-making between road authorities, proponents and community.

Nathan Garvey

Nathan is an experienced ecologist with over 20 years' practice in ecological assessment and approvals across eastern Australia. Nathan holds a Bachelor of Science and Graduate Diploma in Biological Science from the University of NSW, is a Certified Environmental Practitioner and a BAM accredited assessor. Nathan has delivered projects across a diverse range of sectors including mining, oil and gas, linear infrastructure, renewable energy and residential development. Nathan is practitioner of biodiversity assessment and approvals, including biodiversity assessment for major projects and EPBC Act referrals. He has strong expertise and experience in the assessment impacts to biodiversity arising from subsidence, including impacts to groundwater dependent ecosystems, and is one of NSW's leading experts in biodiversity approvals and offsetting. His services are actively sought by public and private sector clients. Nathan also serves as a member on the Independent Expert Advisory Panel for Mining (IEAPM).

Alex Cockerill

Alex is an experienced ecologist and botanist with over 24 years practice in terrestrial ecology research, ecological impact assessment and conservation landscape management. Alex holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours 1) from the University of Newcastle and is a leading accredited assessor under the NSW BAM, having also formed part of a separate experienced assessor advisory group established under the EIANZ and being a Commonwealth approved ecological auditor. He has strong expertise in biodiversity assessment related legislation, policy and assessment methodologies under the NSW BC Act and Commonwealth BC Act, has advised to NSW Planning on SSI and CSSI projects, and has been an expert witness evidence to Land and Environment and High Court proceedings. Alex has had recent experience in ecological assessments for public and private clients in renewable energy development and infrastructure projects.

Terry Bailey

Terry is an experienced public policy and project delivery practitioner in the fields of heritage, environment, tourism, government and public administration. Terry has over 35 years of relevant experience including roles across different government jurisdictions including as Chief Executive of the Office of Environment and Heritage, senior roles in NPWS and the Commonwealth Environment Department’s reviews and new environmental legislation in NSW and the Commonwealth. Terry holds several tertiary qualifications including a Bachelor of Applied Science (Environmental Assessment and Land Use Policy), a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Public Policy and Management. Terry is currently the Executive Dean, College of Sciences and Engineering University of Tasmania and a former Executive Director of the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies. He has led significant public policy development such as new coastal legislation, new biodiversity conservation legislation, heritage legislation and new climate change policy for NSW. Terry is also recognised as one of Australia’s leading world heritage experts, engaged by WA, SA and Queensland and has extensive experience working with First Nations Peoples in conversation, resource management, and economic development.