About Supervising Scientist

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Supervising Scientist is part of the Department of the Environment. The organisation is headed by the Supervising Scientist, a statutory position established under the Commonwealth Environment Protection (Alligator Rivers Region) Act 1978.

The Supervising Scientist is underpinned by the Office of the Supervising Scientist (supervision, audit, assessment and business support functions) and the Environmental Research Institute of the Supervising Scientist (scientific research and monitoring functions).

The Supervising Scientist

The position of the Supervising Scientist for the Alligator Rivers Region was established following the Australian Government's decision to approve uranium mining at Ranger, to meet the need for an independent supervisory body to ensure that the environment of the Alligator Rivers Region is protected from the potential impacts of uranium mining activities.

Our key functions include:

  • undertaking environmental research and reviews of the environmental performance of uranium mines in the Alligator Rivers Region in the Northern Territory to ensure the Region's environment, including Kakadu National Park remains protected from the potential impacts of uranium mining;
  • provision of technical and policy advice to the Minister for the Environment on a wide range of scientific matters and mining-related environmental issues of national importance, including; radiological matters and tropical wetlands conservation and management; and
  • conducting more broadly based environmental research on issues of national significance.

We currently maintain a research/laboratory facility in Darwin where most of the ERISS and OSS staff are based, and a Field Station at Jabiru, Kakadu National Park, which supports our environmental monitoring program.

Office of the Supervising Scientist

The Office of the Supervising Scientist (OSS) undertakes a range of functions including:

  • periodic environmental audits and technical reviews of uranium mining operations, including exploration activities;
  • assessment of data from environmental monitoring undertaken by mining companies and the Northern Territory Department of Mines and Energy, and the outcomes of scientific research undertaken by the Environmental Research Institute of the Supervising Scientist;
  • assisting with planning for, and assessment of, rehabilitation works at former mines; and
  • provision of technical and policy advice to other Divisions within the Department, other Commonwealth and Northern Territory government agencies and the general public on a range of issues related to the impact of uranium mining on the environment and human health.

Environmental Research Institute of the Supervising Scientist

The Environmental Research Institute of the Supervising Scientist (ERISS) undertakes independent scientific research and monitoring into the impact of uranium mining on the environment of the Alligators Rivers Region (which incorporates Kakadu National Park). ERISS also conducts research on tropical river systems and the ecology and conservation of tropical wetlands with a focus on the sustainable use of water resources.

ERISS comprises five key program areas:

  1. Environmental Radioactivity
  2. Hydrologic, Geomorphic and Chemical Processes
  3. Aquatic Ecosystems Protection
  4. Ecotoxicology
  5. Revegetation and Landscape Ecology

The SS functions chart shows the functions carried out by Supervising Scientist, including ERISS research and monitoring functions.

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