Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 No 101
Part 8 Scientific Committee
Introductory note.This Part establishes, and describes the functions, membership and procedure of, and the manner of service of documents on, the Scientific Committee. The Part provides that the Scientific Committee is not subject to Ministerial control or direction.
128 Establishment of Scientific Committee
There is established by this Act a body corporate with the corporate name “Scientific Committee”.
128A Functions of Scientific Committee
(1) The Scientific Committee has the functions conferred or imposed on it by or under this or any other Act or law.(2) The principal functions of the Scientific Committee are as follows:(a) to determine which species are to be listed under this Act as threatened species,(b) to determine which populations are to be listed under this Act as endangered populations and to advise the Chief Executive on the identification of their critical habitat,(c) to determine which ecological communities are to be listed under this Act as endangered, critically endangered or vulnerable ecological communities and to advise the Chief Executive on the identification of their critical habitat,(d) to determine which threatening processes are to be listed under this Act as key threatening processes,(e) to review draft joint management agreements and the performance of parties under executed joint management agreements,(f) to advise the Chief Executive on the exercise of the Chief Executive’s functions under this Act,(g) to advise the Minister and the NRC on any matter relating to the conservation of threatened species, populations or ecological communities that is referred to the Committee by the Minister or that the Committee considers appropriate.(3) The Scientific Committee may, in the exercise of its functions, make use of consultants or obtain assistance or advice from other persons.
129 Members of Scientific Committee
(1) The Scientific Committee is to consist of 11 members appointed by the Minister.(2) Of the members of the Scientific Committee:(a) two are to be scientists employed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service nominated by the Chief Executive,(b) one is to be a scientist employed by a public authority, having expertise in one or more of the areas of study referred to in subsection (3), selected by the Minister,(b1) one is to be a scientist who is employed by a public authority that has land management responsibilities and who is selected by the Minister,(c) one is to be a scientist nominated by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation,(d) one is to be a scientist employed and nominated by the Australian Museum Trust,(e) one is to be a scientist employed and nominated by the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust,(f) one is to be a scientist nominated by the Ecological Society of Australia,(g) one is to be a scientist nominated by the Entomological Society of Australia,(h) one is to be a scientist who is employed by a tertiary educational institution and who is selected by the Minister,(i) one is to be a scientist having expertise in agricultural science and natural resource management who is selected by the Minister.(3) A person appointed as a member of the Scientific Committee is to have expertise in one or more of the following areas of study:(a) vertebrate biology,(b) invertebrate biology,(c) plant biology,(d) terrestrial ecology,(e) plant community ecology,(f) limnology,(g) aquatic biology,(h) genetics of small populations,(i) population dynamics (including population viability analysis or evolutionary ecology).(4) If the person or body responsible for nominating a member of the Scientific Committee under this section (the nominating body) fails to submit a nomination to the Minister, within such time and in such manner as may be specified by the Minister by notice in writing to the nominating body, the Minister:(a) may seek a nomination from any other person or body that the Minister considers to be a suitable substitute for the nominating body, and(b) may appoint any scientist nominated, or employed and nominated, by that other person or body as a member of the Scientific Committee, in place of a scientist nominated, or employed and nominated, by the nominating body.
130 Provisions relating to members of Scientific Committee
(1) Subject to this Act, a member of the Scientific Committee holds office for such period (not exceeding 3 years) as is specified in the member’s instrument of appointment, but is eligible (if otherwise qualified) for re-appointment.(1A) A person who serves as a member of the Scientific Committee for 2 consecutive periods is not eligible to be a member of the Scientific Committee for 3 years after the end of those consecutive periods.(1B) In determining the term of office to be provided for by a member’s instrument of appointment, the Minister is to have regard to the desirability of maintaining some continuity of membership of the Committee. That is, the Minister is to endeavour to ensure that the terms of office of all members do not expire at or about the same time.(2) A member is entitled to be paid such remuneration (including travelling and subsistence allowances) as the Minister may from time to time determine in respect of the member.(3) The office of a member becomes vacant if the member:(a) dies, or(b) completes a term of office and is not reappointed, or(c) resigns the office by instrument in writing addressed to the Minister, or(d) is removed from office by the Minister under this section or by the Governor under Part 6 of the Government Sector Employment Act 2013, or(e) is absent from 4 consecutive meetings of the Scientific Committee of which reasonable notice has been given to the member personally or in the ordinary course of post, except on leave granted by the Scientific Committee or unless, before the expiration of 4 weeks after the last of those meetings, the member is excused by the Scientific Committee for having been absent from those meetings, or(f) becomes a mentally incapacitated person, or(g) ceases to have the qualification required for the member’s appointment.(4) The Minister may remove a member from office.(5) The provisions of the Government Sector Employment Act 2013 relating to the employment of Public Service employees do not apply to a member.(6) If by or under any Act provision is made:(a) requiring a person who is the holder of a specified office to devote the whole of his or her time to the duties of that office, orthe provision does not operate to disqualify the person from holding that office and also the office of a member or from accepting and retaining any remuneration payable to the person under this Act as a member.(b) prohibiting the person from engaging in employment outside the duties of that office,
131 Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson
A Chairperson and a Deputy Chairperson of the Scientific Committee are to be appointed by the Minister from among the members of the Scientific Committee.
132 Disclosure of pecuniary interests
(1) If:(a) a member has a direct or indirect pecuniary interest in a matter being considered or about to be considered at a meeting of the Scientific Committee, andthe member must, as soon as possible after the relevant facts have come to the member’s knowledge, disclose the nature of the interest at a meeting of the Scientific Committee.(b) the interest appears to raise a conflict with the proper performance of the member’s duties in relation to the consideration of the matter,(2) A disclosure by a member at a meeting of the Scientific Committee that the member:(a) is a member, or is in the employment, of a specified company or other body, or(b) is a partner, or is in the employment, of a specified person, oris a sufficient disclosure of the nature of the interest in any matter relating to that company or other body or to that person which may arise after the date of the disclosure and which is required to be disclosed under subsection (1).(c) has some other specified interest relating to a specified company or other body or to a specified person,(3) Particulars of any disclosure made under this section must be recorded by the Scientific Committee in a book kept for the purpose and that book must be open at all reasonable hours to inspection by any person on payment of the fee (if any) determined by the Scientific Committee.(4) After a member has disclosed the nature of an interest in any matter, the member must not, unless the Scientific Committee otherwise determines:(a) be present during any deliberation of the Scientific Committee with respect to the matter, or(b) take part in any decision of the Scientific Committee with respect to the matter.(5) For the purposes of the making of a determination by the Scientific Committee under subsection (4), a member who has a direct or indirect pecuniary interest in a matter to which the disclosure relates must not:(a) be present during any deliberation of the Scientific Committee for the purpose of making the determination, or(b) take part in the making by the Scientific Committee of the determination.(6) A contravention of this section does not invalidate any decision of the Scientific Committee.
133 Procedure of Scientific Committee
(1) The procedure for the calling of meetings of the Scientific Committee and for the conduct of business at those meetings is, subject to this Act and the regulations, to be as determined by the Scientific Committee.(2) The quorum for a meeting of the Scientific Committee is 6 members.(3) The Chairperson of the Scientific Committee or, in the absence of the Chairperson, the Deputy Chairperson or, in the absence of both the Chairperson and the Deputy Chairperson, another member elected to chair the meeting, is to preside at a meeting of the Scientific Committee. The person presiding at a meeting has a deliberative vote but not a casting vote.(4) A decision supported by a majority of the votes cast at a meeting of the Scientific Committee at which a quorum is present is the decision of the Scientific Committee.(5) The Scientific Committee may invite suitably qualified persons to attend meetings to advise or inform the Scientific Committee on any matter.
134 Transaction of business outside meeting or by telephone or other means
(1) The Scientific Committee may, if it thinks fit, transact any of its business by the circulation of papers among all the members for the time being, and a resolution in writing approved in writing by a majority of those members is taken to be a decision of the Scientific Committee.(2) The Scientific Committee may, if it thinks fit, transact any of its business at a meeting at which members (or some members) participate by telephone, closed-circuit television or other means, but only if any member who speaks on a matter before the meeting can be heard by the other members.(3) For the purposes of:(a) the approval of a resolution under subsection (1), orthe Chairperson and each other member have the same voting rights as they have at an ordinary meeting of the Scientific Committee.(b) a meeting held in accordance with subsection (2),(4) A resolution approved under subsection (1) is, subject to the regulations, to be recorded in the minutes of the meeting of the Scientific Committee.(5) Papers may be circulated among the members for the purposes of subsection (1) by facsimile or other transmission of the information in the papers concerned.
135 Scientific Committee not subject to Ministerial control
The Scientific Committee is not subject to the control or direction of the Minister.
135A Exclusion of personal liability
(1) Any matter or thing done or omitted to be done by a member of the Scientific Committee, or by any person acting under the direction of the Scientific Committee, does not, if the matter or thing was done or omitted to be done in good faith for the purpose of exercising functions under this Act, subject that member or person personally to any action, liability, claim or demand.(2) However, any such liability attaches instead to the Crown.
136 Service of documents on Scientific Committee
For the purposes of this Act, a nomination for listing under Part 2 or any other document is made, issued or given to the Scientific Committee if it is addressed to the Scientific Committee and is:(a) lodged at the head office of the National Parks and Wildlife Service, or(b) sent by post to the head office of the National Parks and Wildlife Service, or(c) sent by facsimile transmission or other electronic means notified by the Scientific Committee as being an available means of communication, or(d) sent by any means provided for the service of documents by another Act or law.