The Steering Committee is the chief decision-making body of AELERT and is reflective of a representative governance model. The Australian Government, New Zealand Central Government and all Australian States and Territories nominate a Jurisdictional Representative to sit on the Steering Committee.
The AELERT Steering Committee meets formally no less than three times a year to discuss the strategic direction of AELERT, Cluster projects, AELERT member needs and issues facing the environmental regulatory community.
The AELERT Steering Committee members are:
Mark Gifford, NSW Environment Protection Authority
Mark Gifford, Chair, is the Acting CEO at the NSW Environment Protection Authority, with more than 33 years’ experience in management and leadership positions. Mark was appointed Chair of AELERT in September 2017.
In his substantive role as Chief Environmental Regulator Mr Gifford oversees the EPA’s regulatory policies, practices and outcomes, particularly in regard to the environmental impacts from major industrial activities, including air and water quality, noise and the regulation of gas and forestry activities.
Mr Gifford has made significant improvements in areas such as environment protection licensing and legislation. He led the government’s reforms to the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 to improve industry performance and public reporting, and the updating and modernising of the EPA. He oversees the EPA’s current forestry reforms and implementation of the Government’s role for the EPA under the NSW Gas Plan. Mr Gifford has significant experience in national regulatory harmonisation including the continuous review of the EPA’s regulatory approach and significant reforms to ensure effective, efficient and credible regulation.
Mr Gifford has a Bachelor of Business (Public Administration) and is Chair of the Australasian Environmental Law Enforcement and Regulators Network. He was awarded a Public Service Medal for services to environmental protection in June 2015.
Monica Collins, Department of the Environment and Energy
Monica Collins joined the Commonwealth Department of Environment and Energy as Head of the Compliance and Enforcement Branch. Monica most recently worked with the New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage, and has more than 20 years’ experience working in the environment sector.
Monica has worked in environmental regulation, compliance and enforcement, community engagement, and environmental program delivery roles, including in the Murray-Darling Basin, threatened species programs, kangaroo management, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Monica also brings experience in managing regulatory reform and change management.
Tony Circelli, Environment Protection Authority South Australia
Tony Circelli is Chief Executive of the Environment Protection Authority, the State of South Australia’s independent environment regulator.
Mr Circelli was the former Chair of AELERT from May 2014 to August 2017. Mr Circelli has significance knowledge and experience in regulatory science and building better regulatory practice into EPA policy, operations and organisational culture.
He is also a member of the Governing Board of the EPA, Presiding Member of the SA Radiation Protection Committee, and member of the national Cooperative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment (CRC CARE) Beyond 2020 Committee. Mr Circelli has an honours degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Adelaide and a Master of Business Administration from Deakin University. He is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and Fellow of the South Australian Governor’s Leadership Foundation
Glen Brown, Department of Environment and Science
Glen is a senior environmental regulator in Queensland, heading up the Regulatory Support branch of the Department of Environment and Science.
With extensive operational experience in regional areas, Glen has brought his knowledge of frontline environmental management to his current role, where he is responsible for developing strategies and supporting material to deliver the Queensland Government’s environmental regulation outcomes. As the Executive Director, Regulatory Capability and Customer Service, Glen has been a driving force behind the department’s Regulatory Strategy. He has a keen interest in leveraging private sector skills to achieve good environmental outcomes that balance the need for responsible development. Prior to joining the Queensland public sector, Glen worked in the Environmental Assessments Branch of the then Commonwealth Environmental Protection Agency.
Glen has a Bachelor of Applied Science degree, majoring in Water Science, and First Class Honours from the University of Canberra. His doctoral thesis in stream ecology was also undertaken at the University of Canberra, in association with the then Cooperative Research Centre for Freshwater Ecology. He also has an MBA from the University of Southern Queensland.
Narelle Sargent, ACT Environment Protection Authority
Narelle joined the ACT EPA on 30 November 2017 and brings extensive experience in leadership and management in the environment, natural resource, regulatory, planning and central agency coordination, in NSW and ACT governments.
This is coupled with high level achievements in inter-governmental relations, stakeholder engagement and negotiating and collaborating across the tiers of government, including driving NSW’s engagement with the ACT to deliver the inaugural ACT and NSW Memorandum of Understanding for Regional Collaboration.
Narelle has administrated a number of pieces of Commonwealth, ACT and NSW legislation relating to environment protection, nature conservation, water management and land use planning.
Narelle is responsible for leading the day to day regulatory functions of the ACT EPA and works collaboratively both within government and with the community to achieve positive environmental outcomes. The ACT EPA regulates activities related to air, land and water, environmental noise, water resources, lakes, contaminated sites, firewood merchants, clinical and hazardous waste, and pesticide use.
She holds a Bachelor of Rural Science (Hons) and a Graduate Diploma in Management & Professional Studies.
Giselle Howard, NSW Environmental Protection Authority
Giselle Howard has worked in natural resource and environmental areas for 25 years. Prior to joining the EPA in 2003 she held middle and senior management positions in other NSW Government agencies.
At the EPA, Ms Howard has led regional teams delivering operational work for air, water, noise and chemical pollution, threatened species, Aboriginal cultural heritage, community engagement, catchment management, environmental education and groundwater and surface water environmental management.
Ms Howard’s work has been largely focused in metropolitan areas, working extensively with industry groups and community organisations to find sound environmental solutions among strongly competing demands.
Ms Howard holds a Bachelor of Science in Ecology with first class honours from the University of NSW.
Peter Vasel, NT EPA
Peter Vasel, Director Pollution Control at the Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority (NT EPA) has been the NT AELERT jurisdictional representative since late 2013.
Peter’s duties at the NT EPA include the compliance and enforcement of the NT Waste Management and Pollution Control Act and Water Act amongst others. His current area of responsibility includes the environmental regulation of all air, noise, water, waste, contaminated sites, pollution from ships (MARPOL), NPI issues. His work also entails the development of policy across all of these areas.
Peter also participates and represents the NT EPA on Commonwealth initiatives. Peter has an extensive background in compliance and enforcement and has worked as an environmental regulator in Victoria, Tasmania, Western Australia and Queensland. He has also spent some time as a principal investigator with the former Office of Police Integrity of Victoria (now IBAC).
Peter Dolan, Environment Protection Authority South Australia
Peter Dolan is the Director of Regulation in the EPA. Peter joined the EPA in 1994 and has held a number of Executive positions in the organisation including 11 years as Director of Science. He commenced his current role in May 2017.
Peter holds a BSc in Chemistry and microbiology and has extensive experience in the field of environment protection with more than 30 years’ experience.
Prior to joining the EPA, Peter worked in mining regulation, development assessment and on public health projects including the original government response to lead issues in Port Pirie in the 1980s.
Peter enjoys resolving technically and politically complex environment protection and pollution issues both directly and through the direction of professional teams and has contributed to government responses to issues as wide ranging as management of the expansion of the aquaculture industry to regulation of in-situ uranium mining.
Peter has a passion and enthusiasm for the environment and managing the interface between the environment, communities and industry, with a strong focus on improved customer service and keeping the community informed and engaged.
Cindy Ong, Environmental Protection Authority Tasmania
Cindy joined the Environment Protection Authority (EPA Tasmania) in August 2015. She manages its northern operations branch and is part of the division’s executive team.
Cindy came into the Tasmanian State Service in 1999 and before commencing with EPA Tasmania, worked in weed management and biosecurity where she specialised in risk assessment and policy development.
She also spent two years as an advisor to the minister responsible for agriculture and biosecurity and animal welfare.
Cindy moved to Tasmania from Victoria in the 1980s seeking rain, mist, frost and snow, got all those things and will not live anywhere else. She holds a Bachelor of Applied Science from the University of Tasmania with Honours in Biogeography, and a Graduate Certificate in Public Sector Management.
Greg Elms, Environmental Protection Authority Victoria
Greg is the General Counsel to the Environment Protection Authority, Victoria, heading up the Legal Services and Major Investigations Units.
Greg has extensive experience in all aspects of public sector legal work including military and civilian policing, with a strong background in investigations and court and tribunal hearings in prosecutions and disciplinary proceedings.
After spending 9 years at Victoria Police in general duties and criminal investigations, Greg spent a further 7 years with Victoria Police as a prosecutor and discipline advisor. Following that, he spent 8 years with the Victorian Government Solicitor’s Office providing specialist advice and advocacy to a broad range of government regulatory clients both directly and as a team leader.
Greg is a military police investigator and is still an active Reservist with the Australian Army, involved in investigations as well as acting as prosecuting or defending officer in administrative and disciplinary matters.
A highlight of Greg's military career was his deployment to East Timor in 2007 where he provided peace keeping and criminal investigative capacity-building assistance to the East Timorese authorities.
Germaine Larcombe, Department of Water and Environmental Regulation
Germaine is a senior environmental regulator in Western Australia with the newly established Department of Water and Environmental Regulation. She has over 14 years’ experience in environmental regulatory delivery specialising in environmental compliance and enforcement delivery.
Germaine has experience in international waste shipment regulation under the European Union’s Network for the Implementation and Enforcement of Environmental Law and in the practical application of a wide range of environmental legislation both in Ireland and Australia.
Germaine holds a Bachelor of Science with Honours from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.