About the Supervising Scientist Division

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

Supervising Scientist

The position of 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. The position of acting Supervising Scientist is currently held by Richard McAllister.

The key functions of the Supervising Scientist 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.

Further information about the Supervising Scientist and the work of the Division is available in:

The Division maintains two facilities: a research/laboratory facility in Darwin where most of the ERISS and OSS staff are based, and a Field Station at Jabiru, in Kakadu National Park, which supports the Division's environmental monitoring program.

Office of the Supervising Scientist

The Office of the Supervising Scientist (OSS) undertakes a range of supervision, audit, policy and business support functions.

The 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.

More information about the environmental supervision of uranium mining is available through the following link:

More information about Business Support services is available from the Business Manager and through the following link:

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.

The acting position of Head, ERISS is held by Dr Rick van Dam.

ERISS comprises five key program areas:

  • Environmental Radioactivity
  • Physical-Chemical Processes
  • Aquatic Ecosystems Protection
  • Ecotoxicology
  • Spatial Sciences and Data Integration

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

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