Independent science panel

The Independent Science Panel provides strong independent science-based and technical advice to the Australian and Queensland governments on water quality science needs. It is a working group of the Reef 2050 Independent Expert Panel which provides broader scientific advice on implementing the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan.

The Independent Science Panel:

  • Provides advice on knowledge gaps, science priorities and delivery associated with the overall implementation of the Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan.
  • Conducts scientific reviews of Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan activities and initiatives, including annual and other reports, and makes specific recommendations about the direction, content and details of future activities.
  • Conduct scientific reviews of the Wet Tropics Healthy Waterways Partnership, Dry Tropics Partnership and Mackay Whitsunday Healthy Rivers to Reef Partnership activities and initiatives.
  • Provides timely independent scientific advice and review to support Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan implementation, monitoring and reporting:
    • to be scientifically defensible and achievable
    • to be undertaken in a scientifically credible and cost-effective manner
    • to be designed, implemented and managed according to best scientific and environmental standards
    • to use contemporary, fit-for-purpose methods of data collection, quality assurance and statistical methodologies
    • to have processes in place to effectively integrate the various program activities (and where appropriate other related activities)
    • to communicate the findings in a timely and appropriate manner to both technical and non-technical audiences.
  • Provides advice on the possible inclusion of new and innovative methods to support monitoring and reporting activities.

Independent Chair

Dr Roger Shaw has been appointed jointly by the Australian and Queensland Environment Ministers as independent chair of the committee.


The Independent Science Panel has a skills-based membership that may include up to nine members, including an independent chair, with expertise in the following areas:

  • agronomic and landscape processes
  • marine and freshwater biochemistry, ecology and modelling
  • resource management, water quality and ecosystem health target-setting and monitoring
  • information integration, synthesis, reporting and communication
  • social and economic methodologies
  • statistics and analytics
  • coastal ecosystems
  • ecotoxicology.