Radiation Safety Advisory Council (RSAC)

The Radiation Safety Act 2016 (the Act) came in force in March 2017 to establish a framework to protect the health and safety of people and protect the environment from the harmful effects of ionising radiation while allowing for the safe and beneficial use of ionising radiation. The Act also enables New Zealand to meet its international obligations relating to radiation protection, radiation safety and security, and nuclear non-proliferation.

The RSAC is an advisory group established under section 80 of the Radiation Safety Act 2016 (the Act).

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Expert advice and recommendations

The general function of the RSAC is to provide advice to the Director, the Minister or the Director General on matters and standards relating to radiation safety. Another function of the Council is to make recommendations to:

  • the Minister on the exercise of the Minister’s powers under this Act
  • the Director on the adoption of recommendations, policies, codes of practice, and standards relating to radiation safety
  • the Director in respect of authorisations referred to it by the Director.

RSAC members

Members of the RSAC are appointed by the Minister. The Act requires the RSAC to consist of at least 2 members who have appropriate knowledge, expertise, or interest in the following areas and 1 lay member:

  • radiation and nuclear safety
  • the use of radiation and radiation sources.

The Director General and the Director cannot be members of the Council.

On 11 March 2020, the following six members were appointed to the Council by the Minister for the next three years.

Dr Andy Cousins has over 20 years’ clinical experience working as a radiation oncology medical physicist in the UK and NZ and has further experience in scientific research and consultation. Currently he is the Chief Radiation Oncology Physicist at Canterbury District Health Board and sits on other national and international radiation oncology advisory groups. His education includes a Bachelor of Science with Honours and a Doctor of Philosophy.

Brian Lunt (Chairperson) has worked in diverse roles as a medical physicist in radiology, cardiology, ophthalmology, urology, and as a technology consultant in the public and private NZ healthcare sectors. He has governance experience as the Chair of the New Zealand branch of the Australasian College of Physical Scientists and Engineers in Medicine and as a member of the International Accreditation New Zealand (National) Radiology Professional Advisory Committee. His qualifications include a Bachelor and Master of Science degrees.

Carl Dawson has a background in electronic and software engineering and is the Managing Director of Christchurch-based ancillary radiation services provider Radiation Protection Services who supply personal dosimetry, protection-level instrument calibration, analytical and consultancy services to users of ionising radiation in New Zealand.  Prior to starting RadPro, he was based at the National Radiation Laboratory and supported their operational and regulatory activities.

Dr John Laban has worked in the radiation protection industry in New Zealand for 25 years as an advisor, scientist, medical physicist, and consultant. Most recently he has worked as a radiation physics consultant, providing training and consulting services in radiation physics and safety. His education includes a Bachelor of Science with Honours (Physics) and a Doctor in Solid States Physics.

Karen Coleman has significant experience at the managerial level in radiation safety. She was the Director and Head of the Radiation Therapy Department at the University of Otago for 17 years and is currently the Radiology Manager at Hutt Valley District Health Board. She has held several directorship roles for various governance boards, including being President of the New Zealand Institute of Medical Radiation Technology (NZIMRT). Her qualifications include a Bachelor of Science with Honours.

Lois Hutchison (Deputy chairperson) is the former Chief Executive of the Transport Accident Investigation Commission based in Wellington. Lois has 30 years’ experience in senior executive roles across the state sector. Lois holds Master’s degrees in public policy (Victoria University of Wellington) and managing organisational performance (Cranfield University, UK).  Lois was made a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Health and Safety (Hon.) in 2019. 

Terms of reference

Annual reports to the Minister of Health

The RSAC delivers to the Minister a report setting out its advice on the above matters at least once each year. It is the role of the Minister to present a copy of the annual report provided by the Council to the House of Representatives.

Annual report 2021

Annual report 2022

Contact the Secretariat

The RSAC is administered by the Office of Radiation Safety of the Ministry of Health.

The Secretariat’s contact details are:

RSAC Secretariat
c/o Office of Radiation Safety
Ministry of Health
PO Box 5013
[email protected]

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