Department of the Environment

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Publications archive - Annual reports

Disclaimer

Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

Environment Australia Annual Report 2001-02

Environment Australia, 2002
ISSN 1441-9335

Management and Accountability (continued)
Commonwealth Disability Strategy

Environment Australia and the Australian Antarctic Division

Environment Australia is reviewing its draft disability action plan to meet the needs of people with disabilities in accordance with the roles identified by the Commonwealth Disability Strategy. Environment Australia and the AAD fulfil the five key roles performed by Commonwealth organisations, i.e. policy adviser, regulator, purchaser, provider and employer.

Policy adviser

In the policy adviser role, Environment Australia advises the Commonwealth Government on policies and programmes for the protection and conservation of the environment, including both natural and cultural heritage places.

Environment Australia makes public announcements via statements for broadcast in a range of electronic and print media. Media statements are also made available on the media centre web site (http://www.ea.gov.au/media/index.html). All media statements include the name, telephone number and email address of a person to contact for further information, and information can also be obtained through the Community Information Unit.

Regulator

In its regulatory role, Environment Australia administers environmental laws, including the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act and a range of other legislation. It is also responsible for Australia's participation in a number of international environmental agreements.

Information on legislation is accessible to the public through the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act web site (http://www.ea.gov.au/epbc/), brochures and fact sheets provided on request by Environment Australia's Community Information Unit.

Public notifications are made via the Commonwealth Government Gazette and, depending on the needs of the persons requesting the information, specific requests may be responded to by fax, email or normal postal services.

Under section 170A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, Environment Australia is required to notify specific decisions, opportunities for comment and information made in the preceding week via the internet (http://www.ea.gov.au/epbc/publicnotices/index.html). From this page notices about referrals, assessments and approvals (the section 170A notices) can be accessed at http://www.ea.gov.au/cgi-bin/epbc/epbc_ap.pl). Contact details to access information are offered on the internet in the limited cases where high cost or technical difficulties mean that accessibility guidelines cannot be adequately met.

Preparation of an annual report on the operation of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act is required under the Act. A report was tabled on the operations of the Act from 16 July 2000 to 30 June 2001 in December 2001, and is available via the Environment Australia web site in an accessible format.

Purchaser

Environment Australia meets the purchaser description through the Natural Heritage Trust, which is a purchaser of environmental improvement services from local and state governments and community organisations.

In 2001-02, a simpler procedure was initiated to make the process of applying for funding easier for small community groups. This process now involves a one-page 'expression of interest' form. Once the expression of interest is submitted, the project is discussed with a contact officer by telephone to determine the likelihood of success of a full application to Envirofund. This change came about following market research. Similarly, on-line applications may make the application process easier for visually impaired persons.

Provider

In the provider role, Parks Australia and the Marine and Water Division within Environment Australia manage Commonwealth parks and reserves including Kakadu, Uluru-Kata Tjuta, Booderee, Norfolk Island, Christmas Island and Cocos Island national parks, as well as a number of other reserves. Access is provided to these parks and reserves for tourism and recreation. Information regarding these parks and reserves is available in accessible formats on Environment Australia's web site (http://www.ea.gov.au/parks/commonwealth/index.html) and in hard copy from the parks. Given the nature of the terrain, access for people with a disability to the parks and reserves varies.

Plans of management developed through a consultative process address current and proposed levels of accessibility. The Booderee National Park Management Plan which came into effect on 3 April 2002 (http://www.ea.gov.au/parks/publications/booderee-pom.html) included a commitment to upgrading some walking and vehicle access tracks in accordance with Australian Standards, including the possible inclusion of disabled access.

Employer

In the employer role, employment policies, procedures and practices of Environment Australia and the AAD comply with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.

Recruitment information is available in electronic formats and contact details are provided should special assistance be required (http://www.ea.gov.au/jobs/). The principle of reasonable adjustment is applied within Environment Australia and the AAD. Training and development programmes are accessible to employees with disabilities and where appropriate contain information on disability issues. Complaints and grievance mechanisms are in place and available to all employees.

Many of Environment Australia's activities, including its roles as policy adviser, regulator, purchaser and employer, are reflected in Environment Australia's and the AAD's extensive web sites (www.ea.gov.au and www.aad.gov.au). The Department's web site has recently undergone significant redesign in order to meet the Government Online standards that relate to access for people with disabilities (http://www.ea.gov.au/about/accessibility.html). For technical reasons and to meet some legal requirements, the Environment Australia web site has a limited number of documents that cannot be provided in the preferred html format. In such cases, contact details have been provided for the supply of alternative non-web formats.

Bureau of Meteorology

The Bureau of Meteorology also fulfils the five key roles identified for Commonwealth organisations in the Commonwealth Disability Strategy.

Policy adviser

Where new or revised policy or programme proposals affect people with disabilities, the relevant organisations are consulted about the proposals prior to implementation. Public announcements are made through media statements. All media statements are archived on the Bureau's external web site, and easily accessible from the homepage. All media statements issued by the Bureau include the name, telephone number and email address of a Bureau person to contact for further information. Media statements can be made available to people in different formats upon request.

Regulator

Information designed to comply with the needs of the public and industry under the Meteorology Act 1955 is provided in a range of formats including by telephone, facsimile, internet and email. If a client requires the information in another format, every reasonable endeavour is made to meet the need. Bureau compliance with legal requirements flowing from the Public Service Act 1999 is reported in various annual reports made available in a number of different formats.

Purchaser

The Bureau has a network of contractors Australia-wide who provide meteorological observations collected every day of the year. They are consulted directly about the provision of services, with any difficulties being resolved on a one-on-one basis. The standard contract conditions used in the Bureau include reference to the Disability Discrimination Act as one of several pieces of legislation with which contractors must comply. Bureau public tender notifications are publicly advised through the Australian Public Service Gazette on-line service. All major Bureau contracts have dispute resolution clauses and include arbitration and termination provisions. If a contractor were to breach the Disability Discrimination Act this would be seen as a breach of the contract and subject to remedial action.

Provider

The Bureau's Service Charter for the Community specifies the quality and service improvements that clients may expect. Performance is monitored against the standards set out in the charter, with results published in the Bureau's annual report and included on the Bureau's web site. The charter clearly identifies telephone numbers, facsimile numbers and email addresses to contact with complaints, technical problems or to provide feedback on services.

Employer

The Bureau's employment-related documents such as the Certified Agreement, Workplace Diversity Programme, Disability Action Plan, recruitment policies and procedures, occupational health and safety policies and procedures and employee rehabilitation and redeployment policies and procedures have all been developed in accordance with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act.

Job applicants are routinely able to access recruitment information via print or email format. Other formats can be made available on request.

Employees in the Bureau have embraced the concept of 'reasonable adjustment' and apply the principles in practice. With the involvement of the affected employee, modifications are made to workplaces and workstations, duties are revised, equipment is chosen or designed to accommodate employees with disabilities.

Where relevant and appropriate, Bureau training programmes include information that encourages managers, supervisors and employees to create an inclusive environment.

Needs of participants with disabilities are met as appropriate. Auslan courses are regularly scheduled internally to enable employees to develop, or refresh, sign language skills.

Bureau employees and members of the public have access to various mechanisms through which to have their issues or concerns addressed. Internal complaints and grievances may be addressed through a range of mechanisms including:

Members of the public may have their issues or concerns addressed in a number of ways including: