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Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time.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

Review of Performance - Outcome One: Environment (continued)
Additional Outputs that Support the Achievement of Outcome One

revegetation work

Additional outputs that support the achievement of Outcome one

Environment Australia undertakes a number of activities to support the themes under Outcome one. Major outputs of these activities include:

Additional Outputs that Support the Achievement of Outcome One

Environmental Reporting

2001 State of the Environment Report

The report, entitled Australia State of the Environment 2001, was tabled in Parliament on 19 March 2002. The report was produced in accordance with the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. Six technical papers have been published on Environment Australia's web site. These papers were summarised in the 2001 State of the Environment Report. Seven supporting theme reports that were used by the independent committee to guide the preparation of the 2001 report were also published.

Environmental Resource Information Network Database Facilities

Environment Australia's database facilities continued to be developed, maintained and made accessible by the Environmental Resource Information Network in compliance with national and international standards. The introduction of the Environment Portal is a significant step in improving client online access to Environment Australia's information, products and services. On behalf of the National Land and Water Resources Audit, Environment Australia hosts the Australian Natural Resources Atlas - an online mapping facility that provides extensive data.

International Policy Advice

World Summit on Sustainable Development

Environment Australia led the Government's preparations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development, held in Johannesburg in August-September 2002. This meeting marks the tenth anniversary of the landmark United Nations Conference on Environment and Development at which a number of key environment and sustainable development milestone undertakings were entered into, including Agenda 21. The aim of the Johannesburg meeting is to set the international programme for implementing sustainable development over the next ten years. As such, it has potential implications for many of the portfolio's outcome areas.

Preparations included five major international preparatory meetings. The Minister led Australia's delegation to the final preparatory meeting in Bali, Indonesia in June 2002. Australia has had a particular influence during the preparatory process in promoting the importance of outcomes from the World Summit on Sustainable Development on oceans management and sustainable land management. Australia has also been successful in encouraging the use of voluntary partnership approaches involving government and non-government players.

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

Environment Australia was again an active participant in the work of the Environment Policy Committee of the OECD. A major focus during the year was on practical implementation of the environmental strategy to the year 2010 approved by OECD environment ministers in May 2001.

International Negotiations

Environment Australia was represented on the Australian delegation to the 4th World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference held in Doha, Qatar in November 2001. The ministerial conference produced a number of important outcomes on trade and environment issues, including agreement to begin negotiations on clarification of fisheries subsidies (which contribute to over-fishing) and the relationship between the specific trade obligations in multilateral environmental agreements and WTO rules. Negotiations on these issues have commenced, with Environment Australia taking an active role in meetings of the WTO Committee on Trade and Environment.

Environment Australia has used AusAID's Government Sector Linkages Programme with Indonesia to make Environment Australia expertise available to counterpart departments and agencies in Indonesia to serve both Australian and Indonesian national interests. Funding from the programme allowed substantial work to commence on protection of shared marine environments from Indonesian traditional fishing activities, and on a joint project with managers of the Lorentz National Park in Irian Jaya.

Work with Papua New Guinea concentrated on bringing together and enhancing existing databases on PNG's biodiversity and forest resources to assist with national planning for use of PNG's forests and protection of threatened species.

Environment Australia embarked on processes to strengthen its relationship with the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme, and through it the island states of the Pacific. Multi-stakeholder and intergovernmental meetings with Pacific island countries in September 2001 prepared successful Pacific regional input into the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

Initial environment policy discussions were held with New Zealand, and a second productive round of discussions was held with Japan. Useful discussions were held with visiting Chinese delegations and there continues to be significant cooperation with China in the area of cultural heritage.

Environmental Education

National Action Plan for Environmental Education

Environment Australia undertakes a range of education activities to raise awareness and understanding of environmental issues and to influence community attitudes and behaviour.

Measures to improve national coordination and promote best practice in environmental education have been implemented as part of the Commonwealth's National Action Plan for Environmental Education. They include the ongoing work of the National Environmental Education Council and the Commonwealth, state and territory Environmental Education Network.

Priority projects in 2001-02 included the joint development of a pilot 'Sustainable Schools' programme with the NSW and Victorian governments, and the provision of environmental education grants to support projects in the industry, higher education and community sectors.

Communication Campaigns

Environment Australia developed and implemented a range of strategies to communicate the work of the Department, including public information campaigns to encourage community support for the Natural Heritage Trust and to launch the new local component of the Trust, the Australian Government Envirofund.

Other activities included the dissemination of information on the 2001 State of the Environment Report, national fuel quality standards, waste oil recycling, National Threatened Species Day and Biodiversity Month and a range of other environmental issues such as the arrival of cane toads in Kakadu National Park.

Promotional Activities

Promotional activities supported the announcement of funding under Natural Heritage Trust and other programmes, the voyage of the Windeward Bound to recreate Matthew Flinders' circumnavigation of Australia, National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Week, and the launch of major projects such as a major survey of Australian birds.

World Environment Day 2002

Environment Australia marked World Environment Day 2002 with the theme 'the Environment is Everybody's Business'. Editorial and non-campaign advertising urged industry, communities, schools and government agencies to think about how they could help the environment at home, work, school and play. Environment Australia used the day to help publicise Australia's achievements over the past ten years as we prepared for the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

A highlight of World Environment Day celebrations was the presentation by Dr Kemp of the Prime Minister's Award for Environmentalist of the Year to NSW farmer Bill Sloane at the Banksia Environmental Awards on 1 June. Mr Sloane and his wife Jacquetta were honoured for setting benchmarks in natural resource management and sustainable agriculture at their dryland cereal crop and sheep property, Kilnyana. The Prime Minister's Award is sponsored by Environment Australia.

Natural Heritage Journal

Two editions of the Natural Heritage journal were produced, one of which was a double edition featuring projects being undertaken in the Murray-Darling Basin.

Media Releases

During 2001-02 the public affairs area was involved in the preparation and distribution of 305 media releases for the Minister and Parliamentary Secretary.

Web site

The maintenance and development of the Environment Australia web site continued to be an important priority for the Department. A web management team has been established to manage all aspects of content development, maintenance and presentation. Major achievements of the team during the year included the finalisation of a major redevelopment of the Environment Australia web site, development of an electronic web publishing tool, and work to make available a range of new content online, such as the 2001 State of the Environment Report.

Managing Human Resources

Graduate Programme

Environment Australia continued its commitment to ensuring that the Graduate Programme remains a best practice programme. In addition to undertaking three diverse work rotations within Environment Australia, graduates participate in a comprehensive development programme that includes a range of learning experiences and courses. Twenty-three new graduates commenced employment in February 2002, and the recruitment process for the 2003 intake, featuring testing sessions and assessment centres, was well under way at 30 June 2002. The recruitment process for the Graduate Programme was evaluated during the year, and outcomes of this evaluation have been adopted to ensure that Environment Australia continues to attract quality graduates from around Australia.

Senior Executive Service Australian Workplace Agreements

Development and implementation of the third round of Senior Executive Service Australian Workplace Agreements was completed. The Senior Executive Service package competitively positions Environment Australia as an employer of choice. Australian Workplace Agreements continued to be offered to all Executive Level employees.

Certified Agreement

Substantial progress was made in negotiating the third Environment Australia Certified Agreement. This agreement will build on and retain the features of the existing agreement to ensure that Environment Australia remains competitive and well placed in the Australian Public Service employment market.

Benchmarking Studies

The Department, excluding the Bureau of Meteorology and the Australian Antarctic Division, again participated in benchmarking studies, most notably the Managing People for Business Outcomes project conducted by the Australian National Audit Office, as part of the ongoing move to encourage best practice in human resources service delivery.

Human Resource Metrics

Significant advances were made in refining regular reporting on human resource metrics to benchmark human resources performance against identified performance indicators to provide robust base-line data for workforce analysis and planning. Comprehensive divisional quarterly reports encompass key human resource performance metrics. The reports indicate significant trends for management attention and development of appropriate workforce planning strategies to address critical issues.

People Management Branch

After a comprehensive and exhaustive market testing process, human resources services have been retained in-house. The market testing process clearly demonstrated this was the costeffective business solution for Environment Australia. The People Management Branch was reorganised in order to provide better focused service delivery and strategic direction setting. Service level agreements between the People Management Branch and its clients were in development at 30 June 2002.

Other Activities in Support of Outcome One

Taxation Concessions

The Register of Environmental Organisations is a list of approved environmental organisations to which donations of money or property for the conservation of the natural environment are tax deductible. It is estimated that the public donates more than $35 million annually to environmental tax deductible organisations. These funds are used to protect and enhance the natural environment.

Forty organisations formally applied for entry to the register during 2001-02. Thirty-two organisations were entered on the register.

Grants to Voluntary Environment and Heritage Organisations

The programme is directed to community based environment and heritage organisations to assist with the administrative costs of their activities.

A total of 284 applications were received in the 2001-02 funding round. Of these, 154 met the eligibility criteria and 103 were recommended for funding. A total of $1.5 million was allocated under the programme, with all funding offers accepted.

Environmental Economics

The Environmental Economics Unit provides a capacity building role within Environment Australia through the provision of economic policy advice on priority issues including property rights and the role of market based instruments in natural resource management and environmental protection. A significant achievement involved supporting the development and successful adoption of a number of tax measures to support conservation on private land.

Sustainability

Environment Australia, in consultation with other Commonwealth agencies, published a first report on a set of national headline sustainability indicators entitled Are We Sustaining Australia: A Report Against Headline Sustainability Indicators for Australia.

Continuing support for local sustainability initiatives was provided through the Local Agenda 21 programme and eight local government environmental resource officers. Environment Australia sponsored an international Local Agenda 21 conference - Sustaining Our Communities - in Adelaide in March 2002. A Local Sustainability Assessment Framework was developed to help local governments to assess their progress towards sustainability.