Department of the Environment

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Publications archive - Annual reports


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Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time.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

Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2002-03

Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2003
ISSN 1441 9335

Overview (continued)

Role and functions

The Environment and Heritage portfolio's role is to achieve three major outcomes for the Australian Government.

Outcome one

Outcome one: the environment, especially those aspects that are matters of national environmental significance, is protected and conserved.

Organisations involved in achieving this outcome:

The Department of the Environment and Heritage advises on and implements policies and programs for the protection and conservation of the environment. It encourages conservation and appreciation of natural and cultural heritage, and ecologically sustainable management of coastal and marine resources. The Department is also responsible for administering environmental laws including the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, which provides regulatory arrangements to ensure the protection and conservation of important national aspects of the environment.

The Supervising Scientist provides independent and scientifically rigorous advice on a wide range of scientific matters and mining-related environmental issues of national importance, including radiological matters and tropical wetlands conservation and management. The Supervising Scientist also conducts more broadly based environmental research on issues of national significance and reviews the environmental performance of uranium mines in the Alligator Rivers Region.

The Australian Heritage Commission is responsible for identifying the National Estate and preparing a Register of the National Estate. It also provides advice on the conservation, improvement and presentation of the National Estate, which consists of those places, being components of the natural or cultural environment of Australia, that have aesthetic, historic, scientific or social significance or other special value for future generations as well as for the present community.

The Director of National Parks, established under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, is responsible for the declaration and management of parks and reserves on Commonwealth land and in Commonwealth waters. It is the Australian Government agency responsible for the protection of the World Heritage values of Kakadu and Uluru - Kata Tjuta National Parks and has assumed, under administrative arrangements, responsibility for the National Reserve System, the Australian Biological Resources Study and Indigenous policy coordination.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority is responsible, under the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975, for the care and development of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The Authority is the Australian Government agency responsible for the conservation and preservation of the World Heritage values associated with the Great Barrier Reef.

The Australian Greenhouse Office is the lead Australian Government agency on greenhouse matters. It coordinates domestic greenhouse policy and delivers greenhouse response programs.

The Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator oversees the implementation of the Australian Government's mandatory renewable energy target which must be achieved over the period 2001 to 2020.

The National Oceans Office develops regional marine plans and is responsible for establishing an integrated planning process for marine waters out to the 200 nautical mile limit of Australia's exclusive economic zone and the extended continental shelf beyond that.

The Sydney Harbour Federation Trust is conserving and restoring the cultural and natural heritage of seven areas on the foreshores of Sydney Harbour. Rehabilitation of these former Defence and maritime areas will create foreshore parks and new venues for recreation and cultural events. The restoration of such harbour landmarks, and their integration back into Sydney's cultural life, will deliver environmental, social and economic benefits for the city and the nation.

The sites include the former School of Artillery on North Head, Defence lands at Middle Head-Georges Heights, Woolwich Dock, Cockatoo and Snapper Islands, Macquarie Lightstation and the former Marine Biological Station at Watson's Bay.

Outcome two

Outcome two: Australia benefits from meteorological and related science and services.

The Bureau of Meteorology is responsible for achieving this outcome.

The Bureau of Meteorology is the national meteorological authority for Australia. The Bureau records meteorological and related observations, forecasts the weather, climate and the state of the atmosphere and issues warnings of gales, storms and other weather conditions likely to endanger life or property, including conditions likely to give rise to floods or bushfires. The Bureau also supplies meteorological information, provides advice on meteorological matters, publishes reports, conducts meteorological research and investigations, including into climate change, and supports international cooperation in meteorology and operational hydrology. Under the Meteorology Act 1955, the Bureau operates in the public interest and in particular supports the Defence forces, navigation, shipping and civil aviation, primary producers, industry, trade and commerce.

Outcome three

Outcome three: Australia's interests in Antarctica are advanced.

The Australian Antarctic Division is responsible for achieving this outcome.

The Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) maintains an Australian presence at three stations on the Antarctic continent and one on Macquarie Island. The AAD pursues Australia's Antarctic interests through the Antarctic Treaty System, the administration of the Australian Antarctic Territory and the Territory of Heard Island and McDonald Islands, the protection of the Antarctic environment, and the conduct and coordination of scientific research in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. The AAD's main research effort is to build up systematic knowledge of the Antarctic and its environment, and to understand the role of this region in the global climate system.