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Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2003-04

Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2004
ISSN 1441 9335

Review of performance: Financial results (continued)

Performance of purchaser-provider arrangements

Department - Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry: Natural Heritage Trust

Under the Natural Heritage Trust of Australia Act 1997, responsibility for Natural Heritage Trust administration is vested in a Board consisting of the Minister for the Environment and Heritage and the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. The Department has a cross-portfolio arrangement with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry for Natural Heritage Trust administration, which occurs through a joint Commonwealth Regional Natural Resource Management Team.

The Minister for the Environment and Heritage and the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry approved investment proposals that contributed to the objectives of the Trust, and that were consistent with the priority areas of activity.

The bilateral agreements signed with the states and territories reflect the agreed priorities and delivery arrangements for the Trust. The departments worked with the states, territories and regional bodies to prepare investment strategies at the same time as integrated Regional Natural Resource Management Plans, with most progress in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. The Ministers accredited 16 integrated regional natural resource management plans for the Natural Heritage Trust against the agreed accreditation criteria.

The Trust provided funding for all investments under financial agreements. The Envirofund (the local grants component) and national component used standard contracts that reflect the Trust's accountability, reporting and acquittal procedures. The Envirofund approved 1411 projects for a total of $19.952 million during 2003-04. Eighty-nine per cent of Envirofund projects focused on on-ground activities.

The bilateral agreements include a commitment to develop a monitoring and evaluation strategy that is consistent with the National Framework for Natural Resource Management Standards and Targets. Monitoring and evaluation implementation plans have been developed to meet the requirements of the bilateral agreements in Queensland, New South Wales, Western Australia and Victoria. Implementation plans are being finalised in the other states and territories.

More detailed information on the administration of the Natural Heritage Trust is contained in the Natural Heritage Trust annual report.

Department - Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry: National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and the Minister for the Environment and Heritage jointly determine policy and major funding allocations from within the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality. The Department has a cross portfolio arrangement with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry for administration of the National Action Plan, which occurs through a joint Commonwealth Regional Natural Resource Management Team.

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry receives the appropriation for the National Action Plan and during 2003-04 provided $1.8 million to the Department to cover administration costs incurred in implementing the National Action Plan (refer to the audited financial statements elsewhere in this annual report).

Both departments worked with the states, territories and regional bodies to prepare investment strategies at the same time as integrated regional natural resource management plans, with most progress in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. The Ministers accredited 17 integrated regional natural resource management plans for the National Action Plan.

The multi-jurisdictional Market Based Instruments Working Group continued its ongoing work to develop strategic approaches for the non-regional elements of the National Action Plan under the National Market Based Instruments Pilots Programme.

The bilateral agreements signed with the states and territories include a commitment to develop a monitoring and evaluation strategy that is consistent with the National Framework for Natural Resource Management Standards and Targets. Monitoring and evaluation implementation plans have been developed to meet the requirements of the bilateral agreements in Queensland, New South Wales, Western Australia and Victoria. Implementation plans are being finalised in the other states and territories.

More detailed information on the administration of the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality is contained in the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality annual report.

Department - Director of National Parks

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 provides for the office of Director of National Parks. The Department receives the appropriation for the Director of National Parks. In effect, the Department purchases park management services from the Director to contribute to the Department's Outcome 1, where the Director is the sole provider of statutory functions and powers for establishing and managing Commonwealth reserves (including parks).

The Department also has a cross-agency arrangement with the Director whereby the Department provides corporate services to the Director. The Department's Parks Australia Division supports the Director's work.

During 2003-2004, the Department provided $35.552 million to the Director of National Parks under the purchaser-provider arrangement (refer to the audited financial statements elsewhere in this annual report).

The arrangement was effective, providing park management services that met the targets set in the Portfolio Budget Statements 2003-2004 Environment and Heritage Portfolio. Management of all Commonwealth reserves was carried out in accordance with the requirements of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and the Director's statutory and legal responsibilities were met. The Director and Parks Australia continued to strive to meet best practice management standards. Implementation and reporting systems were further enhanced. As at 30 June 2004:

The Director and the staff of Parks Australia continued to represent the Australian Government in international and national forums, work closely with traditional owners of Australian Government parks to further develop joint management arrangements, and actively encourage community participation in the development of management plans for Commonwealth reserves.

Refer to the annual report of the Director of National Parks for more detail.

Department - Director of National Parks, Australian Greenhouse Office, National Oceans Office: Corporate services

The Department has a cross-agency arrangement with the Director of National Parks, the Australian Greenhouse Office and the National Oceans Office, whereby the Department provides corporate services to these agencies on a fee-for-service basis. The Department received $4.886 million in fees. Refer to the report on 'Outcome 1' and the separate annual reports of these agencies for more information about the effectiveness of this arrangement.

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