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Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2003-04

Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2004
ISSN 1441 9335

Management and accountability (continued)

Commonwealth Disability Strategy

The Commonwealth Disability Strategy is a strategic framework for inclusion of and participation by people with disabilities in Australian Government policies, programmes and services. In 2003-04, the Department began developing a Disability Action Plan to meet the needs of people with disabilities, in accordance with the strategy. The strategy requires the Department to report, in its annual report, on its outcomes for people with disabilities against five core roles of government: policy adviser, regulator, purchaser, provider, and employer.

Policy adviser role

The Department delivers environmental policies and programmes in a manner that is free from discrimination and recognises and utilises the diversity of the Australian community. The Department has extensive web sites ( and and a Community Information Unit to provide access to information on the Department's activities. The Department's web site is maintained to meet the Australian Government Online standards that relate to access for people with disabilities ( For technical reasons and to meet some legal requirements, the Department's 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 their supply in alternative formats.

Regulator role

The Department, including the Australian Antarctic Division, administers 34 Acts, together with associated regulations and subsidiary legal instruments (see Appendix 6). Legislation is accessible via the internet (, with additional fact sheets available on request from the Community Information Unit. Public notification of legislative decisions or changes is made in the Australian Government Gazette, and (where required) on the Department's web site. The Department may respond to specific requests by fax, email or post.

Purchaser role

The Department's procurement policies are available on its web site ( The procurement policies are consistent with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992. The Department has complaints and grievance mechanisms in place.

Provider role

In the provider role, Parks Australia and the Land, Water and Coasts Division within the Department manage Commonwealth parks, reserves and protected areas including Kakadu, Uluru-Kata Tjuta, Booderee, Norfolk Island, Christmas Island, and Cocos Island National Parks. Access is provided to these parks and reserves for tourism, recreation and commercial uses. Information regarding parks and reserves is available in accessible formats on the Department's web site ( and in hard copy from park management. Given the nature of the terrain, physical access to the terrestrial reserves varies for people with a disability.

Employer role

In the employer role, employment policies, procedures and practices of the Department 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 ( The principle of reasonable adjustment (accommodating the additional needs of a person who can perform the inherent requirements of a job, where reasonable - such as providing a large computer screen for a person with impaired vision) is applied within the Department. Learning 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.

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