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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)

Support for environmental education

Environmental education is a fundamental tool in achieving a shift towards ecologically sustainable development. In conjunction with the Australian Government's advisory body on environmental education, the National Environmental Education Council, the Department achieved some significant results in its implementation of the National Action Plan for Environmental Education in 2003-04.

Sustainable Schools initiative

The Australian Government has committed $2 million to the Sustainable Schools initiative. Pilot Sustainable Schools programmes are being undertaken in Victoria and New South Wales. With the support of the National Environmental Education Network, agreement has been reached to develop the Sustainable Schools programme into a national initiative. In addition to the 320 schools currently participating in the pilot programmes, agreement has been reached to proceed with further pilots in Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia. This will bring funding to date for the initiative to $780 000, with $540 000 approved and $279 000 expended in 2003-04.

National Environmental Education Statement for Schools

Support was also achieved from the states and territories to work together on the development of a National Environmental Education Statement for Schools. Once completed, the statement will provide for the first time a national framework for environmental education in Australian schools, setting out objectives and guiding principles.

Environmental education research

An environmental education research programme was instigated through the Australian Research Institute in Education for Sustainability at Macquarie University, at a cost in 2003-04 of $500 000 (a Natural Heritage Trust national investment). The research is intended to identify key factors and impediments influencing environmental education, and to develop effective educational materials and programmes to promote behavioural change towards the sustainable use of Australia's resources.

Guidance for departmental staff

An environmental education protocol was also developed for the Department, which provides guidance to departmental staff on effective environmental education. The protocol will also help to coordinate the portfolio's education activities.

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