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Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2003-04

Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2004
ISSN 1441 9335

Readers' guide

What is this document?

This is the annual report of the Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage ('the Department') for the financial year that began on 1 July 2003 and ended on 30 June 2004 ('2003-04'). It is a report from the Secretary of the Department to the Australian Government Minister for the Environment and Heritage ('the Minister'), for tabling in the Australian Parliament.

What is it for?

Annual reports tell the Australian Parliament, other stakeholders, educational and research institutions, the media and the general public about the performance of government agencies like the Department in providing services. They are key reference documents that are part of the historical records of the Australian Government.

This annual report explains the activities of the Department during 2003-04. It includes the Department's audited financial statements for 2003-04. The information the report contains meets the requirements of the Public Service Act 1999 and the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997.

Structure and content

The content of departmental annual reports must meet the requirements of the Australian Parliament's Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit, which have the force of law under subsections 63(2) and 70(2) of the Public Service Act 1999. The structure of this annual report reflects these requirements. For a complete list of the requirements, and where to find the relevant information in this annual report, see the 'Compliance index'.

Some Acts that the Department administers require the Department or Minister to provide annual reports on their operation. The last part of this annual report - 'Other reports' - includes reports on the operation of six of these Acts.

This annual report also includes the Department's triple bottom line report, which sets out the environmental performance of the Department's Canberra office, and the social and economic performance of the wider Department.

However, this annual report does not include annual reports about other Environment and Heritage Portfolio agencies and some programmes such as the Natural Heritage Trust, which are published separately (see box below). For example, it does not include the Supervising Scientist's annual report on the operation of the Environment Protection (Alligator Rivers Region) Act 1978.

Annual reports published separately

The following agencies in the Portfolio publish separate annual reports:
Australian Greenhouse Office
Bureau of Meteorology
Director of National Parks
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
National Oceans Office
Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator
Sydney Harbour Federation Trust

The following Acts administered by the Portfolio have separately published annual reports:
Environment Protection (Alligator Rivers Region) Act 1978 (section 36)
National Environment Protection Council Act 1994 (sections 23 and 24)
Natural Heritage Trust of Australia Act 1997 (section 43)
Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 (section 105)
Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area Conservation Act 1994 (section 10)

Consistency with budget statements

Under the Australian Government's accounting system, government agencies receive funding to achieve results for the Australian Government called 'outcomes' by producing goods and services called 'outputs'. Annual reports are closely linked to documents called portfolio budget statements and portfolio additional estimates statements. These documents set out the details of each agency's annual funding, including performance targets for its outputs and outcomes. (For explanations of government accounting terms and processes, see the glossary in this annual report.)

The 'Review of performance' part of this annual report has a separate section for each of the Department's 13 outputs (which are listed in the 'Departmental overview' and 'Figure 1').

For more information

For more information about this report contact:

Assistant Secretary
Policy Development Branch
Department of the Environment and Heritage
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601
Phone: (02) 6274 2722

For copies of this report and all departmental publications contact:

Community Information Unit
Department of the Environment and Heritage
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601
Phone: 1800 803 772

For more information about the Department, visit the web site at
This annual report is published online at

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