Publications archive

Department of the Environment and Heritage annual report 2004-05

Volume one
Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2005
ISSN 1441 9335

Outcome 1 - Environment (continued)

Parks and reserves

The Director of National Parks is a statutory office-holder who is responsible for managing parks and reserves established by the Australian Government to conserve biodiversity and provide nature- and culture-based tourism opportunities. The Department of the Environment and Heritage supports the Director of National Parks, and supports the establishment of protected areas nationally.

Main responsibilities relevant to this output

Parks Australia Division

Objectives

Main results

Protected area management

(Purchased output)

Under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 the Director of National Parks is responsible for Australian Government protected areas called ‘Commonwealth reserves’ and ‘conservation zones’. These protected areas include remote national parks, marine parks and botanical gardens. Kakadu, Uluru–Kata Tjuta and Booderee national parks are jointly managed with their Indigenous traditional owners.

The department receives an appropriation for managing these areas and uses it to purchase management services from the Director of National Parks under a purchaser-provider arrangement. During the year the department provided $40.1 million to the director under the arrangement. As a result:

Detailed information about these outcomes appears in the annual report of the Director of National Parks (see www.deh.gov.au/parks/publications).

See also: marine protected areas, Heard Island.

National Reserve System

The National Reserve System is Australia ’s system of terrestrial protected areas. It represents the collective efforts of federal, state and territory governments, non-government organisations and Indigenous landholders. The department is responsible for:

Project work for these activities is funded through the national component of the Natural Heritage Trust. During 2004–05 $4.4 million was spent from the Natural Heritage Trust for land acquisitions and $2.5 million under the Indigenous Protected Areas Programme.

The National Reserve System now protects 80.9 million hectares (see map).

Future direction of the National Reserve System

In 2005 the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council approved a statement on the future direction of the National Reserve System. The statement formalises national directions for the next 15 years for making quantifiable progress towards establishing and managing a comprehensive, adequate and representative terrestrial reserve system in Australia. It covers the design, establishment and management of a national reserve system and emphasises the critical role of partnerships, especially with Indigenous communities. A task force of officials from each jurisdiction will oversee implementation of the statement. See www.deh.gov.au/parks/nrs/directions.

Updated information products

The Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation for Australia is a scientifically based analysis of Australia’s bioregions that provides a nationally agreed framework for conservation planning, including the National Reserve System (bioregions are geographic areas defined by a combination of physical and biological characteristics—for example, terrain, climate and ecological communities—and are a useful way to analyse patterns of biodiversity). During 2004–05 Parks Australia updated the regionalisation to include sub-regions. See www.deh.gov.au/parks/nrs/ibra.

The Collaborative Australian Protected Areas Database contains information on all protected areas in Australia. During 2004–05 the department finalised the 2004 version of the database for release later in 2005. See www.deh.gov.au/parks/nrs/capad.

National Reserve System Programme
Bush Heritage Judith Eardley Reserve

Bush Heritage Judith Eardley Reserve

This 344 hectare reserve in north-central Victoria protects threatened grassy woodland, the habitat of many declining woodland birds. It was purchased in 2004 with help from the Australian Government through the Natural Heritage Trust’s National Reserve System Programme.
Photo: D Tatnell, courtesy Australian Bush Heritage Fund

The Natural Heritage Trust’s National Reserve System Programme supports the purchasing and covenanting of properties to add to the National Reserve System (chart below).

Projects funded for addition to the National Reserve System (1996–present)

Total area supported by projects to date = 20.781 million hectares

 
Projects funded for addition to the National Reserve System (1996-present)

2003–04 figures are estimates.

National Reserve System

National Reserve System

During the year the National Reserve System Programme helped to buy and covenant 212 895 hectares of land for inclusion in the National Reserve System. The 22 properties approved in 2004–05 (map above) contain 122 vegetation communities, including five wetlands, the majority of which were poorly represented or not represented in the National Reserve System. The properties contain 31 threatened or near threatened communities, and numerous rare and threatened flora and fauna species.

Indigenous Protected Areas Programme
Toogimbie Indigenous Protected Area

Toogimbie Indigenous Protected Area

This 4 500 hectare protected area is in the Hay Plains region of New South Wales. As well as achieving significant environmental and cultural heritage outcomes, the Toogimbie Indigenous Protected Area is providing education and employment opportunities. It has twice been nominated for a National Landcare award, and the Nari Nari Tribal Council, which owns the land, has been nominated for an Indigenous Governance award.
Photo: I Haskovec

The Indigenous Protected Areas Programme helps Indigenous landowners establish Indigenous protected areas, which are non-statutory protected areas that form part of the National Reserve System. The programme also supports land management activities in declared Indigenous protected areas, which are established through contractual arrangements between Indigenous communities and the Australian Government.

During the year the Indigenous Protected Areas Programme funded three new projects to develop protected areas at the Kaanju Homelands (near Coen on Cape York Peninsula), Ngarrabullgan (Mount Mulligan in north Queensland), and at Anindilyakwa (Groote Eylandt in the Gulf of Carpentaria).

Indigenous Protected Areas

Indigenous Protected Areas

Declared Indigenous protected areas now make up 13.79 million hectares of the National Reserve System, which is 17 per cent of the total area protected in the National Reserve System.

See also: Indigenous heritage

Results for performance indicators
Performance indicator 2004–05 results
Programme administration
National Reserve System Programme
Number of projects or activities approved under each programme 22 projects
Number of agreements, plans and management arrangements put in place 34 management plans
Indigenous Protected Areas Programme
(subset of the above results for the National Reserve System Programme)
Number of projects or activities approved under each programme 3 projects
Number of agreements, plans and management arrangements put in place 3 management plans
Both programmes
Extent to which (self-imposed, ministerial or external) timeframes are met High – timeframes met in accordance with departmental standards
Accurate and timely approval, payment and acquittal of grants in accordance with legislation and guidelines 100% of payments made in accordance with terms and conditions of financial agreements
Stakeholder awareness
Information and education products distributed to stakeholders (measured by web site hits, information material distributed, etc) 29 public submissions received on National Reserve System future directions statement

Papers on the directions statement and international protected area agenda presented at a Partnership for Conservation Roundtable in May 2005

Indigenous protected areas newsletters distributed

High level of community interest indicated by frequent enquiries in response to the web site

Average of 32 049 user sessions per month on the parks-related part of the department’s web site

Other annual reports - more detailed results

Annual reports of the Director of National Parks at www.deh.gov.au/parks/publications.

Legislation

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999

Resources
Element of pricing Budget prices
$’000
Actual expenses
$’000
Departmental outputs
Sub-output: Protected areas
Sub-output: National Reserve System
42 885
327
42 890
957
Total (=Output 1.9: Parks and Reserves) 43 212 43 847
Administered items
Acquisition of leases and legal costs 9 850 9 850

Prices are the estimated full-year revenues for departmental outputs and full-year expenses for administered items that are shown in the 2004–05 portfolio additional estimates statements.

Prices and expenses include a corporate services charge, provided as resources free of charge to the Director of National Parks calculated under a service level agreement on a full cost recovery basis.

See also: summary resource tables.