Department of the Environment

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Publications archive - Budget statements


Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

Investing in our Natural Heritage

The Commonwealth's Environment Expenditure 1997-98
Statement by Senator The Honourable Robert Hill
Minister for the Environment
Environment Australia 1997

Chapter 10: Conclusion

Successful efforts to protect, manage and enhance the environment require the coordinated efforts of many players including government, industry, community groups and individuals. Effective coordination requires a good knowledge of the breadth of effort and the relationships between programmes.

In this Commonwealth's Environment Budget Statement, the Government has, for the first time, collected together information about its activities, policies and programmes which have a focus on the natural and cultural environment.

The Statement shows how the different programmes relate to broader strategic objectives and how they fit together to provide a comprehensive response to the challenges identified in the authoritative assessment of the environmental challenges: the 1996 State of the Environment Report.

To show the relationship between the programmes and the problems they are designed to address this Statement has been structured in line with the State of the Environment Report.

It captures not only Commonwealth funded programmes but also the important tax deductions which assist people to address a range of environmental challenges.

Particular emphasis is given to the new initiatives that will be funded through the Natural Heritage Trust, the most concerted effort ever made by an Australian Government to address the deterioration in our natural environment. The Statement shows how these programmes build upon existing effort and our developing understanding of the problems and techniques for their effective amelioration.

It shows how the Commonwealth is seeking to integrate the principles of ecologically sustainable development into the programmes of departments which have not traditionally seen their role as environmental management. Examples of this include the Defence portfolio's environmental management of large areas of land used for training purposes, and the activities of the Department of Administrative Services in providing repositories and disposal services for environmentally hazardous substances.

Integration of economic, social and environment considerations is a key unifying theme brought out in the Statement. This is a central aspect of the Natural Heritage Trust, in particular in the manner it brings together agricultural and biodiversity conservation considerations.

This Statement is the first attempt to bring together information on environmental programmes from across the Commonwealth to improve transparency and better inform Government decision-making. There is certainly work to do to improve the comprehensiveness of information and provide a more thorough picture of Commonwealth environment activity. However, this Statement provides a sound basis on which to build in coming years.