Publications archive - Ecologically Sustainable Development
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Prepared by the ESD Steering Committee
ISBN 0 642 20160 9
This document is the text of the first Summary Report on the Implementation of Australia's National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development (NSESD). It was prepared for the information of the Council of Australian Governments in December 1993 by the Intergovernmental Committee for Ecologically Sustainable Development (ICESD).
The following information on the implementation of the National Strategy is presented in the order in which it appears in the National Strategy for ESD. Comments from jurisdictions are included for each NSESD chapter except where alternative reporting arrangements exist. Reporting on actions for forest issues is being covered in a separate report to Heads of Government on the National Forest Policy Statement. Energy issues are covered in the report on the implementation of the National Greenhouse Response Strategy.
The NSESD objectives in relation to agriculture are:
Action has been taken to create a framework of integrated government policies and programs covering all facets of land management and involving all stakeholders. Major developments have been the establishment of Agriculture and Resource Management council of Australia and New Zealand (ARMCANZ), an amalgamation of three former Ministerial Councils responsible for water resources, agriculture and soil conservation, and the establishment of the National Landcare Program which brings together elements of a number of separate community-based land and water resource management programs. Linkages have been made with the National Drought Policy and Rural Adjustment Scheme to further promote integrated management.
The Commonwealth will need to report on the outcome of its review of Section 75D of the Income Taxation Assessment Act, which will include taxation aspects of expenditure on land conservation. The review is due to be undertaken in 1994-95 and data is currently being collected. The first three yearly review of the Decade of Landcare is scheduled for 1994, reporting on progress will be required.
Jurisdictions have reported a wide and extensive range of activities which address the National Strategy's agriculture objectives. These include progress on greater community involvement in sustainable land management, progress towards national vertebrate pest and weed strategies, agriculture and veterinary chemicals registration, and the development of national guidelines for kangaroo management including the management plan for commercially harvested species (not supported by Victoria) and the production of national game meat standards.
The Queensland Department of Primary Industries is undertaking a review of natural resources management policies and legislation within its administrative ambit, with a view to integrating these and ensuring the ecologically sustainable use of the resources. A concurrent review of pest management strategies will be linked with this natural resource management review. Pest Management Plans are being prepared for serious plant and animal pests on a Statewide and regional basis. Queensland is also developing a policy of land management plans on Crown leases used for primary production.
South Australia is developing regional National Landcare Project assessment panels during the coming funding year. SA is working towards the development, by 1995, of district based agricultural resource management plants. These processes will be facilitated by procedures embodied in the new Development Act which will allow regional strategies and local plans to be developed for all regions of SA within three years. SA has indicated that information on climatic variability would enhance the series of case studies which have been produced to demonstrate the benefits of property management planning to farmers and industry representatives.
New South Wales is actively promoting national Landcare processes through the provision of extension services to raise the technical and advisory skills of group facilitators and to train land managers in farm planning skills. NSW is also encouraging sustainable management practices through the establishment of conditions for lease hold land that encourage sustainable management. NSW supports the three yearly reviews of progress towards achieving the Decade of Landcare goals, and has also given priority to efforts to reduce and manage effectively the impact of pest plant and animal species on agricultural areas.
Victorian sustainable agricultural programs recognise the importance of developing profitable solutions to land management problems. A major focus is addressing salinity and other land management problems which reduce agricultural activities. Proposed Catchment and Land Protection legislation aims to build on established community frameworks and provide a framework for achieving sustainable land management practices.
The Northern Territory is reviewing legislation dealing with the control of pests. The aim of changes will be to reduce environmental damage and in the case of native pests to seek non destructive control methods. The NT Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries' extension program has recently been reviewed and a new program which offers increased extension services, called Primelink, is being implemented.
The Australian Capital Territory Rural Leasing Policy has recently been revised to ensure that the leasing environment will encourage leaseholders to become productive and environmentally aware. Land acquisition legislation is planned for introduction in early 1994. The ACT Government Service is to provide support for areas in management planning not covered by landholder arrangements under the National Landcare Program, these include computer applications for farm management, technical land management inputs and awareness programs on productivity issues.
Three NSESD objectives are given for this issue:
Action in respect of fisheries activities covers both national and international actions. Many actions are of a long time frame and involve a range of Commonwealth, State and Territory and international processes. Progress reports and updates on actions would be useful in future reports.
Following on from the Australian and New Zealand Fisheries and Aquaculture Council (ANZFAC) resolution in 1992 on fisheries ecosystem management, all fisheries management agencies are working to adopt the integration of environmental, biological, economic and social principles in management decision-making. Most States are reviewing their fisheries legislation. A Senate review of Commonwealth fisheries legislation and a review of management boundary issues, in the context of the Offshore Constitutional Settlement, may have implications for future fisheries legislation and management.
Research agencies are broadening their ambit to examine the interaction between environmental and fisheries issues. A national recreational fishing policy is being developed to better manage fishing stocks in an ESD framework.
Public consultation is a feature of fisheries management arrangements. The ANZFAC process allows for extensive consultation with Government agencies, non-government agencies and interest groups. NSW has two statutory bodies to ensure that consultation with recreational fishers is adequate. The Queensland Department of Primary Industry's review of fisheries legislation is including a public consultation phase. The NT also provides for extensive public consultation in its draft management plan. Victoria has established a Fisheries Education Unit and an ESD based fisheries education strategy is now being developed. In Tasmania management strategies are in place, or are in the process of being developed, to ensure that these resources are sustainable in the long term.
Management advisory committees for major species or specific areas allow wide input in the fisheries management process.
State and Commonwealth agencies are cooperating in the development of a National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas, under the Ocean Rescue 2000 program. SA reported that it surveys the state of the aquatic environment every five years as part of its State of the Environment Report. Queensland is progressing towards the biophysical classification of marine and coastal habitats. Reporting on the aquatic environment is included in regular national and State/Territory State of the Environment reports.
Fisheries management is now a priority issue on the domestic and international agenda. Efforts are currently underway to integrate more closely ESD principles with fisheries management practices. Australia, along with Japan and New Zealand, signed the Convention for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna in May 1993 in order to set global conservation management measures for the fishery and to monitor impacts on ecologically related species. The UN Conference on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks is seeking to elaborate principles and measures for conservation and management of high seas fisheries consistent with the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) before that convention enters into force on 16 November 1994 and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is developing an International Code of Conduct on Responsible Fishing.
Australia recognises the negative environmental effects of uncontrolled dumping of wastes and other materials at sea, and strongly supports the continuing development of the multilateral regime embodied in the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matters (known as the London Convention 1972, LC). Australia also supports the development of regimes to control land-based sources of marine pollution. Australia has been an active participant in recent negotiations to amend the Convention and was a strong supporter of the incorporation into the Convention of a ban on the dumping of radioactive waste.
The objectives for forest resource use and management are:
Reporting on actions by governments for forest issues is being covered in a separate report to H of Government on the National Forest Policy Statement.
ALGA and the National Association of Forest Industries (NAFI) have established a closer working relationship in an effort to identify local, national and international solutions to forest industry development. Initiatives include working with a number of regions on establishing closer regional partnerships with local governments and forest industries. Input received from these regions will be provided to the Commonwealth Regional Taskforce.
The NSESD's objectives for manufacturing are:
Australia's manufacturing and service sectors are increasingly integrating environmental considerations into their policies and practices. Their efforts are supported by a range of Commonwealth and State government and private sector initiatives aimed at encouraging the adoption of more environmentally sensitive business strategies, where these do not detract from the international competitiveness and growth prospects of industry.
Industry and government are also cooperating in the international arena to phase out ozone depleting substances by promoting ozone-safe technologies in South-East Asian countries, and have collaborated to develop a strategy for phasing out consumption and production of CFCs at least cost to industry. Individual States and Territories have generally adopted legislation to complement the Commonwealth's action with regard to ozone production measures, as well as, for example, in the NT, community awareness programs have been developed to support such legislative control.
A significant number of regulatory and non-regulatory chemicals management programs already exist which address UNCED priorities; indeed several are at a leading edge. For example the Industrial Chemicals (Notification and Assessment) Act 1989 integrates occupational health and safety, public health and environmental considerations into a single assessment report. The legislation also includes important provisions for public participation in decision making and for the publication of reports.
Ensuring a harmonised approach for the management of chemicals used at work has been facilitated through the agreement by the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission (NOHSC) to Model Regulations on the Control of Workplace Hazardous Substances.
To complement the model regulations, the NOHSC is currently completing a model set of regulations for the storage and handling of hazardous substances, thereby facilitating the harmonisation of workplace and transport requirements in the different jurisdictions and for a set of regulations to prevent major chemical accidents at major hazardous facilities.
The Commonwealth Government is also integrating environmental concerns into industry policies and practices through the Cleaner Production Program, which aims to demonstrate to industry that cleaner production can benefit the environment and provide a competitive edge by streamlining existing practices and procedures.
While significant progress has occurred in some areas of chemicals management, additional benefit may be found from better coordination of activities. Better coordination would also ensure that harmonisation activities are themselves being undertaken in a coordinated manner.
Through Worksafe Australia's existing involvement in the National Agricultural and Veterinary Registration Scheme, work is continuing to promote consistency in the assessment of risks arising from the use of chemicals and for appropriate recommendations for controls on both agricultural and industrial chemicals.
The States have also commenced or have undertaken a number of significant actions to implement the principles of ESD into manufacturing in their individual states. In Victoria an approach of assistance to companies has been adopted rather than regulatory control. The production and publication of guides, demonstration projects and training courses is seen as part of a collaborative approach to achieving ESD. Victoria's newly established Australia Centre for Cleaner Production and the Cleaner Production Grants scheme are also important elements of Victoria's program to develop and implement waste minimisation initiatives.
NSW and Victoria are moving towards the greater use of environmental audits as a tool for improving environmental management. The South Australian Centre for Manufacturing which provides services and advice to the manufacturing and service sector on behalf of the SA govt is are currently examining methods of implementing Best Practice Environmental Management The Centre has also organised seminars on energy conservation audits in industry. Queensland is developing a State Environment Industry Strategy focussing on aspects of industry waste management and pollution control. A Best Practice Environment Management (BPEM) concept is currently being piloted in Queensland 's manufacturing sector and its future will be determined following the completion of the pilots and an assessment of their effectiveness.
The Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council (ANZECC) is presently considering a proposal for a nationally agreed code for environmental labelling to be run by Standards Australia.
The report on Chapter 25 of the National Strategy which is on Occupational Health and Safety also contains a list of activities introduced to improve chemicals management in Australia.
The NSESD contains three objectives for mining, these are:
There has been progress in implementation of actions cooperatively between the Commonwealth, States and Territories through the Australian and New Zealand Minerals and Energy Council (ANZMEC). Actions are in train and processes in place for reporting to ANZMEC on the issues identified. Some additional reporting may be required depending on the outcome of studies and ANZMEC deliberations. .
ANZMEC has also carried out substantial analysis and discussion on royalty policy and has completed an assessment of royalty systems. It has agreed in principle to the development of a uniform hybrid royalty comprising ad valorem and net income components for all offshore mining in Australian territorial waters.
There are also a number of actions by different States. New Victorian legislation aims for development that is conducted in ways that minimise environmental impact, and requires that operations are carefully monitored and land which is mined is rehabilitated. Proposed legislation will provide proponents with the choice of seeking a planning permit or meeting all planning prerequisites for the preparation of an environmental effects statement.
In Queensland an Environmental Management Policy for Mining has been developed and is being implemented in cooperation with the Queensland Mining Council. The policy aims to ensure that environmental management is an integral and on-going part of mine site planning and operations. Occupational health and safety issues are being addressed through tripartite reviews of the health and safety legislation applying to coal mining, metalliferous mining and quarrying industries. The focus is towards a less prescriptive legislative approach emphasising the 'duty of care' responsibility of employers and employees at the mine site. Queensland is also developing a Code of Conduct for mining and exploration of Aboriginal land. The Code will be finalised through discussions between industry and Aboriginal groups. Adherence to the Code will be a mandatory condition of exploration permits issued over Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander land. De facto royalties previously collected on export coal through rail freight charging arrangements are being replaced by an open royalty system and commercially based rail freights.
In NSW the Department of Mineral Resources requires the progressive development of environmental management plans for all coal and non-coal mining, and is currently conducting environmental audits of all major and medium sized mines. By mid 1995 all coal mines will operate under an approved environmental management plan, and all non-coal mines by mid 1997.
In SA amendments to the Mining Act will require that landholders of properties abutting land proposed for mining must be given formal notification of details relating to the proposed mines operation. The Department of Mines and Energy (DME) intends to conduct widespread public consultations as part of a review of the Mining Act in 1994. This is expected to provide valuable community input on a range of environmental and research management issues. DME has adopted the rehabilitation guidelines outlined in the AMIC publication Mines Rehabilitation Handbook, supplemented by a variety of measures adapted to local needs. SA has moved to establish environmental performance bonds for the mineral leases not yet bonded. It is also in the process of preparing a variety of guides and codes of practice for exploration and mining operations to establish acceptable environmental practices for a range of mining activities.
In the NT all relevant mines are to be licensed for wastewater discharge under the NT Water Act by the end of 1993, with the objective of protecting water quality in receiving waters.
Tasmania is in the process of reviewing mining legislation. Approvals and conditions are upgraded to current community expectations when appropriate opportunities arise, for example when a lease is renewed or transferred or there is a change in the scale of the operation. The Code of Practice for Mineral Exploration is reviewed and revised on a regular basis in Tasmania.
The NSESD objectives for urban and transport planning are:
The States and Territories generally have been very responsive to the need for integrated urban and transport planning. To a significant degree the objectives included within this chapter have been pursued for a number of years already. The National Strategy provides a vehicle for putting these general urban design principles together under one banner. Increasing attention is being given to the environmental implications of development, the importance of transport in shaping an efficient and sustainable city and the need to co-ordinate the provision of infrastructure.
AMCORD and AMCORD URBAN are model residential development codes of best practice which encourage affordable residential development through greater efficiency in regulatory design and construction phases of estate development. The AMCORD URBAN was developed to assist States with urban consolidation policies. The model codes are currently being reviewed and it is envisaged that energy efficiency and ESD principles will be enhanced.
At the Commonwealth level, work has been undertaken on emission standards for new diesel and petrol fuelled vehicles, with emission standards for diesel fuelled vehicles completed and a revised criteria for petrol fuelled vehicles is to be released shortly.
The Green Street Program has undertaken consultancies to demonstrate efficiency gains associated with higher density developments incorporating Green Street principles.
Funds from the Commonwealth's Better Cities Program are being used by the States and Territories to improve urban environments in Australian cities.
In addition the Australian Urban and Regional Development Review which was established in 1993 will consider urban and transport planning issues. The Review will develop proposals about how Commonwealth Government programs and policies can best support urban and regional development, which is recognised as being vital to the achievement of environmental, economic and social objectives.
Each of the States and Territories can be reported on as implementing ESD principles. In NSW the draft Metropolitan Strategy advocates a corporate approach by agencies to provide for integrated assessment of transport, employment, housing, environment and urban infrastructure needs in decision making for urban development. The Integrated Transport Study (NSW) initiatives aim to promote urban containment through concentrating residential and employment development in established areas close to mass transport links. In relation to the hosting of the 2000 Olympics, the issuing of ESD based Environmental Guidelines demonstrates NSW's determination to ensure that the Olympic-related development is environmentally sensitive.
The ACT's Territory Plan came into effect on 18 October 1993. The plan has as its objective "to ensure .... that the planning and development of the Territory provides the people of the Territory with an attractive, safe and efficient environment in which to live, work and have their recreation". It addresses, amongst other things, energy efficient urban development and greater housing choice.
Urban transport issues are under consideration in the ACT in the Study of Future Public Transport Options for Canberra. This study, which is currently underway, stresses the need to consider the relationships between transport, land use and the environment. It is examining ways to improve the options for modes of commuter travel, and consequently reduce the use of fossil fuels.
Urban public transport in SA has been upgraded by the purchase of new rolling stock for road and rail, and compressed natural gas (CNG) is now being widely used as an alternative public transport fuel on an experimental basis.
The Queensland Government is preparing new Planning and Development legislation which will provide greater emphasis for forward planning and the integration of State and regional objectives in planning schemes for local areas. The new Act will provide for integrated consideration of relevant environmental, social and economic factors in plan making and development assessment, processes for greater public participation in plan formulation and a more accessible, cost effective dispute resolution mechanism.
In Queensland a major upgrading of rail passenger networks in the south east is being implemented, in particular the connection between Brisbane and the Gold Coast is proceeding.
In Victoria a number of urban development projects are being undertaken to demonstrate the use of ESD principles. In particular the Greenhouse Neighbourhood Project has been a major research effort which indicated significant greenhouse gas advantages of higher density, mixed use, fringe development over conventional development patterns.
The Victorian Local Conservation Strategy program is having a significant input into raising public awareness and action on environmental and urban amenity issues.
The NSESD contains four objectives for tourism, these are:
The National Tourism Strategy "Tourism: Australia's Passport to Growth" identifies the economic, environmental, social and support goals which, when pursued on an integrated basis, form the basis for the development of an ecologically sustainable tourism industry.
This Tourism Strategy recognises the importance of tourism developments being compatible with the environment on which they depend. This approach is reflected in current Commonwealth tourism initiatives including the National Ecotourism Strategy, the Rural Tourism Strategy, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Tourism Strategy (cooperatively with ATSIC) and the Back Packer Market Strategic Plan.
In addition, the Department of Tourism manages a number of funding programs which promote the principles of ecologically sustainable tourism development including the Forest Ecotourism Program and the Sites of National Tourism Significance Program.
Each of the States and Territories have, or are developing, tourism strategies which incorporate ESD principles. It is recognised that tourism is a vital part of Australia's economy and that maintenance of the natural environment and its special features are critical to the sustainability of tourism. Codes of practice and guidelines for appropriate environmental tourism are the main ways in which tourists and tourist operators are being advised of appropriate behaviour and activities.
NSW is making progress in the area of working with industry and community groups to develop guidelines on environmentally appropriate tourism development and activity, with guidelines on tourism development close to natural areas already established. The draft NT Tourism Development Masterplan proposes the establishment of a system to assess the carrying capacity of sites subject to visitor pressure within national parks, determine the limits of acceptable change for those sites and monitor the sites against the parameters established.
In Victoria training sessions for tourism operators are being undertaken to encourage ESD issues to be included in all new interpretive materials and programs. Similarly in SA, the Environmental Code of Practice produced by the Office of Tourism Industry Development encourages tourist operators to base their products and visitor management strategies on the principle of environmental sustainability.
In the ACT an Ecotourism Policy is being developed, which will be consistent with the National Ecotourism Strategy. Significant features of this policy will be the level of community and industry input to preparation and also the identification of appropriate performance criteria for tourism development.
Queensland is currently developing an Ecotourism Strategy to promote environmentally sensitive tourism.
The NSESD contains four objectives in this regard, they are:
Actions in regard to these objectives are covered in the report on the implementation of the National Greenhouse Response Strategy.
The objective of the NSESD for Biological Diversity is:
The protection of biological diversity is integrally associated with the objectives of Nature Conservation Systems and Native Vegetation, and measures taken to meet the challenges of one will in many cases specifically support the ecological sustainability objectives of another.
A draft National Strategy for the Conservation of Australia's Species and Ecological Communities Threatened with Extinction has been produced by the ANZECC Endangered Species and Communities Strategy Task Force. The Strategy aims to protect species and ecological communities threatened with extinction and to prevent additional species and communities from becoming threatened. The draft National Strategy on Biological Diversity is being produced by the ANZECC Task Force on Biological Diversity, and will progress mechanisms to achieve the conservation and ecologically sustainable use of biological resources.
ANZECC has prepared and presented a report to First Ministers on the implementation and implications of ratification of the International Convention on Biological Diversity with Australian ratification of the convention in June 1993. It will come into force in December 1993.
There is general support for Schedule 9 (Nature Conservation) of the Inter Governmental Agreement on the Environment (IGAE) and related programs, with particular references to support for the National Landcare Program and endangered species programs. Most jurisdictions have endorsed the Draft National Strategy for Conservation of Australia's Species and Ecological Communities Threatened with Extinction, and have cooperated with and participated in the ANZECC process of developing a national approach to the protection of rare, vulnerable and endangered species. Jurisdiction responses and participation include the endorsement of the draft strategy and development of a series of performance indicators to evaluate the draft strategy's progress in Queensland, and the Victorian aim to have Action Statements for all nationally listed species by the end of 1994.
There has not been any change to regulatory mechanisms or legislation relating to biodiversity in response to NSESD. However, recommendations for change may be proposed in respect to access to Australia's biological resources by the Coordinating Committee on Science and Technologies Working Party on Access to Biological Resources for R &; D purposes. Legislation relevant to the maintenance of biodiversity is under review in a number of jurisdictions, with three jurisdictions proposing to review, or currently reviewing, fisheries legislation. In the ACT proposed flora and fauna guarantee legislation has been released for public comment. Completion of the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Strategy is expected in 1994, as is the proclamation of the Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992.
The Tasmanian Inland Fisheries Commission has undertaken work to preserve its native fish fauna, with various recovery plans in place, or being prepared, for endangered species. In addition, biodiversity and endangered species protection strategies are being prepared by a number of jurisdictions.
Government programs are continuing to monitor components of biodiversity, with new programs arising in some jurisdictions initiated by the NSESD. NSW is undertaking a biodiversity survey in the north east of the State, and is currently developing an Atlas of NSW Wildlife to serve as an inventory of flora and fauna. The ACT has a continuing program of research and survey of flora and fauna with particular emphasis on native grasslands ecosystems, with additional funding being provided under the Commonwealth Endangered Species Act to research lowland native grasslands. In SA a national approach is being promoted in the establishment of biological inventories associated with wetlands, floodplains and riparian ecosystems.
At a national level, the National Wilderness inventory is nearing complete continental coverage, and identification methodology is being developed for the Australian Heritage Commission project identifying rivers in 'near pristine condition' and fostering their proper catchment management. The National Wetlands Conservation and Management Program was established in 1990/91 to promote the conservation and wise use of wetlands.
The NSESD objective with regard to Nature Conservation Systems is:
ANZECC has been addressing national nature conservation issues identified in NSESD through the establishment of task forces, working groups, networks and advisory committees. This is in accordance with its role as primary forum for coordination of all nationwide nature conservation functions. ANZECC's Working Group on National Parks and Protected Areas has prepared a draft technical paper providing a basis for the establishment of a national system of reserves, which will be released for public comment. This work will continue, including activities that will involve other Ministerial Councils and interested parties.
Research into categories of protected areas, programs investigating species habitat requirements and species tolerances to stresses on the environment, have been undertaken to varying extents by a number of jurisdictions, with one role of the ANZECC Working Group on National Parks and Protected Areas being to report on such programs.
The NSW Forestry Commission's current Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) program includes consideration of conservation values from biological resource surveys with the resulting strategies and conservation reserves flowing from the EIS program meeting the intent of the National Forest Policy Statement. The NSW Plant Communities Database contains data on location, area, conservation status and threats to species. The ACT Nature Conservation Strategy, provided for under the proposed Flora and Fauna Guarantee legislation, is to cover flora and fauna and the management of potentially threatening processes, and the recently released SA Threatened Species Strategy covers species reintroduction programs and "threatening processes". The SA Strategy also includes a commitment to the preservation of threatened species by natural resource agencies and land managers throughout SA. The NT has expressed concern that, with regard to research programs into species habitat requirements, limitations are encountered due to low availability of scientific staff in the Territory.
The establishment of criteria and processes for access and use of protected areas consistent with ESD principles has been investigated, to varying degrees, by some jurisdictions. At the Commonwealth level, departments and agencies have agreed as an initial step on a process for assessment of economic values of, and alternative uses for, areas proposed for proclamation as parks or reserves under the National Parks &; Wildlife Conservation Act 1975.
In the ACT policy development is being undertaken on access and use of reserve areas. In addition to this, a statutory committee and an advisory community committee have been established to advise the ACT Minister for the Environment, Land and Planning on the planning and management of conservation areas. NSW is proposing to review the adequacy of criteria and processes for access, use and determination on NSW protected areas in 1994.
Queensland has established a Protected Areas Advisory Committee for advice on strategic directions and issues relating to conservation of biodiversity, protected area planning, tourism and commercial aspects of protected area management. The area of the conservation estate in Queensland is also increasing, with an additional 2.8 million hectares being added in 1992-93. Queensland's national parks acquisition program has increased the area of the national park estate from 2.1% in 1989 to 3.36% of Queensland as at June 1993.
In Victoria research into the potential effect of the enhanced greenhouse effect on the State's fauna has identified the need for wildlife corridors or biolinks. The NT has identified the compilation of information and analysis as to the adequacy of the reserve system as an important aspect of the Landcare Plan. In Tasmania the Recommended Areas for Protection (RAPs) are based on ecological domain modelling and aim to secure representative samples of all forest types in reserves.
Australian land is 13% privately owned, with a further 54% under Crown lease or license, hence measures to facilitate nature conservation on privately managed land are a vital component of the ESD process. The Federal Government's 'Save The Bush', 'One Billion Trees' and 'River Murray Corridor of Green' programs provide funding for, among other things, nature conservation activities on private land where there are public benefits. For example, these programs play a significant role in community education and in encouraging public participation in nature conservation.
Some mechanisms have been developed as part of the ESD process in States and Territories to encourage, rather than enforce, nature conservation on private land. In SA revegetation activities on farms are being developed as part of district plans prepared by Primary Industries (SA) and promoted by Landcare officers. Victoria now has over 2000 landholders participating in the Land for Wildlife Scheme which encourages and assists landholders wishing to conserve and restore wildlife habitat on their properties. Native vegetation protection programs exist legislatively at the state level in Victoria and SA, with the aim of ensuring protection of remnant native vegetation on freehold land in these States. A Land for Wildlife Program is being established in Tasmania and legislation is being drafted to facilitate voluntary and co-operative approaches to conservation on private land. NSW provides for conservation agreements to be entered into between the Minister for the Environment and landowners or lessees, which are directed at maintaining significant natural values of the area.
The NSESD contains two objectives for Native Vegetation, these are:
A number of ESD initiatives have been established at a national level to deal with the issue of native vegetation. The 'Save The Bush' and 'One Billion Trees' programs, which are part of the National Landcare Program, the 'River Murray Corridor of Green' program, which funds local government and community based projects and the Commonwealth Waterwatch project all contribute to the achievement of NSESD Native Vegetation Objectives. The draft National Strategy for the Conservation of Australia's Biological Diversity contains a range of actions to conserve and restore native vegetation.
In Queensland, native vegetation clearing issues are being addressed through ICM, Landcare, Property Management Planning and the development of codes of practice. Over 1.3 million trees have been planted since 1990 under the Treecare component of the Queensland ICM Strategy. Queensland is also reviewing tree clearing provisions on leasehold land.
The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) and State Associations are participating in programs focused on the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. Local government participation is largely through elements of the National Landcare Program and Greening Australia's One Billion Trees and remnant bush management initiatives. The development of Greening Australia's Greening Plans manual is also an activity concerning Local Government Associations.
A specific action of the NSESD was to assess the rate of native vegetation clearing on a national basis. Victoria is monitoring native vegetation clearance on a 3 yearly basis, with the monitoring of approved native vegetation clearing occurring at a municipal level. In NSW remote sensing techniques are being investigated to monitor vegetation clearing, with vegetation surveys currently being conducted across the State. In addition, several research and policy proposals have been prepared under the draft Natural Heritage Conservation Strategy within its Biodiversity Component. A central thrust of the proposals is the identification of important vegetation remnants. A number of jurisdictions have developed or are developing native vegetation inventories. South Australia is constructing an inventory of vegetation remnants, and data on the extent of remnant vegetation are being included on Geographic Information Systems (GIS). A project assessing land clearing is being undertaken in the NT. The ACT is involved in a project for the Murray Darling Basin Commission, identifying vegetation cover using its GIS program.
Initiatives aimed at developing integrated catchment management policy structures have begun in many jurisdictions. In SA the revegetation strategy for the Murray Mallee is complete, the rural tree planting program is facilitating the preparation of regional revegetation plans through district soil conservation boards, and the preparation of roadside management plans by local government is expected to assist wildlife corridors. NSW is involved in a number of programs aimed at retaining native vegetation, including the protection of native vegetation on private land. In Victoria, community programs for protection of native vegetation on private land are integrated with those for land protection, where appropriate, through the National Landcare Program. The National Forest Policy Statement addresses the issue of sustainable management of native forests on public and private land. Nationally, Landcare and Total Catchment Management initiatives have increased environmental responsibility and awareness among landholders and improved integration of conservation and sustainable use of resources.
The Queensland Nature Conservation Act provides for the long term voluntary protection of native vegetation and wildlife through Nature Refuges and co-ordinated Conservation Areas. The sections of the Act which relate to Nature Refuges and Conservations Areas are being promoted by the development of co-operative strategies for financial management.
Statewide regulation relating to the clearing of native vegetation on private land exists for Victoria and SA. The SA native vegetation retention controls are noteworthy in that they have effectively put a halt to broadscale native vegetation clearance in that State, and contain a financial incentives provision to promote the conservation of remnant native vegetation. Legislative controls for clearing protected native vegetation exist for most sensitive areas of NSW. In the NT, a review of relevant legislation is underway with an aim to integrate enhanced productivity with biodiversity and land protection.
Improved provision of technical advice to landholders on native vegetation conservation in association with sustainable use of resources has been provided under the National Landcare Program.
The NSESD objective for Environment Protection is:
The National Environment Protection Authority is expected to be established by the end of 1994. Complementary legislation will be introduced in all jurisdictions and will require that social and economic effects, along with environmental effects, be taken into account when developing national standards and guidelines. The development of those national measures will be undertaken with broad community involvement. A needs analysis to assess the need for additional scientific knowledge on environment protection policy is yet to be developed.
Governments have encouraged a national approach to measures for protection of the environment by facilitating and coordinating the development of initiatives such as guidelines for contaminated sites and national ambient air quality guidelines; and promoting their adoption.
The NT is undertaking a review of the NT Environment Assessment Act which will facilitate public access to, and sharing of, scientific data concerning environment protection.
Queensland is developing new broad-based environment protection legislation which will be underpinned by specific Environment Protection Policies applying to particular industries and activities.
In SA the Environment Protection Act has been designed to provide a single integrated environment protection licence covering pollution and waste matters affecting air, water and land.
Work on economic policy instruments to achieve environment protection is progressing in all jurisdictions through coordination by the Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS).
A major initiative for environmental protection in the ACT was the establishment of the Office of the Commissioner for the Environment. The Commissioner is responsible amongst other things for investigating public complaints regarding the environmental management policies and practices of ACT government agencies. In addition the ACT is examining the use of economic policy instruments in the context of it's proposed integrated environment protection legislation, which aims to improve environmental outcomes by taking a holistic approach to environmental management. NSW has incorporated ESD principles in its Protection of Environment Administration Act 1991.
The objectives of the NSESD in relation to Land Use Planning and Decision making are two fold;
Schedule 2 of the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environment provides for Commonwealth accreditation of State land and resource planning systems and development approval processes. Under the Agreement, the Commonwealth has been asked to consider several state processes including the Victorian Land Conservation Council process and NSW environmental assessment processes under the Timber Industry (Interim Protection)Act 1991 and the Wilderness Act 1987.
The SA Planning Strategy is a formal statement of State Government policy for the physical development of the State. This Strategy incorporates National Strategy for ESD and National Greenhouse Response Strategy principles. It is required, by the new Development Act, to be maintained by the Premier, who reports annually to Parliament on any changes to the Strategy. The Strategy explicitly states the need to assess the capability of land as part of any land use decision making process.
The new ACT Territory Plan includes guidelines which cover the range of environmental issues that may arise during the planning process for example: urban land capability, erosion and sediment control, air, noise and water quality and energy.
ALGA, though the State Local Government Associations, is promoting Local Government to adopt local Environmental Strategies so as to integrate an environmental ethic into operational and strategic decision making.
The NSW regulation of land use planning and decision making provides an integrated framework for the management, development and conservation of natural resources that involves opportunity for public participation.
Queensland is currently reforming its planning system and has introduced a new integrated development approvals system. Early integration of environmental considerations in decision making and procedures is one aspect of these reforms.
The NSESD contains two objectives for this issue, they are:
All jurisdictions are participating in intergovernmental coordination of natural resources information through the auspices of Schedule 1 of the IGAE; and are represented on the Australian and New Zealand Land Information Council (ANZLIC), which develops national policy for the exchange of land-related data aiming to increase the accessibility of land and resource data, and to reduce duplication in data management. Many jurisdictions are also in the process of developing their own natural resource information systems.
In developing natural resource data systems, jurisdictions are ensuring that user needs are an integral component. The State Local Government Associations are undertaking initiatives to either examine or develop information systems which may be made available to councils to aid in their planning responsibilities. The Environmental Information and Support for Local Government (EiS) aims to promote the capacity of local government to address the integrated management of their environments. Environment Resource Officers located in each jurisdiction are funded to facilitate the Councilnet electronic information system. Other jurisdictions ensure that information is available in a variety of ways, for example through public distribution, and libraries.
Development of environment satellite accounts will be based on recommendations contained in the United Nations System of National Accounts. However, a time series of physical data covering several years work will need to be developed before work can proceed. Data collection and compilation on the costs of environmental protection will result in a publication before the end of 1993. This data will be used when a satisfactory time series is established in further accounts work.
Experimental balance sheets are being developed, and a discussion paper is expected towards the end of the year. Assets to be covered include private non-farm stocks, dwellings, non-dwelling construction, capital equipment, financial assets, land, major subsoil assets (oil, gas etc, forests (available for timber production), and livestock. A publication covering detailed natural resource accounts in physical terms, beginning with energy resources, is expected by June 1994.
A National Workshop on Environmental Indicators for Sustainable Agriculture was held in November 1991, and included discussion on possible social and equity indicators. A working group was commissioned by ARMCANZ to assess the development of general indicators of sustainable agriculture. Individual jurisdictions are ensuring that economic, environmental and social considerations are integrated when developing decision making processes.
In producing estimates of unpaid household work, international recommendations and practice are being followed. The draft guidelines developed included estimates of unpaid work in 'satellite accounts' rather than in the core national accounts. Estimates will be updated each time use survey data becomes available (approximately every five years). The data from the last survey in 1992 will be used to update the work contained in the 1990 ABS paper on this topic by June 1994.
Several jurisdictions are developing regular State of the Environment (SoE) reporting, and an ANZECC Taskforce has been established to provide an effective contact point for Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments concerning the framework for national SoE reporting system. The Taskforce is also playing an important role in early information exchange for use in the SoE Group's development of information system tools. NSW, SA, Tasmania and the ACT now have a legislated requirement for State of the Environment Reporting, with the SoE process having been successfully established in SA in 1988. The Commonwealth has developed a discussion paper on National State of the Environment reporting and the next annual report is due in the second half of 1995. Other jurisdictions are also participating in the Commonwealth's State of the Marine Environment reporting process.
Queensland has made progress on a natural resource database for South-East Queensland with information available on 19 attributes for most of the area. NSW is also in the process of developing a natural resource metadata base for the State.
The NSW Government has also established the Natural Resources Audit Council (NRAC), an independent body charged with conducting an audit of all the values of the State's public land and natural resources. NRAC's findings will be used by the Government to assist it in decision making.
Progress has also been made on a range of initiatives involving improved monitoring of weather and climate, and upgraded services for agriculture, water resources and natural disaster management. A joint GCOS/GOOS workshop was held in December 1992 at which Commonwealth, State and Territory agencies and academic institutions with responsibility for atmospheric and oceanographic monitoring were represented.
The NSESD contains two objectives for Environmental Impact Assessment, they are:
Many jurisdictions ensure that EIA guidelines incorporate ESD principles and some have instituted reviews (such as the Commonwealth) to seek the views of stakeholders generally to the integration of environmental, social, economic and health assessments, to encompass regional and cumulative impacts, and to consolidate the efforts of governments to improve the reliability and effectiveness of EIA processes.
Existing EIA processes all ensure community consultation on a specific proposal, and reviews currently taking place are allowing for community consultation on the development of new EIA processes. All jurisdictions participated in the ANZECC Working group developing an Environmental Impact Assessment framework agreement. The agreement has been endorsed by ANZECC in principle, and is being commented on by non- ANZECC Ministers having responsibility for EIA, and will require final clearance out of session by ANZECC. If endorsed the agreement will meet the objective of a national multi-lateral approach on EIA.
The NSESD's objectives here are:
Establishing institutional mechanisms to promote the integration of ESD principles in policy formulation is a major focus of the National Strategy for ESD.
Jurisdictions have reported on progress towards achieving the objectives for establishing appropriate institutional arrangements for the inclusion of ESD principles in policy formation and policy making processes. A major national action providing for the practical realisation of ESD in decision making is the operation of the December 1992 COAG agreed protocol, for the operation of Ministerial Councils, with the objective of ensuring efficient and effective intergovernmental consultation and consultations with relevant non government organisations. Jurisdictions have acted on and reported on the incorporation of ESD objectives and principles in government and government agency decision making processes in line with the actions specified. These include requirements that Cabinet documents address economic, environmental and social considerations, and that all Government agencies have been requested to conduct their operations in accordance with ESD objectives and principles and that these be reflected in their charter and corporate plans.
ESD principles have been incorporated into some legislation, including the Commonwealth's Endangered Species Protection Act 1982, Natural Resources Management Act (Financial Assistance) 1982, and NSW EPA legislation. The new NSW Local Government Act 1993 incorporates specific environment provisions relating to ESD, also a recently released State Environment Planning Policy for Olympic Games Projects requires projects to demonstrate their consistency with ESD. In addition NSW has established the Natural Resources Audit Council to conduct systematic and comprehensive audits of the social, economic and environmental values of its public land and resources. Victoria is promoting ESD at the municipal level through the local Conservation Strategy Program. ESD will be incorporated into the ACT's proposed Integrated Environment Protection Legislation.
NSW has developed a range of non legal conflict resolution mechanisms to assist in the operation of Government, including through procedures to be adopted in relation to disputes between government authorities, a mediation process involving the Land and Environment Court, and through training and education processes involving the NSW Ombudsman's Office. Victoria is nearing completion of a Mediation in Planning Disputes process.
A National Steering Committee consisting of the ALGA, State Local Government Associations and the Commonwealth was established to progress the Integrated Local Area Planning (ILAP) project. ILAP promotes an integrated approach to quality of life with consideration of development, environment quality and service provision.
The NT has developed a hospital waste disposal policy based on ESD principles. This policy discourages the purchase of disposable products, gives tender preference to products manufactured from recycled material (subject to quality and price) and develops waste minimisation protocols. In consultation with the Small Business Association, Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Territory Construction Association, a NT procurement policy is being prepared.
Jurisdictions remain committed to implementing the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environment (IGAE), one of the main actions listed under the third objective of this chapter of the National Strategy, and are cooperating on a range of actions under the IGAE, including the establishment of NEPA and accreditation of land use processes.
The objective of the NSESD in relation to Coastal Zone Management is to :
The Commonwealth Coastal Policy has been drafted and released for public comment and is expected to be finalised following the completion of the final report of the Resource Assessment Commission's (RAC) Coastal Zone Inquiry in November 1993.
The NSW Coastal Policy released in 1990 is now being reviewed and a draft policy is being prepared taking into account the objectives of ESD. Community consultation has been undertaken to assist in drafting the revised Coastal Policy. In Victoria, new management arrangements are being established for the entire coast, with the sustainable use of natural resources being included in the aims of this new arrangement.
NSW and the NT do not accept all of the proposals contained in the RAC's National Coastal Action Plan. NSW and the NT agree that it would be beneficial to have uniform management plans in respect of some aspects of the coastal zone, but are of the view that the differences between individual jurisdictions, limits the usefulness of a national strategy. The use of the IGAE to improve inter jurisdictional management of the coastal zone is supported by the NT.
The Draft Queensland Coastal Protection Bill identifies the principles of ESD as the basis for coastal zone management in Queensland. The Bill will also streamline processes applying to approval and management of Queensland coastal areas.
Tasmania is currently preparing a draft State Coastal Policy, the policy will be based on sustainable development principles and objectives and once adopted will be a statutory policy.
There are two NSESD objectives for water resource management:
Implementation of actions on water issues occurs through a range of Commonwealth, State and Territory policies and programs aimed at improving water resource management. These include cooperative Commonwealth, State and Territory arrangements through ARMCANZ, ANZECC and the Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council. Integrated management policies and programs such as the National Landcare Program are also playing a vital role in achieving water management objectives. The National Water Quality Management Strategy provides a framework through which water quality issues are being addressed. A working group on water resource policy has been established and is working on a national strategic framework for the efficient and sustainable reform of water resource policy.
Water management and reform issues are also being handled as a separate item on the COAG agenda. Reporting on implementation of water issues in the context of the actions under the National Strategy for ESD will need to be considered in the overall context of COAG's consideration of water reform issues. The Commonwealth is co- ordinating a review of its expenditure on water and water related programs, to provide it with better information on its current expenditure on these programs and to identify the particular scope for better targeting of these programs to further progress its water reform objectives.
NSW is active in considering the whole hydrological cycle in water management planning, including stormwater, waste waters and effluent, and an integrated catchment management approach has been adopted. NSW is currently examining institutional arrangements for the management and regulation of water. A special Cabinet sub- committee has been established to undertake a fundamental review of the administrative and statutory arrangements for the management, regulation and distribution of water resources in NSW. NSW has also established a taskforce to develop strategies for managing stormwater, including planning for improved management and funding of stormwater pollution measures. NSW is developing a longer term water pricing strategy and is making advances in improving water markets and systems for transferable water entitlements in this regard. Work is proceeding on assessing intervalley and interstate water transfer market arrangements.
In the ACT, the Territory Plan provides for a range of guidelines relating to water quality, flood plain protection, erosion and sediment control, grass pollutant traps, water pollution control bonds and engineered waterways. The ACT is also involved in the coordination, with other agencies, of improved water resource management, on a regional basis, for the Murrumbidgee River catchment area.
In Victoria, the existing legislative framework has been based on environmental considerations. A proposed Catchment and Land Protection Bill, which includes integrated catchment as a principle, will strengthen the State's orientation towards catchment-based management. The Victorian algal blooms and nutrients strategy is due for release at the end of 1993. In 1994 the Victorian Government will give further consideration to issues of river water quality, and garbage and litter when two taskforces present their findings to Government.
In SA work is continuing to give effect to the principles of integrated catchment management. Catchment management plans are being prepared for a number of areas which involve local community groups and the National Landcare Program. SA has also been seeking to improve irrigation management practice by irrigators of the Riverland.
In the NT a user-pays system has been adopted for water, and tariff policy is constantly under review. The objectives are to minimise cost subsidies and break even on operational costs.
In Queensland a draft State Water Conservation Strategy which proposes a framework for management of the State's water resources has been released. Water resource management in Queensland is being integrated with the planning and management of natural resources generally, to achieve ESD. A specific policy on floodplain management is being developed as part of this framework.
The NSESD objectives for this issues are twofold, they are:
Australia is pursuing a 50% reduction in waste going to land fill by the year 2000 and has set national recycling targets, a large number to be achieved by the year 1995. Industry is being encouraged to reduce waste through adoption of waste avoidance practices, use of cleaner production technologies and increased efficiency. Commonwealth, State and Territory governments are developing and implementing measures to promote cost- effective waste minimisation by industry and the community through a combination of appropriate economic and regulatory instruments.
Australia is initiating programs aimed at developing and strengthening national capabilities in research and design of environmentally sound technologies as well as programs designed to reduce industrial waste processes through cleaner production technologies and good house keeping practices. The EcoReDesign project, being funded by the Commonwealth Government is being run by a research institution and aims to completely redesign a number of household products from an environmental and total lifecycle perspective.
Many state jurisdictions have introduced mechanisms such as increasing land fill disposal costs, industry waste management agreements, strategies aimed at 'organic' waste disposal, 'eco-office' schemes, and waste management strategies. Many jurisdictions have developed kerbside recycling schemes which encourage local councils to participate through a variety of mechanisms. The Commonwealth is providing financial and other assistance to local governments to develop programs and other strategies to minimise waste.
The National Pollutant Inventory draft discussion paper has been prepared and circulated to all jurisdictions and is expected to be released for public comment by the end of 1993. The paper deals with improving public understanding and involvement in decision making, satisfying international reporting obligations, tracking a larger range of toxic materials in the environment, and improving input to environmental management.
Work has commenced on a study to address full social cost issues using plastic as an example, with the intention of identifying principles for application to other recyclable materials. Work on the development of a national waste data base is continuing.
The report of the Scheduled Wastes Working Group (SWWG) sets out the essential elements of a regime for scheduled waste. These include the development of Management Plans for each category of waste; provision for a nationally uniform approach to approval for demonstration of technologies, and provision for a standard set of requirements for approval of commercial facilities for destruction of particular kinds of waste. The SWWG Report was presented to ANZECC on 22 May 1993 and Australian Governments are presently considering the report.
In the development of a nationally consistent approach to liability for contaminated site remediation, ANZECC has prepared a public discussion paper which discusses registers of contaminated sites as part of a national approach. It is expected that drafting of a national approach will begin in 1994 with the objective of endorsement and implementation by each jurisdiction.
CSIRO and the Commonwealth Department of Primary Industry and Energy (DPIE) have undertaken a siting study to identify a short list of suitable sites for a repository for low level and short lived intermediate level radioactive wastes. The information arising from this study is still under active consideration by ANZECC.
Two objectives are stated in the NSESD for Pricing and Taxation, they are:
Within Australia there are examples of the creation of direct economic incentives to industry to reduce emissions by-products for example, the use of salinity rights in the Murray-Darling Basin, direct incentives to households to reduce emission by-products such as waste disposal levies, and the leaded petrol excise differential, the use of security bonds by NSW to ensure the adequate rehabilitation of all mined and exploited lands, and incentives to encourage recycling/disposal such as the NSW subsidy to local councils to process wastes. The ACT is undertaking a review of urban infrastructure pricing and the impact on mobility, greenfield development, urban renewal and intergenerational equity.
Pilot projects established in NSW include projects targeted at reducing phosphorus loadings entering the Hawkesbury-Nepean River, reducing the salinity in the Hunter River and improving air quality in Sydney. In Victoria Basin Forums have been established which include community and interest group representation in implementation of bulk entitlements to water. SA is the only jurisdiction which has introduced specific legislation to impose deposits on beverage containers. The legislation has been an effective mechanism for controlling waste generation and encouraging enhanced levels of resource recovery.
The NSW government has established a Government Pricing Tribunal (GPT) as an independent body to set maximum prices for selected monopoly Government utilities such as water, electricity and public transport. The objective of the GPT is to provide efficient pricing that recognises social and environmental factors.
The Commonwealth Government is considering removing the fuel excise exemption for Commonwealth Departments and agencies and an options paper is being prepared. The Government expects to make a decision on the final arrangements before the end of 1993. The Commonwealth will also continue to ensure that taxation regimes foster sound environmental practices by incorporating this objective into the normal process of policy development.
A study into the impact of inter and intragenerational equity and the precautionary principle and their practical application to environmental policy has been submitted for consideration by governments. It is expected this study will be published.
The Industry Commission is conducting a number of inquiries which incorporate analysis of the practical application of pricing and taxation instruments and the social and environmental aspects of utilising those instruments. Reference reports released in 1993 include Environmental Waste Management Equipment Systems and Services and Adding Further Value to Australia's Forestry Products. References on the forward work program include Sustainable Land Management including Soil Conservation, Private Sector Infrastructure Funding (including a case study on toll roads) and Tourist Accommodation and Training. A scoping study on "Waste Management and Landfill Pricing" was released in October 1993. This focused upon the relevant components of the full cost of landfill disposal and the extent to which responsible authorities account for all components. A study of plastics recycling is to be completed in 1994. Inter alia, this study will consider the extent to which underpricing of disposal might inhibit recycling.
A study into the quantification of environmental and social costs of energy pricing will form part of a national investigation of issues affecting the incorporation of externalities in the energy sector, and will be jointly managed by ANZECC and ANZMEC.
Governments are examining pricing and taxation issues as part of the ongoing development of urban policies. The need for reform of infrastructure pricing and the impact of taxation policies on urban development has been agreed at the planning Ministers Council. The Industry Commission completed its report Taxation and Financial Policy Impacts on Urban Settlement in May 1993 and the Commonwealth Government is currently considering its response to the report. The Commission's inquiry into urban transport will also consider the impact of pricing regimes on urban outcomes.
The Australian taxation system allows tax deductions for certain forms of environment related expenditure, including environmental plant and equipment, mine site rehabilitation and environment impact assessment.
Work on cooperatively examining policy and program alternatives to address public interest projects is yet to be reported on. Work on the valuing of the household sector can be found in Chapter 14.
The NSESD objectives for this issue are:
The Government is maintaining its commitment to a continuing process of microeconomic reform to improve the allocation of the nation's resources in order to raise living standards. The majority of commitments in the Commonwealth's 'One Nation' statement are fully committed or underway. Intersectoral reform is being undertaken in areas such as competition policy, GBE's, the labour market, environment standards and the internationalisation of the economy. Running in parallel, sectoral reform has also been undertaken in areas such as electricity, gas, and transport and communications. For example the IGAE was established to improve coordination of environmental management and ensure that environment policies and regulations are consistent among governments.
The BPEM pilot program and the work being done to develop environmental management guidelines and standards are aimed at promoting the integration of environmental considerations into business planning processes. The Government has been working through the process of micro-economic reform to remove impediments and distortions to efficient operation of market forces, through simplifying and streamlining regulatory frameworks and by proper pricing of resources and government services. Business has also developed a range of publications to encourage and assist industry to conduct their activities in an environmentally sensitive manner.
Implementation of micro-economic reform has occurred in the land transport sector, particularly through the National Rail Corporation (National Rail) and the National Road Transport Commission (NRTC). National Rail will eliminate the government subsidy provided for interstate rail freight and will significantly improve competitiveness of the fuel efficient rail industry. The establishment of the NRTC puts in place a framework for the development and implementation of a national uniform regulatory and charging regime. The Commonwealth passed legislation to implement national heavy vehicle charges in May 1993. The development of nationally uniform regulations by the NRTC will increase the efficiency and improve the operating environment of the road transport industry.
Australia integrates its approach to trade and environment policies through inter-departmental consultations and the involvement of non-governmental bodies.
Australia has been involved in multilateral discussions on making trade and environmental principles mutually supportive in the Joint Session of Trade and Environment Experts, the GATT Group on Environmental Measures and International Trade (EMIT) and in UNCTAD. The Government's position on trade and environment issues is developed through a consultative process which may involve, depending on particular issues the following Commonwealth departments, PM&; C, DFAT, DEST and CEPA, DPIE, DITRD and Treasury and relevant Ministers.
In June 1993, Australia and other OECD countries endorsed a set of four "procedural guidelines" on the integration of trade and environment policies. The Government is currently examining how best to implement the guidelines and in this context has broadened the scope of consultations with business, industry, conservation and development non-government bodies on trade and environment issues.
The States and Territories concern for environmental protection is illustrated in their strategies to achieve waste minimisation, pollution reduction programs and approvals and licensing provisions including EIA processes. States and Territories are also addressing the trade issues through various business and economic and trade development strategies for improving the manufacturing bases of their economies, including in NSW the use of environmental audits as a first step towards achievement of improved environmental management.
The NSESD contains two objectives for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, they are:
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) is developing an environmental policy to address the needs of indigenous peoples in conjunction with promoting ESD principles.
The draft National Strategy for the Conservation of Australia's Biological Diversity recognises the role of traditional knowledge in the management of resources and the role of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in recovery programs. Many jurisdictions are ensuring that in developing resource management policies the role of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is recognised and encouraged.
Aboriginal employment concerns are being addressed through various State and National Strategies. These are through increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation in a variety of employment classifications and ATSIC's Aboriginal Employment Development Policy, which incorporates all ATSIC's employment programs like the Community Development Employment Projects, and recommends strategies and policies and consultative mechanisms to overcome employment disadvantages. ANCA and State Parks and Wildlife Services also encourage Aboriginal involvement in management of parks.
The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Tourism Strategy will develop ways to provide increased opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to participate in policy, programs, development of new products, and training and employment within the Australia Tourism Industry.
The Joint Aboriginal Council on Land and Mining will examine means of improving communication between Aborigines and the mining industry, in particular through the development of codes of conduct and improving each party's level of understanding on relevant matters.
Many jurisdictions have a mechanism whereby Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' heritage concerns can be taken into account. For example, as part of the Cultural Resources Surveys undertaken in the ACT, local Aboriginal people are asked to make recommendations on the management of places deemed to be of significance in Aboriginal tradition. The recommendations can be in terms of future management where an area is to be included in open space managed within future urban areas, or the inclusion of specific requirements for management of a place in reserved natural areas. NSW is currently preparing appropriate criteria for assessing the cultural and heritage significance of places important to Aboriginal peoples and consultations with Aboriginal communities and organisations are continuing.
The Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation has established a Rural Committee and Mining Committee which both work out ways of developing strategic approaches mutually beneficial to all parties. Because the reconciliation process is linked to the Mabo legislation there will be need to further monitor developments in this area. The Mining Committee is also finding ways of establishing codes of conduct, resolving disputes and improving awareness of Aboriginal cultural values.
Dispute resolution within SA Aboriginal communities is assisted by the appointment of liaison officers who work with local Aborigines to develop procedures appropriate to local communities. Victoria ensures that involvement in public land decision making and dispute resolution is handled through formal consultation processes at a regional level. The ACT has appointed an Aboriginal Liaison Officer, an Aboriginal Sites Liaison Officer and established an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Council to ensure adequate representation of Aboriginal peoples views on relevant issues.
The NSESD objectives for gender issues are twofold, they are:
Many jurisdictions have established women's forums which ensure women are informed of decisions and encouraged to take an active role in the decision making process. Access for women in rural areas can be facilitated through the Rural Women's Access Grant, and in SA rural women have access to the Rural Women's Information Service. Victoria will hold an International Conference for Women in Agriculture in 1994 with sustainable development as a key theme. In NSW the Rural Women's Network has been established and a Women on the Land meeting held to assess problems and ways of overcoming them. Similarly Queensland operates a Women's Infolink service which provides information and assistance to women throughout the State.
The National Women's Consultative Council is invited to participate in the intergovernmental ESD Roundtable, and the Office of the Status of Women maintains the National Register of Women as a source of names to facilitate greater representation of women on committees, boards and authorities.
In reporting on progress on implementation of the National Strategy for ESD program managers were required to advise of any potential or real adverse gender impacts. Measures and actions to minimise any possible impacts will need to be developed in the next reporting phase, that is the next two years.
The objective for this NSESD issue is:
In Victoria there has been a formal incorporation of Health Assessment into the EIA process, and a co-operative approach exists for health risk assessment and management of contaminated sites.
The NSW EPA and Department of Health have been working together to develop co-ordinated environment and health-based standards and codes of practice. The NSW Inter-departmental Task Force on Lead and the Metropolitan Air Quality Study are two projects being coordinated by these departments, in order to develop planning and control options.
The objective for this NSESD issue is:
The Commonwealth Government, through the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission (NOHSC), is committed to achieving cultural change in the workplace by enhancing OHS. The principles governing the NOHSC approach to the interface between OHS and ESD were approved by National Commission in 1992 and provide the framework for a national level of OHS activities which inter-relate with the environment.
Many Australian companies are linking OHS and environmental protection responsibilities within a Best Practice approach to integrated management.
A number of activities supported by NOHSC Commission Programs and Worksafe Australia aim to improve the OHS performance of peak industry groups, union bodies and OHS jurisdictions. These include:
The SA Occupational Health and Safety Commission has adopted all relevant national standards and codes, and developed a regulatory framework for SA designed to accommodate the adoption of national documents without delay. The SA OH&; S Commission has also undertaken a long term project with DETAFE to integrate occupational health and safety into vocational courses offered by DETAFE.
NSW WorkCover is also participating in the development and implementation of nationally uniform standards and codes of practice. The Tasmanian government has recently given 'in principle' support to adopt for the purposes of its occupational health and safety legislation, the national standard determined by the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission. In Queensland occupational health and safety issues are being addressed through a tripartite review of the health and safety legislation applying to the coal mining, metalliferous mining and quarrying industries. Queensland has also been working in conjunction with other Australian states to complete the first order priorities in OHS standards. Queensland is currently reviewing issues associated with the administration of dangerous goods and hazardous substances.
The objectives for education and training are :
As part of the national collaborative curriculum development project, ESD principles have been taken into account in developing curriculum frameworks from kindergarten to Year 10 in the key learning areas of Studies of Society and Environment, Science, Technology and Health.
The National Training Board is successfully encouraging industries to include ESD principles in their standards, particularly agricultural and rural industries. The Rural Industry Training Council Network has established in each State and Territory a National Farm Chemical User Training Program to stress integrated pest management and care for people and the environment. Under the Network, the pig, poultry and dairy industries have developed competency standards for business management which include units devoted to ESD.
In the ACT environment education is one of the nine across curriculum perspectives in the ACT Curriculum Frameworks in all eight key learning areas. This ensures that an environmental education component is integrated into the ACT curriculum from Kindergarten through to Year 12. In addition to this a separate Department of Environmental Science within the School of Applied Science, Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) was established in 1993, the Department includes a Centre for Waste Training Management.
In SA the Education Department has included ESD type principles in its charter for the 21st century. Training and development in environmental education have involved approximately 6000 teachers in the past three years. A wide range of vocational courses having ESD principles incorporated exist and continue to be developed when a need is identified.
In Victoria the Environmental Education Strategy (1992) provides a wide range of programs for school students, teachers, community groups and professionals. The Strategy recognises that practically every organisation, both government and non government, has a part to play in environmental education, and actions contained in the Strategy are designed to facilitate this responsibility. A number of Victorian Departments have also developed specialised sectoral education packages based on ESD principles.
The NSW Government has an Environmental Educational Plan. The Greening of Schools Program includes waste minimisation, energy conservation, seed propagation, bush regeneration and recycling projects. The Environmental Education Curriculum Statement promotes environmental awareness and understanding in students.
In Queensland Landcare, AgSafe and Chemical Safety modules have been developed for all levels in Rural and Horticulture Courses. In Tasmania the Government encourages all curriculum development working parties, where appropriate, to consider ecologically sustainable development principles.
The NSESD objective for employment and adjustment is:
The Office of Labour Market Adjustment (OLMA) administers a range of programs designed to assist industries, individuals, enterprises and regions affected by structural adjustment, including changes brought about by decisions related to ESD. Through OLMA the Government has provided monies to undertake research into the potential for the creation of ecologically sustainable jobs.
The NSESD objective for this issue is:
The Commonwealth Government is committed to the continuing integration of ecologically sustainable development objectives and principles and development concerns into all aspects of the development cooperation program. Many of the essential elements of ESD, such as the encouragement of equitable and sustainable economic growth, poverty alleviation, environment, women in development, health and population have long been recognised as priorities for the aid program.
Recent initiatives include an increasing emphasis on population activities in the aid program, as outlined in A World of Choices, the Government's recent statement on future directions for population activities in the aid program. In 1992/93 total aid program expenditure on environment-related activities was estimated to be over $100 million. This included projects in the renewable and non-renewable resources, energy efficiency and pollution management sectors. Examples include forestry management projects in SE Asia and the Pacific, improving the efficiency of mining in Thailand, and industrial waste management projects in India.
Australia assists developing countries to develop their capacity to manage the environment through bilateral, regional and multilateral programs. Recent examples include the Department of Environment and Conservation Strengthening Project in PNG, a project to assist the recently established environment protection authority (BAPDEAL) in Indonesia and a regional sea-level monitoring program in the South Pacific. Australia contributes to the resolution of global environmental issues such as climate change, biodiversity and ozone depletion though its funding to the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Montreal Protocol.
AIDAB continues to develop sectoral guidelines to improve incorporation of ESD principles into sector programs, building on its Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Environmental Assessment Guidelines of 1991. Guidelines for Mining, Energy, and Industry are nearing completion, and work has commenced on Guidelines for Social and Economic Infrastructure Sectors. AIDAB undertakes annual audits of the environmental impact of projects. The 1993 Environmental Audit is expected to be completed in December 1993.
To ensure that ESD principles and concerns are fully addressed and integrated into the aid program, AIDAB is currently revising its 1991 Interim ESD Policy Statement. This is to reflect significant events in recent years, notably the National Strategy for ESD and the UNCED Conference in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992.
The Bureau of Meteorology continues its collaboration with AIDAB on projects such as Pacific Island countries training in analysis and archiving climate data, replacement of Fiji radar and training support upgrade of radar facility and tropical cyclone warning service in Papua New Guinea with training support, support for climate related projects as defined by the WMO study "The Changing Climate in Paradise".
The NSESD objective in relation to population issues is:
The Government considered options for enhancing coordination of population matters and provision of information on population impacts (as well as a range of other issues raised in the National Population Council's report Population Issues and Australia's Future), during Cabinet deliberations in the context of the Migration Program Cabinet Submission in May 1993. The Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs assumed responsibility for coordination of Australia's preparations for the United Nations International Conference on Population and Development 1994 (ICPD); assessment of policy implications of research on population matters; and provision of information on immigration and population growth and their varied impacts.
Increased emphasis will also be placed on population research, effective coordination of such research and dissemination of research results. This decision is reflected in the renaming of the Bureau of Immigration Research, an independent body within Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, to the Bureau of Immigration and Population research.
An Australian report currently being prepared in the context of ICPD is expected to be circulated for information to a meeting of Commonwealth, State and Territory officials for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs late in 1993 or early 1994.
The NSESD contains six objectives in this regard, they are:
Research funding and performing agencies have been encouraged to incorporate ESD objectives into their missions and to select persons with ESD related expertise for board membership. Commonwealth Departments funding or performing ESD related RD &; D have agreed to report annually on these activities. Comments are being sought on draft terms of reference for a cross-jurisdictional RD &; D ESD consultative group to be convened by the Chief Scientist.
The Australian Science and Technology Council Joint Science Advisory Committee co-ordinates the State, Territory, Commonwealth and New Zealand governments' approach to RD &; D funding, major infrastructure, policy and issues.
A national classification system for various waste streams and a national database with waste minimisation benchmarks and prioritised waste stream management has been developed and is being considered by ANZECC for a 12 month trial by all states. The establishment of the database and waste minimisation benchmarks will provide foundation information which can be used by regulators and industry groups to formulate waste minimisation research and development and implementation strategies.
There is a wide range of ESD based research activity being undertaken by the States and Territories. NSW is involved in the development of a waste audit software package that can assist industry in reducing wastes. This project involves the development of a computerised waste auditing package for industry and environmental consultants worldwide. NSW is also working closely with the Commonwealth and other States and Territories in preparation of a draft Australian Spatial Data Transfer Standard and has contributed to the development of a draft National Land Use Code, for consideration by ANZLIC. It is hoped that standards will reduce inconsistencies between data bases and allow greater and easier access to land information data. In addition extensive ESD related RD &; D programs are being undertaken by a number of NSW agencies.
In SA, the recently established Sustainable Resources Unit in Primary Industries SA now provides a whole- systems approach to funding and research and inter-sectoral ESD issues across a range of primary industries including agriculture, fisheries and forestry.
In Victoria, the Agricultural Department has identified Integrated Pest Management (IPM) as a priority in its RD&; D work under its industry and sustainable development programs. Significant research having an ESD focus is also being undertaken in the natural resources fields of forestry, fisheries and wildlife. In the ACT there is a continuing research program into native flora and fauna with particular emphasis on native grassland ecosystems.
The ACT is involved in the Cooperative Research Centre for Freshwater Ecology (CRC). The CRC will undertake research to facilitate a better understanding of freshwater systems. This will enable the development of sustainable management strategies and reduce degradation of these systems.
In Queensland the Primary Industry Department undertakes research, development and demonstration programs aimed at enhancing agricultural production and bringing about better use of natural resources such projects include conservation tillage, rangelands, effluent reuse and integrated pest management.
The NSESD objective in regard to conflict management is :
Termination of funding for the Resource Assessment Commission (RAC) was announced as part of the 1993-94 Commonwealth budget. The RAC was established in July 1989 to improve the Commonwealth's capacity to address some of the more complex and nationally significant natural resource management and conservation issues. Since then, significant developments have enabled the Commonwealth to integrate consideration of economic and environmental priorities in cooperation with the states and in consultation with conservation and industry groups. These include the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environment, the National Forest Policy Statement, the National Greenhouse Response Strategy and the National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development.
Conflict resolution is a major issue addressed under the Local Approvals Review Process (LARP) during the approvals process. A study on community consultation carried out under LARP examined the issues of consultation and conflict resolution as a means of reducing disputes and litigation, and reducing delays in the approvals process. Guidelines on community consultation and non-legal conflict resolution mechanisms, for example mediation, are currently being developed to improve the quality of decisions in development and building approvals.
In a number of the States conflicts over resource use are resolved within the planning framework and environmental assessment.
In NSW, the EPA in response to the need to seek to reflect environmental values in the pricing mechanisms governing the distribution of relevant resources has published a Technical Reference on Valuation of Environmental Impacts. The aim is to ensure that inefficient use of natural resources is discouraged via appropriate pricing mechanisms.
In Tasmania recent legislative changes address the issue of conflict management, these changes are specifically designed to encompass alternative dispute resolution processes in resource management and appeal enforcement procedures. In Queensland discussions are under way with local government to pilot a non-legal government based dispute resolution system which may be suitable to apply across the State.
The NSESD's objectives here are:
The Commonwealth and the States are supportive of the need to empower the community through increased participation and awareness raising. Continued opportunities for consultation with non-government organisations on the National Strategy for ESD are planned through an intergovernmental Roundtable to be held in May 1994 and through existing State and Territory consultative mechanisms.
Consultation on objectives within the Strategy has occurred at the program level. There has been no meeting of the intergovernmental ESD Roundtable. The ESD Secretariat has distributed a paper on the nature and aims of the Roundtable to jurisdictions for comment.
Each of the States and Territories have programs, actions and consultative mechanisms to involve the community in environmental issues and to promote ESD principles in community thinking and action. A wide range of publications, reports and information brochures are available to the public.
In the ACT the development of a draft Environment Strategy is well advanced and will be released for public comment by the end of 1993. An Environment Education Strategy is also being developed which will link with issues identified in the Environment Strategy where education is highlighted as one mechanism for implementation.
The Victorian Environmental Education Strategy is addressing the various sectors of the community such as students, professionals and also companies. Notable work being undertaken by the Victorian Environmental Educational Council is with a range of selected organisations, to help these organisations develop their own environmental education strategies. Success with this program has been very encouraging so far. The Local Conservation Strategy Program, which encourages local councils to develop Conservation Strategies, is achieving a heightened awareness of ESD principles in the community. A volunteers program is also being established to promote the activities of volunteers and to provide a vehicle for more organised development of volunteers programs.
In the NT community education programs have primarily focussed on conservation actions to conserve the Territory's energy and water resources.
In SA a newly consolidated Natural Resources Information Centre provides for the co-ordinated presentation of ESD and Natural Resources Management information from a range of government agencies.
In NSW, through Total Catchment Management processes, the government undertakes ongoing consultation with community interests affected by ESD related programs and policies. The EPA has established Environment Protection Community Forums, with the aim of the forums being to advise the EPA about community concerns and attitudes about environmental protection. NSW agencies have produced a number of publications directed at increasing community awareness of, and support for, ESD principles.
The objectives of this chapter of the Strategy are :-
The responsibility for monitoring and reviewing the NSESD in its entirety falls to the ESD Steering Committee which comprises officials from all three spheres of government. This report represents the first stage in the reporting requirements of the NSESD; that is to report after one year on the progress in implementing the NSESD. The Strategy calls for a report every two years thereafter or as called upon by Heads of Government on matters which need to be drawn to their attention for decision. A key activity in the period leading up to the next report to First Ministers in two years time will be development of performance measures as appropriate for the actions and initiatives outlined in the NSESD. Preliminary work has commenced on collecting information relating to current work on sustainability indicators.
The ESD Steering Committee has determined that a report be prepared for it on current developments in sustainability indicators, to assist the Steering Committee to develop means of indicating overall progress towards ecologically sustainable development, consistent with the objectives, actions and initiatives of the National Strategy for ESD.