Director of National Parks Annual Report 2009-10
© Director of National Parks, 2010
Appendix A: Agency Resourcing Statement 2009-10
The Agency Resourcing Statement was introduced to Portfolio Budget Statements in 2008-09 to provide information about the various funding sources that the Director of National Parks may draw upon during the year.
The Director of National Parks is required to publish the Agency Resourcing Statement in the annual report that reconciles to cash reserves in the financial statements.
Appendix B: Ecologically sustainable development and environmental performance
Section 516A of the EPBC Act requires Australian Government organisations to include in their annual reports details of the organisation's contribution to ecologically sustainable development as well as the environmental performance of the organisation. Section 516A also promotes development of a framework that integrates environmental, economic and social considerations and helps improve the environmental performance and ecologically sustainable development of Australian Government agencies.
The following is a summary of activities by the Director of National Parks in 2009-10 in accordance with section 516A of the EPBC Act.
1. How the activities of the organisation, and the administration of legislation by the organisation, accord with the principles of sustainable development (section 516A(6)(a))
- The following activities accord with the principles of integrating environmental,
social and economic considerations:
- ensuring the long-term sustainability of biodiversity in Commonwealth terrestrial reserves by managing biodiversity in accordance with management plans prepared under the EPBC Act. The EPBC Act explicitly recognises the principles of ecologically sustainable development
- managing Commonwealth reserves in consultation with boards of management and advisory committees
- undertaking monitoring and assessment programs for plants and animals within the reserves
- undertaking compliance operations resulting in detection and fines against illegal activities in the reserves
- working with traditional owners to implement traditional management and use of resources
- establishing criteria for the preparation of Tourism Master Plans which provide for safe and memorable visitor experiences, while improving benefits to local communities and ensuring the environmental values of Commonwealth reserves are not affected.
- The following activities accord with the principles of ecologically sustainable development, especially by employing or promoting the use of the precautionary
- making decisions that comply with the EPBC Act (sections 324-390A) and in accordance with decision-making and environmental impact assessment procedures for works and new developments in Commonwealth reserves
- adapting management approaches to take account of the Parks Australia Climate Change Strategy.
- The following activities accord with the principles of ecologically sustainable development by aiming to promote conservation of the environment for the benefit of future generations:
- promoting enjoyment and understanding of protected areas and their conservation objectives as set out in management plans for each reserve
- working with traditional owners to ensure traditional knowledge about management and use of the land is incorporated into park management activities and that opportunities are created for young indigenous people to learn about and contribute to park management. For a summary of activities undertaken in 2009-10 refer to Chapter 4 of this annual report under KRA 3 - Joint management and working with Indigenous communities and KRA 4 - Use and appreciation of protected areas.
- The following activities accord with the principles of ecologically sustainable development by aiming to promote conservation of the environment for the benefit of future generations:
- Commonwealth reserves are managed in accordance with management plans established under the EPBC Act and with IUCN Protected Area Categories which have as their primary purpose the long term conservation of nature
- management plans set out clear decision-making and environmental assessment procedures for works and new proposals in Commonwealth reserves to ensure the conservation of biological diversity and ecological integrity. For a summary of activities undertaken in 2009-10 refer to Chapter 4 of this annual report under KRA 1 - Natural heritage management.
- The following activities accord with the principles of ecologically sustainable
development by aiming to improve valuation, pricing and incentive mechanisms:
- tour operator workshops and tour guide accreditation at Kakadu aim to improve the quality and consistency of visitor experiences
- the reintroduction of park use fees at Kakadu in April 2010 will ensure visitors contribute to the cost of park management.
2. How the outcomes specified in the relevant Appropriations Act contribute to ecologically sustainable development (section 516A(6)(b))
The Director of National Parks' key outcome as identified in the 2009-10 Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts Portfolio Budget Statements is the conservation and appreciation of Commonwealth reserves through the provision of safe visitor access, the control of invasive species and working with stakeholders and neighbours. The Portfolio Budget Statements describe this outcome as follows:
The management of nationally significant assets, including seven terrestrial reserves established under the EPBC Act, will result in the conservation and appreciation of natural and cultural values, including best practice management of nationally significant assets, provision for appropriate recreation and tourism and better understanding of their values. Kakadu, Uluru-Kata Tjuta and Booderee National Parks are jointly managed with their indigenous owners.
Activities undertaken during 2009-10 to achieve this outcome are described in Chapter 4 of this annual report and the State of the Parks Report at www.environment.gov.au/parks/ publications/annual/09-10.
3. Effect of the organisation's activities on the environment (section 516A(6)(c))
The Director has the responsibility of managing Australia's Commonwealth reserves. Three of these reserves are managed jointly with their Indigneous owners.
Potential large-scale threats to the reserves are managed by a range of statutory protective mechanisms and decision-making and assessment processes set out in management plans. The Director manages commercial activities (e.g. tourism and camping) within reserves through the EPBC Act and the EPBC Regulations and in accordance with the management plan for each reserve.
4. Measures being taken by the organisation to minimise the impact of its activities on the environment (section 516A(6)(d))
The Director maintains a strong commitment to continuous improvement in environmental performance. The Director conducts environmental audits of the Director's operations to maximise efficient use of resources, reduce waste, and build environmental awareness among its employees and volunteers.
Each management plan identifies actions to reduce the ecological footprint of the reserve's operations. As a matter of course, office paper, toner cartridges and organic waste are recycled, office machines (photocopiers, printers) are automatically programmed to save power, and printers are programmed to duplex documents to reduce paper usage.
Climate change strategies which include actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions have been prepared for the Australian National Botanic Gardens and Booderee and Kakadu National Parks and are almost finalised for each of the Director's terrestrial reserves.
For a summary of activities undertaken in 2009-10 refer to Chapter 4 of this annual report under KRA 6 - Business management.
5. Mechanisms for reviewing and increasing the effectiveness of these measures (section 516A(6)(e))
In accordance with the Australian Government's policy on energy efficiency in government operations, the Director reports on annual energy performance through the Online System for Comprehensive Activity Reporting (OSCAR) system. Public reporting provides a number of benefits to the Director including:
- increasing awareness of energy and greenhouse issues
- measuring relative performance
- providing a benchmarking tool
- tracking changes over time
- identifying high-intensity areas
- encouraging improvement through transparency.
Close analysis of the OSCAR reporting will help the Director determine how to most effectively adopt energy performance measures to meet the Director's needs and the government's revised energy intensity targets.
A summary of environmental performance related to energy use is provided at Tables A1 and A2, for waste at Tables A3 and A4 and for water use at Table A5.
Environmental Performance: Energy Use
To reduce stationary energy use over 2009-10 a three kilowatt solar power system at Norfolk Island National Park and 30 new solar panels at the Booderee National Park offices were installed, reducing the amount of electricity drawn from the grid. Booderee's solar set up has generated 4,088 kilowatt hours since November 2009.
Kakadu and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Parks rely heavily on diesel power generation as they are not on an electricity grid. The Australian National Botanic Gardens is also limited in its ability to reduce energy consumption due to its business requirements, such as maintaining plant and herbarium specimens at very specific conditions. To partially offset these energy requirements, the Gardens purchased 120,071 kilowatt hours of GreenPower in 2009-10 (approximately 10 per cent of purchased electricity).
Parks Australia regularly uses and advocates alternatives to air travel such as tele- and video-conferencing, to undertake weekly executive and branch meetings. A conscious effort is made to minimise business-related travel, recognising that sometimes face-to-face contact and visits to remote locations are necessary, particularly in respect to the three parks that are managed jointly with their Indigenous owners.
Table A1: DNP Terrestrial Reserves - Greenhouse Gas Emissions 2006-10 - Stationary Energy Use
Table A2: DNP Terrestrial Reserves - Greenhouse Gas Emissions 2006-10 - Transport Energy Use
Environmental Performance: Waste
Accurate measurements of greenhouse emissions related to waste remains challenging and estimates were not available for all reserves.
Overall paper usage in 2009-10 declined by 29 per cent compared with the previous reporting year and 33 per cent compared with the average use of the previous three years. There were significant increases in paper consumption in 2009-10 associated with educational activities. Several parks and reserves use 100 per cent post-consumer recycled paper for their printing needs. In 2009-10, Parks Australia purchased an average of 3.9 reams per employee. This represents a decline in paper usage from previous years, and means that all of the parks and reserves are well under the departmental target of 12 reams per employee per year. Over time, technology is being upgraded in the parks which will provide more opportunities to print double-sided, reducing paper wastage further. The printer in the Norfolk Island office was upgraded this year to allow duplex printing. Increasing efforts are focused on providing web-based visitor and interpretative materials, which will further reduce printing and paper costs.
Opportunities for recycling are limited in Kakadu National Park, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and in the external territories. Recycling facilities are not available at all on Norfolk Island. Where facilities are available, for example at the Australian National Botanic Gardens, improvements in recycling have lead to the diversion of 58 tonnes from landfill. The Australian National Botanic Gardens has also installed compost bins in each building. Booderee National Park installed customised bin lids to minimise the contamination of recyclable waste, and increased its visitor education on waste-saving measures.
Table A3: DNP Terrestrial Reserves - Greenhouse Gas Emissions 2006-10 - Waste
Table A4: DNP Terrestrial Reserves - Paper Consumption 2006-10 - Reams of paper
Environmental Performance: Water
Protecting water quality is a high priority for Parks Australia. The quality of surface water, ground water and water holes is regularly monitored at the parks, and activities in each park must not interrupt the natural flow of water. Capacity to measure water consumption in the parks is improving but data are not yet consistently available.
Construction for the Australian National Botanic Gardens' water extraction project commenced in April 2010 and is due for completion towards the end of 2010. The project is on schedule to be watering the living collection with non-drinking water by this summer. Using water from Lake Burley Griffin will reduce the Gardens' operational costs and reliance on Canberra's drinking water supply. The project is expected to free up around 170 megalitres of drinking water per year for use by Canberra residents and businesses.
At Booderee National Park, water saving devices such as waterless urinals and touch-pad showers have been installed across the park and we are exploring the potential for harvesting rainwater. Norfolk Island National Park is completely reliant on captured rainwater. The park has upgraded from an old 22,500 litre rainwater tank to a 46,000 litre tank, and it is working on reliably measuring the rainwater harvest.
Table A5: DNP Terrestrial Reserves - Water Consumption 2006-10
Appendix C: Freedom of information statement
The Director of National Parks received no applications pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act). No applications were made to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
The FOI Act extends to the Australian community the right to obtain access to information in the possession of the Australian Government. Access is limited only by exemptions necessary for the protection of essential public interests and the private and business affairs of persons in respect of whom information is collected and held by departments and statutory authorities.
Section 8 of the FOI Act requires departments and statutory authorities to make available information about their functions, organisations and operations. This information is included in other parts of this annual report.
Details of the categories of documents each agency maintains, and the facilities for public access, are also required under section 8 of the FOI Act.
For information about the Director of National Parks' functions and the organisation structure, see Figure 3 and Chapter 3 of this report.
Arrangements for outside participation in decisions, policy and administration
Public participation in the management of Commonwealth reserves under the EPBC Act is facilitated through a number of consultative mechanisms, including making declaration proposals and management plans available for public comment.
For Commonwealth reserves on Aboriginal-owned land (Kakadu, Uluru-Kata Tjuta and Booderee National Parks), the EPBC Act provides for both consultation with, and involvement of, representatives of the Aboriginal landowners in relation to management of the reserve. The consultative processes are outlined in Chapter 7 of this report.
Categories of documents
Categories of documents held by the DNP include:
- files relating to all aspects of the activities and functions of the Director;
- studies, reports and surveys;
- agenda papers and minutes of meetings; and
- procedures manuals.
Lists of available publications may be obtained by contacting the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts Community Information Unit on 1800 803 772, or visiting the website at www.environment.gov.au/parks/publications.
Freedom of information procedures and initial contact points
Formal freedom of information requests should be addressed to:
Freedom of Information Coordinator
Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601
Phone: (02) 6275 2721
Fax: (02) 6274 1587
Appendix D: Compliance index
This annual report has been prepared in accordance with the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies (Report of Operations) Orders 2005.
Glossary and shortened forms
Western Desert Aboriginal person or people (generally those Aboriginal people with traditional affiliations to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
Australian National Audit Office
Australian National Botanic Gardens
Marine organisms that live on, in or near the ocean floor
Traditional owners of Aboriginal land and traditional owners of other land in Kakadu National Park, and other Aboriginals entitled to enter upon or use or occupy the Park in accordance with Aboriginal tradition governing the rights of that Aboriginal or group of Aboriginals with respect to the Park
Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997
Whales, porpoises and dolphins
Birds Agreement (CAMBA)
Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of the People's Republic of China for the Protection of Migratory Birds and their Environment
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
Exclusive Economic Zone
(Of a taxonomic group) confined to a given region
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
Freedom of Information Act 1982
Geographic information system
Global positioning system
Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation for Australia
Integrated Marine and Coastal Regionalisation for Australia
International Union for the Conservation of Nature
Japan-Australia Migratory Birds Agreement (JAMBA)
Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of Japan for the Protection of Migratory Birds in Danger of Extinction and their Environment
Key result area
Migratory Species (Bonn) Convention
Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (Bonn, 1979)
MoU Box area
An area within Australian waters covered by a Memorandum of Understanding with Indonesia that includes Ashmore Reef and Cartier Island and is open to traditional Indonesian fishers
Species or activities that normally live or occur near the ocean surface or the water column
Korea-Australia Migratory Birds Agreement (ROKAMBA)
Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of the republic of Korea for the Protection of Migratory Birds
Large cone-shaped remnants of extinct volcanoes rising from the ocean floor
Relating to the land or land-dwelling
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
Wetlands (Ramsar) Convention
Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitat (Ramsar, 1971)
World Heritage Convention
Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (Paris, 1972)