A stocktake of environmental, socio-economic and governance performance assessment systems in use by Australian governments

Commonwealth of Australia, 2004

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About the publication

Australia’s Oceans Policy (Commonwealth of Australia 1998, p.13) states that for each marine region, Australia is required to: "establish indicators of sustainability and requirements for monitoring, reporting and performance assessment."

To assist the National Oceans Office to develop an performance assessment system for our oceans, the Bureau of Rural Sciences (BRS) in collaboration with the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE) was contracted by the National Oceans Office to carry out a "stocktake of environmental, socio-economic and governance performance assessment systems in use by Australian governments."

The National Oceans Office will use the outputs of this project to assist it in developing a pilot performance assessment system for the South-east Marine Region. It is envisaged that once approaches and assumptions have been tested and validated, the pilot performance assessment system will act as a model for subsequent regional marine plans.

Twenty seven performance assessment systems were reviewed covering a wide range of government agencies and topics. Each system was analysed for content (objectives, indicators, performance measures and linkages with decision rules), output (data collection and availability) and relevance to Regional Marine Plans and Australia’s Oceans Policy in general.

The performance assessment systems reviewed within this report do not currently provide a comprehensive, ongoing assessment of all the types of objectives that will be required for regional marine planning purposes. However, many existing performance assessment systems, or ones currently under development, can provide useful information and examples for the National Oceans Office. Assessment of the health of ocean ecosystems could be incorporated into State of Environment Reporting. Assessment of impacts of human uses on ocean ecosystems is already monitored within some existing performance assessment systems. Assessment of the contributions of ocean systems to social and economic ESD objectives will require a process for extracting marine region specific information from existing data collection systems.