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State of the Environment 2011 Committee. Australia state of the environment 2011.
Independent report to the Australian Government Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.
Canberra: DSEWPaC, 2011.

In Brief

This is a summary of Australia state of the environment 2011, which is an independent report presented to the Australian Government Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities by the State of the Environment 2011 Committee


  • Our environment is a national issue requiring national leadership and action at all levels.
  • Effective environmental management requires adequate information.
  • Australians cannot afford to see themselves as separate from the environment.
  • Earth is warming, and it is likely that we are already seeing the effects of climate change in Australia. As the driest inhabitable continent, Australia is particularly vulnerable to climate change.
  • Early action by Australia to reduce emissions and to deploy targeted adaptation strategies will be less costly than delayed action.
  • Ambient air quality and air pollution management in Australia's urban centres is generally good, but the impact of urban air quality on health is still a matter of serious concern.
  • Pressures of past human activities and recent droughts are affecting our inland water systems.
  • Meeting our water needs will be a critical challenge.
  • Australia's land environment is threatened by widespread pressures.
  • Threats to our soil, including acidification, erosion and the loss of soil carbon, will increasingly affect Australia's agriculture unless carefully managed.
  • The overall condition of the Australian marine environment is good, but integrated management will be key to the future conservation of our ocean
  • The ocean climate is changing and we will need to adapt.
  • The Antarctic environment is showing clear signs of climate change, which is likely to have profound effects on Antarctic species and ecosystems.
  • Our unique biodiversity is in decline, and new approaches will be needed to prevent accelerating decline in many species.
  • Our extraordinary and diverse natural and cultural heritage is currently in good condition, but is threatened by natural and human processes, and a lack of public sector resourcing.
  • Australia's built environment faces many pressures and consumes significant natural resources, though consumption may be slowing.
  • Coastal regions bring together many of the issues affecting other parts of the environment, and coordinated management will be needed to mitigate pressures.