The National Plan for Environmental Information

About the Plan

The natural environment is vital to our wellbeing and that of future generations. Our landscapes, oceans, water, atmosphere and biodiversity play an important role in the economy-from agriculture and mining to energy production and tourism-and are fundamental to our Australian identity and way of life.

To manage this natural capital responsibly, governments, industry and the community need comprehensive, trusted and timely environmental information. Good information is essential for us to make sound decisions, individually and collectively, about the major issues affecting our natural assets.

Improving the quality and coverage of Australia's environmental information is being led by the Australian Government through the National Plan for Environmental Information. This initiative brings together all our efforts in national environmental information, building and maintaining this critical information infrastructure for the future.

The National Plan for Environmental Information initiative will deliver improved access to high quality information to assist environmental decision-making by the Australian Government. It will build our capacity to monitor, detect and predict change in the environment and maintain this capacity over the long-term. The initiative will produce a National Plan for Environmental Information that will outline the long-term vision and a roadmap for implementation.

The initiative is jointly led by the Bureau of Meteorology and the Department of the Environment. It is an Australian Government environmental information reform program that will help us account for changes in the environment and understand the impacts of decisions on the environment, economy and society.


Independent Review of Australian Government Environmental Information Activity

In November 2011, the Secretary engaged Dr Stephen Morton and Ms Anthea Tinney to undertake an independent review of environmental information activity across the Australian Government.

The Terms of Reference were to analyse the efficiency, effectiveness and appropriateness of the Australian Governments current practices relating to environmental information and to identify options to improve the provision and use of environmental information generated with government investment.

The focus of the review was on the ways in which environmental information is acquired, managed and used by the Australian Government, rather than on what information is involved.

To inform the review, consultations were held with 19 Australian Government agencies and other selected organisations. A discussion paper was circulated to inform the process.

The reviewers’ report to the minister identifies obstacles to efficient and effective use of environmental information across the Australian Government summarised in five themes: cultural issues that inhibit collaboration between policy makers and information providers, structural barriers to coordination and cooperation, current funding arrangements, technical barriers and legal barriers.

The report recommends a comprehensive set of actions to address these issues.

Download the final report here:

The department is considering the findings and recommendations of the independent review in consultation with Australian Government agencies for the purposes of developing a long term strategy for environmental information.

Statement of Australian Government Requirements for Environmental Information released

In June 2012 the Environmental Information Advisory Group (EIAG) released a Statement of Australian Government Requirements for Environmental Information. The statement identifies – across nine broad areas of interest – policy, research and operational activities of the Australian Government that are dependent upon environmental information.

More information about the Statement is available from the Bureau of Meteorology web site.


For further information visit the Bureau of Meteorology website.

Or contact:

The Director
Environmental Information Policy Section
Department of the Environment

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