Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, 2010
Corporate Outcome - Improving organisational effectiveness (continued)
This section is presented in accordance with the requirements of section 516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
Section 516A requires government departments to report on:
- how their activities accord with the principles of ecologically sustainable development (subsection 6a)
- how their outcomes, specified in relevant Appropriation Acts, contributed to ecologically sustainable development (subsection 6b)
- the environmental impacts of their operations during the year, and measures taken to minimise those impacts (subsections 6c, d and e).
How the department applies the principles
The department administers the EPBC Act, which promotes ecologically sustainable development through the conservation and ecologically sustainable use of natural resources.
Examples of how the department applies the principles of ecologically sustainable development are summarised in the following table. More details on specific programs are contained in the chapters covering Outcomes 1-5 of this annual report.
Contribution of outcomes
The department is one of the leading Australian Government agencies for developing and implementing national policy, programs and legislation to protect and conserve the natural environment. A key function of the department is to promote and support ecologically sustainable development.
The department recently reviewed and updated its guidelines for Australian Government agencies to report on how they contribute to ecologically sustainable development. The guidelines are available from the department's internet site at www.environment.gov.au/epbc/publications/reporting-guidelines.html
The department's outcomes contribute to ecologically sustainable development as follows:
Outcome 1: Protecting and conserving the environment helps to maintain the ecological processes on which life depends.
Outcome 2: Regulating hazardous substances, wastes, pollutants, ozone-depleting substances and synthetic greenhouse gases helps to prevent and minimise harm to the environment as a result of human activities.
Outcome 3: Australia's Antarctic interests include a strong focus on protecting the Antarctic environment and managing the sustainable use of marine resources.
Outcome 4: Australia's water resources are managed and used sustainably and efficiently.
Outcome 5: Australia's cultural and heritage values are protected from activities that impact on the environment.
Corporate Outcome: The department's policies and use of technology actively consider and implement strategies to minimise harm to the environment.
|Integration principle: decision making processes should effectively integrate both long-term and short-term economic, environmental, social and equitable considerations.||Integrated natural resource management: The department develops and invests in natural resource management plans and other strategies to maintain ecosystems These include the regional component of the Caring for our Country initiative and bioregional marine plans. These plans integrate long-term and short-term economic, environmental, social and equitable considerations.
Integrated reporting: The department publishes a State of the Environment report. The next report is being developed for 2011.
|Precautionary principle: if there are threats of serious or irreversible environmental damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation.||Environmental impact assessments: The department applies the precautionary principle to prevent serious environmental damage when assessing the possible environmental impacts of proposed actions. Assessments must often be made in the absence of full scientific certainty, most notably assessments under the EPBC Act, and through chemical and gene technology assessment schemes.|
|Intergenerational principle: the present generation should ensure that the health, diversity and productivity of the environment is maintained or enhanced, for the benefit of future generations.||Pollution prevention: The department applies laws and National Environment Protection Measures to prevent environmentally harmful substances entering the environment. Laws include the Environment Protection (Sea Dumping) Act 1981, the Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1989, the Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000 and the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989.
Whole-of-government policy development: The department seeks to ensure that environmental protection is appropriately considered in the development of other Australian Government policies, including major energy and water reforms.
Community capacity building: The department administers the Australian Government's major natural resource management programs that have an environmental focus, including the Caring for our Country program. These programs increase the capacity of Australians to conserve ecosystems for future generations.
Protecting cultural and heritage values: The Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986 protects Australia's heritage of movable cultural objects and supports the protection by foreign countries of their heritage of movable cultural objects. Heritage values are considered where an action by the department may have an impact.
|Biodiversity principle: the conservation of biological diversity and ecological integrity should be a fundamental consideration in decision making.||Biodiversity conservation: The department applies laws for the conservation of biodiversity to protect wildlife and heritage places with environmental values, including the EPBC Act, and, through the Caring for our Country program, marine protected areas, terrestrial parks and reserves.|
|Valuation principle: improved valuation, pricing and incentive mechanisms should be promoted.||
Conservation incentives: The department promotes incentives for protecting wildlife and habitats on private land through covenants. It supports fishing industry adjustment processes to reduce pressures on the marine environment.
Waste reduction incentives: The department provides incentives for more efficient use of resources. This includes: markets for waste products, such as used lubricating oils, and water efficiency labelling. It also contributes to reducing packaging waste, as a signatory to the National Packaging Covenant.
Environmental impacts of operations
Responsibility for promoting energy efficiency in government buildings and operations transferred to the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency (DCCEE) as a result of the machinery of government changes on 8 March 2010. For information about these programs refer to the DCCEE annual report for 2009-10.
National Environment Protection Measures (NEPM)
The department provided support to enable Australian Government agencies to report against NEPM and coordinated their responses. NEPM are statutory instruments that outline agreed national objectives for protecting or managing particular aspects of the environment. In fulfilling the legislative requirement for annual reporting on NEPM implementation, agencies must consider the strategies they have employed to reduce their environmental footprint for that reporting year.
Whole of department coordination
To improve coordination of environmental management activities across the department's operational areas in Australia and its territories, a new departmental environmental performance committee was established in 2010. A new departmental operations environment policy was drafted and will be considered for approval in 2010-11.
Mandatory environmental management modules for new employees at most department sites were included in the department's new online induction training tool.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Sustainability
The department's ICT energy management plan was approved in March 2010 and sets out a range of energy efficiency and waste improvement targets.
Implementation began on a major ICT refresh program that is expected to reduce the power consumed by desktop computers and servers by at least 35 per cent. This includes:
- replacing around 80 per cent of standard desktop computers with thin client devices
- significantly improving the desktop computer to printer ratio by replacing individual printers, photocopiers, faxes and scanners with multifunction devices under a managed print solution
- moving most functions of the server rooms to an external data centre that is far more energy efficient and has a secure backup power supply.
Under the department's contract for the provision of desktop, service desk, midrange and local area network services, the supplier was required to improve its environmental performance. In line with this requirement, Datacom Systems New South Wales Pty Ltd achieved ISO 14001:2004 certification on 7 May 2010. Datacom also met the department's agreed environmental performance standards for equipment acquisitions. These standards apply to greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency, materials selection, reduction and elimination of environmentally sensitive materials, end-of-life management, corporate performance, product extension and packaging.
During May 2010 the department commenced a phased transfer of its internal data centre facility to a commercial data centre provider. It is expected that energy consumption for the data centre facility (net of ICT equipment) will reduce by up to 50 per cent when fully transitioned.
At an ICT equipment level, the department extended its server virtualisation program during 2009-10 consolidating a total of 10 physical servers and avoiding 30 additional servers. Similarly, building on the desktop virtualisation and follow-me print trials, the department will commence an equipment refresh project in 2010-11 which will deploy thin client technology to 80 per cent of department staff. New multi-function devices using follow-me print functionality are also scheduled for rollout. This strategy aims to significantly reduce the number of printers and related consumables in the department. The department has a 2015 performance target of an average of 20 staff to one multi-function device.
These initiatives are estimated to save 1.4 million kilowatt hours on current annual use.
The department was an active participant in the Government Agency Environment Network (GAEN) and continued to chair the Green Information Technology subgroup. The network is a valuable means of sharing information and consulting with other agencies about proposed environmental policies and programs.
Environmental management framework
During 2009-10 the department's Canberra based office accommodation included:
- major tenancies in the John Gorton Building in the Parliamentary Zone, 33 Allara Street and 5 Farrell Place in Civic, and
- sub-leases of around half of the Burns Centre in Forrest (full year) and seven floors of Lovett Tower in Woden (since November 2009).
The department's environmental management system (EMS) covered the department's Canberra-based office operations, and at the John Gorton Building has been continuously certified against the international standard (ISO 14001) since 1999. Implementation of the EMS was overseen by the Canberra Environmental Performance Committee, which assessed performance quarterly against a range of energy, waste and other targets.
This report covers two sites occupied by employees who were transferred to the DCCEE in March 2010 as the department continued to manage these buildings until the end of the financial year. Around 100 employees working on the joint Caring for our Country program were located in a building managed by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in Canberra Civic and this is not covered in this operations report.
The department worked in partnership with building owners, co-tenants and other stakeholders, to ensure compliance with relevant environmental legislation, improve building efficiency and protect any identified heritage, cultural or biodiversity conservation values of the buildings it occupies.
The department's Environmental Contact Officer Network (ECONet) met four times during 2009-10. These employees volunteered their time and expertise to help raise the profile of environmental issues at work and support activities. The department initiated an online staff environmental suggestions forum in December 2009 that attracted over 70 responses from staff in the Canberra offices. These were considered and prioritised by the ECONet group and are now in the process of being addressed by the relevant operational areas.
The department purchases electricity to power lights, computers and other office equipment, and kitchen appliances (tenant light and power). The department promoted awareness of the need to turn off lights and computers and to purchase efficient appliances. Energy-saving initiatives, such as zoned lighting with timed switches in office workspaces and motion detector activated lighting in areas of buildings that are used infrequently, were progressively introduced. A major lighting upgrade at 33 Allara Street to be undertaken in 2010-11 is expected to significantly reduce electricity usage at this site.
The department's three major office sites in 2009-10 were covered by a Green Lease Schedule or voluntary environmental improvement agreement that sets out minimum energy performance standards and a commitment to work collaboratively with the building owners to improve energy efficiency.
Over 85 per cent of the electricity purchased in 2009-10 for Canberra tenancies where the department has control over energy procurement was offset with GreenPower.3 This represented an increase compared with the previous year (when the department offset around 70 per cent of electricity purchased) but was less than the target of 100 per cent. Supply arrangements have now been established to ensure that all of the department's Canberra office sites purchase 100 per cent GreenPower in 2010-11.
The department's average tenant light and power intensity (weighted by proportion of employees) easily met the Australian Government's 2011-12 target of 7,500 megajoules per employee but was slightly above the target set of 5,000 megajoules per employee
Tenant light and power electricity consumption was fairly stable across the department's Canberra offices throughout 2009-10 with a slight decrease over the December/January holiday period.
The department's tenant light and power electricity consumption averaged 5,509 megajoules per person in its Canberra Offices in 2009-10. This was well inside the Energy Efficiency in Government Operations (EEGO) policy portfolio intensity target of 7,500 megajoules per employee that must be achieved by 2011-12.
The department continued the downward trend in energy intensity across its Canberra offices towards the target it had set of 5,000 megajoules per employee in 2009-10 but may plateau due to the transfer of its most efficient site, 5 Farrell Place, to DCCEE.
The John Gorton Building was the department's largest tenancy and consumer of electricity throughout 2009-10. Preliminary results from a Whole Building (tenant light, power and central services) rating indicate that it performed poorly based on 2008-09 data, even though its tenant light and power intensity was around 6,000 megajoules per person in 2009-10.
The department's capacity to monitor and report its tenant light and power consumption improved significantly in May 2010, with the installation of sub-meters for its leased office area on two levels of John Gorton Building West and the ground floor cafe. However, an accurate rating for the John Gorton Building cannot be obtained until the server room has also been sub-metered in late 2010 and 12 months of data have been collected.
The Farrell Place site achieved an accredited tenant light and power rating of 4.5 stars before GreenPower under the National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) in November 2009.
The department's travel policy was amended in early 2010 to ensure that business-related travel is only undertaken after alternatives such as tele- or video-conferencing have been considered.
The department's pool vehicle fleet comprises mostly fuel efficient hybrid vehicles but the department's leased executive vehicles are slightly larger and less efficient. The department continued to supply electric and regular bicycles for local travel between offices. In line with the department's policy to offer non-car salary packages to senior executives, the number of Canberra-based executive vehicle leases decreased from 14 to three during 2009-10. The department planned to purchase offsets through Greenfleet during 2010-11 that are equivalent to 100 per cent of the greenhouse gas emissions generated by its pool and executive vehicle fleets during 2009-10.
The department met or exceeded its internal and whole of government targets for vehicle efficiency in 2009-10:
- All of the department's pool vehicles in Canberra scored greater than 10.5 on the Green Vehicle Guide (GVG).
- The department's Canberra pool vehicle fleet scored an average GVG rating of 16.1 out of 20 (compared with the target of 16 out of 20).
- The department's leased executive vehicles scored an average GVG rating of 11.5.
Air travel distances increased by approximately 8 per cent compared with the previous reporting period, but the number of trips per employee decreased slightly.
A procurement process for the provision of office requisites for the department's Canberra-based offices was completed during 2009-10. It took into consideration what proponents could offer in relation to environmentally beneficial products and practices.
Under the new office requisites contract, the department transitioned to general purpose copy paper manufactured from 100 per cent post-consumer recycled fibre and no elemental chlorine bleach. The department also worked with the successful tenderer to implement the agreed practices, such as delivery of orders in reusable crates instead of cardboard boxes. All of the department's printers default to double-sided printing in black and white.
The department's cleaning contract specifies the use of biodegradable and low-toxicity chemicals in its offices. The contractors also purchased toilet paper made from 100 per cent post-consumer recycled fibre. The department's new office requisites contract allows for the provision of accurate purchasing data and will help it to track trends and changes in purchasing behaviour over time.
In 2009-10 the department purchased 13.17 reams per employee for use in its Canberra offices. Although paper consumption per employee decreased compared with the previous year, the department did not reach the target of 12 reams per employee per year.
Fuel consumption data suggests a slight increase in fuel use per kilometre but the total distance travelled decreased by 33 per cent.
Of the 294 tonnes of solid waste generated by the department's offices in Canberra in 2009-10, around 75 per cent was diverted from landfill. This was less than the 95 per cent diversion rate reported during the previous reporting period, which was based on the potential (not actual) rate. The apparent increases in the amount of waste generated (86 per cent) and waste production intensity (76 per cent) may be due to improvements in waste data collection and calculation methods in 2009-10.
Around 2,830 kilograms of used toner cartridges and other printing components were collected and sent for recycling. The department also coordinated a number of voluntary outreach programs, such as the collection of used corks, mobile phones, and batteries for recycling, that complement the department's broader product stewardship, electronic waste and other policy initiatives. Regular waste data was included as a requirement under the Canberra offices new co-mingled and paper waste collection contracts, and has provided reliable data on the weight of waste since February 2010.
A waste audit undertaken at the John Gorton Building in June 2010 revealed that the waste-to-landfill stream was highly contaminated with potentially recyclable materials. The contamination rate of over 90 per cent was far higher than the department's target of 50 per cent and highlighted the need for a focused awareness campaign in 2010-11 to improve the diversion rate. The waste audit also indicated that the department's recycling programs have been successful in keeping toner cartridges, mobile phones, fluorescent tubes and other electronic and hazardous wastes out of the waste-to-landfill stream.
A waste audit was undertaken to help determine the proportion of wastes sent for recycling (including co-mingled plastic, metal and glass, paper, cardboard and toner cartridges), composting, and to landfill by the department's Canberra offices in 2009-10 but no data was available for Lovett Tower
Water efficiency is a high priority, in line with the department's goal of 'adapting to a future with less water'. Protecting water quality is also important and was reflected in the inclusion of spill management procedures in the online safety induction training module.
The department maintains an ongoing program to fit dual flush toilets and flow restrictors to showers, to promptly report leaks, to purchase water efficient appliances, and to replace units that supply boiling and cold filtered water in kitchenettes with more water and energy efficient models that switch off out of hours.
Treated grey and black water from showers, kitchens, toilets and basins continued to supply the toilets in the John Gorton Building Communications Centre and garden irrigation, to reduce the building's reliance on potable water. Non-potable water also supplied the water feature at the John Gorton Building in line with local water restrictions.
The volume of potable water purchased in the John Gorton Building increased by 13.8 per cent during 2009-10, compared with an increase in occupancy of around 10 per cent during the same period. This corresponds to a slight increase in water consumption per employee from 11.52 kilolitres to 12 kilolitres per employee compared with the previous year. A water leak at the John Gorton Building was detected and has now been rectified. This may have been responsible for at least part of the recent increase in water consumption.
Water use intensity at 33 Allara Street was around 12 kilolitres per employee (based on a separate meter for our tenancy) but was lower at Lovett Tower where the department used around 9 kilolitres per employee (based on invoices for the entire building and then split between tenants on a pro rata basis and adjusted for the length of the department's tenancy since November 2009).
The department commissioned a metering design and rainwater risk assessment for the John Gorton Building in 2009-10, with the aim of measuring tenancy water use and reinstating the rainwater collection tank in the future. A water audit was also undertaken at the John Gorton Building but identified limited opportunities to reduce water consumption by tenants as most of the water is consumed by services that are controlled by building owners.
An annual review of the department's legal and other requirements in early 2010 identified the need to update its legal register. The changes required include specific requirements under the Utilities Act 2000 (ACT), related to the grease trap used by the café at the John Gorton Building, and other discharges of liquid waste to sewer. Audits of chemical storage and data sheets were also undertaken and resulted in improved bundling and labelling practices by the department's cleaning contractors.
Base building water use intensity was around 11 kilolitres per employee in 2009-10 based on data from three of the department's office sites. Water use at the John Gorton Building has increased over time and will be investigated further in 2010-11.
Supervising Scientist Division (SSD) Darwin/Jabiru, and Parks Operations and Tourism (POT), Darwin
Environmental management framework
The Supervising Scientist Division (SSD) contributed to the department's sustainability objectives through a range of measures aimed at continuously improving the environmental performance of its business operations and minimising any associated environmental impacts.
SSD's operations were conducted in a manner consistent with the department's aim to minimise the ecological footprint on the environment. This involved a range of strategies including: complying with legal and other agreements, actively promoting sustainable work practices, preventing pollution as a result of work practices, focus on continuous improvement, public reporting of environmental performance as part of the department's annual report, and procurement and use of sustainable goods and services.
During 2009-10 total power consumption increased by 5 per cent from 2008-09. This can mainly be attributed to DEWHA Darwin business operations where power usage increased by 10 per cent. An increase in occupied workstations due to an increase in the number of part-time SSD employees had an impact on energy usage. Overall power usage reduced by 8.5 per cent per person.
To more effectively manage electricity, usage timers on fan and lights switches in the open courtyard at DEWHA Darwin were installed. In the last quarter of the reporting period new oven extractors in SSD laboratories were installed with a temperature gauge set to activate the fans at a set temperature. This significantly reduced usage of fans previously operating 24 hours a day.
The DEWHA Darwin Hangar used for storage of equipment and records had a four per cent reduction in electricity used resulting from the installation of a new air conditioning system operating on a timer.
The Jabiru Field Station (JFS) site had a 16 per cent reduction in electricity usage for DEWHA business operations. During 2008-09 the demolition of unoccupied buildings at JFS was completed and a 385 square metre barn previously used by SSD was transferred for use by a commercial tenant operating and sharing the JFS site.
In addition both sites installed new and separate air-conditioning units in individual rooms that can be run independently from the main air-conditioning system. This enabled operation only when rooms are in use and also allowed for consistency in room temperature.
DEWHA Darwin and the building owner (Darwin International Airport) engaged an air-conditioning engineer to review the efficiency of the facility's air-conditioning system. Recommendations from the report when implemented will assist with more efficient use of energy consumption.
Vehicle mileage has decreased by 1.7 per cent for the 2009-10 reporting period. Total fuel usage has decreased by 11.1 per cent overall. This can be attributed to the lease expiry of fleet vehicles that were not replaced.
During 2009-10 the total fleet was reduced from 12 to nine vehicles, this included a reduction of the SES vehicle fleet to one from April 2010. As at 30 June 2010 SSD's fleet consisted of seven vehicles (all diesel) and POT's fleet consisted of two vehicles (one diesel and one unleaded). All vehicles replaced during 2009-10 were replaced with vehicles with a Green Vehicle Guide (GVG) rating of 6.5. The fleet as at 30 June 2010 had an average GVG rating of 6.9. As SSD requires vehicles to travel off road and carry equipment, vehicles leased are selected for purpose of use with the aim of having a GVG rating of 10 or more if possible.
Waste performance figures reflected changes made during 2009-10 to the range of bins provided to staff at the DEWHA Darwin site for disposal of landfill and recyclable waste. Landfill waste has decreased by 27 per cent, offset by a 58 per cent increase in paper products and 138 per cent increase in co-mingled waste (plastic/glass) sent for recycling. Changes to waste collection and disposal at the DEWHA Darwin facility has resulted in a 4 per cent increase in greenhouse gas emissions produced. DEWHA Darwin continued to house a worm farm for recycling of organic food waste.
JFS did not collect data on waste, although since the introduction of a recycling service at the Jabiru township waste facility, an improved system was implemented to sort recyclable products previously sent to landfill.
During 2009-10 the DEWHA Darwin facility modified the range of bins available for disposal of waste. Landfill waste bins (collected weekly) were reduced by one cubic metre in size. More recycle bins were made available to staff.
The organisation continued to collect toner cartridges and batteries and dispose of these items through recycling facilities fit for purpose.
The Jabiru facility increased recycling of waste due to changes to the West Arnhem Shire Council waste facility. Waste disposal will be monitored and the bin range adjusted accordingly, if required. Signage posted around the building site will be customised to promote recycling of waste and ensure that waste is placed into the appropriate bin for disposal or recycling.
During 2009-10 SSD and POT purchased office paper made from 50 per cent recycled products. Total purchases have reduced from 774 to 488 reams showing a total decrease of 37 per cent in paper purchased. Total reams used per person has reduced by 45 per cent from 12 reams to 6.6. A total of 0.64 tonnes of office paper was sent for recycling during 2009-10.
Reduction in paper use can be attributed to better decision making by staff on requirements for printing of documents to comply with record keeping policies. SSD introduced a revised document record keeping system that enabled more efficient sharing of documents amongst staff; thereby significantly reducing the need to print documents. The organisation aimed to provide copies of all SSD publications on line through the division's website.
Where possible printers had the duplex option pre-set as a default to ensure documents were printed double-sided unless options are changed. SSD acquired a new printer in the office with options for scanning and emailing. Paperwork previously copied or faxed for sending to other DEWHA locations is sent electronically, reducing the need to use paper. SSD and POT continued to promote awareness of wastage of office paper and aim to further reduce paper usage per person.
The DEWHA Darwin facility reduced their water consumption by six per cent during 2009-10 from 1,997 kilolitres recorded usage in 2008-09 to 1,886 kilolitres. This was achieved through changes in research activities undertaken in its aquaculture facility.
JFS had an increase in water usage of 5.5 per cent from 7,577 kilolitres in 2008-09 to 8,021 kilolitres in 2009-10. Due to the installation of separate water meters, it was established that only 14 per cent of total water usage at the Jabiru facility is attributed to SSD, although this year it could not be confirmed whether the six per cent increase in water usage could come from SSD business operations. The installation of separate water meters will enable the division to more effectively track its performance on water usage in coming years. An average of 41 kilolitres of water per person was used at both sites by DEWHA staff only.
During 2009-10 separate water meters were installed to monitor the usage of water between SSD staff and the plant propagation business that shares the water supply at the Jabiru facility. All garden grounds were reticulated on a timer and are only watered during the dry season months. Reticulation was tested regularly to identify and rectify faults and water wastage. Water readings from the three water meters at the Jabiru site were collected weekly to monitor water usage and identify spikes.
Greenhouse gas emissions
Total greenhouse gas emissions for the DEWHA Darwin and Jabiru Field Station in 2009-10 was 837.2 tonnes, an increase of 4.1 per cent from 2008-09 This resulted from an increase in carbon dioxide emissions from waste, 9.4 per cent from transport fuel and five per cent from electricity.
Parks Australia Division
Environmental management framework
Parks Australia employed approximately 370 staff spread over numerous sites. Its primary role was to support the Director of National Parks in the management of Commonwealth reserves and botanic gardens, and to deliver a series of programs that support the development of Australia's National Reserve System and the description of Australia's biological diversity. Parks Australia achieved this by working collaboratively with a wide range of partners including Indigenous communities, philanthropic groups, state and territory agencies, local councils, volunteers and industry to protect some of Australia's most significant and recognised natural and cultural assets.
The environmental performance for the division's Canberra-based staff is covered by the Canberra offices report and the performance of its Darwin-based staff is covered by the Supervising Scientist Division's report. The Parks Australia report covers the activities of:
- Kakadu National Park
- Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
- Christmas Island National Park
- Pulu Keeling National Park
- Booderee National Park
- Norfolk Island National Park and Botanic Garden, and
- Australian National Botanic Gardens (ANBG).
Management plans were in place or in preparation for all sites to ensure environmental, economic and social considerations are outlined and integrated. Appropriate environmental monitoring and reporting regimes were also in place. There were a range of operational requirements that contributed to the carbon footprint of each site, including electricity generation, transport, development of new infrastructure and waste management. Some properties have specialised needs, such as the ANBG which has to maintain climate controlled conditions in many of its glasshouses. Park activities such as revegetation projects, fire and pest management also had implications for the carbon cycle.
In 2009-10 climate change strategies were developed for Kakadu National Park, Booderee National Park and the Australian National Botanic Gardens, in accordance with the Director of National Parks' Strategic Climate Change Overview 2009-2014. The key objectives were to reduce the department's carbon footprint overall and adapt where practicable. The division will develop and implement strategies for its other parks and reserves.
Conserving biodiversity is a primary objective for all reserves, and careful management of the use of fire and vegetation can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, reliable indicators are not yet available to measure the contribution that the division's biodiversity management activities make to cutting emissions.
The remote location of the department's parks and reserves limited opportunities to reduce its environmental footprint, for example recycling facilities were not available at most of its Commonwealth reserves. Most properties are public sites and include facilities for both public and staff use, which can also limit the ability to measure, manage and improve environmental performance. See the Director of National Parks annual report for more detail on activities in Commonwealth reserves.
To reduce stationary energy use over the last reporting year the division installed a three kilowatt solar power system at Norfolk Island National Park and 30 new solar panels at Booderee National Park offices, reducing the amount of electricity drawn from the grid. Booderee's solar set up generated 4,088 kilowatt hours from November 2009.
Kakadu and Uluru-Kata Tjuta national parks relied heavily on diesel power generation as they are not on a grid. The ANBG was also limited in its ability to reduce energy consumption due to its business requirements, such as maintenance plant and herbarium specimens at very specific conditions. To partially offset these energy requirements, the ANBG purchased 120,071 kilowatt hours of GreenPower in 2009-10 (approximately 10 per cent of purchased electricity).
Parks Australia regularly used and advocated alternatives to air travel such as tele- and video-conferencing, to undertake weekly executive and branch meetings. The division made a conscious effort to minimise business-related travel; but recognised that face-to-face contact and visits to remote locations were sometimes necessary, particularly for the three parks that are managed jointly with their Indigenous owners.
Overall the division's paper usage in 2009-10 declined by 29 per cent compared with the previous reporting year. Kakadu National Park and the Australian National Botanic Gardens increased their production of visitor guides and other educational materials, therefore significant increases in paper consumption were reported this year. Several parks and reserves used 100 per cent post-consumer recycled paper for printing. In 2009-10 Parks Australia purchased an average of 3.9 reams per employee. This represented 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 and will provide more opportunities to print double-sided, reducing paper wastage even 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 consumption.
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 ANBG, improvements in recycling have lead to the diversion of 58 tonnes from landfill. The ANBG also installed compost bins in each building, which are taken home by staff to avoid possible cross-contamination with recycled plant materials within the ANBG. Booderee National Park installed customised bin lids to minimise the contamination of recyclable waste and increased its visitor education on waste-saving measures.
Protecting water quality was 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. While the division's ability to measure water consumption in the parks is improving, data is not yet consistently available.
Construction for the ANBG's water extraction project commenced in April 2010, and is due for completion towards the end of 2010. The ANBG plans to use non-potable water for use in watering the living collection by summer 2010. Using water from Lake Burley Griffin will reduce the ANBG's 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 were installed across the park and the potential for harvesting rainwater is being explored. Norfolk Island National Park is completely reliant on captured rainwater. The park 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.
Australian Antarctic Division (AAD)
The AAD is committed to ecologically sustainable development principles as described in its environmental policy. It will sustain efforts to continually improve environmental performance by maintaining certification to the international standard for environmental management systems (ISO 14001:2004) across all its operations in Australia, the Southern Ocean and the Australian Antarctic Territory. This was first achieved in 2002 and external audits of both Kingston-based and Antarctic operations have been undertaken annually, resulting in ongoing certification to 2011. Australia is still the only national Antarctic program to hold such certification for environmental management and continues to champion this systematic approach through the Committee for Environmental Protection of the Antarctic Treaty System.
The AAD continues to improve measures to minimise waste, pollution and other human impacts in all environments in which we operate. A complete review of waste management practices and procedures is underway for implementation in the 2010-11 summer season, with the aim of improving whole of life-cycle management and final waste outcomes. Revision of the AAD waste management guide will include guidance on labelling and manifesting, with NEPM codes and AAD waste management codes for all waste returned to Australia from Antarctic operations. This will improve efficiency in waste handling and sorting, which in turn will improve landfill and recycling/reuse outcomes. New incinerators for putrescible wastes have been purchased for Davis and Casey stations. A fuel drum washer/crusher will be installed at Davis Station to wash fuel drums for reuse and/or recycling, to improve storage, reduce risk of drum loss in high winds and to conserve shipping space.
Ongoing efforts to remediate old fuel spill sites in Antarctica and at Macquarie Island continue. Sampling results from the 600 litre fuel spill at Lake Dingle, near Davis Station in January 2010, indicate that up to 95% of the spill was recovered due to effective fuel spill response actions and equipment. Planning is underway to complete removal and remediation of contaminated soil from the site in 2011.
Overall environmental performance by the AAD continues to improve across all of its activities and all of its areas of operation as demonstrated in the tables below. Commitment to leadership in Antarctic environmental management is one of the strategic goals for the agency into the future, enhancing Australia's position in the Antarctic Treaty System and the Committee for Environmental Protection. Collaboration with East Antarctic national operators also results in energy use efficiencies through sharing of transport and resources.
|Activity||How it accords with the principles of ESD||How it furthers or advances ESD principles|
|Compliance with the AAD Environmental Policy and maintenance of a certified EMS across all AAD operations in Australia, Southern Ocean and Antarctica||By developing and working towards the achievement of short and long term targets and objectives to ensure continual improvement in all aspects of environmental management across all of our activities.||Annual surveillance audits ensure that continued compliance with our Environmental Policy and improvement in environmental management in all significant environmental aspects is achieved.|
|Commencement of Waste Management Review||Review of waste generation and management activities across entire life cycle from purchasing, shipping, storage, use, to disposal, will improve efficiencies and waste outcomes.||Review of environmental purchasing guidelines, training, waste management guide to include NEPM and AAD waste codes to improve reporting, handling and disposal of waste.|
|Cleanup of contaminated sites in Antarctica and on Macquarie Island||Cleanup and remediation of fuel-contaminated sites and the cleanup of old tip sites to restore as far as possible ecological integrity and biological diversity at sites where such activities will not result in further environmental degradation.||Removal of contamination and remediation of damaged local environments will enhance Antarctica's value for future scientific enquiry by future generations.|
The following tables summarise the environmental performance of the department's four major operational areas in 2009-10:
- Canberra offices (the John Gorton Building, 33 Allara Street, 5 Farrell Place, Lovett Tower, the Burns Centre and warehouses in Fyshwick and Queanbeyan)
- Supervising Scientist Division in Darwin and Jabiru
- Parks Australia Division, and
- Australian Antarctic Division in Tasmania and the Australian Antarctic Territory.
|Energy efficiency||Total energy consumption (including office buildings and transportation)||Electricity purchased (kilowatt hours) - tenant light and power||2,609,358 kWh||3,472,068 kWh|
|Other fuels purchased (litres)||unleaded petrol||28,148 L||22,660 L|
|E10 petrol||27,597 L||17,599 L|
|diesel||22,305 L||21,838 L|
|Air travel distances (kilometres)||20,617,402 km||19,044,088 km|
|Total green energy consumption (including purchased GreenPower)||Energy purchased from renewable sources (kilowatt hours)||1,822,720 kWh||3,135,828 kWh|
|Greenhouse gas emission generation (excluding transportation)||Greenhouse gas emissions (tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent) - before offsets||2,724 CO2e(t)||3,625 CO2e(t)|
|Greenhouse gas emissions - after offsets||821 CO2e(t)||351 CO2e(t)|
|Relative energy consumption (excluding transportation)||Proportion of total energy purchased from certified green energy sources (per cent)||70%||90%|
|Total energy purchased/consumed (kilowatt hours) per employee||1,546 kWh per employee||1,551 kWh per employee|
|Waste||Total waste production||Total waste produced (tonnes)||158 t||294 t|
|Non-recyclable waste production||Waste sent to landfill (tonnes)||Not recorded||68 t|
|Recyclable waste production||Waste sent to recycling facilities (tonnes)||Not recorded||183.4 t|
|Waste sent to organic waste recycling facilities (tonnes)||Not recorded||38.3 t|
|Paper waste production||Paper sent to recycling facilities (tonnes)||Not recorded||126.8 t|
|Total paper sourced from recyclable sources (reams)||27,615 reams||29,487 reams|
|Amount of paper sourced from recyclable sources (per cent)||Not recorded||100% of paper sourced from 60% recycled fibre|
|Office paper consumption||Office paper purchased (reams) per employee per year||13.80 reams||13.17 reams|
|Relative waste production||Total waste (kilograms) per employee||79 kg||139 kg|
|Relative waste disposal||Solid waste diverted from landfill (per cent)||95%||75%|
|Water||Total water consumption||Water purchased/consumed (kilolitres)||Not recorded||20,706 kL|
|Water use intensity||Total water consumed (litres) per employee||Not recorded||10,941 L|
|Energy efficiency||Total energy consumption (including office buildings and transportation)||Amount of electricity purchased/consumed ($/kWh)||962,607 kWh||1,011,057 kWh|
|Amount of other fuels purchased/consumed
($/kWh/MJ/L)(Diesel, unleaded LPG)
|24,569 litres||21,849 litres|
|Air travel distances (km)||214,736 km||248,854 km|
|Greenhouse gas emissions||Greenhouse gas emissions (tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent)||804.2 CO2e(t)||849.5 CO2e(t)|
|Relative energy consumption||Green energy purchased divided by total energy purchased||100% non-renewable energy||100% non-renewable energy|
|Total energy purchased/consumed (kilowatt hours) per employee||14,929 kWh||13,663 kWh|
|Waste||Total waste production||Amount of waste produced (tonnes)||22.45 t||25.32 t|
|25.21 CO2e(t)||27.93 CO2e(t)|
|Non-recyclable waste production||Amount of waste going to landfills (tonnes)||15.18 t||11.04 t|
|15.79 CO2e(t)||11.48 CO2e(t)|
|Recyclable waste production||Amount of waste going to recycling facilities (tonnes)||Cardboard
|Glass and Plastic
|Glass and Plastic
|Paper waste production (office paper only)||Amount of waste paper going to recycling facilities (tonnes); also shown by tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent||Office paper
|0.79 CO2e(t)||1.6 CO2e(t)|
|Amount/percentage of paper sourced from recyclable sources (tonnes)||99% of paper made from 50% recycled||100% of paper made from 50% recycled|
|Relative waste production||Amount of the total waste (tonnes) per employee||0.24 t||0.15 t|
|Water||Total water consumption||Amount of water consumed (kL)||9,574 kL||9,907 kL|
|Water use intensity||Amount of total water use (kL) per employee||Darwin - 35 kL||Darwin - 28kL|
|Jabiru - no data||Jabiru - 162kL|
|Energy efficiency||Total energy consumption (including office buildings and transportation)||Electricity purchased (kilowatt hour)||2,352,189 kWh||2,268,740 kWh|
|Automotive diesel used for power generation (gigajoules)||29,057 GJ||30,306 GJ|
|Natural gas purchased (gigajoules)||4,985 GJ||4,417 GJ|
|Liquified petroleum gas purchased (gigajoules)||271 GJ||264 GJ|
|Other diesel/petrol consumed (gigajoules)||Not recorded||90 GJ|
|Domestic air travel distances travelled (kilometres)||Not recorded||3,029,039|
|Total green energy consumption||Energy purchased from renewable sources (kilowatt hour)||118,830 kWh||120,071 kWh|
|Greenhouse gas emission generation||Greenhouse gas emissions (tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent)||4,710 CO2e(t)||4,010 CO2e(t)|
|Waste||Total waste production||Total waste produced (tonnes)||775 t||262 t|
|Non-recyclable waste production||Waste sent to landfill (tonnes)||700 t||195 t|
|Recyclable waste production||Waste sent to recycling facilities (tonnes)||61 t||25 t|
|Paper waste production||Total paper sourced from recyclable sources (reams)||Not recorded||436 reams|
|Paper sourced from recyclable sources (per cent)||Not recorded||47%|
|Office paper consumption||Office paper purchased (reams) per employee per year||5.4 reams per employee||3.9 reams per employee|
|Relative waste disposal||Solid waste diverted from landfill (per cent)||10%||26%|
|Water||Total water consumption||Water purchased/consumed (kilolitres)||248,423 kL||309,174 kL|
|Onsite rainwater capture||Rainwater captured (litres)||Not recorded||232,000 litres|
|Energy efficiency||Total consumption of energy - this includes all energy consumed when undertaking the functions of the agency, such as energy consumed for office buildings and transportation||Amount of electricity consumed at Kingston offices, laboratories and workshops (saved 10,435 kWh on last year)||4,228,610 kWh||4,218,175 kWh|
|Amount of electricity generated at three Antarctic and Macquarie Island stations (saved 121,578 on 2008-09)||4,967,223 kWh||4,845,645 kWh|
|Total amount of fuel used in generators, boilers, vehicles, incinerators at three Antarctic stations and Macquarie Island station||1,947,865 litres||2,031,649 litres|
|Total amount of shipping fuel use||Not recorded||4,282,160 litres|
|Total amount of aircraft fuel use (helicopters, C212s, A319)||Not recorded||632,200 litres|
|Kingston-based vehicle fuel use (fleet reduced from 14 to 7 vehicles)||16,438 litres||8,886 litres|
|Renewable energy example: At Mawson station in 2009-10, 39% of energy was generated by wind energy.||Amount of electricity generated by fuel (370,080 litres) at Mawson||Not recorded||1,028,153 kWh|
|Amount of electricity generated by wind turbines at Mawson, resulting in a savings of 233,714 litres of fuel and reduced CO2 emissions by 610 tonnes||Not recorded||1,514,739 kWh|
|Waste||Total waste production - generated at stations in Antarctica and on Macquarie Island and returned to Australia (RTA)||Total waste returned to Australia - this varies each year according to shipping cargo capacity, weather and quantity of material returned to Australia that may have been stored on station for more than one year.||247.4 tonnes||299.0 tonnes|
|Total waste production - generated at Kingston offices, laboratories, workshops and warehouse||Total waste generated by Kingston offices, laboratories, workshops and warehouse, which included:||448.8 tonnes||557.1 tonnes|
|Krill aquarium water waste for treatment and disposal||290.0 tonnes||340.0 tonnes|
|Waste to landfill||106.5 tonnes||157.9 tonnes|
|Waste (including paper) to recycling facilities or for re-use||52.3 tonnes||51.9 tonnes|
|Total paper purchased||For use at Kingston offices and facilities (A4 equivalent)
||3,020 reams||3,020 reams|
|For use on stations||Not recorded||305 reams|
|Paper waste re-use||Percentage of paper sourced from recyclable sources (percent)||100%||100%|
|Water||Total consumption of water - this includes all water consumed when undertaking the functions of agency||Amount of water consumed at the Kingston site||3,442 kilolitres||2,773 kilolitres|
|Amount of water consumed at three stations in Antarctica and one at Macquarie Island (method of water production and storage may influence the interpretation of figures obtained).||5,371 kilolitres||5,795 kilolitres|
|Rainwater capture and use||Amount of rainwater captured and reused on site||2,900 kilolitres||3,442 kilolitres|
|Relative consumption/use of water||Amount of total water use per employee Kingston offices, laboratories, workshops and warehouse per year||Not recorded||9,482 litres/year|
|Theme||Steps taken to reduce effect||Measures to review and improve reducing the effect|
|Energy efficiency||Under the AAD's EMS and Environmental Policy, objectives and targets to carefully manage and minimise energy use have been set as follows:
||Baseline electricity consumption at all four stations was reduced by more than 2% in 2009-10; however this figure varies according to weather and equipment operating conditions. Training of expeditioners to encourage conservation of energy and improvements in the building monitoring and control systems on stations will continue to ensure effectiveness of these energy reduction targets.
Improvements to the alarm control system for the wind turbines at Mawson continue to improve electricity generation from this source.
The amount of electricity consumed at Kingston offices, laboratories and workshops was 10,435 kWh less than 08-09 due to staff awareness campaigns to close blinds, turn off lights and computers, as well as the installation of motion detector activated lighting and zoned lighting improvements. This will be continued through adoption of ECONet labels and stickers for computers, lighting and blinds for AAD offices.
GreenPower is available through Aurora however it has been offered at a considerable margin to the standard negotiated rates.
As AAD has the landlord in effect reselling the power it buys on the AAD's behalf (given it owns the sub-station infrastructure for the site), it has chosen to include AAD as part of its overall property portfolio negotiations with Aurora to ensure the best tariff possible is offered. GreenPower does not figure in this equation as a result.
|Waste||Under the AAD's EMS and Environmental Policy, objectives and targets to reduce waste production have been set as follows:
||A diving program was conducted at Davis station to measure the impacts of previous wastewater disposal on the local marine environment. Results from sampling will inform level of treatment required to reduce wastewater impacts on the local environment.
Revision of the station and field waste management guide will improve incineration practices and new incinerators will provide more efficient burning.
|Water||At Kingston, all stormwater was diverted in 2008-09 to a small dam onsite and used for landscape watering, resulting in a major reduction in drinking water use.
Potable water management plans are in place for all stations and results are recorded in State of the Environment reporting databases.
|Monitoring of water use for drinking and for landscape watering will continue.|
3 GreenPower is a government accreditation program for renewable energy. It is bought by the energy provider on behalf of the consumer.
In this section
- Letter of transmittal
- Executive summary
- Outcome 1 - Conserving our natural assets
- Outcome 2 - Living and working sustainably
- Operation of the Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1989
- Operation of the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989
- Operation of the product stewardship arrangements for oil including the Product Stewardship (Oil) Act 2000
- Operation of the Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000
- Outcome 3 - Protecting Antarctica
- Outcome 4 - Adapting to a future with less water
- Outcome 5 - Protecting and enhancing Australia's culture and heritage
- Corporate Outcome - Improving organisational effectiveness
- Financial statements
- List of requirements