Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, 2012
Corporate outcome: Financial position
During 2011-12 the total asset base controlled by the department, decreased by $7.8 million to $510.4 million. The decrease is mainly attributable to depreciation on buildings, property, plant and equipment.
Total liabilities managed by the department increased by $126.9 million during 2011-12, to $552.5 million as at 30 June 2012, mainly due to the change in the long term discount rates used to calculate the department's provisions. This had a major impact on the department's restoration obligations in relation to the Australian Antarctic Territory which increased by $113.2 million and the employee provisions which increased by $13.7 million.
Primarily as a result of the increase in provisions, the department ended the year with total liabilities exceeding total assets. This is reflected in the shortfall in total equity of $42.1 million. This does not make the department insolvent and has no bearing on whether the department's debts will be paid, as the department is part of the legal entity that is the Australian Government, which is ultimately responsible for all the department's debts. Further detail is provided in the department's 2011-12 financial statements at Note 1.23.
The department's assets are located throughout Australia, with the majority located in the Australian Antarctic Territory and managed by the Australian Antarctic Division. The Australian Antarctic Division manages and maintains Australia's Antarctic stations, Casey, Davis and Mawson and a research station on sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island. The Australian Antarctic Division has in place an asset management plan for each station.