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Publications archive - Annual reports


Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2002-03

Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2003
ISSN 1441 9335

Appendix 1 - Ecologically sustainable development and environmental performance

The following is a summary of the report by the Department of the Environment and Heritage for 2002-03 provided in accordance with section 516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. The complete section 516A report is on the Department's web site at

1. How the activities of the organisation, and the administration of legislation by the organisation, accord with the principles of ecologically sustainable development (section 516A(6)(a))

The following activities of the Department accord with the principles of ecologically sustainable development (ESD) by generally recognising and promoting the concept of ESD:

The following activities accord with the principles of ESD, in particular the principle of integrating environmental, social, economic and equitable considerations:

The following activities accord with the principles of ESD, especially by employing, or promoting the use of, the precautionary principle:

The following activities accord with the principles of ESD by aiming to promote conservation of the environment for the benefit of future generations:

The following activities accord with the principles of ESD by ensuring that biodiversity and ecological integrity are fundamental to decision-making:

The following activities accord with the principles of ESD by aiming to improve valuation, pricing and incentive mechanisms:

2. How the outcomes specified in a relevant Appropriations Act contribute to ecologically sustainable development (section 516A(6)(b))

The Department's role is to achieve two major outcomes for the Commonwealth Government. These outcomes are:

The first outcome contributes directly to ESD by protecting and conserving the environment, with its major focus on threats that are serious enough to be of national significance. Thus it contributes to protecting biodiversity and ecological systems and to maintaining the health, diversity and productivity of the environment for future generations. Outputs which deliver the ESD aspects of this outcome are discussed in Section 1 of this appendix.

The second outcome does not explicitly contribute to ESD; however one of the goals of the Australian Antarctic Division is to protect the Antarctic environment, the Southern Ocean and the Territory of Heard Island and McDonald Islands, by: developing ways to minimise human impact, remediating past work sites, administering environmental legislation, developing policy and undertaking research. This outcome thus contributes to ESD by providing information that enables biodiversity conservation and ecological systems to be considered in decision-making, and by protecting the health and diversity of the Antarctic environment for future generations.

3. Effect of the organisation's activities on the environment (section 516A(6)(c))

The Department's mission of national leadership in the protection and conservation of the environment ensures that the effect on the environment of most of its activities, including policies, programs and administration of legislation, is a positive one. Positive effects of the Department's activities on the environment in 2002-03 are detailed throughout this annual report.

In the course of its normal daily operations, the Department also contributes to negative impacts on the environment through its use of electricity, petrol, water, paper and other materials consumed and through its generation of waste. The Department's tenant light and power consumption for 2002-03 was 1 379 935 kWh. Figures for water, paper and other material consumables are not available. Measures to address these negative impacts are noted in Section 4 of this appendix.

4. Measures being taken by the organisation to minimise the impact of its activities on the environment (section 516A(6)(d))

Through a structured environmental management system, which has been certified to the international standard ISO 14001, the Department monitors a range of its operational activities including the management of energy, water and wastes, transport (the departmental fleet), and purchasing. The environmental management system provides a framework for considering and minimising environmental impacts within the context of continual improvement.

Significant achievements in 2002-03 include:

Additionally, the Department:

5. Mechanisms, if any, for reviewing and increasing the effectiveness of these measures (section 516A(6)(e))

The environmental management system for the Canberra offices is reviewed every three years for certification to the ISO 14001 standard. This review, as well as internal reviews of the environmental management systems for the other office locations, is used to identify and address the negative environmental impacts within the context of continual improvement.