Department of the Environment

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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Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time.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

Operation of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (continued)

4. Reporting

State of the Environment reporting

Preparation for the 2006 State of the Environment report began.

Section 516A reporting

Section 516A of the Act requires Commonwealth organisations to include in their annual reports a section detailing the environmental performance of the organisation and the organisation's contribution to ecologically sustainable development (ESD). All Commonwealth departments reported against section 516A for 2002-03.

In May 2003 the ANAO tabled a report on Commonwealth agencies' reporting on ESD outcomes and environmental performance. The full ANAO report with supporting documents is available at The report found that agencies are doing fairly well in reporting the environmental effects of their operations, but considerably less well in reporting the environmental effects of their other activities, and quite poorly at reporting their ESD performance. Although fairly critical of Commonwealth ESD and environment reporting over the first two years of reporting, the report considers it 'understandable that most agencies are still developing appropriate management and reporting frameworks'.

Drawing on the ANAO report and feedback received from agencies' experience with the earlier reports, the Department has enhanced its guidelines to assist agencies with their section 516A reporting and the criteria to help agencies decide which of their activities have implications for ESD. The Department has also developed sets of generic performance indicators which may be useful for agencies that wish to assess their ESD and environmental performance over time. The Department's section 516A guidance materials are at