Department of the Environment and Heritage, November 2005
- Message from the Secretary
- What is our vision?
- What is our mission?
- How do we define our approach?
- Our people
- Our code of conduct
- Our values
- Our heritage places
- Our structure
- Environment and Heritage Portfolio
- Our major objectives
- Strategic planning framework
Welcome to the Department of the Environment and Heritage Corporate Plan for the next three years.
The Corporate Plan provides a picture of our department’s role as part of the Australian Government and how our work contributes to the identification and conservation of our unique heritage places and to the creation of a more sustainable Australia. It provides a high level view that can be used to inform our work on a day to day basis, showing how our work contributes directly to the goals of the portfolio as a whole. These goals and strategies will inform the development of individual performance agreements and work team plans at all levels.
The Plan clarifies our purpose, the way we approach our work and describes our main objectives for the next three years. Some of our key work priorities include: responding to the challenges of climate change; contributing to the national water reform agenda; conserving Australian landscapes, marine environment and natural and cultural heritage through the effective implementation of the Natural Heritage Trust and a range of other programmes; and administration of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
Positive and lasting outcomes for the environment and for Australia’s heritage will only come about if we continue to work cooperatively with other government agencies, build constructive relationships with the farming, industry and conservation sectors, make decisions that are based on facts and science, take full account of social and economic considerations, and effectively inform and educate the community about the issues. Most importantly our effectiveness also depends on the continued enthusiasm and commitment of staff and our ability to adapt to change and use our time and resources efficiently.
Over the last forty years environment issues have become an integral part of policy setting and programme design and the environment is firmly fixed in Australia’s public policy agenda. In that time our department has evolved rapidly and become a major department of state with a key role to play in the development and implementation of Government policy. I look forward to seeing the department continue to evolve and refine its operations and our work unfold for the life of this Plan and beyond.
I welcome and warmly appreciate the efforts of every member of the department as we implement the Plan over the next three years.
A sustainable Australia.
Deliver the Australian Government’s environment and heritage legislation, policies and programmes.
In our work we look for solutions that are efficient, equitable and feasible, based on:
- understanding environmental problems using science
- adopting economic, regulatory or administrative instruments that can be targeted at environmental problems
- carrying out the Australian Government’s environmental and heritage policies and programmes in a way that supports the nation’s social and economic interests
- cooperating across all levels of government, with industry, with international partners, and with the community.
The department is committed to a culture of continuous improvement with a skilled, committed and responsive staff. We plan and communicate our business objectives and provide development opportunities so staff have the necessary skills to do their work. We continue to meet the international standard for Investors in People (IiP) accreditation and integrate the IiP principles and practices into standard business operations. We value our people and recognise the importance of achieving life balance between time spent at work and away from work.
We are committed to leading by example in the environmental performance of our operations. We maintain an ISO14001 certified environmental management system and produce a Triple Bottom Line Report on our environmental, social and economic sustainability performance. All departmental staff are expected to contribute to the environmental performance of our organisation.
" I work here because I want to work on interesting issues that make a difference"
Australian Public Service Level 5
The department’s employees must comply with the Australian Public Service Values and Code of Conduct. Detailed guidance is available to employees via the department’s intranet. The guidance includes a code of conduct specific to the department.
Individual performance agreements require a personal commitment to the Australian Public Service Values and Code of Conduct.
The department’s service charter requires employees to act with integrity, responsiveness and responsibility, and to strive to give their best to every task, when dealing with clients (see www.deh.gov.au/about/publications/pubs/finalsc.pdf).
The Australian Antarctic Division applies a Code of Organisational Behaviours to its Australian-based employees and an Antarctic Service Code of Personal Behaviour to personnel (whether employees or not) in the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic.
In addition to the Australian Public Service Values, the department’s values are:
- Caring for the environment
- Engaging and responding to stakeholders
- Accepting responsibility
- Being accountable
- Providing leadership and being active team contributors
- Being personally committed to learning and development
- Achieving results.
" I am extremely proud of the portfolio and the professionalism shown by our staff"
We take responsibility for the heritage properties in our control. The department is actively identifying and caring for Commonwealth heritage property in its control through the development and implementation of a departmental Heritage Strategy and best practice management plans for Commonwealth Heritage places.
The department is part of the Environment and Heritage portfolio. The structure of the portfolio is shown on the following page. The Australian Greenhouse Office and the National Oceans Office became part of the department in November 2004, further enhancing our ability to coordinate our activities and provide comprehensive policy advice to the Government.
Other agencies in the portfolio are the:
- Bureau of Meteorology (www.bom.gov.au)
- Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (www.gbrmpa.gov.au)
- Director of National Parks (www.deh.gov.au/parks)
- Sydney Harbour Federation Trust (www.harbourtrust.gov.au)
- Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator (www.orer.gov.au).
These agencies and the department work closely to provide a cohesive response to environment and heritage issues at the Australian Government level.
"In a lot of other departments a job is just a job. I think we work on challenges of real interest and importance to Australia"
Executive Level 1
- Responding to climate change
- Conserving our land and inland waters
- Conserving our coasts and oceans
- Conserving our natural, Indigenous and historic heritage
- Responding to the impacts of human settlements
- Advancing Australia’s Antarctic interests
- Improving the way we work
The work of the Department of the Environment and Heritage is focused on protecting and conserving the environment and our natural and cultural heritage. The department’s work towards these objectives is ongoing and in some cases will only deliver visible results in the long-term. Ultimately our work helps to make Australia more sustainable so that future generations can maintain a high standard of living and enjoy the benefits of a healthy environment. The main focus of our activities is to develop and implement the government’s environment and heritage policies. The department will respond as priorities evolve and change. Over the next three years priorites for each key result area are listed.
The department is responding to climate change through a wide range of activities designed to meet our international obligations and reduce our greenhouse signature, without having a negative impact on Australia’s economy. Key activities we will undertake are:
- Contributing to an effective international response to climate change post–2012
- Leading action to ensure Australia will meet its internationally agreed target of no more than 108 per cent of 1990 greenhouse gas emissions for the period 2008–12
- Enhancing Australia’s world class expertise in climate science
- Building Australia’s capacity to limit and adapt to the environmental and economic impacts of climate change
- Implementing programmes to increase the uptake of energy efficient and low emissions technologies, including Solar Cities, the Low Emissions Technology Demonstration Fund and Advanced Electricity Storage Technologies programmes
- Implementing emissions abatement partnerships with industry, government and the community
- Providing sound information on Australia’s greenhouse emissions trends
- Enhancing community understanding of the climate change issue.
"I never cease to be amazed and inspired by the energy and dedication staff put into projects and challenges"
The department undertakes natural resource management activities to conserve our land and inland waters and the diversity of life that is supported by them. Key activities we will undertake are:
- Leading action to identify, conserve and protect threatened ecological communities, native plants and animals and their habitats
- Contributing to reducing the long-term decline in the extent and quality of native vegetation, reversing land degradation and managing salinity
- Contributing to reducing the spread of major environmental pests, weeds and diseases
- Promoting the sustainable management of Australia’s rivers, groundwater and wetlands, by implementing the National Water Initiative, the Living Murray Initiative and other measures, and by undertaking scientific research
- Promoting sustainable agriculture through national and regional level investment
- Increasing regional community participation in conservation and sustainable resource use and management, with a particular focus on development opportunities for remote or Indigenous communities
- Promoting conservation on private land
- Evaluating current natural resource management programmes to inform future programme directions
- Managing the Australian Government protected area estate
- Continuing to build a comprehensive, adequate and representative national system of reserves
- Delivering the Australian Government’s Community Water Grants
- Implementing the Tasmanian Community Forest Agreement
- Implementing the Biodiversity Hotspots Programme.
"I have specialist scientific skills and this is one of the few government agencies that encourage and support my work"
The department contributes to the ecologically sustainable management of Australia’s coasts and oceans. Key activities we will undertake are:
- Developing Regional Marine Plans through integrated regional marine planning processes
- Promoting the sustainable management of Australia’s coasts and estuaries by implementing the National Framework for Integrated Coastal Zone Management, the Great Barrier Reef Water Quality Protection Plan and other measures
- Developing natural resource condition indicators for coastal and estuarine ecosystems
- Extending the National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas
- Establishing and monitoring indicators of ecological sustainability for the marine environment
- Consolidating information and knowledge about marine biodiversity
- Evaluating the environmental performance of commercial fisheries managed under Australian Government legislation or requiring Australian Government approval for export
- Making efforts to reduce pollutant loads entering coastal waters and reduce marine pollution
- Protecting threatened marine species through recovery planning and working nationally and internationally to protect migratory species
- Cooperating with other jurisdictions to reduce rates of introduction and spread of major introduced marine pests.
"There are not too many places where you get to work with people who think what they do is not just a job" Director
The department identifies, protects and conserves natural and cultural heritage, including Indigenous and historic heritage. Key activities we will undertake are:
- Working with the states and territories to ensure efficient and effective governance arrangements are in place for World Heritage Areas
- Establishing the National Heritage List as Australia’s pre-eminent heritage list
- Promoting the preparation by Australian Government agencies of Heritage Strategies, and management plans for Commonwealth Heritage places, so that their heritage values are protected
- Improving the efficiency of operation of the heritage provisions of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
- Improving the delivery of heritage grants programmes and initiatives to conserve and promote natural, historic and Indigenous heritage.
"As a park ranger I get to work in the best national park in the country, you’ve got to be happy with that"
The department administers the referral, assessment and approval provisions of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, contributes to work to improve the sustainability of our cities and towns, and works with other governments, the community and industry to minimise the impact of industrial processes on the environment. The key activities which we will contribute to are:
- Ensuring that development projects will not have an unacceptable impact on the environment
- Ensuring that use of Australian wildlife is ecologically sustainable
- Ensuring the protection of the Alligator Rivers Region in the Northern Territory from the effects of uranium mining
- Improving urban air quality
- Ensuring that new chemicals and genetically modified organisms will not harm the environment
- Ensuring that international trade in environmentally harmful wastes is controlled in accordance with the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal
- Coordinating efforts to increase reuse or recycling of wastes and of water, such as the National Packaging Covenant and Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Scheme
- Reducing imports and emissions of ozone depleting substances
- Implementing the Commonwealth Environment Research Facilities programme
- Raising the community’s awareness of the Australian Government’s environment and heritage priorities and programmes.
"Working on Antarctic issues is my life, so I couldn’t imagine working anywhere else"
The department advances Australia’s Antarctic interests, helps protect the Antarctic environment, and undertakes research to ensure Antarctic resource management is based on sound scientific principles. Key activities we will undertake are:
- Maintaining Australia’s influence within the Antarctic Treaty System
- Strengthening Australia’s leadership role in Antarctic affairs and international policy issues including environment protection initiatives
- Enhancing the protection of whales and albatrosses through international agreements and forums
- Developing and promoting measures to ensure the long term sustainability of Southern Ocean marine living resources
- Maintaining a presence in the Australian Antarctic Territory and surrounding seas
- Administering the Australian Antarctic Territory and the Territory of Heard Island and McDonald Islands in accordance with the law and government policy
- Preventing or minimising the human impacts of past and future activities
- Reducing waste, reducing energy use and continuing to investigate renewable energy supplies in Antarctica
- Implementing the Australian Antarctic Programme Science Strategy 2004–05 to 2008–09
- Focusing resources on four multi-disciplinary priority science programmes:
- Ice, Oceans, Atmosphere and Climate
- Southern Ocean Ecosystems
- Adaptation to Environmental Change
- Impact of Human Activities in Antarctica
- Continuing to develop and implement modern, flexible and cost efficient systems to support delivery of outputs
- Improving our science, logistic and support capabilities to better support high priority science and policy objectives
- Developing more automated systems to collect and transmit data
- Implementing the intercontinental component of the Australian Antarctic Air Transport System.
"In my job I get to represent our Portfolio overseas and I am proud of what we do for the department and Australia"
Australian Public Service Level 6
To better protect and conserve the environment and our natural and cultural heritage the department is committed to better people management and services delivery. We will:
- Provide services to respond to the needs of the Minister and the Minister’s office
- Improve the skills and capacities of staff to develop and deliver policies and programmes effectively and collaboratively with other government agencies and the community
- Improve communication across the department at all levels
- Value diversity in our staff, reward achievement and recognise the importance of work/life balance
- Ensure that science and a balanced approach to economic, social and environmental factors underpins our decision-making
- Ensure that appropriate technology is used to meet our business needs
- Ensure that the department has appropriate risk-management strategies in place.
Strategic planning framework
Portfolio Budget Statement: This statement is prepared each year to provide the Parliament with a framework for considering our proposed budget appropriations and for measuring our performance. It describes our outcomes and outputs.
Annual Report: The Annual Report is a report from the Secretary of the department to the Australian Government Minister for the Environment and Heritage for tabling in the Australian Parliament. It tells the Australian Parliament, other stakeholders, and the public about the performance of the department.
Triple Bottom Line Report: The Triple Bottom Line Report describes the department’s environmental, social and economic performance. It lists the goals we set ourselves.
Corporate Plan: The Corporate Plan will be prepared every three years to set out our vision, mission, the way we approach our work and the main objectives of the department’s activities.
Strategic Plan: The Strategic Plan is prepared annually to outline priority work for the year. It also provides the framework for division, branch, section and individual work plans.
Division Work Plans: These plans outline responsibilities and significant activities for each division.
Branch and Section Plans: These plans provide detailed information on the specific work programme to be delivered.
Individual Performance Agreements: Performance agreements describe the work to be undertaken and the standards of work expected from each employee in the department. There is a clear "line of sight" from Individual Performance Agreements, through the Divisional Plans, to the departmental Strategic and Corporate Plans.