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Department of the Environment and Heritage Corporate Plan 2005-08

Department of the Environment and Heritage, November 2005

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Message from the Secretary

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.

David Borthwick

What is our vision?

A sustainable Australia.

What is our mission?

Deliver the Australian Government’s environment and heritage legislation, policies and programmes.

How do we define our approach?

In our work we look for solutions that are efficient, equitable and feasible, based on:

Our people

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

Our code of conduct

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

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.

Our values

In addition to the Australian Public Service Values, the department’s values are:

" I am extremely proud of the portfolio and the professionalism shown by our staff"

Our heritage places

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.

Our structure

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:

These agencies and the department work closely to provide a cohesive response to environment and heritage issues at the Australian Government level.

Environment and Heritage Portfolio

Environment and Heritage Portfolio

"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

Our major objectives

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.

Responding to climate change

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:

"I never cease to be amazed and inspired by the energy and dedication staff put into projects and challenges"
Deputy Secretary

Conserving our land and inland waters

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:

"I have specialist scientific skills and this is one of the few government agencies that encourage and support my work"
Marine biologist

Conserving our coasts and oceans

The department contributes to the ecologically sustainable management of Australia’s coasts and oceans. Key activities we will undertake are:

"There are not too many places where you get to work with people who think what they do is not just a job" Director

Conserving our natural, Indigenous and historic heritage

The department identifies, protects and conserves natural and cultural heritage, including Indigenous and historic heritage. Key activities we will undertake are:

"As a park ranger I get to work in the best national park in the country, you’ve got to be happy with that"
Park ranger

Responding to the impacts of human settlements

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:

"Working on Antarctic issues is my life, so I couldn’t imagine working anywhere else"
Research scientist

Advancing Australia’s Antarctic interests

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:

"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

Improving the way we work

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:

Strategic planning framework

Strategic planning framework

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.

Corporate Plan Cover

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