Environmental performance reporting

Sustainability Report 2005-2006

Department of the Environment and Water Resources, 2007

Executive summary

Changes during the year

The 2005-06 year saw the bedding-down of major changes to DEH made in 2004-05, such as the inclusion of the Australian Greenhouse Office and the former National Oceans Office into the department.

Overall performance

Of our 105 performance goals across the department set for 2005-06, 61 or 58% were met in 2005-06, down from 70% in 2004-05, when 37 goals were set and 26 met.


A stakeholder engagement strategy for DEH will be developed in 2006-07, with a focus on our industry stakeholders. Following on from the 2004 staff survey, which was the first for some years, DEH will survey staff again in 2006-07 about their impressions and experiences working for the department.

We have continued to consult our internal and external stakeholders about our own performance and our reporting of that performance. Moving to incorporate the AA1000 assurance standard in the development and audit of our reporting helped to reinforce our commitment to consultation. URS Australia Pty Ltd has provided independent third party assurance of this report.

Environmental performance

The 2005-06 year saw mixed performance across the different areas of the department, with the standout performer being the Supervising Scientist Division, which managed a 33% reduction in their greenhouse emissions. Staff turnover has been identified as an issue impacting on DEH’s environmental performance.

For our head office operations in Canberra, out of 37 environmental performance improvement goals set, 24 (65%) were achieved. A focus for the year was achieving certification against the new 2004 version of the ISO14001 standard for environmental management systems (EMS). Significant improvements in our documentation, training, risk assessment and communications were required to achieve certification-in part because these issues had received insufficient focus in 2003-04. We now have some ground to catch up in terms of the performance of our EMS, but are still well under the Australian Government’s target for energy use. Also, there has been a revitalisation of the EMS system and the Econet volunteers group, which should translate into further performance improvements in 2006-07.

The Supervising Scientist Division (SSD) achieved 11 (61%) of 18 environmental performance goals set for the year. Key aspects of performance include:

The Australian Government Antarctic Division (AGAD) met 14 (44%) of the 32 environmental performance improvement goals set for 2005-06. Key aspects of performance include:

Parks Australia (PA) achieved 12 of 18 environmental goals set, a success rate of 67%. Key aspects of their performance include:

58% of our environmental performance goals across the department were met in 2005-06, down from 71% in 2004-05.

Social performance

The remaining changes to our HR systems and practices arising from the 2004 staff survey were implemented in 2005-06. Our workforce grew by 3%, or 64 people, between 2004-05 and 2005-06, with more staff full-time ongoing and fewer casual employees. Work is still underway for an online OH&S reporting system. We continued to be certified as an ‘Investors in People’ organisation.

62% of our social performance goals across the department were met in 2005-06, unchanged from 62% in 2004-05. Key aspects of our performance include:

Economic performance

71% of our economic performance goals across the department were met in 2005-06, down from 100% in 2004-05. Key aspects of our performance include:

New in this report

This year we have moved towards web site based reporting. This web report provides further information to expand upon what we have in the summary sustainability report, which is available in pdf and hardcopy formats.

Additional environmental, social and economic indicators from the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) have been reported against in this report. We have continued our piloting of the GRI’s public agency sector supplement, but chose to wait until the final version of the G3 version of the GRI guidelines were released before using those indicators, elements and principles. See the GRI navigation index .