Department of the Environment and Water Resources, 2007
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.
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.
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:
- a 33% reduction in greenhouse emissions from 2004-05 to 2005-06
- an 18% drop in fuel use
- 95% less waste going to landfill in Darwin, through the introduction of separation and recycling
- water use in Darwin increased by 94%, in part due to additional aquaculture activities
- 20% less paper was used.
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:
- recertification of the AGAD environmental management system to the 2004 version of the ISO14001 standard
- environmental management integrated into the construction of the new blue ice airstrip in Antarctica
- average daily water use per person at Antarctic stations has decreased compared with last year at Macquarie Island (21%), Casey (17%) and Davis (32%), and has increased at Mawson (17%)
- 806 tonnes of waste generated (up from 396 tonnes in 2004-05), but a significant proportion of this was waste returned from the Antarctic as part of operations to remediate previous waste disposal
- 47 954 tonnes of CO2-e emitted, mainly from shipping and use of diesel for power generation.
Parks Australia (PA) achieved 12 of 18 environmental goals set, a success rate of 67%. Key aspects of their performance include:
- restoration work commenced on sites contaminated by mining in the 1950s and 1960s
- 22 hectares of Christmas Island was rehabilitated with rainforest species
- environmental impact assessments were conducted of infrastructure developments at Uluru, and developments monitored
- 7.71% accredited green power was used at the Australian National Botanic Gardens
- total electricity consumption across parks sites was down by 8%
- 8% less vehicle diesel was used than in 2004-05
- greenhouse emissions are up 36%, largely due to the inclusion for the first time of emissions from diesel-generated power supplied to the Mutitjulu community at Uluru
- fire management plans were in place at all parks by June 2006.
58% of our environmental performance goals across the department were met in 2005-06, down from 71% in 2004-05.
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:
- the department employed 2062 staff, up 64 people (3%) from 2004-05
- staff turnover was 28.3%, down from 28.7% in 2004-05
- outstanding issues from the 2004 DEH staff survey have been addressed
- 617 Health Futures assessments were provided for staff
- 144 staff (7% of the workforce) received financial support for tertiary study
- the average age of DEH employees increased from 41.1 to 41.4 years between 2004-05 and 2005-06
- 39 965 public inquiries were answered by the community information unit.
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:
- total revenues from government and the sale of goods and services increased by 15.8% for Outcome 1 (Environment) and decreased by 1.2% for Outcome 2 (Antarctica)
- DEH expenditures increased by $125m or 19% from last year (Outcome 1), while Outcome 2 expenditure increased by 16.8%
- 28% of the 2530 purchase orders raised under Outcome 1 in 2005-06 included the consideration of environmental factors in value-for-money decision making (for both goods and services procurements)
- 94.3% and 93.7% of invoices for Outcome 1 and 2 were paid on time in 2005-06, bettering the Australian Government’s target of 90%
- the environmental performance of our supply chain was also surveyed.
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 .