You are on page 1of 372

Department of the

Environment and Heritage

Volume 1

ANNUAL REPORT 2005–06

How to contact the department


Main office: John Gorton Building,
King Edward Terrace, Parkes ACT 2600

Post: GPO Box 787, Canberra ACT 2601

Phone: 02 6274 1111


Facsimile: 02 6274 1666
Internet: www.deh.gov.au

i
Senator the Hon Ian Campbell
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Parliament House
CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Minister
I present the annual reports of the Department of the Environment and Heritage
for the financial year ended 30 June 2006. This set of reports comprises two
volumes.
The first volume contains the annual report of the department. The report details
the department’s performance for the year and contributions to the achievement
of outcomes. The report was prepared in accordance with the requirements set
out in section 63 of the Public Service Act 1999 and other legislation applicable to
the preparation of annual reports.
Subsection 63(1) of the Public Service Act 1999 requires you to lay a copy of this
annual report before each House of the Parliament on or before 31 October 2006.
The second volume contains the legislation annual reports. This volume details
the operation of the seven Acts the department administers that we do not report
on separately to Parliament. This volume must be tabled in each House of the
Parliament within 15 sitting days after the day on which you receive it.
In accordance with the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines, I am satisfied
that the department has prepared fraud risk assessments and fraud control plans,
and has in place appropriate fraud prevention, detection, investigation, reporting
and data collection procedures and processes that meet the specific needs of the
department and comply with those guidelines.

Yours sincerely

David Borthwick
Secretary
3 October 2006

ii
Contents
Letter of transmittal............................................... .......................................................... ii

Executive summary............................................ .......................................................... 1


Secretary’s review .................................................. .......................................................... 2
Summary of main results ................................................................................................. 7
Organisation overview ................................................................................................... 10
Outcomes and outputs .......................................... ........................................................ 12
Resources ............ ............................................................................................................ 13

Outcome 1 – Environment
Climate change ....................................................... ........................................................ 15
Land and inland waters .......................................... ........................................................ 41
Coasts and oceans .................................................. ........................................................ 83
Heritage ............... .................................................... ...................................................... 111
Human settlements ................................................ ...................................................... 133

Outcome 2 – Antarctica .......................................................................................... 169

Cross-cutting activities .......................................................................................... 187

Managing the department ..................................................................................... 197


Corporate governance ................................................................................................. 198
Stakeholder relations ................................................................................................... 208
External scrutiny..................................................... ...................................................... 213
Environmental sustainability ....................................................................................... 216
Human resources ................................................... ...................................................... 221
Finances............... .......................................................................................................... 240

Financial statements ............................................................................................... 259

Glossary................................................................. ...................................................... 337

Indexes .............. .................................................... ...................................................... 347


Compliance index ........................................................................................................ 348
Alphabetical index .................................................. ...................................................... 353

iii
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Executive summary

Secretary’s review
The Department of the Environment and Heritage has
broad and diverse responsibilities, evident in the range of
our achievements over the last year. We deal with a broad
spectrum of issues, deliver many different programmes
and operate in a number of different and sometimes
difficult locations.
Some parts of the department focus on conserving a
single species while others deal with problems on a
continental or global scale—such as climate change.

David Borthwick Our people work in locations from the Antarctic to


Kakadu, from remote areas to the national capital—all
show a commitment to improve the management of Australia’s natural resources
and thereby contribute to the sustainable growth and prosperity of our nation.
At the same time, we are working to lessen the impact of urbanisation through
better management of water consumption and waste production.
The scale, diversity and significance of our work make the department an
interesting, exciting and challenging place to work.
I am pleased to acknowledge the efforts that our people have made and invite
readers to delve into this report and learn more about the activities and
achievements in the past year, and our priorities for the year ahead.

Progress report
In 2005–06 the department administered a budget of $906 million to support the
Australian Government in delivering its environment and heritage objectives. The
priority this year has been to implement the most recent of the government’s
commitments, particularly in relation to saving water, developing marine protected
areas, responding to climate change, conserving Tasmania’s forests, protecting
cultural heritage, and supporting environmental research including in Antarctica
through the construction of an ice runway.
There was an enthusiastic response to the first round of Community Water
Grants, the community action element of the $2 billion Australian Government
Water Fund. Over $55 million was provided for 1 750 community-based projects,
to rehabilitate about 15 000 hectares of land and save approximately 18.5 billion
litres of water each year. An important component is the contribution made by
communities themselves—they will contribute more than $60 million to these
projects, including 345 000 hours of volunteer time. I am heartened to see the
high levels of cooperation between government and the community to save water
in this country.

2 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Executive summary
Australia’s reputation as the world leader in marine environment conservation
was reinforced with agreement to a network of 13 marine protected areas off the
south-east of the continent in May 2006. The network will protect an area of ocean
almost the size of Victoria. Australia now has about one-third of the world’s marine
protected areas.
This year the department continued its efforts to develop practical, long-term
solutions to climate change. On the domestic front we began investing in the next
generation of cleaner technologies to reduce Australia’s greenhouse emissions,
such as carbon dioxide capture and storage and renewable energy technologies.
Internationally, the department has been instrumental in the formation of the
Asia–Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate whose member
countries account for roughly half of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
This partnership is a new way forward for countries to work together to reduce
greenhouse emissions.
I particularly welcome the appointment of my deputy secretary, Howard Bamsey,
to co-chair future international talks to be held under the United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change. This appointment recognises
Australia’s expertise and constructive approach to addressing climate change.
The Australian and Tasmanian governments are investing $250 million over six
years (2004–2010) through the Tasmanian Community Forest Agreement to
enhance the protection of Tasmania’s forest environment and to promote growth
in the Tasmanian forest industry. This year the department began implementing
the environmental aspects of this agreement through the Forest Conservation
Fund, Tarkine Bushwalk Programme, Tasmanian Forest Tourism Development
Programme, Tasmanian Devil Facial Tumour Programme, and River Catchment
Water Quality Initiative.
This year has seen a renewed interest in the protection of Australia’s cultural
heritage, particularly in relation to the early maritime exploration, with 2006
marking the 400th anniversary of the first documented European contact with
Australia. Two places associated with early European maritime exploration—Cape
Inscription in Western Australia where Captain Dirk Hartog landed in October
1616, and the site of the 1629 shipwreck and survivor camps of the Dutch ship
Batavia—have been included in Australia’s National Heritage List. A number
of Australia’s iconic sites have also been nominated or added to heritage lists,
including the Sydney Opera House (nominated for the World Heritage List), the
Melbourne Cricket Ground, and the Australian War Memorial and Memorial Parade
(added to the National Heritage List).
Scientific research is essential for the development of sound environmental policy.
There is a surprising array of research funded by the department into specific
environmental issues. However more research is needed to address critical gaps in
our understanding of the pressures facing Australia’s unique environment.

3
Executive summary

The $100 million Commonwealth Environment Research Facilities programme is


a key platform to progress environmental research in Australia. In July 2006 the
first grant recipients were announced for the first four research hubs. These will
support world-class research and assist collaborative environmental research in
Australia. These grants complement the $40 million Marine and Tropical Sciences
Research Facility being established in far north Queensland.
Antarctic research is very important to our understanding of the Southern Ocean
ecosystem and the effects of a changing climate upon it. The Australian Antarctic
Division’s scientific contributions to developing non-lethal research methods have
also highlighted the flaws in so called ‘scientific’ whaling and helped Australia to
counter pro-whaling countries’ proposals at the 58th annual International Whaling
Commission meeting.
The challenging job of constructing Australia’s new Antarctic ice runway is
progressing well with the first regular intercontinental flights expected in 2007.
The air link between Hobart and Antarctica will open up new opportunities for
the conduct of research in Antarctica, allowing scientists and support personnel to
spend less time travelling by ship and more time on their projects.
I am keen to provide educational material to Australians to promote an awareness
of environmental issues and provide information for people of all ages and walks
of life to become involved in protecting their local environment.

Managing the department


A number of changes have been made to the department over the year to improve
the way we go about our business.
This is the first full year of operation of the department’s Marine Division created
in early 2005 and the announcement of the network of marine protected areas was
the division’s first major achievement. The creation of this division has brought
together regional marine planning and marine protected area development into
a single process. It has improved coordination between sustainable fisheries,
migratory and marine species, and marine protected area management, and
established closer links between domestic and international marine policy.
This year I formed a new Environment Quality Division to give additional emphasis
and a higher priority to the department’s work to minimise the impacts of human
settlements and human activities on the environment. Our work on managing
waste and improving air quality through national standards for clean petrol and
diesel is having a positive and real impact on urban environments.
I have rebalanced the responsibilities across the department and its senior
executives to ensure we make better connections between common work themes
where they are shared across divisions. I have also reprioritised departmental
funding this year to further build our capacity to administer the Environment
Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

4 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Executive summary
An increased emphasis has been placed on investing in our staff and recruiting
new staff with the necessary skills, a challenging task in an increasingly competitive
labour market. Last year the department recruited a record number of graduates
and we are intending to increase the intake again in 2007. We also have a
dedicated officer working to attract and retain Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
employees in the department.
The department has been working on a new collective agreement for 2006–2009
and Australian Workplace Agreements that provide an attractive and competitive
package of employment conditions and remuneration for all staff. The new
agreements began in August this year.
Ensuring the health and well-being of our staff is extremely important. The
department takes its obligations in this regard very seriously. We have also been
committed to reducing our own impact on the environment such as through
systems to minimise our water consumption. It was particularly galling and
disturbing to staff to discover that water provided by the department to officers of
the Australian Greenhouse Office through a roof catchment and tank system did
not meet potable water standards. Our immediate concern and priority has been
to understand whether there are particular health and well-being issues for the
staff affected. Fortunately, the testing undertaken has revealed no adverse health
consequences. Our objective has been to keep staff informed throughout this
episode. Clearly there are lessons to be drawn and in that regard, the report under
the Occupational Health and Safety (Commonwealth Employment) Act 1991 by
Comcare has been helpful.
The department is committed to developing and training its staff and allocates
funding to each staff member for learning and development. We also provide
corporate, department-wide information and training opportunities. This year
we provided an online occupational health and safety programme, records
management training, cultural diversity development programmes and a series
of executive seminars for senior managers of the department to share their
knowledge and experience with staff. We are also developing a number of training
programmes to ensure our staff are aware of current issues and trends in public
sector performance including an in-house executive leadership programme
to improve leadership skills in the department, an environmental economics
programme targeted at non-economists, and a workplace diversity programme.

Looking ahead
The department moves into 2006–07 with clear objectives.
The first is the further development of the government’s flagship environment
initiatives, the Natural Heritage Trust and the National Action Plan for Salinity and
Water Quality. Continued on-ground activities applying established and emerging

5
Executive summary

science, monitoring changes to the condition of natural resources and adapting


our management practices will be critical to long-term success.
We will also continue the roll-out of the major environment protection
programmes mentioned previously as well as others including Solar Cities, the Low
Emissions Technology Demonstration Fund and Biodiversity Hotspots.
A key focus of the Marine Division over the next four years will be to drive the
development of marine bioregional plans around the continent. The development
of these plans under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation
Act 1999 will reinforce Australia’s reputation as the global pioneer in the
sustainable development of ocean resources.
The minister is currently reviewing experience with the Environment Protection
and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 after six years of operation and is
considering measures of a legislative and administrative nature to improve its
efficiency and effectiveness. We expect an amending Bill to be introduced into
the parliament in the coming year that will streamline the Act and provide more
strategic approaches to securing better environmental outcomes.
The third State of the Environment Report will be released later this year. The
report will provide a crucial guide to current and emerging environment and
heritage issues and will help shape the agenda for future policy development.
While I am sure the State of the Environment Report will find we have made
gains in many areas in the last five to 10 years, it is also likely to highlight the
challenges still to be addressed, and in some cases, show that we still lack quality
baseline information against which we can assess change over time. One of the
challenges in the coming years will be to improve this information base to enable
better measurement of progress towards our outcomes. The Commonwealth
Environment Research Facilities programme will be an important element in this.
The performance of Australia on managing the environment sustainably will be
benchmarked against other OECD nations in 2006–07, with publication of the
OECD Environment Performance Review in 2007. The report will provide an
analysis of our performance over the decade since the last review in 1997.
There are a number of emerging policy debates that are central to the
department’s work, which we can contribute to, such as the use of nuclear
energy and the future efforts to address climate change. It is important that the
department participates in and informs these debates.
Through the professionalism, dedication and quality of its workforce I consider the
Department of the Environment and Heritage is well placed to respond to future
challenges.

David Borthwick

6 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Executive summary
Summary of main results

Progress toward outcome 1: protecting the environment

Climate change
• At the inaugural meeting in Sydney in January 2006 the six founding members
of the Asia–Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate—Australia,
China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the United States—agreed on a
new model for international climate change and energy collaboration to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions.
• Australia’s National Greenhouse Accounts show that Australia is on track to
meet its internationally agreed target of 108 per cent of 1990 greenhouse gas
emissions despite strong growth in energy consumption.

Land and inland waters


• Following Natural Heritage Trust funding, environmental flows to the River
Murray system allowed Nankeen night herons to breed in the Barmah Forest
for the first time in 40 years, and silver perch to successfully spawn. Vegetation
communities, including river red gums, also responded well to the additional
water. The department is helping to fund infrastructure to deliver water for
wetlands and floodplains in Victoria and South Australia.
• Investments under the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality and
the Natural Heritage Trust are now driven by single regional plans managed by
the 56 established regional bodies. The plans identify resource management
and sustainable agriculture priorities in each region, covering close to the
whole continent.
• A total of 1 750 community groups will share in over $55 million to undertake
water saving projects under the Community Water Grants, part of the $2 billion
Australian Government Water Fund. The projects are expected to save
18.5 billion litres of water annually across Australia.

Coasts and oceans


• The regional marine planning process was given a statutory base under section
176 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
• The first integrated network of marine parks in Australia’s south-east was agreed
when 13 new marine protected areas were announced for the south-east

7
Executive summary

Summary of main results

Marine Region. The network covers a total of 226 000 square kilometres. It will
conserve representative marine ecosystems and biodiversity. Australia now has
about one-third of the world’s marine protected areas, and is a world leader in
marine environment conservation.
Heritage
• The Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell,
agreed to new strategic directions for heritage, with three elements—enhancing
the telling of stories about heritage, helping Australia’s heritage become more
sustainable and amending the Environment Protection and Biodiversity
Conservation Act 1999 to focus more on outcomes and less on details of process.
• Twenty-one places were added to the National Heritage List. As at 30 June 2006,
the list contained 31 places. Three places were added to the Commonwealth
Heritage List, bringing the total to 339 places. The Australian Government
nominated the Sydney Opera House to be inscribed on the World Heritage List.

Human settlements
• The minister announced the first four research hubs to receive funding under
the $100 million Commonwealth Environment Research Facilities programme.
• The department registered 4 000 products under the new labelling scheme for
water efficient products (Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Scheme).
The scheme will enable consumers to choose the most water efficient
appliances and will encourage innovation by industry, leading to less wastage of
precious water supplies.
• The department’s fuel quality sampling capability was increased enabling a
record number of samples to be tested. Increased fuel sampling will lead to
cleaner fuels and lower pollution emissions.
• Since the implementation of the Product Stewardship for Oil Programme
four years ago, used oil recycling in Australia has increased by about 40 per
cent. These efforts significantly reduce the amount of oil being dumped and
polluting the environment.
• Plastic bag consumption in Australia has fallen by 34.2 per cent or over two
billion bags over the last three years. This means fewer plastic bags are entering
the waste stream and polluting the environment.
• The department continued to monitor the environmental impact of uranium
mining in the Alligator River Region. No environmental impact as a result of
mining has been detected in Kakadu National Park.

8 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Executive summary
Progress toward outcome 2: advancing Australia’s
Antarctic interests
• At the 58th annual International Whaling Commission meeting, Australia helped
to defeat pro-whaling countries’ proposals to remove consideration of small
cetaceans from the agenda, to introduce a mechanism for secret ballots, to
increase commercial coastal whaling, and to abolish the Southern Ocean Whale
Sanctuary.
• At the same meeting the Australian delegation successfully defended
Australia’s resolution, put at last year’s meeting, to condemn so-called
‘scientific whaling’. Australia’s defence was supported by the Australian
Antarctic Division’s scientific contributions to developing non-lethal whale
research methods.

Managing the department


• A new comprehensive three-year collective agreement was negotiated with
staff and unions, and new comprehensive Australian Workplace Agreements
were developed for non-senior executive service staff. Both came into effect in
August 2006.
• The department completed assessments of the Bureau of Meteorology,
National Environment Protection Council Service Corporation, and the Director
of National Parks against recommendations of the government’s Review of
Corporate Governance of Statutory Authorities and Office Holders (the Uhrig
Report). The governance arrangements for all of these entities were found to
be generally consistent with the Uhrig Report.
• The department undertook a rigorous review of its formal outputs structure,
reducing the number of outputs from 18 to seven to reflect the department’s
services and broad environment management themes. The current outputs
are climate change, land and inland water, coasts and oceans, heritage,
human settlements, Antarctic policy and Antarctic science. The department
reprioritised 2006–07 funding to ensure priority functions are properly
resourced and to allow the department to respond to emerging issues.
• The department satisfactorily resolved all major findings arising from the
2004–05 and 2005–06 audits of financial statements by the Australian National
Audit Office.

9
Executive summary

Organisation overview

Portfolio overview
The Department of the Environment and Heritage is the lead agency delivering the
Australian Government’s national environment and heritage legislation, policies
and programmes.
The Australian Government’s environment and heritage portfolio includes the
department and three statutory authorities (Director of National Parks, Great
Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Sydney Harbour Federation Trust), one
statutory agency (Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator) and one executive
agency (Bureau of Meteorology) that report separately on their performance.

Departmental overview
As at 30 June 2006 the Department of the Environment and Heritage was made up
of 13 divisions (see figure on page 11).
In 2005–06 the Policy Coordination and Environment Protection Division was split
into two divisions: the Policy Coordination Division and the Environment Quality
Division. There were no other changes to the structure of the department in 2005–06.

Roles and functions


The department focuses on matters of national environmental significance by:
• advising the Australian Government on its policies for protecting the
environment and heritage
• administering environment and heritage laws, including the Environment
Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
• managing the Australian Government’s main environment and heritage
programmes including the $3 billion Natural Heritage Trust
• implementing an effective response to climate change
• representing the Australian Government in international agreements related to
the environment and heritage and to Antarctica.

Approach
In its work the department looks for solutions that are efficient, equitable and
feasible based on:
• understanding environmental problems using science
• adopting economic, regulatory or administrative instruments that can target
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.

10 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Executive summary
Environment and heritage portfolio
Senator the Hon Ian Campbell
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon Greg Hunt MP
Parliamentary Secretary

Department of the Environment and Heritage

David Borthwick
Secretary

Executive Policy Adviser


Diana Wright
First Assistant Secretary

Howard Bamsey Anthea Tinney Conall O’Connell


Deputy Secretary Deputy Secretary Deputy Secretary

Australian Antarctic Approvals and Wildlife Land, Water and


Division Division Coasts Division
Tony Press Gerard Early Tony Slatyer
First Assistant Secretary First Assistant Secretary First Assistant Secretary
Industry, Communities Corporate Strategies Marine Division
and Energy Division Division Donna Petrachenko
Barry Sterland David Anderson First Assistant Secretary
First Assistant Secretary First Assistant Secretary
Natural Resource
International, Land and Heritage Division Management
Analysis Division Peter Burnett Programmes Division
Ian Carruthers First Assistant Secretary Malcolm Forbes
First Assistant Secretary First Assistant Secretary
Environment Quality
Division Parks Australia Division
Mary Harwood Peter Cochrane
First Assistant Secretary Director of National
Parks
Policy Coordination
Division Bruce Leaver
Mark Tucker First Assistant Secretary
First Assistant Secretary
Supervising Scientist
Division
Alan Hughes
First Assistant Secretary

Authorities and agencies

Bureau of Great Barrier Office of the Sydney Harbour Director of


Meteorology Reef Marine Park Renewable Federation Trust National Parks
Geoff Love Authority Energy Regulator Geoff Bailey Peter Cochrane
Director The Hon Virginia David Rossiter Executive
Chadwick Renewable Director
Chairman Energy Regulator

11
Executive summary

Outcomes and outputs


This volume of the annual report provides details of the department’s
performance for the year and its contributions to the outcomes and outputs set
out in the Portfolio Budget Statements 2005–06. The work of the department
focuses on two major outcomes:
• Outcome 1: the environment, especially those aspects that are matters of
national environmental significance, is protected and conserved
• Outcome 2: Australia’s interests in Antarctica are advanced

Changes to outputs since the last Budget


Following the incorporation of the Australian Greenhouse Office and the National
Oceans Office into the Department of the Environment and Heritage in 2004–05,
the department reviewed its outputs structure in consultation with the minister
and the Department of Finance and Administration.
This year the number of outputs has been reduced from 18 to seven to reflect
the department’s services and broad environment management themes—climate
change, land and inland water, coasts and oceans, heritage, human settlements,
Antarctic policy and Antarctic science.
In 2005–06 the department received funding for the following outcomes and outputs:

Outcomes Description Outputs

Outcome 1

The environment, especially Protection and conservation 1.1: Response to climate change
those aspects that are matters of environment and heritage
1.2: Conservation of the land
of national environmental matters that are nationally and inland waters
significance, is protected and important or under direct
conserved Commonwealth jurisdiction 1.3: Conservation of the coasts
and oceans
1.4: Conservation of natural,
Indigenous and historic
heritage
1.5: Response to the impacts of
human settlements

Outcome 2

Australia’s interests in Antarctica Advancement of Australia’s 2.1: Antarctic policy


are advanced Antarctic and Southern Ocean
2.2: Antarctic science
interests

Note:
• Volume 2 of the annual report details the operation of the seven Acts that the department administers that do not report
separately to Parliament, including how the statutory requirements were met and how the laws were administered.
• A full list of legislation administered by the Australian Government’s environment and heritage portfolio is available at
www.deh.gov.au/about/legislation.html.

12 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Executive summary
Resources

Resources
Total financial resources 2005–06 = $906 million

Outcome 1 departmental 31%

Outcome 2 departmental 13.7%

Outcome 1 administered 55.3%

The data do not include Antarctic policy administered expenses.


See page 240 for a detailed breakdown.

Workforce
Total workforce 2005–06 = 2 062

Australian Capital Territory 67%

Tasmania 16%

Northern Territory 10%

Antarctica 3%

Other locations 4%

13
OUTCOME 1—ENVIRONMENT CLIMATE CHANGE
Climate change
Outcome 1—Environment
Climate change

The Department of the Environment and Heritage, through its Australian


Greenhouse Office, leads the development and implementation of the
government’s major climate change strategies. The Australian Greenhouse Office
comprises the Industry, Communities and Energy Division, and the International,
Land and Analysis Division in the department.
The department works closely with other departments, including the Department
of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Department of Industry, Tourism and
Resources, to progress this work.

Main responsibilities for this output

International, Land and


• International engagement Analysis Division
• Emissions management
• Climate change science Industry, Communities
and Energy Division

Objectives
International engagement
• Engage with other countries to help build an effective global response to
climate change
Emissions management
• Work with industry, business and the community across Australia to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy efficiency
• Limit Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions to 108 per cent of 1990 levels by
2008–2012
Climate change science
• Extend Australia’s world-class scientific expertise in climate change, and build
the capacity of regions, industries and community to adapt to climate change
• Deliver robust projections of Australia’s progress in meeting its greenhouse gas
emissions target

16 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Results 2005–06

Outcome 1—Environment
Climate change
• The department played a key role in international efforts to address
climate change including in United Nations climate change negotiations.
The head of the Australian Greenhouse Office was selected to co-lead
discussions on future directions of international climate change response.
• The department was active in establishing the new Asia–Pacific
Partnership on Clean Development and Climate. The Australian
Government hosted in January 2006, in Sydney, the inaugural ministerial
meeting of the partnership. These collaborative efforts will help to
develop and deploy cleaner and more efficient technologies to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions.
• Australia is on track to meet its Kyoto target of limiting greenhouse gas
emissions to 108 per cent of 1990 emissions by 2008–2012. The latest
emissions trends show that Australia’s emissions have increased by only
2.3 per cent between 1990 and 2004 despite strong growth in gross
domestic product (GDP) and energy consumption. Over this period,
Australia has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions intensity (or emissions
per dollar of GDP) by 35 per cent and also reduced its emissions per
capita by more than 11 per cent. A reduction in land clearing has been an
integral factor in emissions abatement.
• Progress was made in implementing major programmes to reduce
Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, including investing $500 million
to develop the next generation of large-scale greenhouse gas abatement
technologies, $100 million in grants to develop Australia’s renewable
energy technologies, and $75 million for the Solar Cities initiative.
The first $23 million of funding for 10 renewable energy projects was
announced in 2006. This work is jointly managed with the Department of
Industry, Tourism and Resources.
• The Council of Australian Governments initiated in February 2006
development of a national framework on adaptation to the impacts of
climate change. The department is leading the work, with a product due
to be delivered for consideration by the council at the end of 2006.
• The department played a leading role in developing options to streamline
and strengthen greenhouse emissions and energy reporting, culminating
in a decision by the Council of Australian Governments to develop
national legislation for cost-effective mandatory reporting by large
emitters and energy users.

17
Australia’s climate change strategy
Outcome 1—Environment
Climate change

The concentration of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere is rising, changing


the earth’s climate. Over the past century the world has warmed by an average
0.6 degrees Celsius, with the most rapid increase occurring over the last 30 years.
Much of this change is linked to human activity.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a body established by the World
Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme,
has predicted that without intervention average global surface temperatures could
increase by 1.4 to 5.8 degrees Celsius by the end of this century. Temperature
changes of this magnitude are likely to have major effects on the environment,
human health and economies.
Stabilising the concentration of carbon dioxide (and the other greenhouse gases)
in the atmosphere to prevent the worst of these impacts will require a strong
and effective global response. All nations will need to commit to reducing their
greenhouse gas emissions.
In 2004 the Australian Government announced a new climate change strategy to:
• enhance international engagement to work towards an effective global
response to climate change
• focus domestic action to meet Australia’s internationally agreed greenhouse
emissions target in the short term, and in the longer term deliver a lower
emissions signature while maintaining a strong economy
• prepare Australia for the unavoidable consequences of climate change.
The strategy incorporates business and community partnerships, strategic
investment, government regulation and market measures. It includes measures
announced in the May 2004 federal Budget and the June 2004 energy white paper,
Securing Australia’s Energy Future, and brings the total Australian Government
investment in climate change response to almost $2 billion.

International engagement on climate change


During 2005–06 Australia continued to work towards the development of
an international climate change response that is environmentally effective,
economically efficient and includes all major emitters. The need for a response
‘beyond Kyoto’ is being increasingly recognised worldwide. Australia’s international
climate change strategy includes both multilateral and bilateral activities.

United Nations climate change negotiations


Australia is a party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate
Change, which lays the basis for global action ‘to protect the climate system for
present and future generations’.

18 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Australia played an important role at the United Nations Climate Change

Outcome 1—Environment
Conference in Montreal in December 2005, where 189 countries unanimously

Climate change
agreed on the Montreal Climate Action Plan. The action plan is a means to create
an effective international response in the post-Kyoto period.
In recognition of Australia’s expertise and constructive approach, the head of
the Australian Greenhouse Office, Mr Howard Bamsey, was chosen to co-chair
talks on future international cooperation on climate change. These talks—which
commenced at the United Nations Climate Change Convention meeting in
Bonn in May 2006—will address issues such as how to realise the full potential
of technology to address climate change, adapting to the unavoidable impacts
of climate change, and the link between sustainable development and climate
change. These themes are central to the work of the Asia–Pacific Partnership
on Clean Development and Climate, and the Group of Eight (G8) Dialogue on
Climate Change, Clean Energy and Sustainable Development in which Australia is
also playing an active and constructive role.

Asia–Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate


Australia is a founding member of the Asia–Pacific Partnership on Clean
Development and Climate, a regional initiative (with the United States, China,
Japan, India and the Republic of Korea) to develop, deploy and transfer
technologies to address climate change (see website at www.asiapacificpartnership.
org). The department played a leading role in the establishment of the
partnership, which was launched on 28 July 2005 by the Foreign Minister, with
ministers and senior officials from partner countries at the ASEAN (Association of
Southeast Asian Nations) Regional Forum in Vientiane.
The government hosted the
inaugural ministerial meeting
of the partnership in Sydney
from 11–13 January 2006. At
the meeting, the Prime Minister
announced an additional
investment of $100 million
over five years to support
Asia–Pacific partnership projects
and activities, with 25 per cent
of funding earmarked for
Ministers Campbell and Macfarlane join renewable energy.
environment and industry ministers from China,
Ministers and business
India, Japan, Republic of Korea, and the United States
representatives from the six
at the first ministerial meeting of the new partnership.
partner countries agreed to
establish eight task forces to focus on key industry sectors including cleaner fossil
energy, renewable energy and distributed generation, power generation and

19
transmission, steel, aluminium, cement, coal mining, and buildings and appliances.
Outcome 1—Environment

The department led the Australian Government involvement in the buildings


Climate change

and appliances taskforce and the renewable energy and distributed generation
taskforce, which it co-chairs with the Republic of Korea. The task forces met in
Berkeley, California from 18–21 April 2006 to commence development of initial
action plans. The task forces aim to agree to their action plans during the third
quarter of 2006. Ministers agreed to meet again in 2007 to review progress under
the partnership.

G8 Dialogue on Climate Change, Clean Energy and Sustainable


Development
The Minister for the Environment and Heritage joined ministers from 20 other
countries in the first ministerial meeting of the Group of Eight (G8) Dialogue on
Climate Change, Clean Energy and Sustainable Development held in
November 2005. The aim of the dialogue is to ‘address the strategic challenge of
transforming our energy systems to create a more secure and sustainable future’.
The meeting agreed to work together on deployment of clean technologies,
incentives for large-scale private sector investment in low carbon technologies, a
new model for cooperation between developed and developing countries, and
reinforcing action on adapting to the impacts of climate change.
The next meeting will take place in Mexico in October 2006. In preparation for this
meeting, senior officials from all participating countries met in Mexico City from
7–9 June to identify key issues for discussion. The department played a leading role in
this preparatory meeting, including chairing one of the theme topics.

Other multilateral partnerships


Australia participates in four partnerships that focus on technology: the Renewable
Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership, the Methane to Markets Partnership,
the International Partnership on the Hydrogen Economy and the Carbon
Sequestration Leadership Forum.
As a result of funding by the Australian Government of $381 000, the Renewable
Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership formally established its South East Asia
and the Pacific Regional Secretariat on 2 May 2006. Australia has also been active in
the Methane to Markets Partnership, including co-hosting a regional workshop to
identify and assist projects that capture and reuse dangerous waste methane gas
from coal mines in China.
In addition, the department, assisted by leading Australian experts, contributed to
the completion in September 2005 of a Special Report of the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change about the state of knowledge on capture of carbon
dioxide from fossil fuel combustion and geological storage of this carbon dioxide.

20 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Bilateral partnerships

Outcome 1—Environment
Australia continued to work with its five bilateral climate change partners—China,

Climate change
the United States, New Zealand, Japan and the European Union—on practical
cooperative projects responding to global climate change. More than 50 projects
are now under way through these partnerships. The partnerships provide a
positive framework for high-level engagement on policy issues.
China: The Australia–China Climate Change Partnership continued to strengthen
and expand, with further practical actions agreed to address climate change.
In January 2006 the success of this partnership was formally recognised by the
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage and the Vice-Chairman of
China’s National Development and Reform Commission with endorsement of
the Australia–China Climate Change Cooperation Progress and Achievements
2003–2005 report. Senior Australian and Chinese officials also agreed at this time
to future project priorities for the partnership including renewable energy, coal
mine methane and energy efficiency. Several new cooperative projects were
commenced including a project led by CSIRO (the Commonwealth Scientific and
Industrial Research Organisation) to develop and apply innovative new technology
to capture and use coal mine methane in China.
United States: As part of the Australia–United States Climate Action Partnership,
Australia is working with Pacific neighbours on climate change science, research
and monitoring; is expanding cooperative activity to measure and reduce
emissions from the agriculture and forestry sectors; and is collaborating through
the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum, the International Partnership on the
Hydrogen Economy and the Methane to Markets Partnership.
New Zealand: Australia is funding two new projects in the Pacific region,
in partnership with New Zealand and the United States, to assist local and
regional climate change observation and modelling. These projects will improve
understanding of the climate of the southern hemisphere, and provide the basis
for further studies on impacts and possible adaptation strategies in the South
Pacific and Indian oceans.
Japan: Australia and Japan co-hosted the Asia–Pacific Seminar on Climate Change
held in Yokohama, Japan from 11–15 September 2005. Experts from 28 countries
and representatives from 10 United Nations agencies and other international
agencies participated. The seminar included updates on efforts to address climate
change in the Asia–Pacific region, capacity building, adaptation, science and
technology, and lessons learned for future action.
European Union: In July 2005 the department signed a memorandum of
understanding on end use energy efficiency programmes in the built environment
with the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre. This agreement will
promote energy efficiency in Australia through technical exchanges including

21
developing methodologies to assess the impact of energy efficiency policies on
Outcome 1—Environment

buildings, mapping the potential to reduce the power consumption of electronic


Climate change

appliances when on standby, and benchmarking the performance of residential air


conditioners.
South Africa: On 11 May 2006 Australia announced a new bilateral climate change
partnership with South Africa. The partnership will focus on collaboration on
climate change adaptation, particularly in the areas of biodiversity and broad acre
agriculture. The partners will also exchange experience and lessons learned in
implementing climate change policies and programmes. Planning is under way and
the first projects are expected to start in August 2006.

Greenhouse gas emissions management


The department continued work to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.
The main focus of these efforts is to build partnerships with industry, develop
energy technologies that have low emissions, and invest in local and regional
actions that reduce overall emissions.
Current measures undertaken across all levels of government are projected to
reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by 85 million tonnes of carbon
dioxide equivalent by 2010—more than equivalent to eliminating all emissions
from the transport sector. These measures have Australia on track to meet its
Kyoto Protocol target. Without these measures, emissions growth would have
reached 123 per cent of the 1990 level by 2010 (see chart below).

Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions (1990–2020)

800

750

700
Megatonnes CO2-e

650

600

550

500

450

400
1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015 2020

business as usual with emissions reduction measures

The dashed horizontal line shows Australia’s Kyoto Protocol target

22 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Kyoto Protocol target

Outcome 1—Environment
The Kyoto Protocol is an international treaty under the United Nations Framework

Climate change
Convention on Climate Change designed to limit global greenhouse gas emissions.
The protocol only sets emissions targets for developed countries.
The Australian Government has decided not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol because
it does not provide a comprehensive or environmentally effective long-term
response to climate change. In particular, there is no clear pathway for action by
developing countries. Without commitments by all major emitters, the protocol
will be largely ineffective in reducing the growth of global greenhouse gas
emissions.
Even though it has decided not to ratify the protocol, the Australian Government
is delivering on its commitment to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions to
the levels agreed during the 1997 Kyoto negotiations (108 per cent of the level of
1990 emissions by 2008–2012).

Building industry partnerships


The Greenhouse Challenge Plus programme helps industry integrate greenhouse
issues into business decisions, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase energy
efficiency. Greenhouse Challenge Plus has more than 740 participants, representing
key industry sectors including agriculture, electricity supply, oil and gas, aluminium,
cement, mining and manufacturing. These industries account for almost 50 per cent
of Australia’s industrial greenhouse gas emissions.

Case study: Australian rice growers reducing greenhouse emissions

Australian rice growers are at the forefront of efforts to reduce greenhouse


gas emissions in the agriculture sector. About 240 rice businesses have
started to take practical actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in seven
key areas—flood irrigation, nitrogen management, soil management, stubble
management, greenhouse sinks, energy efficiency, and waste management.
By taking action in these areas, Australian rice growers will be minimising
their greenhouse gas emissions.

The Greenhouse Challenge Plus programme was revamped during the year and
now includes Greenhouse Friendly, the Generator Efficiency Standards initiative
and independent reporting and verification arrangements. The Greenhouse
Friendly guidelines were revised and new administrative arrangements were put
in place. The programme now includes certified products from the non-energy

23
sector and a larger variety of approved abatement projects generating an increased
Outcome 1—Environment

level of abatement. The new Greenhouse Challenge Plus programme has


Climate change

$31.3 million in funding over 2004–2008.


Member companies participate in the programme voluntarily. However, from July 2006
companies that receive more than $3 million per year of business Fuel Tax Credits will
be required to join the programme in order to continue receiving these credits.
The department led Australian
Government work with
the states and territories to
develop a nationally consistent
framework for greenhouse and
energy reporting by business
to government. Streamlined
reporting arrangements will
reduce the burden placed
on businesses participating
in greenhouse and energy
Industry delegates attend the inaugural Greenhouse
programmes and improve the
Challenge Plus conference held in Canberra.
quality of the data reported
(see also National Pollutant Inventory). This work culminated in a decision by the
Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to develop an approach based on
national purpose-built legislation to provide for cost-effective mandatory reporting
by large emitters and energy users. This approach will be further considered by
COAG later in 2006.

Building industry partnerships—ongoing programmes


The Greenhouse Gas Abatement Programme provides funding for mainly
large-scale projects that use low emissions technologies and practices. Twelve
projects are on track to deliver emissions reductions from 2008–2012. The
estimated reduction in greenhouse gas for this period is 23.4 megatonnes of
carbon dioxide equivalent (at the time of project approvals). This does not include
a new round of projects under negotiation.
The department is working with major transport fleet operators to assess the
environmental and economic case for using natural gas and liquefied petroleum
gas (LPG) in heavy vehicle fleet operations under the Alternative Fuels
Conversion Programme. This programme has shown that alternative fuels make
economic and environmental sense for some transport tasks, but do not guarantee
improved environmental outcomes. The department will continue to work with
transport operators, engine manufacturers and fuel producers to explore practical
options to improve the efficiency of transport and fuel usage.

24 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Action on energy efficiency

Outcome 1—Environment
The department continued to support the implementation of the National

Climate change
Framework for Energy Efficiency, which was adopted by the Ministerial Council on
Energy in 2004. The framework aims to improve the energy efficiency of residential
and commercial buildings, appliances and equipment, as well as energy use in the
industrial and commercial sectors. It also covers training and accreditation, the
finance sector, and increasing consumer awareness.
In 2005–06 minimum energy performance standards were introduced or made
more stringent for electric water heaters, three-phase electric motors, refrigerators
and freezers and single-phase air conditioners. The standards now cover
13 product groups.
The Australian Building Codes Board adopted energy performance standards
for commercial buildings and increased the standards for residential buildings
during 2005–06. This means that from May 2006 the Building Code of Australia will
contain minimum energy performance requirements for all new building types.

Renewable and low emissions energy—new programmes


The Solar Cities programme will provide $75 million over nine years
(2004–2013) to demonstrate the costs and benefits of solar power, energy
efficiency, cost-reflective pricing and smart metering technologies on a large scale.
Eleven consortia from across Australia have been short-listed for assessment.
Detailed business cases are now being assessed with announcements of successful
Solar Cities sites expected later in the year.
New programmes for low emission technologies announced in the 2004 energy
white paper Securing Australia’s Energy Future were implemented. The Australian
Government’s $500 million Low Emissions Technology Demonstration Fund
will operate from 2005–2020 to support the demonstration of new low emission
technologies with significant long-term greenhouse abatement potential. The
fund, which is managed jointly by the department and the Department of Industry,
Tourism and Resources, aims to leverage at least $1 billion in contributions from
the corporate sector. The policy framework for the fund was publicly released on
10 October 2005.
Thirty applications were received from electricity generators, oil and gas
producers, iron and steel producers, the oil and gas services sector, and the
transport sector for low emissions technologies covering brown and black coal,
natural gas, transport and renewable energy. The department established a panel
of experts to assess the merits of each application. This process is managed by
AusIndustry.
The $26.8 million Low Emissions Technology and Abatement programme
commenced with an agreed policy framework and a range of initial projects to

25
support a geosequestration trial, and several grants and consultancies to support
Outcome 1—Environment

the renewable energy industry and action by local communities.


Climate change

The department completed planning the Wind Energy Forecasting Capability


initiative, which will help increase the value of wind energy in electricity markets
by more accurately predicting wind energy generation. The department signed a
funding agreement with the National Electricity Market Management Company to
implement the wind energy forecasting system. An international tender process to
select a system provider and research to support system development are also well
under way.
The department participates in the selection of projects for funding under
the Renewable Energy Development Initiative, which is administered by
AusIndustry, and supports innovative renewable energy technologies. The initiative
will provide $100 million in funding to industry over seven years (2004–2011).
So far 10 grants totalling $23.3 million have been approved. More grants will be
approved in mid-2006.
The department received 25 expressions of interest outlining 32 potential
projects for funding under the $20.5 million Advanced Electricity Storage
Technologies Programme. The projects will develop and demonstrate advanced
technologies for storing electricity generated through intermittent renewable
sources, such as wind and solar. Applications are being assessed and grants will be
approved later in the year.

Renewable energy—ongoing programmes


A further $11.2 million was committed under the Renewable Remote Power
Generation Programme for 466 grants to increase the use of renewable energy
generation in remote parts of Australia and to reduce the amount of diesel
used to generate electricity in areas not connected to the main electricity grid.
These grants brought the total number of projects funded to 3 726 and the total
committed funding to $132 million, which includes 12 major projects totalling
$22.8 million and 21 support projects totalling $6.8 million. Projects cover solar,
wind and small hydro and hydrogen technologies.
The $55.6 million Renewable Energy Commercialisation Programme is
fully committed. Of the 53 projects funded under the programme, 26 have been
completed. One promising new technology to come out of the programme is
the integrated wood processing plant at Narrogin, Western Australia. Recently
commissioned, the plant processes mallee trees to produce renewable energy,
activated carbon and eucalyptus oil. The project also provides other environmental
benefits including sequestering carbon in the mallee roots and lowering the water
table to reduce salinity.

26 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Outcome 1—Environment
Climate change
Aerial view of the integrated wood processing demonstration plant at Narrogin, Western
Australia. Photo: Verve Energy

The Renewable Energy Equity Fund continued to provide venture capital


to small, innovative renewable energy companies to help commercialise their
technologies. The government invested an additional $2 million during 2005–06,
leveraging an additional $1 million in private sector investment. These investments
involve five companies working in the areas of battery technology, biofuels and
biomass energy.
The Photovoltaic Rebate Programme provides cash rebates for consumers
who install grid-connected or stand-alone photovoltaic systems. In 2005–06 the
programme provided 946 rebates, representing more than $3.8 million invested
by the government in photovoltaic infrastructure. This brings the total number of
photovoltaic systems installed over the life of the programme to 7 150.
The Mandatory Renewable Energy Target scheme sets up a national
renewable energy market based on a system of tradeable certificates. The Office
of the Renewable Energy Regulator administers the scheme, although policy
responsibility remains with the department.
Following the 2003 review of the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target, the
government confirmed its commitment to the current renewable energy target
of 9 500 gigawatt hours by 2010 in the energy white paper Securing Australia’s
Energy Future. The government also agreed to a number of legislative and

27
regulatory amendments to improve the administrative efficiency and operational
Outcome 1—Environment

effectiveness of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000. An amendment Bill


Climate change

to enact necessary legislative changes to the agreed improvement was passed by


parliament on 22 June 2006.

Local and regional action


The Australian Government helps local governments to reduce their greenhouse
gas emissions through the Local Greenhouse Action programme. This
programme includes Cities for Climate Protection™ Australia, under which
Australia has the largest and most advanced programme of greenhouse reduction
activities in the world, involving 214 local governments and representing
82 per cent of the Australian population.

Case study: Newcastle’s greenhouse cuts recognised

Newcastle City Council, a founding member of the Cities for Climate


Protection Australia programme, won two prestigious awards at the National
Awards for Local Government recognising more than 10 years of action to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Greenhouse Action in Newcastle Plan forms part of council’s
commitment to Cities for Climate Protection and was developed to address
the growing need for local government and the community to manage their
impact on the environment, particularly climate change.
Newcastle City Council has initiated many pioneering projects, including
Australia’s first biodiesel fleet, an award-winning cleaner production
programme (aimed at the business community), community REFIT (energy
and water saving kits for households), and a green energy project (energy
and water saving throughout council’s facilities).

The latest results show that councils reduced their emissions by more than
1.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents in 2004–05, up from one million
tonnes in 2003–04, and 767 000 tonnes in 2002–03. Since 1999 local governments
have reported cumulative abatement of over five million tonnes and invested
more than $100 million in local greenhouse measures. The 2005–06 figures will be
available in November 2006.
A total of $400 000 was paid in 2005–06 for grants supporting activities to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions. Councils worked with local households, businesses, and

28 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


schools to undertake energy audits and retrofits, train tradespeople about energy

Outcome 1—Environment
efficient appliances, and trial new and innovative technologies for sewage treatment.

Climate change
The department is also helping to fund various projects to reduce greenhouse gas
emissions from passenger transport, particularly in urban centres in participating
states and territories. For example, the National Travel Behaviour Change
Project aims to facilitate a voluntary change in behaviour towards more
sustainable modes of travel such as walking, cycling, public transport and ride-
sharing. The project will see 186 000 households reduce distances travelled in
Australia by over three billion car kilometres. One million tonnes of greenhouse
gas emissions will be saved, which is equivalent to reducing emissions from over
250 000 cars in one year.
Greenhouse Action to Enhance Sustainability in Regional Australia
addresses knowledge gaps about climate change in regional Australia. Thirty-six
research projects are currently being funded to address emissions management in
agriculture, forest sink management, and adaptation to climate change in the land
management sector. These projects are providing important information for the
development of policies on greenhouse gas emissions reduction and climate change
adaptation in regional Australia. The department spent $3.1 million on these projects
in 2005–06, with partner organisations spending more than twice this amount.
A key initiative in 2005–06 was the establishment of the first field-based research
programme to investigate the interactive effects of elevated carbon dioxide in
air on agricultural production. Four states, industry, CSIRO, and universities are
involved and have already contributed over $10 million to this national effort.

Understanding climate change


The Australian Government’s response to climate change depends on having
high quality scientific knowledge of the contributing influences and mechanisms.
For example research is revealing more about the influence ocean circulation has
on regional and global climate and on transporting heat and absorbing carbon.
The government’s response also depends on the capacity to accurately measure
greenhouse gas emissions at a national and sectoral level, and the ability to identify
and respond to emerging issues.

Australian Climate Change Science Programme


The $30.7 million Australian Climate Change Science Programme is
supporting research over four years (2004–2008) into the nature, causes, timing
and implications of climate change for Australia. The programme helps to
maintain Australia’s world-class climate modelling capacity. Partly as a result of the
programme’s investments, Australia is recognised internationally for the quality of
its climate change science.

29
Key areas of research include improving climate change projection based on
Outcome 1—Environment

probabilities; detecting climate change in Australia, for example, from shifts


Climate change

in mean maximum air or sea surface temperature, or increased frequency and


intensity of extreme events such as drought and tropical cyclones; and attributing
changes in climate to specific factors such as greenhouse gas emissions, changes in
land use, or to natural variability.
The CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology and Australian universities will collaborate
to develop the Australian Community Climate and Earth System Simulator with
support from the Australian Climate Change Science Programme. This simulator
is a major step forward in climate modelling in Australia. It will integrate and
improve fragmented modelling products into a national system that will simulate
climate change in the Australian region, rather than rely on models designed for
the northern hemisphere, where the drivers for climate differ from the southern
hemisphere.

National Climate Change Adaptation Programme


Some degree of climate change is inevitable due to the level of greenhouse
gases already in the atmosphere. The National Climate Change Adaptation
Programme, announced in the May 2004 Budget, will help Australians manage
the consequences of climate change. The $14.2 million programme will operate
over four years (2004–2008).
In February 2006 the Council of Australian Governments announced its intention
to develop a national adaptation framework as part of its plan for collaborative
action on climate change. Work to develop this framework was a major focus of the
National Climate Change Adaptation Programme in the latter part of 2005–06.
Other key areas of work during 2005–06 included:
• continuation of a four-year, $2 million partnership with the Great Barrier Reef
Marine Park Authority to develop a climate change action plan for the reef
• launch of the South-east Australian Climate Project to examine climate change,
and particularly its impact on water resources, in the Murray–Darling Basin and
south-east Australia. The project was set up under an agreement with the Murray–
Darling Basin Commission, Land and Water Australia, the Victorian Department of
Sustainability and the Environment, CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology
• release of a guide to using the Australian risk management standard to address
climate change impacts
• assessment of the impact of climate change on human settlements.

National Greenhouse Gas Inventory


In 2005–06 a new set of Australia’s National Greenhouse Accounts was released.
The accounts were prepared in accordance with international guidelines under

30 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


the guidance of a national committee made up of federal, state and territory

Outcome 1—Environment
government representatives. The accounts comprise:

Climate change
• the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory 2004, which is estimated on a Kyoto
reporting basis and is relevant for measuring progress towards the 108 per cent
target
• the State and Territory Greenhouse Gas Inventories 2004, which are also
estimated on a Kyoto reporting basis
• the National Inventory by Economic Sector 2004, which introduces estimates
of emissions by economic sector (e.g. residential)
• the National Inventory Report 2004, which is Australia’s official submission to
the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and is prepared
according to the reporting provisions applicable to the convention.
The National Greenhouse Gas Inventory 2004 was released in May 2006. The
inventory shows that national greenhouse gas emissions in 2004 were only 2.3 per cent
higher than the 1990 levels. This small increase in emissions is consistent with the
updated projections released in December 2005. The methods used to estimate
emissions and the emission estimates are available through the Australian Greenhouse
Emissions Information System at www.greenhouse.gov.au/inventory.
The National Inventory Report is subject to annual international expert review.
The report on the review of the 2003 inventory which was published in March
2006 recognised the completeness and quality of Australia’s inventory. It welcomed
the introduction of the Australian Greenhouse Emissions Information System as
a substantial advance in inventory practice and noted the technical quality of the
National Carbon Accounting System for monitoring of land systems.
The department, assisted by several leading inventory experts around Australia,
made a major contribution to the new edition of the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change guidelines on international inventory practices. These guidelines
were approved by the panel in April 2006. A senior member of the department
participates in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Bureau which
steers the inventory programme.

Greenhouse gas projections


The department prepares projections of Australia’s future greenhouse gas
emissions. The projections help the government to determine the extent to which
its policies and programmes have Australia on track to meet its international
emissions target. Updated projections, which follow accounting rules developed
under the Kyoto Protocol, were released in November 2005 in a report called
Tracking to the Kyoto Target 2005. More information is available at
www.greenhouse.gov.au/projections.

31
Outcome 1—Environment

Sources of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2004 by sector


Climate change

300 50%
Megatonnes of emissions (CO2-e)

250

200

150

16%
100 13%

50 5% 5% 6%
3%

0
Stationary Transport Fugitive Industrial Agriculture Land use, Waste
energy emissions processes land use change
and forestry

National Carbon Accounting System


Australia’s capability to account for greenhouse gas emissions from our land
systems is provided through the world-leading National Carbon Accounting
System, which uses computer-based land systems modelling and observations to
provide a national map of emissions at a sub-hectare scale.
This year many of the fundamental datasets, such as climate and remotely
sensed vegetation cover change, were updated to current time. Research and
development activities, largely jointly conducted with various state and territory
agencies, CSIRO, universities and private sector interests, also helped to improve
the system and expand its capability.
A National Carbon Accounting Toolbox was released in March 2005 to enable
landholders to examine the history of their properties through a time-series
archive of remotely sensed images, and to model the greenhouse gas implications
of agricultural and forestry activities. To date, almost 7 000 copies of the toolbox
have been requested.

32 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Australia’s Fourth National Communication on Climate Change

Outcome 1—Environment
Parties to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change are required to

Climate change
report their progress to the convention’s secretariat every three to four years
through what is referred to as a national communication. The secretariat then
carries out an in-depth review of each national communication. The review of
Australia’s Third National Communication was released in August 2005.
Australia’s Fourth National Communication was prepared in 2005 and released by
the Minister for the Environment and Heritage in November 2005. The document
provides detailed information about the implementation of all aspects of Australia’s
climate change strategy and can be found at www.greenhouse.gov.au/international/
publications/fourth-comm.html.
The secretariat is scheduled to commence its review of Australia’s Fourth National
Communication in late 2006.

33
Results for performance indicators
Outcome 1—Environment
Climate change

Performance indicator 2005–06 result

Effectiveness in reducing greenhouse gas emissions

Percentage of total emissions in Australia by 2004 (latest available figures, published May 2006):
sector: (i) stationary energy, (ii) transport, (iii) (i) stationary energy 49.6% (ii) transport 13.5%
fugitive emissions, (iv) industrial processes, (v) (iii) fugitive emissions 5.5% (iv) industrial processes
agriculture, (vi) land use change and forestry, and 5.3% (v) agriculture 16.5% (vi) land use change
(vii) waste and forestry 6.3% (vii) waste 3.4%

Actual and projected greenhouse emissions Australia’s net greenhouse gas emissions across
in Australia (megatonnes of carbon dioxide all sectors totalled 564.7 Mt CO2-e in 2004 under
equivalent (Mt CO2-e)) from 1990 base compared the accounting provisions applying to Australia’s
with business as usual 108% emissions target. This represents a 2.3%
increase over 1990 levels
Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions are
projected to reach 108% of 1990 levels by 2010
or 585 Mt CO2-e, or 2 Mt CO2-e below the Kyoto
target
In the absence of greenhouse measures,
emissions would have reached 123% of 1990
levels by 2010

International engagement—Influencing International Climate Change Policy (administered item)

Extent of influence in key international, regional Played a key role in the development of the
and bilateral climate change processes on issues Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development
for which the department has lead responsibility and Climate, hosting of the inaugural ministerial
meeting of the partnership, and established 8
industry-government task forces to develop
practical projects under the key work areas of the
partnership, including renewables, clean fossil
energy, and buildings and appliances
Worked effectively through the United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change to
achieve key outcomes, including agreement to
a dialogue on long-term cooperative action on
climate change, and appointment of the head of
Australian Greenhouse Office as co-chair of the
dialogue
Played a key role in several other international
forums on post-2012 action on climate change
Further developed both bilateral and plurilateral
climate change partnerships

Number of initiatives delivered through key More than 60, including the establishment of the
international, regional and bilateral processes Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development
and Climate; agreement to a new bilateral
partnership with South Africa; and 58 practical
bilateral climate change activities with the United
States, China, Japan, the European Union and
New Zealand

34 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Outcome 1—Environment
Performance indicator 2005–06 result

Climate change
Emissions management

Effectiveness of support for greenhouse response Series of greenhouse gas emissions management
within sectors measures continues to provide high level of
engagement with sectors, for example more
than 740 participants in Greenhouse Challenge
Plus, representing electricity supply, oil and gas,
aluminium, cement, mining and manufacturing
sectors, with additional members in 2005–06
leading to a significant increase in the coverage
of greenhouse gas emissions reported under
the programme; significant response to the
Greenhouse Gas Abatement Programme from
6 sectors covering mining, power generation,
industrial processing, forestry, government
and community sectors to reduce emissions
from industry; extensive engagement with
key stakeholders in agriculture, forestry and
natural resource management sectors through
Greenhouse Action to Enhance Sustainability
in Regional Australia activities; and significant
support from local councils and the community
for Cities for Climate Protection, with membership
growing to 216 local councils in 2006, representing
82% of Australia’s population

Reported abatement activity including emissions Reported in Tracking to the Kyoto Target 2005,
reductions and energy savings released 30 November 2005
The combined effect of greenhouse gas abatement
measures is expected to cut annual emissions by
85 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by
2010. As a result of these measures, Australia is on
track to meet its target under the Kyoto Protocol

Extent of engagement of key stakeholders Series of greenhouse gas emissions management


measures continues to provide high level of
engagement with sectors (see examples provided
for ‘effectiveness of support for greenhouse
response within sectors’)

Extent of support for long-term low emission The Low Emissions Technology Demonstration
technology uptake Fund attracted expressions of interest from 30
long-term low emissions technology projects with
private investment projected at over $6.5 billion
State governments offered $383 million to support
the fund

Estimated cost (Government funds) of greenhouse Based on 2005 projections of abatement from
abatement ($ per tonne) 2008 to 2012, and actual and projected Australian
Government funding for programmes, the cost of
abatement to the Australian Government in this
period averages $4.00 per tonne

35
Outcome 1—Environment

Performance indicator 2005–06 result


Climate change

Emissions management (continued)

Reporting systems are appropriately targeted National Greenhouse Gas Inventory reviewed
independently for United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change and found to
comply with requirements
Joint Ministerial Council on Energy and
Environment Protection and Heritage Council, in
consultation with stakeholder groups, fast-tracked
the development of options for streamlined
greenhouse gas emissions and energy reporting by
business and forwarded recommendations to the
Council of Australian Government’s (COAG) within
the timeframe requested. COAG agreed in June
2006 to develop an approach based on national
purpose-built legislation to provide for cost-
effective mandatory reporting by large emitters and
energy users
Under Greenhouse Challenge Plus, around 740
participants report annually to the government and
also make a public statement about their progress
towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
An online reporting tool, OSCAR (Online System
for Challenge Plus Activity Reporting) has been
developed. In 2005–06 members commenced direct
online emissions reporting to government
The International Council for Local Environmental
Initiatives reports annually to the department
on progress of the Cities for Climate Protection
Australia programme, including greenhouse gas
abatement achieved
Reporting systems for Renewable Remote Power
Generation programmes have been established
under head partnership agreements between the
Australian Government and participating states
and territories

Risks to programme delivery identified and Comprehensive risk management plans are in
managed place for each programme

Investment dollars (or contributory funding) Government expenditure on greenhouse gas


leveraged by projects and programmes from other emissions management programmes rose from
parties $58.5 million in 2004–05 to $64.4 million in 2005–06.
While programme guidelines typically specify that
other parties provide contributory funding at a ratio
of at least 1:1 for every dollar received, higher rates
of investment are usually leveraged. Major measures
announced in the energy white paper have attracted
significant interest, for example, the Low Emissions
Technology Demonstration Fund attracted 30 long-
term low emissions technology projects with private
investment projected at over $6.5 billion, while state
governments offered $383 million to support the
fund; 11 Solar Cities proposals were short-listed by
ministers, attracting up to $284.3 million of cash
and in-kind investment from consortia

36 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Outcome 1—Environment
Performance indicator 2005–06 result

Climate change
Understanding climate change

Investment dollars (or in-kind contribution) Over $6.3 million leveraged from other parties in
leveraged from other parties for climate change 2005–06
science priorities

Extent to which climate change policy is integrated Continued implementation of energy white paper
in national policies and programmes and initiatives which integrate climate change policy
interjurisdictional processes into national energy policy
Adoption and implementation of COAG Plan
for Collaborative Action on Climate Change to
coordinate national climate change policy
Interjurisdictional development of a national
framework for greenhouse and energy reporting
to improve information available to governments
for climate change policy and programme
development
Climate change included in the Environment
Protection and Heritage Council’s Strategic Plan
2006–2008

Trends in community responses to key policy Tracking research into community awareness and
issues perceptions of climate change, completed during
the year, found significantly increased community
awareness of climate change policy issues

Climate change publications that meet targeted Prepared more than 30 publications (reports,
stakeholder needs guidelines etc) to meet the needs of industry,
government and non-government stakeholders
and the public and received strong positive
response from stakeholders
A range of regular newsletters, fact sheets and
similar materials was published, providing
up-to-date information about climate change
activities to stakeholder groups
A climate change communications strategy was
developed with implementation to commence in
2006–07

Comprehensiveness and timeliness of monitoring Milestones in programme development and


and public reporting on the implementation of implementation have been announced publicly and
programmes in a timely fashion
An in-depth review by the United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change of
Australia’s Third National Communication on Climate
Change strongly endorsed the approach used
Australia’s Fourth National Communication on
Climate Change provides a comprehensive
overview of Australian and state and territory
government responses to climate change

Development of consistent measurement of Ongoing programme of continuous improvement


abatement across programmes in place as part of projections process, to measure
abatement across sectors and programmes and in
generating overall abatement estimates

37
Outcome 1—Environment

Performance indicator 2005–06 result


Climate change

Understanding climate change (continued)

Number of reports and submissions made in Published the National Greenhouse Account reports,
accordance with national and international methodology papers and 23 related products
commitments and level of user interest
Published updated projections in the sub-sectors of
transport, waste, agriculture and land use, land use
change and forestry. An update of Australia’s projected
emissions was released on 30 November 2005 in the
report Tracking to the Kyoto Target 2005, showing
Australia is still on track to meet its Kyoto targets
Prepared Australia’s Fourth National
Communication on Climate Change; 12
submissions on issues are being considered by the
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate
Change

Sub-output 1.1.1—International engagement

Percentage of payments that are consistent with 100%


the terms and conditions of funding (Target: 100%)(a)

Sub-output 1.1.2—Emissions management

Percentage of payments that are consistent with the 100%


terms and conditions of funding (Target: 100%)(a)

Sub-output 1.1.3—Understanding climate change

Percentage of payments that are consistent with the 100%


terms and conditions of funding (Target: 100%)(a)

(a)
Applies to provision of grants programmes funded entirely from the Department of the Environment and Heritage
appropriations for the output (i.e. not those marked administered items).

38 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Resources

Outcome 1—Environment
Climate change
Departmental outputs Budget prices Actual expenses
$’000 $’000

Sub-output: 1.1.1 International engagement 14 473 13 904


Sub-output: 1.1.2 Emissions management 34 074 33 775
Sub-output: 1.1.3 Understanding climate change 16 482 16 350

Total (Output 1.1: Climate change) 65 029 64 029

Administered items

Influencing International Climate Change Policy 1 450 1 390


Solar Cities 550 550
Action on Energy Efficiency 800 800
Local Greenhouse Action 400 404
Low Emissions Technology and Abatement 2 235 1 950
Greenhouse Gas Abatement Programme 13 339 13 318
Alternative Fuels Conversion Programme 862 223
Renewable Remote Power Generation Programme 28 758 28 746
Renewable Energy Commercialisation Programme 1 954 1 694
Renewable Energy Equity Fund—writedown of receivable 0 2 840
Photovoltaic Rebate Programme 5 357 4 622
Renewable Energy Equity Fund 1 338 1 338
Greenhouse Action to Enhance Sustainability in Regional Australia 3 400 3 400
Climate Change Science Programme 6 000 6 000

Total (Administered) 66 443 67 275

39
OUTCOME 1—ENVIRONMENT LAND AND INLAND WATERS
Land and inland waters
The Department of the Environment and Heritage develops Australian
Government initiatives to protect and conserve Australia’s land and inland waters,
Outcome—1 Environment
Land and inland waters

including biodiversity, and to ensure their management is ecologically sustainable.

Main responsibilities for this output

Wildlife protection
• Threatened species recovery Approvals and Wildlife
• Threatened species protection Division
• Wildlife industries regulation

Land and water strategies


• Invasive species threat abatement plans
• Biodiversity conservation
• Native vegetation management Land, Water and Coasts
• Environmental aspects of forest agreements Division
• Water quality management
• Urban water reform
• Protected wetlands

Land and water investments


• Administration of the Natural Heritage Trust Natural Resource
• Support for the National Action Plan for Management
Salinity and Water Quality Programmes Division
• Community Water Grants

Terrestrial parks and reserves


• National Reserve System
Parks Australia Division
• Genetic resource management
• Australian Biological Resources Study

Tropical wetlands research


Supervising Scientist
• Research and ecological inventory
Division
• Risk assessment of tropical rivers

42 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Objectives
Wildlife protection
• Protect biodiversity, including wildlife and their habitats, and work to ensure

Outcome—1 Environment
Land and inland waters
that Australia’s use of biological resources is ecologically sustainable
Land and water strategies
• Ensure the management of Australia’s terrestrial natural resources is
ecologically sustainable
• Ensure the management of inland rivers, groundwater and inland wetlands is
ecologically sustainable and that water resources are conserved and the quality
is maintained
• Address land and water issues impacting biodiversity, including pests, weeds
and disease
Land and water investments
• Deliver land and water conservation investments to communities
Terrestrial parks and reserves
• Protect and conserve biodiversity by establishing a comprehensive and
representative system of protected areas
• Conduct taxonomic and geographic research to increase understanding of
biodiversity
Tropical wetlands research
• Enhance the protection of tropical rivers and associated wetlands in northern
Australia

43
Results 2005–06

• Under Community Water Grants, part of the $2 billion Australian


Outcome—1 Environment
Land and inland waters

Government Water Fund, 1 750 projects worth over $55 million were
approved to save water across Australia. These projects are expected to
save approximately 18.5 billion litres of water each year, enough to fill
about 1 800 Olympic swimming pools, as well as rehabilitating about
15 000 hectares of land.
• 31 new recovery plans for threatened species and ecological communities
were approved. These plans will maximise the chances of long-term
survival in the wild of threatened species including Gilbert’s potoroo
in Western Australia, the northern hairy-nosed wombat in Queensland,
Slater’s skink in the Northern Territory, and one endangered ecological
community—the natural temperate grasslands of the Southern Tablelands
of NSW and the Australian Capital Territory.
• The Australian Government invested $37.2 million towards the
$93 million Goulburn–Murray Water Recovery Package, which will recover
145 gigalitres of additional water for the environment.
• Nankeen night herons bred in the Barmah Forest for the first time in
40 years, and the threatened silver perch spawned successfully following
allocation of environmental flows to 36 000 hectares of the River Murray
system. Vegetation communities, including river red gum, also responded
well to the additional water. The department helped fund infrastructure
to deliver water for wetlands and floodplains in Victoria and South
Australia.
• The Natural Heritage Trust is now delivering on-ground projects in
56 regions across Australia against 54 accredited natural resource
management plans. The plans are tailor made for each region and address
a range of environmental issues including salinity, soil condition, water
quality, native vegetation, rivers and wetlands, and biodiversity.
• Stringent fox control measures in Booderee National Park are producing
a recovery in native animal populations, with long-nosed bandicoot and
eastern bristlebird numbers increasing strongly. Particularly pleasing is the
re-discovery this year of the rare white-footed dunnart, a small marsupial
not found in Booderee for over 40 years.

44 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Wildlife protection and biodiversity conservation
The department administers the wildlife protection provisions of the Environment
Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. The Act is the Australian

Outcome—1 Environment
Government’s main tool for protecting wildlife1 and conserving biodiversity.

Land and inland waters


The Act also regulates wildlife trade to protect Australia’s native wildlife from
overexploitation.

Threatened species protection


Under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
actions require approval if they are likely to have a significant impact on matters of
national environmental significance, including wildlife and ecological communities
that are listed as threatened.
Activities that may affect listed threatened species or communities in
Commonwealth areas (land and waters) may require permits. During 2005–06 the
government issued 11 species and ecological community permits.
Details of these and other activities relating to the protection and conservation
of threatened species are included in the report on the operation of the
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 in the second
volume of this annual report.
Project work relating to the protection of listed threatened species and ecological
communities is partly funded through the national component of the Natural
Heritage Trust. During 2005–06 Natural Heritage Trust project expenditure for
these activities was approximately $1.7 million.

Threatened species recovery


Under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999,
the department is working to prevent threatened species from becoming extinct
and to recover their populations. As part of this work the department develops
threatened species recovery plans.
These plans set out the actions needed to maximise the chances of long-term
survival in the wild of a listed threatened species or ecological community.
Recovery plans must come into force within certain time limits set out in the
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Recovery plans
remain in force until the species is removed from the threatened list.
During the year the Minister for the Environment and Heritage approved 31
recovery plans under the Act, increasing the total number of recovery plans in
force to 264, covering 340 species and ecological communities. In addition to

1 The Act also protects matters of national environmental significance from the impacts of proposed development activities.
Performance results for environmental assessments are on page 140.

45
these plans, the Threatened Species Scientific Committee recommended a further
19 draft recovery plans, covering 59 listed species and one ecological community,
for forwarding for the minister’s consideration. A further 348 plans are in
preparation covering 509 species and ecological communities. This brings the total
number of species and ecological communities covered by plans in place or in
Outcome—1 Environment
Land and inland waters

preparation to 840, or 52 per cent of the total requiring recovery plans. A priority is
to complete recovery plans for species in Commonwealth areas.
A full report on the operation of the Act including progress in developing recovery
and threat abatement plans appears in the second volume of the annual report.
Project work for the department’s threatened species activities is funded partly
through the national component of the Natural Heritage Trust. During 2005–06
the department invested $2.2 million from the national component of the Natural
Heritage Trust in developing and implementing plans to recover terrestrial
threatened species.

Threatened Species Network


The department supports the Threatened Species Network, a community based
programme of the Natural Heritage Trust and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)
Australia. The network comprises a team of people who support projects that
enable all Australians to be involved in hands-on conservation. The network’s
projects are funded through the Natural Heritage Trust’s Threatened Species
Network Community Grants Programme.
The network’s activities during the year benefited over 80 species and ecological
communities listed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity
Conservation Act 1999. Work included developing 30 new projects that were funded
under the grants programme. The network also provided advice on threatened
species to over 70 advisory panels, recovery teams, and assessment panels.

Australian Wildlife Hospital


The Australian Government committed funding of $2.5 million as a contribution to
the capital works expansion of the Australian Wildlife Hospital.
The hospital is the largest specialist native wildlife hospital in Australia, and
services an area in excess of 100 000 square kilometres stretching from northern
New South Wales through to Maryborough and west to Toowoomba. The hospital
also provides a valuable information service to veterinarians and wildlife carer
groups around Australia and conducts research into wildlife disease and health
management. The facility is also used by universities for the training of veterinary
students and wildlife trainees in practical work experience and course work.
The hospital works in collaboration with volunteer wildlife rescue organisations
and concerned individuals. The demand for the hospital’s services is continually
increasing with 1 725 animals treated in 2004, 3 150 in 2005 and approximately
2 200 to 30 June 2006.

46 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Threat abatement plans
Under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, the
department develops and implements threat abatement plans. These plans set out
the actions needed to reduce the impacts of threats such as pests and diseases

Outcome—1 Environment
Land and inland waters
on affected native species or ecological communities. Threat abatement plans are
reviewed every five years (threat abatement and recovery plans for the marine
environment are reported on page 95).
The department collaborates with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
and other stakeholders including the states and territories, and primary producers in
the development and implementation of threat abatement plans and projects.
To date there are nine threat abatement plans operating for the key threatening
terrestrial processes listed under the Act.
New threat abatement plans went into operation in 2005–06 for:
• beak and feather disease affecting endangered parrots
• predation, habitat destruction, and disease transmission by feral pigs
• infection of amphibians with chytrid fungus
• the impact of tramp ants on Australia’s biodiversity.
Reviews of five threat abatement plans were completed in 2005–06:
• dieback caused by the root-rot fungus Phytophthora cinnamomi
• competition and land degradation by feral goats
• competition and land degradation by feral rabbits
• predation by feral cats
• predation by the European red fox.
The revised threat abatement plans will be finalised in 2006–07.
A threat abatement plan is also being developed for predation of Australian native
species by exotic rats on small offshore islands.

Invasive species threat abatement activities


During 2005–06 the department invested $2.8 million from the national
component of the Natural Heritage Trust on projects to reduce threats to native
species and ecological communities, including over $450 000 for the fox-free
Tasmania programme.
The main focus of these projects was research and development of new control
measures for invasive species (e.g. poisoned bait for feral cats and new fencing
designs to exclude invasive vertebrates from areas with high conservation value).
The department chaired and supported the Invasive Species Task Group, which
reported in October 2005. The task group identified opportunities for improving
national arrangements to reduce the impacts of invasive species on the environment.

47
As a result, the Natural Resource Management and Primary Industries ministerial
councils are enhancing Australia’s biosecurity system for primary production and
the environment to prevent the establishment of new species and reduce the
impacts of those which are already established. The department is supporting this
work with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.
Outcome—1 Environment
Land and inland waters

The department helped draft the Australian Pest Animal Strategy, released in late
2005–06. The strategy will work as a key component of the Australian biosecurity
system to reduce the impacts of feral animals by preventing their introduction and
controlling established species.

Cane toads
To date the Australian Government has committed almost $13 million for cane
toad control, including an additional $3 million in 2005 to accelerate research
by the CSIRO into a biological control solution. The CSIRO has made significant
progress on identifying susceptible genes in cane toads and viruses that might
affect them.
Other funding has gone to state governments and regional and local groups
including $600 000 to a joint programme with the Australian, Western Australian
and Northern Territory governments aimed at slowing the movement of cane
toads into the Kimberley region, and more than $400 000 to the Northern Territory
Government for cane toad control. The Natural Heritage Trust is also supporting
several new projects to develop methods that target the various stages of the cane
toad’s development.

Weed management
The department jointly manages the Defeating the Weed Menace Programme
with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. The programme
identifies Australia’s most threatening weeds and implements measures for their
management.
During 2005–06 $1.8 million of Natural Heritage Trust funding was invested
through the programme in research into weed biology and biological control
agents, development of best practice management guides for several weed species,
and targeted on-ground weed control actions.
A significant achievement of the programme is reducing the severity, extent and
impact of the Weeds of National Significance, such as willow, athel pine, mimosa,
cabomba, salvinia, alligator weed, bridal creeper, bitou bush/boneseed, pond
apple, and hymenachne.
In 2005–06 the department coordinated the Australian Weeds Committee’s
review of the 1997 National Weeds Strategy. The revised Australian Weeds Strategy
will identify priorities and provide a consistent national framework for weed
management across Australia.

48 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Case studies: Defeating the weed menace

Bega Valley Shire Council weeds officers and landholders in the Towamba

Outcome—1 Environment
River Valley in south-eastern New South Wales have had considerable

Land and inland waters


success in eradicating the only known outbreak of blue hound’s tongue
(Cynoglossum creticum) in Australia thanks to the Defeating the Weed
Menace programme.
Blue hound’s tongue is on the National Alert List for Environmental Weeds,
a list of non-native plants that threaten biodiversity and cause environmental
damage. Blue hound’s tongue has the potential to invade and suppress
native grasslands, as demonstrated in Argentina and Chile.
Landholders and council staff undertook
the eradication project in 2005–06. With
only a few known infestation sites along the
Towamba River, eradication through early
intervention was chosen as a cost-effective
control option. Council weeds officers and
landholders along the river worked together
Blue hound’s tongue. to locate, map and eradicate all infestations of
Photo: Anne Herbert the weed, and revegetate the affected areas.
Members of Towamba Landcare inspected
areas upstream of the outbreak and found no other infestations. A follow-up
programme has begun to ensure any re-infestations are fully controlled.

Mimosa (Mimosa pigra) is regarded as one of the worst weeds in Australia


because of its invasiveness and potential for spread. Mimosa’s range extends
across the tropical north and where left uncontrolled the impacts on local
ecology are dramatic.
Mimosa control in Kakadu National Park
remains one of the park’s highest priorities,
with five staff dedicated to surveying
thousands of square kilometres of floodplains
by quad bikes, airboats and helicopter. Over
200 known mimosa locations are visited
regularly to destroy seedling plants. In the last
Surveying for mimosa on the year the team removed 7 172 young mimosa
Oenpelli floodplain. plants by hand and 748 older plants by a
Photo: Buck Salau
combination of herbicide and hand removal.
Staff at Kakadu are obtaining a disturbing picture of the longevity of the
seed, with some seeds still viable after more than 20 years in the soil.

49
Wildlife industry regulation
The department protects animal and plant species and ecosystems by
regulating exports and imports of certain wildlife and wildlife products under
Part 13A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act
Outcome—1 Environment
Land and inland waters

1999. Exports of specimens of Australian native species are regulated to protect


them from overexploitation, and imports of live specimens are regulated in
the interests of protecting Australian native ecosystems from the influence of
alien invasive species. Part 13A of the Act is used to fulfil Australia’s obligations
under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild
Fauna and Flora (CITES), through which parties protect globally endangered
species by regulating export and import. The department continues to actively
engage with CITES, and represents the Oceania region on the CITES Standing
Committee.
The department uses its regulatory powers to encourage management practices
that are humane, and not detrimental to the survival of species in the wild.
In supporting responsible wildlife-based industries, five new wildlife trade
management programmes were approved and 2 520 permits to export or import
were issued in 2005–06. Some of these permits are valid for multiple transactions.
There was an increased focus in 2005–06 on assisting legitimate operators to
comply efficiently with legislative requirements.
The department works closely with other agencies to share intelligence and
combat wildlife smuggling. In 2005–06 a number of successful prosecutions
were made, resulting in a first-ever custodial sentence (3.5 years) for a wildlife
smuggling offence, and a record fine ($24 600). Agencies involved include state
and territory wildlife authorities, the Australian Customs Service, the Australian
Federal Police, overseas CITES management authorities, Interpol, and some
non-government organisations such as TRAFFIC—the joint wildlife trade
monitoring programme of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the World
Conservation Union (IUCN).
During 2005–06, 5 165 seizures were made under Part 13A of the Act.
More details of these and other wildlife trade activities are included in the report
on the operation of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation
Act 1999 in the second volume of this set of annual reports.
Project work relating to wildlife trade regulation is partly funded through the
national component of the Natural Heritage Trust. During 2005–06, Natural
Heritage Trust project expenditure for these types of activities was approximately
$85 000.

50 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Protecting Australia’s biodiversity hotspots
Biodiversity hotspots are areas that are rich in biodiversity but under threat.
Fifteen national biodiversity hotspots were announced in October 2003. In 2004
the Prime Minister announced the Maintaining Australia’s Biodiversity Hotspots

Outcome—1 Environment
Land and inland waters
Programme. The programme complements the department’s longer-term work to
protect matters of national environmental significance.
The programme provides incentives to private landholders to protect biodiversity
on their land, and to conservation groups to purchase land to be managed for
conservation. Total funding of $36 million was provided over 2004–2007 for the
programme. Major projects funded this year were:
• $1.5 million to establish a long-term stewardship agreement called BushBids
with private landholders in the eastern Mount Lofty Ranges in South Australia.
BushBids is a partnership between the department and the South Australian
Murray–Darling Basin Natural Resource Management Board. It will protect
grassy woodland communities on private land, which are among the most
threatened ecosystems in Australia. There were 19 successful first round
management agreements, securing long-term conservation of around
10 per cent of the mapped extent of grassy woodlands in the Eastern
Mount Lofty Ranges.
• The University of Queensland Spatial Prioritisation Project to research
continental scale prioritisation of areas for biodiversity conservation
investment. The project models biodiversity values, threats and the costs of
intervention to determine the most effective areas to invest in. The project is
due to report by the end of 2007.
For more information on the programme see www.deh.gov.au/biodiversity/
hotspots/.

Land and water strategies


The department works with other Australian Government agencies, state and
territory governments, representative and research bodies, and internationally
to implement a range of strategies to conserve the land and inland waters. These
strategies address environmental issues relating to Australia’s native vegetation,
agricultural land, and water resources.

Native vegetation management


The National Framework for the Management and Monitoring of Australia’s Native
Vegetation is an agreement made in 2001 between Australia’s federal, state and
territory governments. Governments agreed to reverse the long-term decline

51
in the extent and quality of Australia’s native vegetation. Reversing the decline
of Australia’s native vegetation will help conserve biodiversity and will make a
significant contribution to reducing the net emissions of greenhouse gases.
The framework is supported by related government commitments under the
Outcome—1 Environment
Land and inland waters

Natural Heritage Trust, the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality
and regional forest agreements, including the Tasmanian Community Forest
Agreement.

Review of the native vegetation framework


In April 2004 the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council directed its
standing committee to review and update the native vegetation framework. The
department is contributing to this review.
In 2005–06 the standing committee took stock of the progress made by each
jurisdiction and the Australian Government towards achieving the desired
outcomes of the native vegetation framework, and worked on framework
revisions.
The new framework will reflect desired vegetation management outcomes and
current and future best practice policy, legislation and other measures for the
management of Australia’s native vegetation, to assist in achieving the national goal
of reversing the long-term decline in the quality and extent of Australia’s native
vegetation.

Native vegetation assessment


In 2005–06 the department continued to improve the National Vegetation
Information System, comprising maps of Australia’s major vegetation types. This
work is jointly shared with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.
This year the department produced a new national map of Australia’s major
vegetation types and updated other products, with help from a number of
Australia’s leading vegetation information experts. The map substantially improves
the quality of information available on the distribution of native vegetation
communities, but currently the National Vegetation Information System cannot
be used to assess changes in vegetation over time. To do this will require regular
‘snap-shots’ of native vegetation across the continent.
A priority for the Australian Government in improving the system’s capacity to
monitor changes in the amount of vegetation cover over time is to encourage all
states and territories to regularly assess changes in vegetation communities. This is
only being done in jurisdictions where it is required by legislation or government
policy.

52 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


An insight into changes in Australia’s native vegetation cover can be gained from
the department’s National Carbon Accounting System. This system uses satellite
data to provide a continent-wide interpretation of changes in forest cover. The
system is nationally consistent and regularly updated, but does not take into

Outcome—1 Environment
account non-woody native vegetation such as grasslands, and so does not provide

Land and inland waters


a complete picture.
The National Carbon Accounting System shows there has been a general reduction
in annual deforestation since the 1980s and early 1990s (see figure below). The
most recent snap-shot is for 2004. Deforestation for that year is estimated to
be around 400 000 hectares across Australia. This represents about 1/400th of
Australia’s forests and 1/1600th of Australia’s native vegetation (forest and non-forest).
However the deforestation has been concentrated in particular regions, and it is
within these regions that associated impacts on terrestrial biodiversity are likely to
have been the greatest.

National deforestation 1977–2004

800,000

700,000

600,000

500,000
Hectares

400,000

300,000

200,000

100,000

000
1977
1978
1979
1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004

Year

Source: AGO, NCAS Deforestation (version 2, May 2006)

53
Indicators for native vegetation
This year the department has been working with other stakeholders to develop
nationally agreed indicators for monitoring and evaluation of native vegetation and
apply the indicators. Progress this year includes:
Outcome—1 Environment
Land and inland waters

• agreement on three national indicators for native vegetation extent


• development of baseline and change information on vegetation cover in the
National Vegetation Information System
• interim national indicators for native vegetation condition, and pilot studies to
test the indicators in the Northern Territory and New South Wales.
Work is continuing through the National Land and Water Resources Audit to
encourage national uptake of these indicators for reporting purposes.

Environmental aspects of forest agreements


The Department of the Environment and Heritage helps to negotiate conservation
objectives and monitor the environmental outcomes of Regional Forest
Agreements between the federal and state governments during annual and five-
yearly reviews. The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has primary
responsibility for overseeing the 20-year agreements.

Tasmanian Community Forest Agreement


In 2005–06 the department began implementing the environmental aspects of
the Tasmanian Community Forest Agreement including the Forest Conservation
Fund, Tarkine Bushwalk Programme, Tasmanian Forest Tourism Development
Programme, Tasmanian Devil Facial Tumour Programme, and River Catchment
Water Quality Initiative.
The Australian and Tasmanian governments are investing $250 million over six
years (2004–2010) through the Tasmanian Community Forest Agreement to
enhance the protection of Tasmania’s forest environment and to promote growth
in the Tasmanian forest industry. The agreement includes a substantial increase
in protection of old growth forests in reserves, a new programme of incentives
to protect forest on private land, and an end date for clearing native forest. As a
result, Tasmania is developing new statutory measures to prevent the clearing
of rare and threatened non-forest vegetation communities. Forest clearing and
conversion to plantations will cease on public land by 2010 and on private land
by 2015.

Forest Conservation Fund


This year the department prepared implementation plans, and formed a joint
steering committee and stakeholder advisory group for the Forest Conservation Fund.

54 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


The Forest Conservation Fund replaces the Tasmanian Private Forest Reserves
Programme, which ceased in June 2006. Private landowners can sign up to
conserve forests on their land through the new Forest Conservation Fund.
The Forest Conservation Fund will protect up to 45 600 hectares of forested

Outcome—1 Environment
Land and inland waters
private land. The fund will target up to 25 000 hectares of old growth forest
and forest communities that are under-reserved. The fund includes $3.6 million
to reserve up to 2 400 hectares of forest in the Mole Creek area, an area of
spectacular ‘karst’ or limestone cave country.

Tasmanian Forest Tourism Development Programme


The Australian Government is providing funds over two years to support the
development of tourism and recreation in Tasmania’s forests, including $1 million
for the Tarkine Bushwalk Programme and $2 million to improve visitor facilities in
the new reserves created under the Tasmanian Community Forest Agreement.
In 2005–06 the department prepared implementation plans and formed a joint
steering committee and stakeholder advisory group to provide infrastructure for
bushwalking in the Tarkine area.

Tasmanian devil facial tumour


The Australian Government is providing $2 million over two years (2005–2007)
to accelerate research into finding a cure for the Tasmanian devil facial tumour
disease. First detected in Tasmania in the mid-1990s, the disease is a fatal cancer
that has killed some 30–50 per cent of the wild population of Tasmanian devils.
Research commissioned in 2004–05 suggests that the tumour disease is caused
by abnormal cells transferred between the devils during fights. Research to be
undertaken for the programme includes genetic and toxicological investigations
to assess the level of chemicals within the devils’ tissue, transmission trials, captive
management, and mapping and monitoring of populations.
The impact of the facial tumour disease prompted the listing in July 2006 of the
Tasmanian devil as a vulnerable species under the Environment Protection and
Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

55
Case studies: addressing threats posed by pests and diseases

Pests and diseases have a major impact on Australia’s environment,


Outcome—1 Environment

threatening individual species and reducing overall species abundance


Land and inland waters

and diversity. The department is working with the states and territories to
reduce the impact of pests and diseases on Australia’s native plants, animals,
and agriculture.
One of Australia’s highest priority
pest species is the cane toad. It now
has a range across Queensland, the
Northern Territory and northern
New South Wales. The Australian
Government is working with the
Western Australian and Northern
Territory governments and
community groups to stop cane
The first cane toads were discovered in toads from crossing the border into
Kakadu National Park in April 2001.
Western Australia and from entering
Cane toads are now evident throughout
Kakadu. Photo: Kakadu National Park certain areas such as Tiwi Islands
collection in the Northern Territory. Control
measures include trapping and
monitoring and public awareness campaigns to reduce the number of toads
‘hitching’ a ride in motor vehicles.

Tasmanian devil facial tumour disease


is a contagious cancer that has led to
severe declines in local populations
of the Tasmanian devil and a
substantial decline in the species’
numbers overall. Scientists began
investigating the possible causes and
means of transmission, with results
to date indicating the disease spreads
Tasmania devil. Photo: Dave Watts by the transmission of cancerous
cells, possibly when devils bite each
other. Uninfected devils are being bred to start an ‘insurance’ population of
devils on the mainland. The Tasmanian Government began trials to create
disease-free sanctuaries, including testing to develop a barrier across the
neck of the Tasman Peninsula.

56 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


River Catchment Water Quality Initiative
The River Catchment Water Quality Initiative will provide $1 million over two
years to assess the impact of chemical use on water quality in Tasmania’s river
catchments. A contract between the Australian and Tasmanian governments was

Outcome—1 Environment
Land and inland waters
signed in May 2006. The first stage of the contract will identify the nature and
extent of agricultural and forestry chemical usage in Tasmanian river catchments.

Rangelands conservation
The department continued to promote conservation and sustainable management
of Australia’s rangelands, which cover around 75 per cent of the Australian
continent and include such widely varied ecosystems as tropical savannas,
woodlands, shrublands and grasslands.
The department invested $565 000 from the national component of the Natural
Heritage Trust in the Australian Collaborative Rangelands Information System, the
Rangelands Best Practice Summary Series, incentives to encourage biodiversity
conservation, and other activities.
The Australian Collaborative Rangelands Information System is a national reporting
system that brings together information about natural resources and biodiversity
in rangelands, which is held by government agencies and other organisations. The
information helps property and natural resource managers and regional decision-
makers to make management decisions based on the best understanding of
changes in environmental condition, and is used for national reporting.
The system has been tested in five pilot regions (Gascoyne–Murchison, WA;
Gawler bioregion, SA; Darling–Riverine Plains bioregion, NSW; Desert Uplands
bioregion, Queensland; and the Victoria River District, NT) for the quality of the
information and its capacity to bring it together into a national picture. These
regions have a combined area of 1 030 960 square kilometres, approximately
16.2 per cent of the rangelands and 13.4 per cent of Australia. The results have
given researchers some insight into methods which help address one of the major
challenges facing rangelands managers—how to distinguish short-term seasonal
influences from permanent and adverse environmental change resulting from
poor management practice.
The department is producing a series of summary reports on managing
biodiversity in the rangelands. Titles released to date are Management of total
grazing pressure; Fire management; Assessing financial and environmental
impacts of management options; and Industry guidelines for sustainability.
Further titles in the series will address biodiversity monitoring, weeds, feral
animals, and water management. These are expected to be available by
September 2006 in time for the national conference of the Australian
Rangelands Society.

57
Copies of the summary reports can be obtained from the Department of the
Environment and Heritage Community Information Unit. All reports can be
downloaded from the departmental website at www.deh.gov.au/land/management/
rangelands/.
Outcome—1 Environment
Land and inland waters

Conservation incentives
With 63 per cent2 of Australian land in private ownership, efforts are being made to
extend protection of biodiversity to private land. The department offers incentives
for landholders to conserve biodiversity on private land. Eligible landholders can
access Natural Heritage Trust funding or Australian Government tax incentives in
return for entering into formal conservation agreements such as covenants.
There are currently 10 covenanting programmes approved by the Minister for
the Environment and Heritage for the purposes of the Income Tax Assessment
Act 1997. The role of these programmes is to enter into conservation covenants
with individual landholders. During 2005–06 these programmes entered into 227
perpetual covenants with landholders protecting 67 854 hectares of private land.
The department is leading a project to investigate the potential for a market-based
approach to improve conservation on both pastoral properties and Indigenous
managed rangelands. The project is field-testing a rating scale for natural resource
condition in the rangelands to use in incentives programmes. The effectiveness of
the rating scale and market options in achieving biodiversity conservation is being
tested in several regions. The project is due for completion in late 2006.
The department commenced a review of the revolving fund model developed
under the national component of the Natural Heritage Trust. The performance
of both the individual contracts and the model as a whole is being reviewed.
Revolving funds buy properties containing high conservation values, protect the
high conservation values through a conservation covenant, and resell the property.
The funds are managed by specialist non-government organisations.

Environmental aspects of water reform


The department leads on environmental water matters and the urban water
reform outcomes of the National Water Initiative, in particular those being
progressed by the Environment Protection and Heritage Council (a council of
government ministers responsible for environment and heritage protection
matters). The department is also responsible for national policy and regulatory
activities regarding Ramsar wetlands and for the Australian Government Water
Fund’s Community Water Grants which are administered in conjunction with the
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

2 http://www.ga.gov.au/education/facts/tenure.htm

58 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


National Water Initiative
At the June 2004 meeting of the Council of Australian Governments the Prime
Minister and premiers agreed to establish the National Water Initiative, a blueprint
for Australia’s water reform. The initiative sets out actions to be implemented over

Outcome—1 Environment
Land and inland waters
the next 10 years.
The initiative includes a commitment to return over-allocated water to river and
groundwater systems identified as having important conservation value to ensure
the systems are protected and water levels are maintained. It also includes a
commitment to ensure water allocated to meet environmental and other public
benefit outcomes will be given at least the same degree of security as water
allocated to other users.
The National Water Initiative includes actions on urban water reform. Urban water
reform aims to ensure safe and reliable water supplies, while increasing efficiency
and encouraging recycling and innovation in water supply sourcing, treatment,
storage and discharge.

The Living Murray Initiative


The department manages the Australian Government’s responsibilities for
environmental aspects of The Living Murray Initiative. The Department of
Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry administers the funding for The Living Murray
Initiative and the Murray–Darling Basin Commission.
The Murray–Darling Basin covers one-seventh of the Australian continent and
generates about 40 per cent of the national income derived from agriculture and
grazing. Water storage and regulation have affected the natural flow cycles of rivers
and groundwater in the Murray–Darling Basin.
The Australian Government has committed $200 million over five years
(2004–2009) to recover water for the environment. The Living Murray Initiative
‘first step’ agreement aims to recover up to 500 gigalitres of water per year for
six icon sites in the Murray–Darling Basin: Barmah–Millewa Forest, Gunbower–
Koondrook Pericoota Forests, Hattah Lakes, Chowilla Floodplain (including
Lindsay–Wallpolla), the Murray Mouth Coorong and Lower Lakes, and the
Murray River Channel. Five of these sites include Ramsar-listed wetlands. The
first step agreement also includes a $150 million programme of capital works
and complementary actions to effectively manage the water and maximise
environmental outcomes.
In 2005–06 the Australian Government committed an additional $500 million over
five years to the Murray–Darling Basin Commission to accelerate implementation
of The Living Murray and other important actions across the Murray–Darling Basin
such as salinity mitigation.

59
In 2005–06 over
36 000 hectares of the
River Murray system
including Living Murray
Outcome—1 Environment

icon sites were watered


Land and inland waters

using water from


state environmental
allocations, surplus
flows and flows from the
Snowy environmental
account. Effective
watering was achieved
by flow enhancement,
Nankeen night heron nestlings. weir manipulation,
Photo: R. Jaensch, Wetlands International regulation of creeks
and channels, pumping
and managed barrage
release. This year nankeen night heron bred in Barmah Forest for the first time in
40 years, and silver perch successfully spawned. Vegetation communities, including
river red gum, also responded well to the additional water.
The Australian Government also provided $687 000 to recover water for
emergency watering of river red gums and associated activities in Victoria, and
$650 000 for watering river red gums, wetlands and floodplains in South Australia,
and to support initiatives to encourage water donations. This funding was matched
by state jurisdictions.
More information is available at www.thelivingmurray.mdbc.gov.au.

High conservation value aquatic ecosystems


As part of the National Water Initiative governments have agreed to identify and
provide for the effective management of Australia’s high conservation value aquatic
ecosystems. In November 2005 the Natural Resource Management Ministerial
Council agreed to establish a high level strategic task group to oversee the
development of a national framework. The department chairs this group.

Interaction between surface- and ground-water


In 2005–06 the department invested $25 000 from departmental funds and the
national component of the Natural Heritage Trust to research the response of
groundwater-dependent ecosystems to changes in water availability. Groundwater
sustains a range of natural habitats and is extensively used for urban water
supplies, agriculture, irrigation, industry and mining.

60 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Urban water reform
The department is progressing urban water reforms under the National Water
Initiative including the continued implementation of the National Water Quality
Management Strategy. The Environment Protection and Heritage Standing

Outcome—1 Environment
Land and inland waters
Committee and the Natural Resource Management Steering Committee formed
the Joint Steering Committee on Water Sensitive Cities to progress key elements
of the National Water Initiative focusing on innovative urban design and planning.
The department chairs this committee.

National guidelines on water quality


To date the department has produced 21 national guidelines for managing key
elements of the water cycle such as the Australian drinking water guidelines,
2004 and Australian and New Zealand guidelines for fresh and marine water
quality, 2000.
The department is working with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and
Forestry, and state and territory agencies, to develop new guidelines for water
recycling.
Guidelines on the use of recycled sewage and grey water are being revised in light
of comments received during the public consultation process. They are due for
release in late 2006. Guidelines for recycling storm water and managing aquifer
recharge and recycled water for drinking are in the early stages of development.
The department is leading the development of national guidelines for customer
water accounts that compare their water use to that of equivalent households.
These guidelines will assist water utilities to provide water accounts that better
enable customers to assess their water consumption. The draft guidelines are to be
released for comment in the second half of 2006.

Water resource accounting


In 2005–06 the department contributed to work undertaken by the National Water
Initiative Committee to develop guidelines for a national water accounting system.
Water accounting is a key area of investment under the Australian Government’s
Raising National Water Standards Programme. This programme aims to ensure
that adequate measurement, monitoring and reporting systems are in place in all
jurisdictions to support public and investor confidence in the amount of water
being traded, extracted for consumptive use, and recovered and managed for
environmental and other public benefit outcomes.

61
Community Water Grants
Community Water Grants are part of the Australian Government’s $2 billion
Australian Government Water Fund. Community Water Grants fund practical,
on-ground projects to save water. The department jointly administers the
Outcome—1 Environment
Land and inland waters

programme with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.


Community groups, schools, local government, catchment management
authorities, environmental groups and non-government organisations as well
as individuals and businesses are eligible for grants of up to $50 000 each. To be
successful applicants must be able to demonstrate very high public benefit.
Following a demonstration round in early 2005, the first open round of
Community Water Grants was launched on 30 June 2005. Close to 5 000
applications were received making the assessment process highly competitive.
In March 2006 the Australian Government approved 1 750 water saving projects,
which will share over $55 million. Projects worth $46 million were funded in
2005–06. The projects are expected to save approximately 18 500 megalitres
of water each year as well as rehabilitating about 15 000 hectares of land.
Communities will contribute more than $61 million, including 345 000 hours of
volunteer time, to ensure the success of their projects.
The department is at the forefront of electronic programme management with
Community Water Grants. Applications are assessed and ranked in a database
against the programme’s merit criteria, which include value for money and
amount of water saved. Any projects with a potential risk to human health or the
environment are independently reviewed by experts.
Further developments in the online form, database merit assessment, electronic
contract management, and project tracking and reporting are expected to halve
the time for processing applications and projects next year.
More information on Community Water Grants is available at
www.communitywatergrants.gov.au/.

62 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Helping communities to conserve water
Australia is the driest inhabited continent in the world and yet Australians are amongst the highest water
users in the world. The government is working with communities to reduce water consumption and protect
water quality.

Outcome—1 Environment
The Australian Government’s $200 million Community Water Grants programme offers grants of up to

Land and inland waters


$50 000 to help local community organisations save, recycle or improve the health of their local water
resources. To date the government has funded 1 777 projects (1 750 in 2005–06) with projected water
savings totalling 18 500 megalitres per year.

Dapto Community
Farm, Dapto
Repairing
the irrigation
system at Dapto
Community Farm
All project locations
will save 5 mega-
Featured facilities
litres of water
per year.
Grant: $39 734

City of Bunbury, Yates Piggery, Ballarat Christian Friends of Judd


Bunbury Kimba School, Ballarat Park, Nubeena
Installing a Filtering and Ballarat Christian The Friends
weather station to reusing the water School and the of Judd Park
control irrigation used to flush the local church are working
for the City of sheds at Yates community will with their local
Bunbury will save Piggery will build a retention community to
50 megalitres of reduce effluent basin, pollutant develop a scheme
water per year. discharged into trap and wetlands for treating
Grant: $45 287 the environment that will help stop stormwater
and save 4 the build-up of before it enters
megalitres of silt and improve the environment
water per year. the quality of of Parson’s Bay.
Grant: $10 443 water entering the Grant: $12 207
Yarrowee River.
Grant: $41 214

63
Wetlands of national and international importance
Australia’s wetlands protect our shores from wave action, reduce the impacts of
floods, absorb pollutants, and provide habitat for birds, animals, and plants. They
are historically important and often have significant cultural values.
Outcome—1 Environment
Land and inland waters

Some of Australia’s wetlands have been adversely impacted by urbanisation,


irrigation development and other development activities. Altered flooding and
drying regimes have adversely affected many wetlands.
The department is responsible for implementing the Convention on Wetlands of
International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat (the Ramsar Convention).
The department also administers the Environment Protection and Biodiversity
Conservation Act 1999 provisions for Ramsar wetlands.
To date, 7.3 million hectares of wetland are listed under the Ramsar Convention.
Of these wetlands, 82 per cent have management plans in operation.

New national implementation framework


The department is working with the states and territories on a new strategic
framework to support improved implementation of the Ramsar provisions of the
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
The framework will include guidelines for nominating a site for listing under the
convention and for reviewing the status and condition of listed Ramsar sites.
This year the department made significant progress towards standardising
methods for describing the ecological character of wetlands. Following a successful
national workshop attended by key wetland scientists and managers a guideline
will be developed for use nationally. This work is leading the field internationally
and will provide a valuable tool to document and manage internationally and
nationally important wetlands.
The department is compiling a wetlands inventory with the National Land and
Water Resources Audit and state and territory agencies. The inventory will
document the location and extent of Australia’s wetlands and include information
on their attributes and values. These data will be publicly accessible and will help
guide wetlands conservation, wise use and management, and wetlands restoration.
More information is available at www.deh.gov.au/water/wetlands/index.html.

Lake Eyre Basin Intergovernmental Agreement


The Lake Eyre Basin is an area of more than one million square kilometres
covering almost 17 per cent of Australia. Although cattle grazing, tourism and
natural gas production have had some impact on the landscape of the basin, all in
all the catchments supplying water to Lake Eyre are relatively pristine.

64 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


This year the department continued to work with South Australia, Queensland and
the Northern Territory to protect the Lake Eyre Basin through the Lake Eyre Basin
Intergovernmental Agreement. The agreement will be reviewed in late 2006.
In 2005–06 an atlas of the hydrology of the Lake Eyre Basin was completed. The

Outcome—1 Environment
Land and inland waters
atlas provides a stronger scientific base for management and will inform the new
Lake Eyre Basin Rivers Assessment Project. The key findings of the hydrological
atlas have been summarised in a 12-page brochure, which is available from the
department’s Community Information Unit on 1800 803 772.
The rivers assessment project will examine the condition of the Lake Eyre
catchment, monitor potential impacts from future water development activities
and protect the rivers of the basin from long-term decline. In 2005–06 three
gauging stations were installed in the Georgina, Burke and Diamantina rivers. The
gauging stations are monitoring surface water and communicating data to resource
managers via satellite.

International activities
The department is responsible for Australia’s whole-of-government response to
the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. The convention provides
the framework for Australia’s biodiversity policies, particularly the National
Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (1993).
An internal review of Australia’s strategic interests and priorities under the
Convention on Biological Diversity was completed in 2005. The outcomes
of the review enabled the government to refine strategies to manage the
convention’s expanding agenda of complex cross-cutting issues, such as trade
and the environment, and agricultural biodiversity. Australia worked closely with
like-minded countries to secure practical outcomes and decisions at the major
convention meetings, including the 8th meeting of the convention’s decision-
making body, the conference of the parties, which was held in Brazil in
March 2006.
The department is also responsible for Australia’s whole-of-government response
to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, which provides a
framework for Australia’s technical assistance to developing countries combating
the environmental, social and economic consequences of land degradation
and desertification. Australia reinforced its emphasis on designing practical
programmes of work under this convention during major meetings in 2005–06,
especially the 7th conference of parties, which was held in Kenya in October 2005.
The convention is the international focal point for the 2006 International Year
of Deserts and Desertification, which in Australia is being marked by the 2006
Australian Rangelands Conference.

65
Land and water investments
The department invests through the Natural Heritage Trust in conserving
Australia’s land and inland water resources.
Outcome—1 Environment
Land and inland waters

The Department of the Environment and Heritage receives the annual


appropriation for the Natural Heritage Trust. The department and the Department
of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry have a cross-portfolio arrangement for the
administration of the Natural Heritage Trust and the National Action Plan for
Salinity and Water Quality. The arrangement enables both departments to deliver
the Natural Heritage Trust through a joint Australian Government Natural Resource
Management Team. A board made up of the Minister for the Environment and
Heritage and the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry administers the
Natural Heritage Trust.

Administration of the Natural Heritage Trust


The $3 billion Natural Heritage Trust was established by the Australian Government
in 1997 to invest in activities that help to restore and conserve Australia’s
environment and natural resources. Activities are undertaken at regional, national,
and local scales:
• Actions at the regional scale attract the largest component of Natural Heritage
Trust investment (54 per cent in 2005–06). At this scale communities in
56 regions across Australia develop regional plans and investment strategies
that identify priorities for funding under both the Natural Heritage Trust and
the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality. Federal, state and
territory governments are working together to fund these plans. As at
30 June 2006, Australian Government ministers had accredited 54 integrated
natural resource management regional plans, approved a regional strategic
directions plan, and had agreed to 55 investment strategies as the basis for
government investment.
• Actions at the national scale attract the second largest component of Natural
Heritage Trust investment (39 per cent in 2005–06). At this scale the Natural
Heritage Trust supports government projects that will have a national outcome,
as opposed to a regional or local outcome, including projects carried out
by state and territory governments. These projects are the principal source
of funds for some departmental activities. Project funding covers some
administrative costs including salaries.
• Actions at the local scale attract the third component of Natural Heritage
Trust investment (7 per cent in 2005–06). At this scale community groups can
address local environmental problems through grants of up to $50 000
(GST inclusive) under the Australian Government Envirofund.

66 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


During 2005–06, the Department of the Environment and Heritage provided
$7.57 million to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry under a
purchaser-provider arrangement to fund the administration costs incurred in
implementing the Natural Heritage Trust.

Outcome—1 Environment
Land and inland waters
Detailed results of Natural Heritage Trust investment are provided in the annual
reports of the Natural Heritage Trust and the annual regional programme reports
available at www.nrm.gov.au/publications/#annreps.

Reviews of the Natural Heritage Trust


Eight independent evaluations of the Natural Heritage Trust were completed this
year. Four concerned the outcomes of regional investment covering biodiversity,
significant invasive plant species (weeds), land salinity and sustainable agriculture.
Two looked at the administrative arrangements for regional delivery including
governance arrangements and the effectiveness of bilateral agreements between
the Australian and state and territory governments for the Natural Heritage Trust
extension. The other reports were on the effectiveness of the local and national
investments in the Australian Government Envirofund and the National Investment
Stream.
The evaluations supported the continuation of the national, regional and local
level delivery of the Natural Heritage Trust. In particular, the regional component
jointly delivered with the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality was
found to have promoted a more strategic and integrated approach to natural
resource management across Australia.
Long timeframes are required to achieve changes in the condition of natural
resources. The reports acknowledged this and supported long-term funding
to continue on-ground activities applying established and emerging science to
implement best practice and ensure adaptive management of natural resources.
The challenge remains to complete baseline data and monitor changes in resource
condition. The reports recommended simplifying the programme design and
streamlining accountability requirements.
Two more evaluations are expected to be completed in 2006 on the outcomes of
regional investment to protect coastal and marine environments and the impact of
the national facilitator network on regional outcomes.

Bushcare, Landcare and Rivercare


Investments are also categorised according to environmental outcome as part
of the themes of the Natural Heritage Trust: Bushcare (37 per cent in 2005–06),
Coastcare (18 per cent in 2005–06), Landcare (30 per cent in 2005–06) and
Rivercare (16 per cent in 2005–06).

67
Bushcare, Landcare and Rivercare aim to conserve and restore habitat for native
flora and fauna, reverse land degradation and promote sustainable agriculture,
and improve water quality and the environmental condition of river systems and
wetlands.
Outcome—1 Environment
Land and inland waters

Total expenditure in 2005–06 under Bushcare was $114 million, under Coastcare
was $55 million, under Rivercare was $50 million and under Landcare was
$93 million.

Strengthening Tasmania—Tamar River pylons


During 2005–06 the department managed a $1 million programme to install pylons
at the edge of the North Esk River, a tributary of the Tamar near Launceston,
Tasmania. The project will replace 100-year-old rotting timber pylons with new
ones and rebuild and stabilise an unsafe levy. The work will help improve river
health, boost flood protection and increase recreational opportunities on the
North Esk River. The work is expected to be completed by 30 June 2008.

Support for the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality
The Australian Government has committed $700 million over eight years
(2000–2008) to implement the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality,
building on related work under the Natural Heritage Trust.
The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry is responsible for
administering the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality. The
Department of the Environment and Heritage provides administrative support to
the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry under a purchaser-provider
arrangement associated with a joint Australian Government Natural Resource
Management Team, which also manages the Natural Heritage Trust.
In 2005–06, the Department of the Environment and Heritage received
$1.048 million under the purchaser-provider arrangement for implementation
activities.
Through the joint team the two departments are helping people in 56 regions
across Australia to develop integrated natural resource management plans for both
the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality and the Natural Heritage
Trust. The plans set priorities for controlling salinity and protecting water quality.
Once these plans are accredited by the Australian Government, each region
develops an investment strategy, which is the basis for further funding. All of the 21
priority National Action Plan regions have accredited regional plans and investment
strategies which were developed for the 32 natural resource management regions
that cover these areas.

68 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Detailed results of National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality investment
are reported in the annual reports of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and
Forestry at www.nrm.gov.au/publications/#books.

Outcome—1 Environment
Terrestrial parks and reserves

Land and inland waters


The Director of National Parks is a statutory office established by the Environment
Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. The Director is responsible,
amongst other things, for the administration, management and control of
Commonwealth reserves and for protection, conservation and management of
biodiversity and heritage in those reserves. The Director is supported by staff of
the Department of the Environment and Heritage.

Protected area management


Commonwealth reserves for which the Director of National Parks is responsible
include remote national parks, marine parks and botanical gardens. Kakadu,
Uluru–Kata Tjuta and Booderee national parks are jointly managed with their
Indigenous traditional owners.
In 2005–06 re-branding of Kakadu National Park as one of Australia’s prime visitor
experiences got under way, based on the Shared Tourism Vision for Kakadu
released by the park’s board of management in early 2005. This work is being
developed in close collaboration with Tourism Northern Territory.
The Australian Government provided $1.77 million to fund capital works,
accelerate the development of crucial tourism policies and help deliver new
visitor experiences, to make sure Kakadu regains its place as a prime international
tourism destination. A further $5.45 million was provided for infrastructure and
equipment in Uluru and Kakadu national parks, including a new sunrise viewing
area at Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park.
Detailed information about management outcomes for 2005–06 appears in the
annual reports of the Director of National Parks (see www.deh.gov.au/parks/
publications).

69
Case study: Fox control in Booderee National Park
Outcome—1 Environment
Land and inland waters

Long-nosed bandicoot. Photo: Booderee National Park image collection

Stringent fox control measures


in Booderee National Park are
producing a recovery in native
animal populations, with long-
nosed bandicoot and eastern
bristlebird numbers increasing
strongly. Particularly pleasing
is the re-discovery this year of
the rare white-footed dunnart,
a small marsupial not found
Eastern bristlebird. Photo: Booderee National Park in Booderee for over 40 years.
image collection
The integrity and security of
the park’s natural environment
have prompted studies into the
reintroduction of other species
previously lost from the park.

70 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


National Reserve System Programme
The Natural Heritage Trust’s National Reserve System Programme supports the
purchasing and covenanting of properties to add to the National Reserve System.
During 2005–06 the programme helped to buy or covenant 478 227 hectares of

Outcome—1 Environment
Land and inland waters
land. The 15 properties approved this year include six wetlands, which were poorly
represented in the National Reserve System. The properties contain 42 threatened
or near-threatened communities and habitat for at least 32 nationally threatened
flora and fauna species.
Three properties with significant conservation value acquired for the National
Reserve System in 2005–06 were:
• 56 261 hectares of Tamala Pastoral Lease, Western Australia, located within
the Shark Bay World Heritage Area. The region is one of 34 international
biodiversity hotspots, containing at least 314 species of flowering
plant, including 29 new flora records. This acquisition improves the
comprehensiveness and adequacy of these plant communities in the reserve
system and helps to rationalise the boundaries and improve connections
between reserves in the Shark Bay region
• 455 hectare property at Chauncy Vale, Tasmania. The property adjoins Chauncy
Vale Wildlife Sanctuary and Alpha Pinnacle Conservation Area. It contains
1.9 hectares of endangered lowland grassland, 41 hectares of vulnerable grassy
blue gum forest and 38.4 hectares of vulnerable silver peppermint forest on
sediments. The swift parrot, Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle, masked owl and
clasping leaf heath are known to occur on the property
• 31 hectares at Porter Hill, Tasmania. The property links four existing protected
areas, and contains five forest and woodland communities of high conservation
significance and habitat for the threatened swift parrot and eastern barred
bandicoot.
The National Reserve System now protects 80.89 million hectares across 7 720
protected areas. This represents 10.52 per cent of Australia’s land area. The
National Reserve System Programme has assisted the acquisition of 266 properties
comprising over 6.8 million hectares to 30 June 2006.
An external review in 2006 of the National Reserve System Programme concluded
that the programme is a successful and cost-effective component of the Australian
Government’s efforts to conserve biodiversity.
For more information refer to the annual reports of the Director of National Parks
at www.deh.gov.au/parks/publications.

71
Case study: Boolcoomatta—conservation in the pastoral zone

In March 2006 the Australian Bush


Outcome—1 Environment
Land and inland waters

Heritage Fund3 purchased Boolcoomatta


Station with the assistance of the Nature
Foundation SA4 and the National Reserve
System Programme to create a nature
reserve. Boolcoomatta Station is an arid
outback sheep station in the Olary Ranges
of South Australia with vast saltbush
Oonartra Creek. Photo: P. Taylor and native grassland plains, wetlands
and rugged rocky outcrops. The station
contains important arid ecosystems and
Location of Boolcoomatta,
threatened species including plants such as
Bimbowrie and Plumbago
purple wood and birds such as the plains
wanderer and the thick-billed grasswren.
The Australian Bush Heritage Fund is
managing the property including the
recovery of plant and animal populations
by removing threats and encouraging
regeneration.
The addition of the station to Australia’s
National Reserve System will conserve an
additional 63 000 hectares of threatened
arid ecosystems in the north-eastern
pastoral area of South Australia for future
generations.
Since 1997 the National Reserve System
Programme has supported the restoration
of neighbouring Plumbago Station through
the Bounceback programme and the purchase of Bimbowrie Station by
the South Australian Department for Environment and Heritage. This has
contributed to conservation in the region by increasing the protection of the
habitats of many rare or threatened ecosystems and species.
These programmes and purchases provide a good model for the National
Reserve System operating in the pastoral zone.

3 The Australian Bush Heritage Fund is a national, independent, not-for-profit organisation that acquires and manages land of
outstanding conservation significance.
4 The Nature Foundation SA is a state, independent, not-for-profit organisation that seeks to better protect biodiversity in
South Australia.

72 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Indigenous protected areas

Indigenous protected areas are non-statutory protected areas that form part of
the National Reserve System. The Indigenous Protected Areas Programme helps
Indigenous landowners establish and manage Indigenous protected areas on their

Outcome—1 Environment
Land and inland waters
lands through contractual arrangements between Indigenous communities and
the Australian Government. The programme also promotes the integration of
Indigenous ecological and cultural knowledge into the management of
these areas.
This year the Natural Heritage Trust provided $2.5 million for the programme.
An independent evaluation of the Indigenous Protected Areas Programme was
conducted during the year and will be released in late 2006. Public submissions
strongly supported the programme.
In June 2006 an additional Indigenous protected area was declared on the Groote
Eylandt archipelago in the Gulf of Carpentaria. The Anindilyakwa (Groote Eylandt)
Indigenous Protected Area covers 300 000 hectares of high biodiversity land and
takes the level of reservation in the Arnhem Coast bioregion from three per cent to
12.5 per cent.
The declaration of Anindilyakwa takes the total number of declared Indigenous
protected areas to 20 covering a total of 14 million hectares.

Genetic resources management


In October 2002 the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council signed
an intergovernmental agreement to maximise benefits from the ecologically
sustainable use of Australia’s genetic and biochemical resources while at the same
time protecting Australia’s biodiversity and natural capital.
As part of this agreement, each Australian jurisdiction is establishing a legal
framework for accessing and using genetic resources.
On 1 December 2005, amendments to Regulations under the Environment
Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 about access to biological
resources entered into force. The Regulations control the taking of genetic
resources or biochemical compounds from native species in Commonwealth areas
for research and development.
The department is working with state and territory jurisdictions to ensure their
approaches are nationally consistent. Under an agreement with Biotechnology
Australia, the department is administering $2 million over the period 2004–2008 to
fund this national coordination.

73
Australian Biological Resources Study
The Australian Biological Resources Study funds research and training in the fields
of taxonomy and biogeography. The programme aims to find out what plants,
animals, and other organisms occur in Australia, and where they occur, so as to
Outcome—1 Environment
Land and inland waters

increase taxonomic knowledge needed for the conservation and sustainable use of
Australia’s biodiversity.
Administrative funds
expenditure under
this programme in
2005–06 was $1.869
million. This funding
supported taxonomic
publications and
research. Results will
contribute to the Flora
of Australia Online and
the Australian Faunal
Directory (www.deh.
gov.au/biodiversity/
abrs), which hold data
on 70 900 species, and
other publications.
Taxonomic
investigations this
year included research
into introduced
pests, such as smut
fungi, which causes
diseases to cereals
and native grasses;
Australian Biological Resources Study publications and key species, such
as polychaetes—
segmented
seaworms—which are an important food source for many commercially
important shellfish and fish.
Work continued on the development of the Australian Biodiversity Information
Facility data portal with funding from the Natural Heritage Trust. This portal
will provide access to a wide range of biodiversity data held and maintained by
individuals and institutions throughout Australia. The Australian Biodiversity
Information Facility website has been updated and is at www.abif.org.

74 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Tropical wetlands research
The department’s Environmental Research Institute of the Supervising Scientist
advises on the management of tropical rivers and their extensive associated

Outcome—1 Environment
wetlands in northern Australia. It is a partner in the National Centre for Tropical

Land and inland waters


Wetland Research and publishes a wide range of scientific research on tropical
wetlands and rivers.

Ecological inventory and risk assessment of tropical rivers


Australia’s northern river systems are poorly understood but are often cited as
offering development potential, chiefly for agriculture, horticulture and mining.
The department is investing in Australia’s Tropical Rivers Programme to increase
knowledge about the environmental characteristics of these tropical river systems.
During 2005–06 the department invested $300 000 from the Natural Heritage Trust
to fund the Tropical Rivers Inventory and Assessment Project, administered by
Land and Water Australia’s Tropical Rivers Programme.
The project examines 51 catchments across northern Australia from Broome in the
west of the continent to the top of the western tip of Cape York, covering some
1 192 000 square kilometres. There are three focus catchments, representing each
state or territory within the study region, that are being assessed in more detail.
These are the Fitzroy River in Western Australia, the Daly River in the Northern
Territory, and the Flinders River in Queensland.
The outcome of this work will be an information base for assessing change and
supporting ecological risk assessments of major pressures on the rivers. The
information base will inform and support holistic approaches for management of
tropical rivers and wetlands by the various stakeholder groups in the region. This
project is due for completion in 2006–07.
More information on tropical wetlands research is available at
www.deh.gov.au/ssd/nctwr.html.

75
Results for performance indicators
Performance indicator 2005–06 result
Outcome—1 Environment

Recovery of threatened terrestrial wildlife


Land and inland waters

Number of recovery plans (i) being prepared and (ii) (i) 348 recovery plans in preparation
in operation (ii) 264 plans in operation

Percentage of listed threatened terrestrial species 21% of listed threatened terrestrial species and
and ecological communities with recovery plans in ecological communities have a recovery plan in
operation operation. This increases to 52% when including
plans in preparation

Key threats to terrestrial biodiversity

Number of threat abatement plans (i) being (i) 5 threat abatement plans being prepared
prepared or revised, and (ii) in operation (ii) 9 in operation

Of those listed key threatening processes on the 91% i.e. 10 of 11. The 11th plan is being developed
land that require a threat abatement plan, the
percentage that have threat abatement plans in
operation

Native vegetation (including forests)

Percentage change in native vegetation cover, Estimated to be less than 1%. The trend in loss
using the National Carbon Accounting System of native vegetation cover since the early 1990s is
likely to be declining

Protected wetlands

Area of Ramsar-listed wetlands 7.3 million hectares

Percentage of Ramsar-listed wetlands with Of the Ramsar listed wetlands, 82% have
management plans in operation management plans in operation

Australian national parks and other terrestrial protected areas

Area of land protected and managed through the 20.6 million hectares (0.48 million hectares added
National Reserve System Programme (NRSP), in 2005–06)
including area of declared Indigenous protected
areas

Percentage of protected areas (other than 87.5%. This percentage is for properties acquired
Indigenous protected areas) that have been up to the end of the 2003–04 financial year. The
gazetted figure does not include information for the last two
financial years because under the NRSP funding
agreement a proponent may take up to two years
to finalise gazettal of a protected area

76 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Performance indicator 2005–06 result

Australian Biological Resources Study Participatory Grants Programme (administered item)

Number of taxa revised or newly described under 2 355 at December 2005

Outcome—1 Environment
the programme

Land and inland waters


Final reports from administered funding grantees
are due in December each year. The figures
reported in December 2006 will be made available
at http://www.deh.gov.au/biodiversity/abrs/admin/
annual report/index.html

Number of peer reviewed taxonomic information 141 at December 2005


products produced or funded by the programme
Final reports from administered funding grantees
are due in December each year. The figures
reported in December 2006 will be made available
at http://www.deh.gov.au/biodiversity/abrs/admin/
annual report/index.html

Percentage of payments that are consistent with 100%


the terms and conditions of funding (Target: 100%)

Number of projects funded 57 taxonomic research projects

Protecting Australia’s Biodiversity Hotspots (administered item)

Percentage of payments that are consistent with 100%


the terms and conditions of funding (Target: 100%)

Number of interventions to protect identified 19 agreements under BushBids


hotspots

Number of projects funded 3: BushBids (Mt Lofty) Stewardship Initiative


($1.5 million)
BushBids Independent Probity Consultant
University of Queensland Spatial Prioritisation
Project ($110 000)

Bushcare, Landcare, Rivercare, Coastcare(a) (administered item–Natural Heritage Trust)

Percentage of natural resource management 96% (54 of 56) of the natural resource
regions that have an accredited natural resource management regions have an accredited regional
management plan plan. Another region has an approved regional
strategic directions plan

Percentage of natural resource management 98% (55 of 56) of the natural resource
regions that have an approved investment strategy management regions have an approved investment
strategy

Percentage of payments that are consistent with 100%


the terms and conditions of funding (Target: 100%)

Number of projects funded See Natural Heritage Trust annual report and
annual regional programme reports

(a) The natural resource management regional plans and investment strategies address the objectives of all four ‘Cares:
Bushcare, Rivercare, Landcare and Coastcare. Projects can achieve multiple outcomes with expenditure and
outcomes often attributed to two or more of the cares programmes.

77
Performance indicator 2005–06 result

Australian Government’s Community Water Grants Programme (administered item)

Percentage of payments that are consistent with 100%


Outcome—1 Environment

the terms and conditions of funding (Target: 100%)


Land and inland waters

Number of projects funded 1 750 projects approved in round 1 and


approximately 80% received funding this year.

Strengthening Tasmania—Tamar River Pylons (administered item)

Percentage of payments that are consistent with 100%


the terms and conditions of funding (Target: 100%)

A sustainable future for Tasmania—Community Forest Agreements (administered item)

Proportion of Forest Conservation Fund Yet to commence


reservation target met

Improved access to forest areas for tourists Yet to commence

Level of landholder involvement in voluntary forest Yet to commence


reservation programme

Increased private tourism investment initiated Yet to commence


through tourism funding

Area of private land reserved under the Forest Yet to commence


Conservation Fund

Sub-output 1.2.1—Wildlife protection

Percentage of payments that are consistent with the 100%


terms and conditions of funding (Target: 100%)(b)

Percentage of statutory timeframes triggered that 98% of statutory timeframes triggered under the
are met (Target: >90%)(c) EPBC Act were met during 2005–06(d). Details
and reasons are provided in the EPBC Act Annual
Report in Volume 2 – Legislation Annual Reports

Sub-output 1.2.2—Land and water strategies

Percentage of payments that are consistent with the 100%


terms and conditions of funding (Target: 100%)(b)

Percentage of statutory timeframes triggered that > 90% timeframes met in accordance with
are met (Target: >90%)(c) departmental standards

Sub-output 1.2.3—Land and water investment

Percentage of payments that are consistent with the 100%


terms and conditions of funding (Target: 100%)(b)

Percentage of statutory timeframes triggered that Not applicable


are met (Target: >90%)(c)

(b)
Applies to provision of grants programmes funded entirely from the Department of the Environment and Heritage
appropriations for the output.
(c)
Applies to areas that administer legislation, for example reporting timeframes triggered under the Environment
Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
(d)
Includes statutory extensions under the EPBC Act.

78 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Performance indicator 2005–06 result

Administration of the Natural Heritage Trust (purchased output)

All investments approved by Ministers in 2005-06 Funding was provided under financial agreements

Outcome—1 Environment
are provided with funding, in accordance with Trust that reflect accountability, reporting and acquittal

Land and inland waters


accountability and acquittal procedures, to meet procedures
the Trust’s objectives
All approved investments contributed to Natural
Heritage Trust objectives and were consistent with
the priority areas of activity

The number of investment strategies that are 55 of the 56 natural resource management regions
prepared, evaluated and for which funding is have an investment strategy that was evaluated
agreed and specified in financial agreements and for which funding is agreed and specified in
financial agreements
The number of individuals/community groups
supported through Australian Government Through the Envirofund, 1 145 projects (worth
Envirofund grants $20 million) were approved, approximately equal
to number of individuals and community groups
The number of on-ground actions funded by the
supported (4 600 projects funded since 2002)
Trust
For on-ground actions, see the Natural Heritage
Trust annual report and annual regional programme
reports

Investment strategies reflect agreed priorities and Activities receiving funding through regional
delivery arrangements for the Trust investment strategies reflected agreed priorities
and delivery arrangements

Integrated Natural Resource Management 54 of the 56 natural resource management regions


Regional Plans meet agreed accreditation criteria have accredited regional plans and another region
has an approved regional strategic directions plan

The administration of the Trust is consistent The regional components of the Natural Heritage
with comparable grants and natural resource Trust and National Action Plan for Salinity and
management programmes Water Quality are delivered in tandem through the
natural resource management regions, ensuring
consistency in administration
Local level delivery of the Natural Heritage Trust
through the Australian Government Envirofund
informs and is informed by comparable grants
programmes such as the National Landcare
Programme and the Australian Government Water
Funds Community Water Grants

A monitoring and evaluation strategy is in place at A monitoring and evaluation strategy is in place at
each level of the Trust delivery framework each level of the Natural Heritage Trust framework.
Implementation of the strategies has been agreed
with all states and territories

79
Resources
Departmental outputs Budget prices Actual expenses
$’000 $’000
Outcome—1 Environment
Land and inland waters

Sub-output: 1.2.1 Wildlife protection 11 220 11 647


Sub-output: 1.2.2 Land and water strategies 15 524 15 313
Sub-output: 1.2.3 Land and water investments 17 749 20 755
Sub-output: 1.2.4 Terrestrial parks and reserves 50 029 50 962
Sub-output: 1.2.5 Tropical wetlands research 632 466

Total (Output 1.2: Conservation of the land and inland waters) 95 154 99 143

Administered items

Australian Biological Resources Study Participatory Grants 1 869 1 865


Maintaining Australia’s Biodiversity Hotspots 4 124 1 920
Natural Heritage Trust (Landcare, Bushcare, and Rivercare 275 512 257 226
Programmes)
Australian Government’s Community Water Grants Programme
46 210 46 149
Tasmanian Community Forest Agreement
0 5 500
Strengthening Tasmania—Tamar River Pylons
1 000 1 000

Total (Administered) 328 715 313 660

80 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Other annual reports providing information on
this output
Annual report on the operation of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity

Outcome—1 Environment
Land and inland waters
Conservation Act 1999 included in the second volume of this set of annual reports
Annual report of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry at
www.nrm.gov.au/publications/#books
Annual report of the Natural Heritage Trust at www.nht.gov.au/publications
Regional Programmes Report at www.nrm.gov.au/publications/regional-report
Annual report of the Director of National Parks at
www.deh.gov.au/parks/publications/index.html#director
Annual report of the Supervising Scientist at
www.deh.gov.au/about/publications/annual-report/index.html

81
OUTCOME 1—ENVIRONMENT COASTS AND OCEANS
Coasts and oceans
The Department of the Environment and Heritage develops Australian
Government initiatives to protect and conserve Australia’s coasts and oceans and
to ensure their management is ecologically sustainable.

Main responsibilities for this output


Outcome—1 Environment
Coasts and oceans

• Coastal zone management framework Land, Water and


• Coastal water quality and wetlands conservation Coasts Division

• Whale protection in the Australian Approvals and


Whale Sanctuary1 Wildlife Division

Natural Resource
• Coastcare Management
Programmes Division

• Marine bioregional plans


• Marine protected areas
• Marine and migratory species protection,
including whales
• Fisheries assessment Marine Division
• Marine pests management
• International marine conservation
• Great Barrier Reef structural adjustment package
• Marine science

Objectives
Coastal strategies
• Support a national approach to integrated coastal management
• Protect and improve coastal water quality, including the water quality of the
Great Barrier Reef
• Protect the wetlands that filter sediment and nutrients from water entering the
Great Barrier Reef

1 Resources for this activity are reported in the table on page 80 under sub-output 1.2.1 wildlife protection.

84 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Coastal investments
• Deliver coastal conservation investments to communities
Marine conservation
• Increase understanding and conservation of marine biodiversity
• Develop regional marine plans
• Identify new marine protected areas
• Recover threatened species and conserve marine wildlife and migratory species

Outcome—1 Environment
• Manage existing marine protected areas

Coasts and oceans


• Respond to threats to the marine environment from introduced marine pests

Results 2005–06

• The Minister for the Environment and Heritage launched a new


Implementation Plan for a National Cooperative Approach to Integrated
Coastal Zone Management in May 2006. The national plan aims to
protect the coastal environment and safeguard coastal industries and
communities.
• The regional marine planning process was given a statutory base
under section 176 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity
Conservation Act 1999.
• In May 2006 the Minister for the Environment and Heritage announced
government agreement to 13 new marine protected areas for the South-
east Marine Region covering 226 000 square kilometres and creating
the first integrated network of marine parks in Australian waters. When
these are declared, Australia will have about one-third of the world’s
marine protected areas, reinforcing its role as a world leader in marine
environment conservation.
• The department led efforts to promote whale and dolphin conservation,
which included developing a new database to record whale and dolphin
sightings and strandings and a new website called saveourwhales.gov.au.
• Recent research funded through the Natural Heritage Trust indicates
that populations of two out of the five threatened species of large whales
found near Australia’s coastline are increasing.
• The first wildlife conservation plan for migratory shorebirds was made
under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act
1999. The plan will help to ensure the survival of 36 species of migratory
shorebirds.
• The department developed recovery plans for all listed marine threatened
species.

85
Coastal strategies
The department is working with all levels of government to address nationally
important coastal issues.

Integrated coastal zone management


The Framework for a National Cooperative Approach to Integrated Coastal
Outcome—1 Environment

Zone Management is a national agreement between federal, state and territory


Coasts and oceans

governments on how to deal with coastal problems in an integrated way. This


10-year national framework aims to protect the coastal environment and safeguard
coastal industries and communities.
In May 2006 all jurisdictions agreed to the Implementation Plan for a National
Cooperative Approach to Integrated Coastal Zone Management. The Minister
for the Environment and Heritage launched the plan on 23 May 2006 as part
of the national Coast to Coast 2006 conference. To access the framework and
implementation plan online, go to www.deh.gov.au/coasts/publications/framework/
index.html.

Population and planning


Development pressure is a major issue confronting sustainable management of
the coastal zone. Intensified use of and demand for coastal resources can lead to
the loss of coastal habitats, which in turn can lead to declining water quality, loss of
biodiversity and less viable coastal industries.
The department is working with other governments to gather information
about demographic trends along the coast to help manage the environmental
implications of rapid population growth. In April 2006 the department sponsored
the first National Sea Change Conference to support the work of local government
in managing population growth and tourism on the coast.

Climate change
The Climate Change Risk and Vulnerability Report by the Australian Greenhouse
Office predicts that increasing temperature and rising sea levels are two of the biggest
threats to Australia’s coastal zone. These predictions may have serious consequences
for the Great Barrier Reef and other coastal areas within the next 50 years.
The department is working with all jurisdictions to develop a national assessment of
the vulnerability of Australia’s coast to the impacts of climate change (see page 30).
The report can be accessed at www.greenhouse.gov.au.

86 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Acid sulfate soils
Acid sulfate soils occur naturally in both coastal and inland Australia. When
left undisturbed, these soils are harmless. But when excavated or drained for
development, the sulfides in the soil react with oxygen in the air, and form sulfuric
acid. This acid can kill plants and animals. It damages buildings and infrastructure
and can contaminate drinking water and food such as oysters. It is a major
environmental issue for land and water degradation.

Outcome—1 Environment
This year the department worked with some of Australia’s top soil scientists to

Coasts and oceans


produce the National Atlas of Acid Sulfate Soils. The atlas contains a map and
web-based database of the distribution of acid sulfate soils in Australia. It is an
important tool for resource managers to show where to avoid development, and
where the soil will need special treatment to prevent damage to the environment.
The Minister for the Environment and Heritage launched the atlas on 21 April 2006.
To look at the mapping and web-based tools go to www.asris.csiro.au.

Coastal water quality and wetlands protection


The Framework for Marine and Estuarine Water Quality Protection aims to protect
marine and estuarine water from the effects of pollution from the land. The two
main sources of this pollution are agriculture and urban development, which result
in nutrients and sediment being washed into the sea.
The framework addresses the sources of coastal pollution through three linked
programmes:
• Coastal Catchments Initiative
• Reef Water Quality Protection Plan
• Queensland Wetlands Programme.
The department manages these programmes, which fund state agencies, regional
bodies and local authorities to help them tackle water quality issues including
through the preparation of water quality improvement plans.

87
Coastal Catchments Initiative—hotspots

1. Swan–Canning Estuary 15
2. Peel Inlet and Harvey Estuary
3. Vasse–Wonnerup and 14
Geographe Bay 13
4. Port Waterways (Barker 12
Inlet and Port River) 11
5. Port Phillip Bay and Western
10
Outcome—1 Environment

Port 9
6. Derwent Estuary
Coasts and oceans

7. Myall and Wallis Lakes 8


8. Moreton Bay
9. Burnett River
1
10. Burdekin
11. Mackay-Whitsunday 2
4 7
Catchments 3
12. Townsville
5
13. Tully River
14. Mossman–Daintree
Catchments
15. Darwin Harbour
6

Coastal Catchments Initiative


The Coastal Catchments Initiative aims to protect and improve water quality
in coastal hotspots where water quality is threatened by land-based pollution,
including urban and agricultural sources (see map above).
The Australian Government provided $6.211 million from the Natural Heritage
Trust to fund the Coastal Catchments Initiative during 2005–2006. This year the
department used part of this funding to initiate water quality improvement plans
and related interim projects in four hotspots.
The current status of water quality improvement plans and the amount spent on
plans and interim projects in 2005–06 are shown in the table on page 89.
A priority for the Australian Government is to protect the Great Barrier Reef and
Queensland’s coastal wetlands from pollution in runoff water entering the Great
Barrier Reef lagoon. This year work started on four water quality improvement
plans for the catchments of the Great Barrier Reef. These include plans for the
Tully, Burdekin and Burnett catchments and the catchments in the Mackay–
Whitsunday region. These plans will also contribute to the Reef Water Quality
Protection Plan.

88 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


The current status of water quality improvement plans

Hotspot Progress Expected $ spent


completion 2005–06

Mossman and Daintree catchments, Public consultation Mid 2006 0


Great Barrier Reef completed. Final draft
prepared

Derwent Estuary, Tasmania Public consultation draft plan Mid-late 27 273

Outcome—1 Environment
prepared 2006

Coasts and oceans


Peel Inlet and Harvey Estuary, Western Public consultation draft in Late 2006 139 091
Australia preparation

Adelaide’s Port Waterways (Barker Inlet Public consultation draft in Late 2006 80 109
and Port River) preparation

Moreton Bay, Queensland Planning under way Mid 2007 415 000

Port Phillip Bay and Western Port, Victoria Planning under way Mid 2008 212 500

Myall and Wallis Lakes, New South Wales Planning under way Mid 2008 301 818

Swan–Canning Estuary, Western Australia Initiated Mid 2009 1 149 200

Vasse–Wonnerup Estuary/Geographe Initiated Mid 2009 100 000


Bay, Western Australia

Darwin Harbour Initiated Mid 2009 425 000

Great Barrier Reef Coastal Catchments Planning under way Mid 2008 3 094 198
(including Tully, Townsville, Burdekin,
Burnett and Mackay–Whitsunday)

Reef Water Quality Protection Plan


The Reef Water Quality Protection Plan aims to halt and reverse the decline in
quality of water entering the Great Barrier Reef by 2013. The department shares
responsibility for implementing the plan with other government agencies and the
community.
The department partly funds activities under the plan from the Natural Heritage
Trust and from the Queensland Wetlands Programme (see next section).

89
Major projects supporting the plan during 2005–06 included:
• $250 000 to develop simple techniques and guidelines to monitor water quality
and riparian buffers
• $40 000 to support Indigenous involvement in reef water quality, including
developing Indigenous cultural indicators of wetlands and water quality to
allow waterways management in north Queensland to benefit from Indigenous
knowledge
• $10 000 to identify nutrient sensitive zones in the Great Barrier Reef catchment,
Outcome—1 Environment
Coasts and oceans

to better target actions to reduce the impact of nutrients on sensitive parts of


the reef
• initial investment of $145 000 to support water quality information
management modelling and monitoring strategies to provide the best available
information for decision-making.
Research emphasises the importance of addressing land-based sources of
sediment and nutrient run-off. This year the department funded a project to
develop tools that measure the effects of riparian buffers on water quality and
guidelines for riparian buffers. These tools are being adapted for landholders to
use as simple water-quality tests. The department also revised guidelines to assist
natural resource management bodies to include actions that contribute to meeting
the objectives of the reef plan in their regional plans. The guidelines provide
direction and include practical approaches to reducing the amount of sediment
and nutrients reaching the Great Barrier Reef lagoon.
Reef plan partners continue to work with regional natural resource management
bodies on research and extension programmes to improve the sustainability of
agricultural practices. A consultancy is currently looking at ways to better align
natural resource management activities with the reef plan objectives. A report is
due later in the year.

Queensland Wetlands Programme


The Queensland Wetlands Programme is a joint initiative of the Australian and
Queensland governments to support measures that will result in long-term
benefits to the sustainable use, management, conservation and protection of
Queensland wetlands. The programme is funded through two sub-programmes:
• Natural Heritage Trust Wetlands Programme
• Great Barrier Reef Coastal Wetlands Protection Programme.
This year the Natural Heritage Trust Wetlands Programme supported a number of
measures, including:
• a method for mapping and classifying wetlands and a pilot study on the use
of soils information as markers of wetland boundaries. The method has been

90 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


used to map a significant number of Queensland’s wetlands. The information is
also being used to develop a database and information system of Queensland’s
wetlands which will support their management
• customised land management packages for intensively grazed coastal
catchments to balance good pasture management with wetland management
• a scoping study to develop methods for wetlands monitoring, including
indicators for assessing the condition of different types of wetlands

Outcome—1 Environment
• educational and guidance material for schools, tourist displays, landholders and

Coasts and oceans


wetland managers.
The Great Barrier Reef Coastal Wetlands Protection Programme protects and
restores wetlands in the Great Barrier Reef catchment area. These wetlands protect
water quality in the Great Barrier Reef and have significant value as wildlife habitat.

Coastal investments
The Australian Government invests in coastal conservation activities. The
investments are delivered through the Australian Government Natural Resource
Management Team.

Coastcare
Coastcare is that part of the Natural Heritage Trust invested in protecting coastal
catchments, ecosystems and the marine environment. Total expenditure under
Coastcare in 2005–06 was $55 million.
A national evaluation of Natural Heritage Trust regional investment to protect
coastal and marine environments was undertaken during the year to examine ways
to improve the delivery of the programme. The report will be completed in late 2006.
Results of investment are reported in the annual reports of the Natural Heritage
Trust and the annual regional programme reports available at
http://www.nrm.gov.au/publications/#annreps.

Sewerage schemes for Boat Harbour and Sisters Beaches


The department is supporting the Waratah–Wynyard Council in Tasmania to
develop sewerage schemes to improve the water quality of Boat Harbour Beach
and Sisters Beach waterways. Better urban planning and wastewater treatment
compliance measures, including construction of sewerage and wastewater
treatment infrastructure, are being done in both areas. Work funded under this
programme to April 2007 will achieve a major reduction in public health risk by
improving coastal water quality at Boat Harbour and Sisters Beaches.

91
Marine conservation
Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, Australia has rights
and responsibilities over 14 million square kilometres of ocean. This is more than
twice the area of the Australian continent. Within this area live thousands of marine
species, some of which are unique to Australia and all of which contribute to
making Australia a country rich in marine biodiversity.
Outcome—1 Environment

The Australian Government uses the Environment Protection and Biodiversity


Coasts and oceans

Conservation Act 1999 to protect and manage threatened, migratory and marine
species, such as whales, to assess fisheries, to establish marine protected areas and
to develop bioregional plans. Threatened species are listed under the Act.
The department also works with other countries, using international treaties,
agreements and conventions, to protect and conserve the marine environment.

Regional marine planning


During 2005–06 the department finalised a review of its approach to regional
marine planning. Under the new approach, the government will establish
regional marine plans as bioregional plans under section 176 of the Environment
Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. The plans will focus on
meeting the Australian Government’s environmental protection and biodiversity
conservation responsibilities in Commonwealth waters, which are waters generally
between three and 200 nautical miles from the coast. This review process
culminated in the marine bioregional planning process being allocated
$37.75 million over four years in the 2006–07 Budget.
Each plan will describe the region’s key habitats, species, natural processes, human
uses and benefits, and threats to the long-term ecological sustainability of the
region. The plans will give details about the various statutory obligations under
the Act that apply in any region, and will describe the conservation measures in
place, such as those relating to recovery planning for threatened species. They
will provide a knowledge base to inform future decision-making in the marine
environment and identify key strategic actions.
The plans will include regional networks of marine protected areas as part of the
National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas in Commonwealth
waters (see below).

South-west Marine Bioregional Plan


The South-west Marine Bioregional Plan will cover waters adjacent to South
Australia and Western Australia from Kangaroo Island to the mid-west coast of
Western Australia.

92 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


In 2005–06 the department invested $170 000 in collating information on the
ecology of the region and how people are using its resources. The information is
being used to develop a profile of the region describing its conservation, social and
economic values. The profile is the first step in the marine bioregional planning
process and will help to identify conservation priorities for the region.
In 2005–06 the department invested $230 000 in projects to inform the planning
process, including maps locating human uses, management measures and
environmental features in the region, and guidance for identifying significant

Outcome—1 Environment
Coasts and oceans
ecosystem features and understanding human impacts on the environment.

Northern Marine Bioregional Plan


Marine planning has been under way for the waters between the Goulburn Islands
and the Torres Strait since 2002, during which time the department has gathered
a large body of information on the important ocean ecosystems of northern
Australia.
During 2005–06 the department focused primarily on aligning the planning in
the north to the new approach to regional marine planning. The first planning
product, the Northern Marine Region Regional Profile, is well advanced.
In June 2006, the Minister for the Environment and Heritage extended the western
boundary of the northern planning area to the border of Western Australia and
the Northern Territory. This will improve planning arrangements by ensuring that
Northern Territory stakeholders are involved in only one marine planning process
and will also facilitate closer alignment with the Northern Territory’s marine
planning.
Marine bioregional plans are also being developed for the Northwest and East
Marine regions.

Torres Strait
The department helped to develop the Land and Sea Management Strategy for
Torres Strait, which was published in November 2005. This strategy is a key part of
the regional planning process being funded through the Natural Heritage Trust.
The strategy identifies important land and sea assets, issues, information, and
potential mechanisms for supporting Torres Strait communities to manage their
natural resources in a sustainable way. Marine issues addressed in the strategy
include shipping, water quality, ecosystem health and the conservation of marine
species and habitats.
The department provided $200 000 towards the final year of the Torres Strait
Co-operative Research Centre (CRC). The department had membership on
the Torres Strait CRC Board and a direct interest in its research programme
including tasks associated with turtle and dugong population dynamics and catch

93
monitoring, the mapping of the Torres Strait seabed biota, seagrass and seabed
dynamics and sustainable fisheries management.

Marine protected areas


The Department of the Environment and Heritage, on behalf of the Director
of National Parks, manages an estate of marine protected areas that are
Commonwealth reserves under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity
Outcome—1 Environment

Conservation Act 1999.


Coasts and oceans

During 2005–06 $3.421 million from the national component of the Natural
Heritage Trust contributed to the development of new marine protected areas and
the management of the existing marine protected area network.
Some management functions for existing marine protected areas were delivered
by state agencies under service level agreements with the department. The
management budget covered key functions such as research and monitoring, and
compliance and enforcement.
Details are set out in the annual report of the Director of National Parks at
www.deh.gov.au/about/annual-report.

New marine protected areas


In May 2006 the Minister for the Environment and Heritage announced Australian
Government agreement to a substantial addition to the national network of marine
protected areas in Commonwealth waters. Thirteen new marine protected areas
in the South-east Marine Region were identified, covering a total area of 226 000
square kilometres of marine environment off the coast of Tasmania, Victoria,
eastern South Australia and far south New South Wales. This will be followed
by the progressive development of other marine protected areas in Australia’s
remaining four marine regions.
The extended network covers an area two-thirds the size of the Great Barrier Reef
Marine Park. The network will be the first temperate water marine protected area
network in the world. It includes significant examples of key underwater features
such as canyon systems and seamounts, which are biodiversity hotspots.
The new network of marine protected areas was developed in conjunction with
extensive fisheries management reforms being implemented by the Australian
Fisheries Management Authority as part of the Australian Government’s
$220 million Securing Our Fishing Future package (see also Great Barrier Reef
Structural Adjustment Package, page 100).

94 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Candidate marine protected areas

1. Murray (25 808 km2) SOUTH


2. Nelson (6 035 km2) AUSTRALIA
NEW SOUTH WALES

3. Zeehan (19 902 km2)


4. Franklin (671 km2)
VICTORIA
5. Boags (537 km2)
6. Tasman Fracture (42 494 km2) 11

Outcome—1 Environment
7. Huon (9 576 km2) 1 13 12
8. South Tasman Rise (27 683 km2) 2

Coasts and oceans


9. Freycinet (57 603 km2) 5 10
10. Flinders (27 197 km2) 4
3
11. East Gippsland (4 142 km2)
12. Bass Basin (2 931 km2) TASMANIA 9
13. Apollo (1 189 km2)

6 7

Migratory and threatened marine species protection


The department is working to prevent threatened marine species from becoming
extinct and to recover their populations. As part of this work the department
develops recovery plans setting out the actions needed to maximise the chances of
long-term survival of threatened species in the wild.
The main avenue for increasing the protection and conservation of migratory
species is the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild
Animals (also known as CMS or the Bonn Convention). The department has
led global and regional efforts to protect migratory marine species through the
development and implementation of regional arrangements such as the Indian
Ocean–South-East Asia Marine Turtle Memorandum of Understanding.

Recovery plans for listed threatened marine species


Recovery plans must come into force within the time limits set out in the
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Recovery plans
are now in place for:
• great white shark, grey nurse shark, whale shark
• subantarctic and southern elephant seals
• marine turtles
• 10 seabird species
• four handfish species.
A recovery plan for the Australian sea lion is under development.

95
Whale protection
The Australian Government has made whale and dolphin conservation and
protection a priority. The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation
Act 1999 established the Australian Whale Sanctuary2 in Commonwealth waters.
The Act also regulates how people should behave around whales and dolphins.
Recent data from research funded through the Natural Heritage Trust indicates
that populations of two out of the five threatened species of large whales found
Outcome—1 Environment

near Australia’s coastline are increasing. While still much lower than pre-whaling
Coasts and oceans

numbers, the Australian populations of southern right whales and humpback


whales continue to increase. Currently there are around 1 750 southern right
whales and 30 000 humpback whales. The rate of increase for southern right
whales is more than seven per cent per year and humpbacks, which breed at
a quicker rate, are increasing at around 10–11 per cent per year. There are no
current estimates for the abundance of the other three threatened species of large
whales, the blue, fin and sei whales.
In 2005–06 the department developed a database to record whale and dolphin
sightings and strandings. An extensive consultation process led to all states and
territories and the Australian Government adopting the revised National Whale
Watching Guidelines. The fourth National Large Whale Disentanglement Workshop
was held to train managers on how to disentangle whales safely from fishing gear
and marine debris. This year also saw implementation of a new satellite telemetry
buoy that can be deployed to track an entangled whale when sea conditions
prevent immediate disentanglement.
The department released a review of the conservation status of Australia’s
smaller whales and dolphins. The review describes the current status of the
40 Australian cetacean species not listed as threatened, and the conservation
initiatives pertaining to them. The report was prepared in response to a request
by the Threatened Species Scientific Committee for a progress report to assist
with the committee’s review of the eligibility of these smaller cetaceans for listing
as threatened species under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity
Conservation Act 1999.
Project work for whale and dolphin research and conservation activities is partly
funded through the national component of the Natural Heritage Trust. During
2005–06 the department invested approximately $400 000 to improve knowledge of
distribution, abundance and habitat requirements of whales and dolphins.
More information on whale protection can be found in the chapter on Antarctica.

2 The Australian Whale Sanctuary includes all Commonwealth waters generally from the three nautical mile state water limit
out to about 200 nautical miles.

96 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


The department developed fact sheets, posters, cards, wrist bands and a new
website (saveourwhales.gov.au) to promote whale and dolphin conservation.

Migratory shorebird protection


In February 2006 the Australian Government provided $980 000 over two years
from the Natural Heritage Trust to ensure greater protection and conservation
of migratory birds. Part of this funding will be used to implement the wildlife
conservation plan for migratory shorebirds. This is the first wildlife conservation

Outcome—1 Environment
Coasts and oceans
plan to be made under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity
Conservation Act 1999.
The conservation plan sets out research and management actions to help ensure
the survival of 36 species of migratory shorebirds. The plan complements
existing domestic protection measures for migratory shorebirds by strengthening
international conservation efforts. The department established a working group
of experts and government representatives to advise on implementation priorities
and evaluate the performance of the plan.

Sustainable fisheries assessments


The department is responsible for assessing the environmental performance of
fisheries under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act
1999. All fisheries whose products are exported, and all Australian Government
managed fisheries, must be assessed.
The Guidelines for the Ecologically Sustainable Management of Fisheries outline
how the department assesses each fishery. Following the department’s assessment
the Minister for the Environment and Heritage may approve the continued
operation of the fishery, including export.
In 2005–06 the department completed assessments for a total of 25 fisheries,
including seven Commonwealth-managed fisheries and 18 state-managed fisheries
in Tasmania, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australian and South Australia. This
brings the number of fisheries assessed since 2000 to 113. All fisheries assessed
in 2005–06 received export approval. Another eight fisheries were allowed to
continue to export products in the short term while further improvements are
made to their management arrangements. The department expects to complete
assessments of an additional five fisheries later in 2006.
Since 2000, when the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act
1999 came into force, the minister has declared 121 fisheries (113 full-term and
eight short-term decisions) as either exempt from the export provisions of the Act
for five years, or as approved wildlife trade operations for periods of up to three
years. After this time has elapsed the department will reassess the fisheries.

97
Fisheries assessed (2000–present)

120

100
Cumulative total number of
fisheries assessed

80
Outcome—1 Environment

60
Coasts and oceans

40

20

0
2000-01 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06

Years

Since 2000 the Australian Government has used the assessment process to
drive improvements in fisheries management by identifying what additional
environmental protection measures need to be put in place. As a result, fishery
management agencies have agreed on a range of measures to improve their
environmental performance and sustainability. Examples of these improvements
include:
• better data collection and validation across fisheries
• mitigation measures to reduce impacts on protected species.
More information is available at www.deh.gov.au/coasts/fisheries/index.html.

Marine pest management framework


The Australian Government and state and territory governments continued the
work of recent years to establish a permanent National System for the Prevention
and Management of Introduced Marine Pest Incursions. The national system is a
way for government agencies to coordinate their efforts to control or eradicate
new outbreaks of marine pests, including by managing ballast water and biofouling
(marine pests encrusted on vessel hulls and other gear).
The Australian Government committed $6 million over four years (2004–2008)
from the national component of the Natural Heritage Trust for research and
development and other activities necessary to implement the national system.
Project expenditure during 2005–06 was $370 000. Results in 2005–06 from
projects funded by the department include:

98 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


• completion of a scientific analysis by CSIRO and modelling of incursions of the
northern Pacific seastar as part of implementing a national control plan for the
species
• completion of genetic probes to enable the efficient detection and
identification of toxic dinoflagellates (single celled microalgae) and
development of probes for other key pest species
• gathering information on the long-term performance of paints that reduce
biofouling on ships and boats, through paint patch trials on Australian

Outcome—1 Environment
commercial ships

Coasts and oceans


• establishing an international consortium of education and research institutions
to improve marine biosecurity, through a grant to the Australian Maritime
College.

International marine conservation


The seas and seabed beyond the national jurisdiction of individual countries—the
ocean ‘commons’—contain significant biodiversity, much of it new to science,
diverse, unique and fragile. The department works with other countries to
promote marine biodiversity conservation, including on the high seas.

International activities for listed threatened and migratory species


The department continued to build regional and international conservation
partnerships to ensure that Australia’s domestic protection measures for listed
threatened and migratory species are complemented internationally.
The department is Australia’s focal point for the Convention on the Conservation
of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, an intergovernmental convention of
92 countries to which Australia is a signatory. At the 8th conference of the parties
to the convention held in Kenya in November 2005, the department helped
to advance Australia’s marine species conservation agenda by successfully
strengthening the convention’s role in conserving migratory marine species in
Australia’s region.
Resolutions adopted at the conference included agreement to develop a global
approach to conserving migratory sharks, to develop a regional approach to
conserving marine turtles in the Pacific, and to list the basking shark under the
convention. These new resolutions will help to conserve sharks and turtles
throughout their ranges. A new regional conservation agreement for marine turtles
may be in place by 2008, while a new global conservation agreement for migratory
sharks is expected to be in place by 2009.
The department supports the Australian Government’s obligations under the
Japan–Australia Migratory Birds Agreement (JAMBA) and the China–Australia
Migratory Birds Agreement (CAMBA).

99
The department worked with the Ministry of the Environment in Japan and
Wetlands International to co-host two successful meetings in 2005–06 of an
international working group tasked to develop the World Summit on Sustainable
Development Type II Partnership. The partnership will be launched in late 2006.
It aims to promote cooperation among the countries across the East Asian–
Australasian Flyway, and to support conservation of migratory waterbirds and their
habitats in the flyway.
The department also made progress on the migratory bird agreement with the
Outcome—1 Environment
Coasts and oceans

Republic of Korea. The department expects a formal signing ceremony will be held
in late 2006.

United Nations
In February 2006 Australia and Mexico co-chaired the inaugural meeting of a
United Nations working group to study the conservation and sustainable use of
marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction. Australia used this
working group to continue its strong advocacy for a responsible global approach
to the conservation of high seas biodiversity.

Regional collaboration
Australia is helping to improve the management of the oceans of the region
through the Asia–Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) structure. Australia
promoted and supported activities to address marine debris, introduced marine
pests, marine turtle conservation and illegal fishing through the Bali Plan of
Action, which was endorsed at the 2nd APEC Oceans-Related Ministerial Meeting in
September 2005.
Australia is also assisting regional marine conservation and management through
the Arafura and Timor Seas Expert Forum. The forum is one of Australia’s major
partnership initiatives coming out of the 2002 Johannesburg World Summit on
Sustainable Development. It facilitates cooperative research and better information
sharing between governments, scientific bodies and non-government interests in
Australia, Indonesia and Timor-Leste to improve the sustainable management of
living marine resources in the Arafura and Timor Seas region.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park structural adjustment package


On 1 July 2004, rezoning in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park increased the area
of ‘no take’ zones in the park from 4.5 per cent to 33.3 per cent. The government
has since been providing assistance to businesses and individuals affected by the
rezoning through a structural adjustment package. The package has an approved
budget of $86.741 million, but the final amount of assistance provided is yet to be
determined.

100 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


As of 30 June 2006, 1 456 grants totalling $69.30 million had been approved
under the various elements of the package. The largest elements of the package
comprise 122 grants for licence buy-outs totalling nearly $33 million, 116 grants for
Full Business Restructuring Assistance totalling $22.98 million and 492 grants for
Simplified Business Restructuring Assistance amounting to $10.54 million.
On 13 December 2005 the Minister for the Environment and Heritage extended
the deadline for applications under the structural adjustment package from
31 December 2005 to 30 April 2006. On 4 April the minister extended the

Outcome—1 Environment
deadline to 31 May 2006 for applicants impacted by Cyclone Larry, and eased the

Coasts and oceans


information requirements for applicants who lost information due to the cyclone.
On 22 February 2006 the minister announced that the government had removed
the $500 000 cap on Full Business Restructuring Assistance grants. On 26 May 2006
the minister announced a 20 per cent increase in payments for approved
applications for Full Business Restructuring Assistance. These grants will cover
the approved full cost of restructuring a business to mitigate the impact of the
rezoning of the marine park.

Marine science

Marine surveys
In 2005–06 the department, in partnership with Geoscience Australia and the
CSIRO, provided $750 000 for sea time on the RV Southern Surveyor spread across
four voyages. Two of the voyages in 2005 focused on mapping benthic ecosystems
(that is, ecosystems at the bottom of the sea) on the deep continental shelf and
slope in Australia’s south-west to understand evolution and biogeography. The
voyages in this region focused on the Perth Canyon, a unique feature 22 kilometres
seaward of Rottnest Island off Perth. The Perth Canyon is as wide and deep as the
United States’ Grand Canyon, and during summer, blue whales feed on swarming
krill in upwelling zones around its rim. The remarkable marine species recovered
and sea floor images captured during these voyages will inform marine planning in
south-west waters. (See map on page 102).
The third voyage investigated benthic habitats and sedimentary processes, and the
petroleum potential of the East Mentelle Basin. The fourth voyage off the North
West Shelf looked at hydrocarbon seeps and the bathymetry and sedimentology of
this region.

101
Bathymetry map of Australia’s undersea Perth Canyon
Outcome—1 Environment
Coasts and oceans

Source: CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research/Geoscience Australia

102 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Case study: Rottnest Island marine survey

The department, in collaboration with CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric


Research, conducted a survey of the deep waters off Western Australia’s
Rottnest Island to gather information to inform the Australian Government’s
programme of marine planning around Australia’s south-west waters.

Outcome—1 Environment
The survey was conducted from the Department of Fisheries vessel RV

Coasts and oceans


Naturaliste, which spent a week at sea undertaking deep water trawls on
the continental shelf north and south of Rottnest Island.
Four species taken on the
survey were previously
unknown to science and
10 more, which could not
be positively identified,
may also be new.
Fish collected during the
survey were freighted to
Hobart for identification
and their tissues DNA
bar-coded as part of
A new species of stingaree. the CSIRO Wealth from
Photo: Peter Last, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research Oceans Flagship project.
Information learned
during the project will
be invaluable as the
Australian Government
starts work on developing
a marine bioregional
plan for the waters of
Australia’s south-west.
A new species of gurnard.
Photo: Peter Last, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research

103
Ocean Biogeographic Information System
The Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) is an international
federation of organisations and people working to make data about marine life,
from all over the world, freely available over the internet.
In December 2005 the department launched the Australian node of OBIS
(www.obis.org.au). The Australian node, located at the CSIRO Marine and
Atmospheric Research laboratories in Hobart, is a partnership between the
Outcome—1 Environment

department and CSIRO. The node hosts a database that depicts the distribution
Coasts and oceans

and abundance of bird and marine species in the Australian region. The data will
provide a better understanding of what lies above and beneath the ocean’s surface,
including what species are common or rare, where alien invasive species originate,
and where biodiversity hotspots are located. The system is accessible to the public,
and will encourage the sharing of marine data by academics, museums, universities
and industry research bodies.
The Australian node is one of a number to be established around the world, all of
which feed information to the central portal at Rutgers University in New Jersey,
United States. The Sloan Foundation, a philanthropic fund based in the United
States, provided $200 000 to help establish the Australian node.

Oceans Portal
This year the department, working with Australian Government marine science
agencies, completed the Oceans Portal, an online marine database. The Oceans
Portal allows users to pull together information from a number of participating
Australian Government science and information agencies and museums, and to
create a product, such as a map, drawing on this information. The Oceans Portal
currently holds data from the department as well as the Australian Institute of
Marine Science, Geoscience Australia, Bureau of Meteorology, the Royal Australian
Navy and CSIRO. This is the first time information from such a wide range of
agencies can be accessed at one location. The Oceans Portal will be available
through the department’s website at www.deh.gov.au.

104 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Results for performance indicators
Performance indicator 2005–06 result

Estuaries and coastal waters

Number of water quality improvement plans and 4 (Great Barrier Reef Coastal Catchments Initiative)
associated interim projects completed or under
development

Outcome—1 Environment
Number of Australian Government obligations 3 (Great Barrier Reef Coastal Catchments Initiative)

Coasts and oceans


under the Great Barrier Reef Water Quality
10 actions for which the department has direct
Protection Plan either completed or in progress
responsibility are either completed or in progress

Recovery of threatened marine wildlife

Number of recovery plans (i) being prepared and (i) 1 recovery plan being prepared
(ii) in operation
(ii) 7 plans in operation

Percentage of listed threatened terrestrial species 96%


and ecological communities with recovery plans
in operation

Key threats to marine biodiversity

Number of threat abatement plans (i) being (i) 2 plans being prepared or revised
prepared or revised, and (ii) in operation
(ii) 1 plan in operation (protecting seabirds from
longline fishing operations)

Of those listed key threatening processes in the 50% have threat abatement plans in operation
oceans that require a threat abatement plan, the (1 of 2)
percentage that have threat abatement plans in
operation

Fisheries

Percentage of environmental recommendations 25 fisheries assessed in 2005–06


implemented under the strategic assessments of
113 fisheries assessed in total, with a further 8
fisheries management
fisheries having short-term decisions made on them
100% of fisheries needing to be assessed and
granted export approval have completed the fishery
assessment process. However, approximately 5%
of these are short-term decisions which will require
further work during 2006

Integrated management of the oceans

Percentage of environmental actions implemented 30% completed


under regional marine plans 32% under way

105
Performance indicator 2005–06 result

Marine protected areas

Area of Commonwealth reserves and 27 245 378 hectares (includes Commonwealth


conservation zones managed by the Department marine reserves)
of the Environment and Heritage for the Director
Note: Area protected in 2006 has been amended to
of National Parks
reflect latest data available from the Collaborative
Australian Protected Area Database
Outcome—1 Environment

Percentage of protected areas managed by the 100%


Coasts and oceans

Department of the Environment and Heritage for


Management plans are available at www.deh.gov.
the Director of National Parks with management
au/coasts/mpa/publications/index.html#plans
plans in operation

Great Barrier Reef—Representative Areas Programme Structural Adjustment Package (administered item)

The Package measures are effective in The package will be reviewed in 2006–07
assisting fishers, fishery related businesses and
Over 1 000 businesses have received or are being
communities impacted by the rezoning of the
assessed for assistance under the package
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

Applications are processed and payments made Applications have taken longer to assess than
to eligible recipients according to specified anticipated due to their complexity. The rush of
timeframes applications just prior to the closing date has
required consideration of other assessment
approaches in order to complete the assessments
within a reasonable timeframe

Full Business Restructuring Assistance (FBRA) A ‘how-to’ guide was prepared to assist business
applicants are provided with information to assist with applying for a grant
them in developing their applications. FBRA
Fishers were given a datasheet that identifies how
enables restructuring of business operations
much of their fishing was within closed areas and
to assist them to manage the impacts of the
how the licence buy out may assist them which,
rezoning
when used with the ‘how to’ guide and their
financial statements, will enable them to determine
what impact the rezoning has had on their business
Many land based sectors have been assisted with
reports on the impact of the rezoning on their
business which, when combined with their financial
statements, can be used to identify the impact of
the rezoning on their business
Full Business Restructuring Assistance grants to
address the impact of the rezoning on a business

Number of payments made under each As of 30 June 2006:


component of the package 599 Business Advice Assistance grants
122 Business Exit (licence buy out) grants
117 Employee Assistance grants
10 Business Exit (fishery related business)
Assistance grants
116 Full Business Restructuring Assistance grants
492 Simplified Business Restructuring Assistance
grants

106 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Performance indicator 2005–06 result

Coastcare (administered item–Natural Heritage Trust)

Percentage of natural resource management 94% (34 of 36) of the coastal natural resource
regions that have an accredited natural resource management regions have an accredited regional
management plan plan. Another region has an approved regional
strategic directions plan

Percentage of natural resource management 97% (35 of 36) of the coastal natural resource

Outcome—1 Environment
regions that have an approved investment management regions have an approved investment
strategy strategy

Coasts and oceans


Percentage of payments that are consistent with 100%
the terms and conditions of funding (Target: 100%)

Number of projects funded See Natural Heritage Trust annual report and annual
regional programme reports

Development of Sewerage Schemes for Boat Harbour and Sisters Beach, Tasmania

Extent to which the project will achieve All government project objectives have been
government objectives met through the construction of a wastewater
treatment plant at Shelter Point and new sewerage
infrastructure at Boat Harbour Beach to improve
the water quality of Boat Harbour Beach. Sewerage
infrastructure and a wastewater treatment plant
have also been completed for the Sisters Beach
and Lake Llewellyn communities which will improve
coastal water quality

Number of milestones achieved compared with Boat Harbour Beach—all 4 contract milestones
those specified in the contract completed
Sisters Beach—all contract milestones completed
Contract signed with proponent to undertake
stormwater management improvement works

Sub-output 1.3.1—Coastal strategies

Percentage of payments that are consistent with the 100%


terms and conditions of funding (Target: 100%)(a)

Sub-output 1.3.2—Coastal investments

Percentage of payments that are consistent with the 100%


terms and conditions of funding (Target: 100%)(a)

Sub-output 1.3.3—Marine conservation

Percentage of statutory timeframes triggered that A report on compliance with statutory timeframes
are met (Target: >90%)(b) triggered under the Environment Protection and
Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 is provided
in Appendix 4 of the EPBC Act annual report in
Volume 2 of this annual report

(a) Applies to provision of grants programmes funded entirely from the Department of the Environment and Heritage
appropriations for the output (i.e. not those marked administered items).
(b) Applies to areas that administer legislation, for example reporting timeframes triggered under the Environment
Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

107
Resources

Departmental outputs Budget prices Actual expenses


$’000 $’000

Sub-output: 1.3.1 Coastal strategies 5 289 5 561


Sub-output: 1.3.2 Coastal investments 1 898 1 873
Outcome—1 Environment

Sub-output: 1.3.3 Marine conservation 22 038 23 078


Coasts and oceans

Total (Output 1.3: Conservation of the coasts and oceans) 29 225 30 512

Administered items

Great Barrier Reef – Representative Areas Programme Structural 157 157


Adjustment Package
Natural Heritage Trust (Coastcare Programme) 36 879 54 944
Development of Sewerage Schemes for Boat Harbour and Sisters 108 108
Beach, Tasmania
Structural Adjustment Package – Enhancement 4 000 4 000
Structural Adjustment Package – Business Restructuring 28 460 28 460
Assistance

Total (Administered) 69 604 87 669

108 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Other annual reports providing information on
this output
Annual report on the operation of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity
Conservation Act 1999 included in the second volume of this set of annual reports
Regional Programmes Report at www.nrm.gov.au/publications/regional-report
Annual report of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry at

Outcome—1 Environment
www.nrm.gov.au/publications/#books

Coasts and oceans


Annual report of the Director of National Parks at
www.deh.gov.au/parks/publications/index.html#director
Annual report of the Natural Heritage Trust at www.nht.gov.au/publications

109
OUTCOME 1—ENVIRONMENT HERITAGE
Heritage
The Department of the Environment and Heritage identifies, protects and
conserves Australia’s natural and cultural heritage, including Indigenous and
historic heritage.

Main responsibilities for this output

• Identify and assess places for possible inclusion


on the World Heritage List, National Heritage List,
and Commonwealth Heritage List
Outcome—1 Environment

• Advise on conservation and management of


heritage places with Indigenous, natural or
Heritage

historic values under the Environment Protection


and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
Heritage Division
• Administer the Commonwealth’s obligations
under the Convention for the Protection of
the World Cultural and Natural Heritage 1972,
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage
Protection Act 1984, Protection of Moveable
Culture Heritage Act 1986, and Historic
Shipwrecks Act 1976

Objectives
• Identify, protect, conserve and celebrate Australia’s natural, Indigenous and
historic heritage places that are of national and world significance
• Identify, protect and conserve heritage places that are Commonwealth owned
or leased
• Contribute to protection for natural and cultural heritage in the South-East
Asia–Pacific region
• Increase knowledge and enjoyment of Australia’s maritime heritage while
protecting shipwrecks and associated relics
• Prevent Australia’s cultural heritage from being significantly diminished due to
the export of heritage objects

112 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Results 2005–06

• The Minister for the Environment and Heritage agreed in December


2005 to new strategic directions for national heritage, with three key
areas of focus—amending the Environment Protection and Biodiversity
Conservation Act 1999 to focus more on outcomes and less on details
of process, increased emphasis on telling of stories about heritage,
and improving the sustainability of Australia’s national heritage places.
Amendments are scheduled for introduction into the parliament in late
2006.

Outcome—1 Environment
• Heritage ministers, meeting at the Environment Protection and Heritage
Council in June 2006, agreed to a cooperative national heritage agenda.
A package of initiatives, developed over time, will include data gathering

Heritage
and new internet-based heritage information to help ensure that
Australia’s national, state and local heritage systems are based on sound
data.
• This year, 21 places were added to the National Heritage List bringing the
number of places to 31 at 30 June 2006. Three places were added to the
Commonwealth Heritage List, which contained 339 places at
30 June 2006. The Australian Government nominated the Sydney Opera
House to be inscribed on the World Heritage List in January 2006.
• The Biodiversity Assessment Tool, based on the Australian Natural
Heritage Assessment Tool which the department uses when assessing
potential heritage places, received international recognition with officers
from the department being invited to demonstrate the system in Sweden
and Japan.
• As part of a maritime and coastal heritage theme chosen by the Minister
for the Environment and Heritage for 2006, the Australian Government
sponsored the 1606–2006 Duyfken voyage to commemorate the 400th
anniversary of the first European contact with Australia. The Duyfken,
a replica of the first European ship known to have visited Australia, will
stop at 25 ports around the country giving thousands of people the
opportunity to experience a working 16th century vessel.

113
World, national and Commonwealth heritage
Australia’s world, national and Commonwealth heritage places may be of natural,
Indigenous or historic significance or any combination of these types. Heritage
places are important to Australia’s sense of national identity and shared values.
Protecting them benefits future generations as well as the present community.
The Minister for the Environment and Heritage approved new strategic directions
for heritage which place a priority on building the reputation and management
of Australia’s national heritage through a combination of legislative amendment,
increased emphasis on telling heritage stories, and improving the sustainability
of national heritage places. The new strategic directions emphasise a broad
Outcome—1 Environment

engagement of heritage in the life of the community.


The Australian Government’s main legislation for protecting heritage places is the
Heritage

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.


The Act protects the heritage values of places that are included in the following lists:
• World Heritage List: listed places are of global significance recognised under
the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural
Heritage (usually referred to as the World Heritage Convention)
• National Heritage List: listed places are of outstanding heritage value to the nation
• Commonwealth Heritage List: listed places have significant heritage value and
are owned or leased by the Australian Government.
The department manages the processes set up by the Act, provides heritage
listing advice to the government, and advises property managers on their heritage
management plans and strategies. The department supports the Australian
Heritage Council in its assessment, advice and public information and awareness
activities. These activities are largely funded through the Distinctively Australian
Measure ($52.6 million from 2003–2007) and the National Heritage Investments
Initiative ($10.5 million from 2005–2009).

World heritage listings


Only national governments can nominate a place for inclusion in the World
Heritage List. The World Heritage Committee then decides whether to inscribe the
nominated place on the list. Australia now has 16 world heritage areas.
In January 2006 the Australian Government, with the support of the New South
Wales Government, nominated the Sydney Opera House to be inscribed on the
World Heritage List. The nomination argued that the Sydney Opera House is a
masterpiece of human creative genius and therefore has outstanding universal value.
A nomination to inscribe Australian convict sites was discussed with state and
territory governments and key stakeholders. With the support of relevant states,

114 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


the department aims to finalise the nomination in 2007. The nomination will
include the Port Arthur Historic Site and Fremantle Prison which are already in
the National Heritage List. Other sites in the proposed nomination are being
considered for national heritage listing.

National and Commonwealth heritage listings


The Minister for the Environment and Heritage decides whether to include places
in the national or Commonwealth heritage lists. In 2005–06 the minister received 60
public nominations for the National Heritage List, with 21 new places added to the list
(see map below). Three places were added to the Commonwealth Heritage List.
After the second full year of operation of the national and Commonwealth

Outcome—1 Environment
heritage provisions of the Act, Australia had 31 national heritage places and 339
Commonwealth heritage places. All states and territories now have places in the

Heritage
National Heritage List. Most of the places in the Commonwealth Heritage List have
been listed for historic heritage values.
Unless operating under the emergency provisions, before listing a place the
minister must first consider an assessment of its heritage values by the Australian
Heritage Council. The council is an independent body appointed in February 2004
to provide the government with advice on a wide range of heritage matters.

Location of national heritage places listed in 2005–06

1. Glenrowan Heritage Precinct


2. Sydney Opera House
3. Fremantle Prison (former)
4. First Government House Site
5. Newman College
6. Sidney Myer Music Bowl
7. ICI Building (former)
/Orica House 17 14
8. Australian Academy of Science 15
Building
9. Recherche Bay (North East 16
Peninsula) Area
10. Richmond Bridge 3
11. HMVS Cerberus
23
12. Melbourne Cricket Ground 2, 4,19
13. South Australian Old and New 1 8,18, 21
Parliament Houses
14. Tree of Knowledge and Curtilage 5, 6, 7, 11,12, 20
15. Dirk Hartog Landing Site
1616—Cape Inscription Area 10
16. Batavia Shipwreck Site and Survivor 9
Camps Area 1629—Houtman Abrolhos
17. Hermannburg Historic Precinct
18. Australian War Memorial and
Memorial Parade
19. North Head Sydney
20. Point Nepean Defence Sites and
Quarantine Station Area
21. Old Parliament House and Curtilage

115
The council also maintains the Register of the National Estate, which the minister
must take into account when making decisions under the Environment Protection
and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
A departmental review of the National Heritage List in August 2005 concluded that
public nominations alone will not bring forward all high profile or iconic places for
assessment. The Australian Heritage Council subsequently initiated assessments
of places that were not nominated by the public. In 2005–06 the first such
assessments were completed and the places listed by the minister. These were the
Melbourne Cricket Ground, the sites of the 1629 Batavia shipwreck and survivors’
camps, and the Australian War Memorial and Memorial Parade.
The department uses its Australian Natural Heritage Assessment Tool to help assess
Outcome—1 Environment

the natural heritage values of potential heritage places. The department received
international funding from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility to develop
a simple version of the tool to run on the internet for public use. The new version,
Heritage

called the Biodiversity Assessment Tool, received international recognition with


officers from the department being invited to demonstrate the tool to the Global
Biodiversity Information Facility Governing Board in Stockholm in October 2005
and in March 2006 to the National Institute of Genetics in Japan, where the system
has been installed to analyse Japanese biodiversity information.
The Biodiversity Analysis Tool is available via www.abif.org/tools.htm.

Emergency listings
The Minister for the Environment and Heritage can decide to emergency list a place
that may have national or Commonwealth heritage values that are under threat. A
decision to emergency list a place is not necessarily permanent as the Australian
Heritage Council must follow up any emergency listing with a detailed assessment.
During 2005–06 the minister received requests to emergency list eight places in the
National Heritage List. The minister rejected two of these because he was not satisfied
that national heritage values existed. Three were not listed because the minister was
not satisfied that there were threats to any national heritage values that the places
may have. The remainder are awaiting further information from applicants.
Details on the reasons for the minister’s decisions are available from the Australian
heritage database at www.deh.gov.au/cgi-bin/ahdb/search.pl and the heritage
notices website at www.deh.gov.au/cgi-bin/epbc/heritage_ap.pl.

National and Commonwealth heritage management


The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 provides
for the preparation of a management plan for each national heritage place. For
national heritage places not wholly owned or controlled by the Commonwealth,

116 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


the Commonwealth must use its best endeavours to ensure a plan is prepared
and implemented in cooperation with the relevant state or territory. For national
heritage places wholly within a Commonwealth area, the Act requires the
Minister for the Environment and Heritage to make a written management plan
for each such place as soon as practicable after listing or when the place comes
under Commonwealth control. These management plans must comply with
the Regulations under the Act, including consistency with the national heritage
management principles.
In 2005–06 three historic heritage places included in the National Heritage List
were wholly in Commonwealth ownership. Management plans for these places will
be prepared as soon as practicable.

Outcome—1 Environment
This year the department funded a study into whether current management
plans for Australian world heritage places and national heritage places satisfy

Heritage
the requirements of the Act. The study will identify which plans comply with the
requirements and which ones need amendment to make them comply with the
national heritage management principles. A revised management plan consistent
with the national heritage principles is currently being developed for the
Brewarrina Fishtraps.
The Act also requires each Commonwealth agency that owns or controls places
in the Commonwealth Heritage List to prepare a written heritage strategy for
managing those places to protect and conserve their Commonwealth heritage
values. Heritage strategies must be prepared within two years of the agency first
owning a Commonwealth heritage place, or by 1 January 2006, whichever is later.
Six1 Commonwealth agencies completed their heritage strategy within the
statutory timeframe. The department expects a further 18 Commonwealth
agencies to complete their strategies during 2006–07. The department has
reminded other Commonwealth agencies of their obligations.
The minister found the six strategies were satisfactory. These agencies have started
to prepare management plans. The department received one draft management
plan for review in 2005–06.

Productivity Commission inquiry


During the year the department made three submissions to the Productivity
Commission inquiry into the policy framework and incentives for the conservation
of Australia’s historic built heritage. The Productivity Commission tabled its report
in parliament in July 2006. The government will develop a response to the report
in 2006–07.

1 Air Services Australia, Department of Defence, Department of the Environment and Heritage, Department of Transport and
Regional Services, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the National Capital Authority.

117
Cooperative National Heritage Agenda
In May 2002 the Environment Protection and Heritage Council agreed to a
proposal to develop an integrated national heritage policy agenda covering
natural, Indigenous and historic heritage. Work completed to date includes the
National Heritage Protocol, the Action Plan for Reconciliation, and several papers
on heritage incentives and sustainable heritage tourism. While some aspects of
the work have progressed, the overarching policy agenda remains incomplete.
Governments have agreed to step up efforts to complete the policy agenda.
In June 2006 the Environment Protection and Heritage Council agreed to the
Cooperative National Heritage Agenda which will consist initially of the following
Outcome—1 Environment

elements:
Heritage

• consistent heritage assessment criteria and thresholds


• national standards for data collection and reporting measures
• national standards and guidelines for conservation and management of heritage
• a comprehensive national heritage inventory and information portal
• policy innovation including guidance on heritage assistance programmes and
sustainable heritage tourism
• cooperation on heritage promotion and public engagement (e.g. national
themes)
• cooperation on research (e.g. community attitudes, economics and themes).

Indigenous heritage
The department works with other government agencies and the community to
protect the cultural heritage of Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders. This
work includes providing advice on proposals referred under the Environment
Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, supporting projects for the
identification, conservation or promotion of Indigenous heritage, and providing
emergency protection to areas and objects of cultural and traditional significance
in Australia.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act


Under the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984
the Minister for the Environment and Heritage can protect places and objects that
have a traditional significance for Indigenous peoples from threats of injury or
desecration. This is ‘last resort’ protection that may only be given when there is no
effective protection under state or territory laws.

118 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Since 1987 Aboriginal cultural heritage in Victoria has been protected under Part
IIA of the Act. These are special provisions that apply only to Victoria. They are
administered by the Victorian Minister for Aboriginal Affairs (with powers delegated
from the Australian Government Minister for the Environment and Heritage).
During the year the department worked with the Victorian Government on
legislative amendments to transfer direct responsibility for primary protection to
Victoria. At 30 June 2006 these amendments were being considered by parliament.
In 2005–06 the department advised the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
on two applications continuing from the previous year, and on six new matters.
The six new matters involved applications for emergency and longer-term
protection to places in the Perth metropolitan area. Four applications related to a

Outcome—1 Environment
desalination plant at Cockburn Sound and two related to a school at Lake Monger.
The matters continuing from the previous year were for longer-term protection of
an area near Broome in Western Australia and for Wongi Waterholes near Hervey

Heritage
Bay in Queensland. After considering the applications, the minister decided not to
make the emergency or longer-term declarations sought in the applications.
The department continued to monitor compliance with a 20-year declaration
under the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984 for
Junction Waterhole in Alice Springs. The declaration will expire in 2012.

Indigenous Heritage Programme


The department administers the Australian Government’s Indigenous Heritage
Programme (formerly the Preservation and Protection of Indigenous Heritage
Programme run by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Services until 2004).
The Indigenous Heritage Programme supports the identification, conservation,
and promotion (where appropriate) of the Indigenous heritage values of places
important to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The programme also assists in the identification of places likely to have
outstanding Indigenous heritage value to Australia; that is, places of national
heritage significance suitable for inclusion in the National Heritage List.
During the year the department received 143 applications seeking a total of
approximately $12 million in funding for the $3.5 million available in 2005–06. The
minister approved the funding of more than 60 projects across Australia, including
identification of Indigenous heritage, conservation of Indigenous heritage sites,
small-scale Indigenous heritage related business activities, construction of places
for keeping Indigenous heritage items and sharing Australian Indigenous heritage.
Examples of funded projects in 2005–06 include $50 000 for a management plan
to conserve and rehabilitate the Brewarrina Fish Traps (New South Wales);
$90 363 to identify and record Indigenous heritage sites on Jawoyn lands,
including identifying tourism opportunities (Northern Territory); $100 000 for the

119
assessment of cave and engraving sites in Tasmania; and $60 000 for the restoration
of the Karalundi Mission building for use as a museum (Western Australia).
Six Indigenous heritage projects are being supported under the Indigenous
Heritage Programme through shared responsibility agreements with Indigenous
communities. These are agreements for the provision of services to Indigenous
communities under the Australian Government’s new arrangements for
Indigenous affairs, and involve both government and community contributions to
achieve improved outcomes.
The projects are:
• restoration of the historic church at Raukkan community at Port McLeay in
South Australia
Outcome—1 Environment

• development of heritage interpretive material at the Yumba site at Mitchell in


Queensland
Heritage

• set-up of the Brewarrina Business Centre, New South Wales


• development of a tourism business around Gurindji Culture and the Wave Hill
Walk Off Historical Story, Northern Territory
• restoration and fencing of a significant heritage site, archaeological survey of
the Combarngo site, interpretive material and partial salaries for a heritage
tourism officer, Roma, Queensland
• building community connections, capacity and governance structures to
establish a land trust and work towards economic independence through the
use of traditional land, Rockhampton, Queensland.

Restoration of the historic church at Raukkan (Port McLeay) in South Australia, which features
on the Australian $50 note, is being funded by the Indigenous Heritage Programme through a
Shared Responsibility Agreement with the Raukkan community. Photo: Brian Prince

120 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Asia–Pacific world heritage managers
The Asia–Pacific Focal Point for World Heritage Managers is a regional network
of world heritage managers established to share experience, knowledge and
resources between countries in the region (see www.heritage.gov.au/apfp).
Through this network the department supports activities for implementation of
the World Heritage Convention in the Asia–Pacific region.
During the year the department supported six activities and projects, including
funding for an Australian Research Council linkage grant to the University of
Sydney to map the Angkor Wat complex in Cambodia, which will help in the
development of a comprehensive management plan.

Outcome—1 Environment
Regional Natural Heritage Programme

Heritage
The government established the $10 million Regional Natural Heritage Programme
to conserve biodiversity hotspots in South-East Asia and the Pacific in February
2004. Under this programme the department helps countries in the Asia–Pacific
region manage sites with high biodiversity (biodiversity hotspots) and protect
habitats that are under threat. The programme is helping to conserve the habitat
of some of the world’s most threatened species, including the Sumatran tiger and
Vietnam’s black crested gibbon.
The four-year programme provides grants to non-government organisations
and other agencies. Fifteen projects approved in 2004–05 totalling $4.4 million
were implemented during 2005–06 and six new projects totalling $1 million
were approved and implemented. These projects include strengthening local
management of coral reefs in five marine protected areas in eastern Indonesia;
conserving biodiversity in the Sierra Madre Mountain Range, Luzon Island in
the Philippines; conserving the golden headed langur (an endangered primate
species) on Cat Ba Island, Vietnam; conserving the Scott’s tree kangaroo in the
Torricelli Mountain Range in Sandaun Province, Papua New Guinea; conserving
marine biodiversity in Votua village, Fiji; and protecting coral reefs in the central
provinces of Vietnam.

Chinese world heritage


This year the department helped to develop heritage management principles
(the Illustrated China Principles), including a training manual, for application
to two world heritage sites at Mogao and Chengde in China. The department’s
partners in this project are the Chinese State Administration of Cultural Heritage
and the Getty Conservation Institute. The department presented the Illustrated
China Principles at a meeting of the International Council on Monuments and Sites
in China in October 2005.

121
Historic shipwrecks
The department administers the Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976 and the Historic
Shipwrecks Programme. During 2005–06 the department provided $400 000 to
the states, the Northern Territory and Norfolk Island to administer the Act, and
for projects aimed at protecting, preserving and monitoring historic shipwrecks.
Projects include location and protection of the anchor from the French exploration
vessel Le Casuarina, lost at sea in 1803, and a permanent shipwrecks display at the
Low Head Pilot Station museum.
On 14 August 2005, the government announced a grant of $1.3 million to HMAS
Sydney Search Pty Ltd to assist in the search for HMAS Sydney (II), which was lost
Outcome—1 Environment

off the Western Australian Coast in November 1941 along with 645 crewmen.
Heritage

Australia’s maritime heritage


The minister selected coastal and maritime heritage as the theme for 2006 to mark
the 400th anniversary of the first European contact with Australia. This theme will
encourage a better appreciation of the early maritime exploration of Australia
by focusing on the significant heritage places, including European settlements,
Indigenous sites, and Macassan (Indonesian) sites; and the historic buildings,
wharves and jetties, lighthouses, coastal defence installations and shipwrecks that
dot Australia’s coastline.
The department published Great southern land: the maritime exploration of
Terra Australis by Dr Michael Pearson. The book tells the story of the maritime
investigation and mapping of the Australian coastline from the 16 century to the
present day.
This year two places
associated with early
European maritime
exploration were
included in the
National Heritage
List: Cape Inscription
in Western Australia,
where Captain Dirk
Hartog landed in
October 1616, and
the site of the 1629
shipwreck and
The Duyfken. Photo: Mark Mohell

122 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


survivor camps of the Dutch ship Batavia. The Batavia is the oldest of the known
Dutch East India Company wrecks on the coast of Western Australia.
To commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first documented European contact
with Australia when Willem Janszoon and his crew on the Duyfken mapped
350 kilometres of Australia’s coastline, the Australian Government sponsored the
voyage of the 1606–2006 Duyfken replica built in Fremantle in 1999. The 10-month
voyage is providing a rare opportunity for Australians to experience life as it would
have been on a late 16th century vessel and to learn more about our nation’s
important maritime heritage.

Outcome—1 Environment
Protection of movable cultural heritage

Heritage
The department administers the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act
1986. This Act aims to prevent Australia’s cultural heritage from being significantly
diminished due to the export of heritage objects and to protect the cultural
heritage of other countries by preventing the illegal import of significant objects.
The Act supports collecting institutions such as museums through the National
Cultural Heritage Account.
This year the National Cultural Heritage Account supported a number of
organisations including the School of Music at the Australian National University
for the purchase of a circa 1880 Roenisch Concert Grand Piano, and the South
Australian Museum for the purchase of an intact opalised Pascoe ichthyosaur fossil.
In July 2005 seven illegally imported ancient Egyptian funerary objects recovered
under the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986 were returned to
the Egyptian Government. The antiquities date from the Late Period of Egyptian
history and are thought to be more than 2 500 years old. The objects included
Shabtis (small funerary statuettes), amulets (magical charms for protection) and
food bowls.
In September 2005 more than 10 000 illegally imported fossils were returned
to the People’s Republic of China. These fossils included a keichosarus (a small
marine reptile) that is 230-million-years-old, and mammal fossils around two
million years old.
Results for 2005–06 are listed in the report on the operation of the Act in the
second volume of this set of annual reports. The report lists objects acquired with
assistance from the National Cultural Heritage Account, objects assessed during
the year, and objects exported illegally from other countries and imported into
Australia that were returned to their countries of origin.

123
Cultural heritage projects
National Heritage Investment Initiative
The National Heritage Investment Initiative is a $10.5 million grants programme
over four years beginning in 2005–06. The programme provides assistance to restore
and conserve Australia’s important historic heritage places. It focuses on places
entered on either the National Heritage List or a state or territory government
heritage register. Funding is not available for places owned by the Commonwealth.
The programme’s first round was conducted in 2005–06, with 373 applications
seeking a total of $58.7 million in funding. The Minister for the Environment and
Outcome—1 Environment

Heritage approved funding totalling $3.6 million for 18 projects, including three
projects for places in the National Heritage List. Examples of approved projects
Heritage

include conservation work on the national heritage listed Newman College, Victoria;
conserving the historic fabric of the national heritage and world heritage listed
Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne; work on the former St Matthew’s Church,
Tasmania; conservation work on Fremantle Prison, Western Australia; and restoration
work on the rare French façade of the Luna Park carousel organ, Melbourne.

Point Nepean Community Trust grant


The Point Nepean Defence Sites and Quarantine Station Area at the entrance to
Port Phillip Bay, Victoria, were entered in the National Heritage List on 16 June 2006
in recognition of their outstanding heritage value. The Quarantine Station is
managed by the Point Nepean Community Trust on behalf of the Commonwealth.
In June 2006 the Australian Government provided $27 million to the trust to
conserve heritage assets at the quarantine station, undertake infrastructure and
building works, and provide for public access and interpretation works. The trust
is working with the Victorian Government to develop a management plan to
protect the heritage values of all of Point Nepean.

Grants for Conservation of Cathedrals and Churches


In 2005–06 grants totalling $11 million were approved for conservation works to six
cathedrals and churches around the country. These consisted of $2 million to St John’s
Cathedral, Brisbane; $2 million to St Mary Star of the Sea, Melbourne; $2 million to
St Mary’s Cathedral, Hobart; $1 million to the Basilica of St Patrick, Fremantle; $3 million
to St Mary’s Cathedral, Perth; and $1 million to St George’s Cathedral, Perth.

National Trust Partnership Programme


The National Trust Partnership Programme supports activities of the National
Trust to increase public awareness, understanding and appreciation of Australia’s
cultural heritage, to enhance and promote its conservation.

124 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


The department paid $842 000 to Australia’s nine National Trusts in 2005–06.
Payments supported the completion of a comprehensive database of endangered
places, leading the International Trust movement to support emerging trusts in
Asia, working on disability standards through the Australian Building Code for
access to heritage buildings, raising awareness of maritime heritage and protecting
significant coastal landscapes. Other projects involved developing heritage
education programmes about National Trust properties for schools and training
volunteers to coordinate and run programmes for schools and the public.

Sharing Australia’s Stories


This programme supports projects that showcase Australia’s distinctive national

Outcome—1 Environment
character and identity, especially projects that show how local stories have
contributed to the great events and themes that have shaped our nation. The

Heritage
first round of the Sharing Australia’s Stories grants programme was run as a
competitive grants programme. In 2005–06 a different approach was adopted for
the second round.
The focus of the second round of the programme was on Australia’s coastal and
maritime heritage. Funds were allocated by the minister to activities that support
telling stories around this theme. A key example is the voyage of the Duyfken,
marking the 400th anniversary of the first European contact with Australia. The
Duyfken will visit 25 ports across Australia during her 10-month voyage and will be
open for tours while in port. The Australian Government is the major sponsor for
the voyage as part of its 2006 coastal and maritime heritage theme (see page 123).

Gifts to the Nation


This programme provides one-off funding for appropriate projects promoting
national heritage stories and newly listed national heritage places as a key
component of the Australian Heritage Council’s public engagement activities.
Gift projects this year included an Australian Government contribution of
$30 000 to a joint French–Australian archaeological investigation at Recherche
Bay in Tasmania; a $100 000 gift to the Western Australian Museum for a range
of products to interpret and promote the national heritage values of the Dirk
Hartog landing site of 1616 at Cape Inscription, and to conduct survey work
associated with the 1629 Batavia shipwreck and survivors’ camps on Houtman
Abrolhos in Western Australia; $50 000 to the Northern Territory Department of
Natural Resources, Environment and the Arts for enhanced interpretation of the
Hermannsburg Historic Precinct, highlighting the precinct’s national heritage
values; $30 000 to the Murrindindi Shire for interpretation of the national heritage
values of the Yea Baragwanathia Flora Fossil Site, Victoria; and $30 000 to the
National Trust of Australia (Victoria) for interpretation of the national heritage
values of Rippon Lea in Melbourne.

125
Commemoration of Historic Events and Famous Persons
The Commemoration of Historic Events and Famous Persons Programme aims to
commemorate people, events and places of national historical significance. The
programme funds projects such as erecting monuments, plaques and statues;
exhibitions; surveys of historical sites; and curatorial work. In 2005–06 funds
were provided to repair and maintain the graves of two former Australian prime
ministers, Andrew Fisher (Hampstead Cemetery) and Sir George Reid (Putney Vale
Cemetery) both in the United Kingdom.

Strengthening Tasmania—Low Head precinct


Outcome—1 Environment

During 2005–06 the department paid $150 000 to refurbish a building dating from
the 1860s in the historic Low Head precinct near Launceston, Tasmania.
Heritage

126 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Results for performance indicators
Performance indicator 2005–06 result

Protected heritage areas

Number of nominations for heritage listing 76 National Heritage List assessments have been
assessed and decisions taken on listing provided to the minister by the Australian Heritage
Council (39 in 2005–06)
22 Commonwealth Heritage List assessments
have been provided to the minister by the
Australian Heritage Council (6 in 2005–06)
80 National Heritage List decisions have been
announced under the standard and emergency

Outcome—1 Environment
listing provisions (44 in 2005–06)
23 Commonwealth Heritage List decisions

Heritage
have been announced under the standard and
emergency listing provisions (12 in 2005–06)

Total numbers of (i) world heritage areas, (ii) i) 16


national heritage places, (iii) Commonwealth
ii) 31
heritage places and (iv) declarations for protection
of Indigenous heritage under Part II of the iii) 339
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage iv) 0
Protection Act 1984

Number of (i) world heritage areas, (ii) national i) 15 have management plans. Heritage Victoria
heritage places and (iii) Commonwealth heritage is currently preparing a management plan for
places with management plans in operation the 16th area, the Royal Exhibition Building
National Historic Place
ii) 3 historic places in Commonwealth ownership
have management plans which will require
review for EPBC Act requirements. It is still
being determined how many other national
heritage places not wholly in Commonwealth
ownership have management plans
iii) 1 Commonwealth heritage place has a
management plan in place and 1 other has a
management plan for part of the place

Protected heritage objects

Number of assessments of protected objects The minister made 14 decisions about 64 objects
completed and decisions on protection on temporary and permanent export permit
applications

Heritage conservation

Provider role 100%


Percentage of payments that are consistent with
the terms and conditions of funding (Target: 100%)

Regulator role 84%. Details and reasons are in volume 2,


legislation annual reports
Percentage of statutory timeframes triggered that
are met (Target: >90%)

127
Performance indicator 2005–06 result

Sharing Australia’s Stories

Extent to which support has contributed to local The funded projects represent a range of stories
stories that have shaped our nation concerning significant events and themes
that have shaped the nation, with a variety of
successful outputs including events, pamphlets,
books and exhibitions

Percentage of payments that are consistent with 100%


the terms and conditions of funding (Target: 100%)

Number of projects funded 22

Gifts to the Nation


Outcome—1 Environment

Extent to which the promotion of national heritage The minister has approved a range of Gifts to the
stories and newly listed national heritage places Nation to assist in the promotion and management
Heritage

as a key component of the Australian Heritage of newly listed national heritage places. These
Council’s public engagement activities is improved include contributing to a joint French–Tasmanian
archaeological investigation of early exploration
sites at Recherche Bay, Tasmania, and
interpretation works at several places

Percentage of payments that are consistent with 100%


the terms and conditions of funding (Target: 100%)

Number of projects funded 8

Commemoration of Historic Events and Famous Persons

Extent to which the commemoration of The minister has approved funding for repairs
people, events and places of national historical and maintenance to the graves of former prime
significance is improved ministers Andrew Fisher, at Hampstead Cemetery
and Sir George Reid, at Putney Vale Cemetery, in
Britain

Percentage of payments that are consistent with 100%


the terms and conditions of funding (Target: 100%)

Number of projects funded 2

National Trust Partnership Programme (administered item)

Extent to which National Trust activities support The programme funds communication activities
the new national heritage system consistent with government themes; participation
in the National Cultural Heritage Forum; support
of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity
Conservation (EPBC) Unit’s Heritage Outreach
Officer; and liaison with the legislative processes
relating to the heritage lists and the operations of
the EPBC Act

Percentage of payments that are consistent with 100%


the terms and conditions of funding (Target: 100%)

Number of projects funded 9

128 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Performance indicator 2005–06 result

Regional Natural Heritage Programme (administered item)

Extent to which conservation of biodiversity Over the 3 rounds of the programme a total of 23
hotspots in South-East Asia and the Pacific region projects have been approved to assist countries
is enhanced in the Asia–Pacific region manage sites with high
biodiversity with a focus on the need to protect
areas that are under threat (biodiversity hotspots)

Percentage of payments that are consistent with 100%


the terms and conditions of funding (Target: 100%)

Number of projects funded 23 (6 projects funded under the 2005–06 round)

Indigenous Heritage Programme (administered item)

Outcome—1 Environment
Extent to which support for Indigenous people Funding of 61 projects across Australia, many of
increases the awareness and management of which focus on the interpretation of Indigenous

Heritage
Indigenous heritage nationally heritage, has significantly increased the awareness
and management of Indigenous heritage nationally

Percentage of payments that are consistent with 100%


the terms and conditions of funding (Target: 100%)

Number of projects funded 61

National Cultural Heritage Account (administered item)

Extent to which the preservation of heritage The account assisted the acquisition of 5 heritage
objects is increased by assisting their acquisition objects by Australian collecting institutions in
by Australian collecting institutions 2005–06, including Indigenous objects, heritage
machinery, historic musical instruments and
art, and has thereby helped to ensure their
preservation, and access to the public within
Australia, for the long term

Number of objects acquired 5

Protecting Australia’s Biodiversity Hotspots (Daintree Conservation Initiative) (administered item)

Extent to which recovery of the cassowary and Under the Cassowary Conservation Project a
protection of Daintree lowlands is improved desktop update of the North–South Cassowary
Corridor Project has been completed
As at June 2006 a total of 57 hectares (on 12
properties) has been acquired under the Daintree
Conservation Initiative. These properties are in
prime cassowary habitat

Number of cassowary conservation activities 1. The biotropica research report was completed. It
funded provides a framework to establish lowland habitat
linkages for the southern cassowary between
Cairns and Cardwell. Stakeholder meetings are
due to be held to launch this framework plan. The
plan is currently undergoing formal peer review

Number of rainforest conservation activities funded 12 high conservation value properties were
acquired for a total of $1.267 million and planning
work commenced for stewardship, publicity and
education activities

129
Performance indicator 2005–06 result

National Heritage Investment Initiative (administered item)

Extent to which conservation of places of This was the first round of the programme and so
outstanding heritage value to the nation is no projects have been completed. Grants totalling
improved, particularly places on the National $3.6 million were approved. The approved projects
Heritage list provide funding for restoration and conservation of
a diverse range of places of national importance,
varying from restoration of the art nouveau façade
of the carousel organ at Luna Park, Melbourne, to
restoration works on the walls of Fremantle Prison

Percentage of payments that are consistent with 100%


the terms and conditions of funding (Target: 100%)
Outcome—1 Environment

Number of projects funded 18

Churches and cathedrals (administered item)


Heritage

Percentage of payments that are consistent with 100%


the terms and conditions of funding (Target: 100%)

Number of projects funded 5

HMAS Sydney II Search (administered item)

Contribution to the implementation and completion HMAS Sydney II search has been re-scheduled to
of sonar search 2006–07 subject to HMAS Sydney Search Pty Ltd
securing sponsorship required to commit to sonar
search

Strengthening Tasmania—Low Head Precinct (administered item)

Percentage of payments that are consistent with 100%


the terms and conditions of funding (Target: 100%)

Output 1.4—Conservation of natural, Indigenous and historic heritage

Percentage of payments that are consistent with 100%


the terms and conditions of funding (Target: 100%)

Percentage of statutory timeframes triggered that 84%. Details and reasons are given in the EPBC
are met (Target: >90%)(a) Act annual report

(a)
Applies to areas that administer legislation, for example reporting timeframes triggered under the Environment
Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

130 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Resources
Departmental outputs Budget prices Actual expenses
$’000 $’000

Total (Output 1.4: Natural, Indigenous and historic heritage) 23 527 22 830

Administered items

Grants-in-Aid-National Trust 842 842


Regional Natural Heritage Programme 4 358 4 260
Maintenance and Protection of Indigenous Heritage Programme 3 256 3 261
National Cultural Heritage Account 682 479

Outcome—1 Environment
Protecting Australia’s Biodiversity Hotspots (Daintree Conservation 2 650 2 650
Initiative)

Heritage
Strengthening Tasmania – Low Head Precinct 150 150
National Heritage Investment Initiative 2 200 2 200
Point Nepean Community Trust(a) 27 000 0
Churches and cathedrals 10 500 10 500

Total (Administered) 51 638 24 342

(a)
In accordance with the government’s accrual accounting framework, the amount will be recorded as actual expenses
when the Point Nepean Trust carries out the works it has been paid for.

Other annual reports providing information on


this output
Annual report on the operation of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity
Conservation Act 1999 included in the second volume of this set of annual reports
Annual report on the operation of the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage
Act 1986 included in the second volume of this set of annual reports
Annual report of the Natural Heritage Trust at www.nht.gov.au/publications

131
OUTCOME 1—ENVIRONMENT HUMAN SETTLEMENTS
Human settlements
The Department of the Environment and Heritage works with all levels of
government, and with the community and industry to minimise the impact of
human settlements and industrial processes on Australia’s environment.

Main responsibilities for this output

Policy
• Commonwealth Environment Research Facilities
Coordination
• National Pollutant Inventory
Division

• Environmental impact assessments and approvals Approvals and


• Sea dumping and sea installations regulation Wildlife Division
Outcome—1 Environment
Human settlements

• Support for the Environment Protection and


Heritage Council and the National Environment
Protection Council
• Air quality
• Vehicle emissions and fuel quality
• Ozone layer protection Environment
• Product stewardship schemes Quality Division
• National Packaging Covenant
• Water efficiency labelling
• Hazardous substances regulation
• Biotechnology risk assessment
• Chemical risk assessment

• Supervision of uranium mining in the Alligator Supervising


Rivers Region Scientist Division

Objectives
Environmental research
• Improve the capacity to understand and respond to current and emerging
challenges facing Australia’s environmental assets

134 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Environmental assessments
• Protect the matters of national environmental significance defined in the
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
• Protect the marine environment through the management of dumping under
the Environment Protection (Sea Dumping) Act 1981
Pollution prevention strategies
• Facilitate consistency in national air, water, soil and noise standards, and
provide all Australians with the benefit of equal environmental protection
wherever they live
• Improve urban air quality in order to protect human health and the
environment by reducing emissions of pollutants to the atmosphere
• Protect the stratospheric ozone layer
• Reduce pollution from waste by increasing collection, reuse and recycling
• Improve the environmental performance of industry

Outcome—1 Environment
• Improve public information by promoting better reporting and labelling

Human settlements
• Protect the environment and human health from hazardous substances and
organisms
Supervision of uranium mines
• Monitor, audit and supervise uranium mining in the Alligator Rivers Region of
the Northern Territory

Results 2005–06

• The Minister for the Environment and Heritage announced the first
four research hubs to receive $25.3 million over four years under the
$60 million national component of the $100 million Commonwealth
Environment Research Facilities programme. The four research hubs are
the Australian Centre for Applied Marine Mammal Science in Hobart, the
Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge hub covering northern Australia,
the University of Tasmania’s Landscape Logic—Linking Land and Water
Management to Resource Condition Targets and the University of
Queensland’s research hub for Applied Environmental Decision Analysis.
• The minister announced over $6 million would be invested in 2006–07
in 38 research projects to explore and protect some of Australia’s most
applauded natural assets under the $40 million Marine and Tropical
Sciences Research Facility based at James Cook University campuses in
Cairns and Townsville.

135
• Since July 2000 more than 1 250 matters of national environmental
significance have been protected through the referral, assessment and
approval process, with 270 of these matters protected in 2005–06.
• The department funded 13 research projects to investigate a wide range
of air quality issues under the Clean Air Research Programme. The
research findings will inform standard setting and air quality management
strategies.
• From 1 January 2006 the fuel quality standards for benzene levels in petrol
and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon and sulfur levels in diesel were
strengthened under the Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000.
• The department’s fuel quality sampling capability was increased this year
enabling a record number of samples to be tested for compliance with the
Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000. For the first time samples of liquefied
petroleum gas (LPG) were tested. Increased fuel sampling will lead to
Outcome—1 Environment

cleaner fuels and lower emissions of pollution.


Human settlements

• The network of oil recycling facilities was extended into remote pastoral
and Indigenous areas in northern and central Australia. Since the
implementation of the Product Stewardship for Oil Programme, used oil
recycling has increased by about 40 per cent. These efforts significantly
reduce the amount of oil being dumped and polluting the environment.
• National end use regulations were introduced for the refrigeration and
air conditioning and the fire protection industries. The regulations set
minimum skill and working standards and will directly lead to reduced
emissions of ozone depleting substances and their synthetic greenhouse
gas replacements.
• A recent report indicates that plastic bag consumption in Australia has
fallen by 34.2 per cent or over two billion bags over the last three years.
This means fewer plastic bags are entering the waste stream and polluting
the environment.
• The department received 4 000 registrations under the new labelling
scheme for water efficient products (Water Efficiency Labelling and
Standards Scheme), and began to inform the water appliance industry of
the scheme and its requirements. The scheme will enable consumers to
choose the most water efficient appliances, and will encourage innovation
by industry, leading to less wastage of precious water supplies.
• Research, monitoring and supervision indicate that the environment
of the Alligator Rivers Region remains protected from the impacts of
uranium mining.

136 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Environmental research
Scientific research and data are essential for the development of sound
environmental policy. The department aims to improve Australia’s capacity to
understand and respond to current and emerging priorities for the conservation
and use of the nation’s environmental assets by supporting research and providing
information to the community.

Commonwealth environment research facilities


In September 2005 the Minister for the Environment and Heritage launched the
Commonwealth Environment Research Facilities programme, a $100 million
programme to address critical gaps in knowledge and understanding of the
pressures facing Australia’s unique environment. The programme will foster
professional partnerships between researchers, end users and policy makers

Outcome—1 Environment
through funding collaborative, multi-institutional research hubs or networks.

Human settlements
The Australian Government is investing $60 million over four years for national
environmental research. During 2005–06 the department received
149 expressions of interest for a series of competitive grants. Funding totalling
$25.3 million will be provided to the following four research hubs:
Research hub for Applied Environmental Decision Analysis: The University
of Queensland will receive $6.9 million to establish a research hub addressing
Australia’s environmental planning, decision making and policy approaches.
Research hub for Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge: A group of seven
researchers from research institutes in Western Australia, the Northern Territory
and Queensland will receive $8 million to improve management information for
northern Australia’s catchments.
Research hub for Landscape Logic—Linking Land and Water Management
to Resource Condition Targets: The University of Tasmania will receive
$7.9 million to establish a research hub that will develop tools to improve the
sustainability of natural resource management practices.
Australian Centre for Applied Marine Mammal Science: The Australian
Antarctic Division will receive $2.5 million over four years to establish a research
hub to address critical gaps in understanding about the conservation of Australia’s
40 species of whales and dolphins, as well as dugongs and 10 species of seals.
These research hubs will make a significant contribution to addressing knowledge
gaps for environmental decision-making in areas of key policy interest to the
Australian Government. Additional research will be announced early in 2006–07.

137
Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility
As part of the Commonwealth Environment Research Facilities programme
$40 million will be invested over five years for a Marine and Tropical Sciences
Research Facility based at James Cook University campuses in Cairns and
Townsville.
In 2005–06 $2.5 million was spent on a range of research projects under the
Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility transition contracts.
In the first half of 2006, a four-year research investment strategy was developed to
guide the strategic direction of the research. The strategy is accompanied by an
annual research plan, detailing the research to be conducted in the first year of
operation. The research plan for 2006–07 covers:
• the Great Barrier Reef, wet tropics rainforests and Torres Strait ecosystems
• conservation issues and protecting species
Outcome—1 Environment

• evidence of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef, rainforests and


Human settlements

catchments
• threats and impacts of invasive pests
• water quality
• sustainable use and management of marine resources of the Great Barrier Reef
• planning and management of tropical rainforest landscapes.
The minister announced that over $6 million would be invested in 2006–07
covering 38 research projects to explore and protect some of Australia’s most
valued natural assets. Research being conducted by the facility will focus on
identifying, understanding and ameliorating a range of pressures currently facing
the Great Barrier Reef, tropical rainforests including the Wet Tropics World
Heritage Area, and the Torres Strait.

National Pollutant Inventory


The National Pollutant Inventory is a free publicly available database of chemical
emissions information. People use it to find out the types and amounts of
chemical substances being emitted into the air, land and water from industrial
processes and other activities. The National Environment Protection (National
Pollutant Inventory) Measure is the statutory basis for the inventory. The
measure requires industry to report on emissions if they exceed certain levels
and the department to publish the results each year in the National Pollutant
Inventory.
One of the aims of the National Pollutant Inventory is to encourage government,
industry and the community to improve their environmental performance by
reducing emissions.

138 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


The Australian Government
provided funding of $4 million
over three years (2005–2008)
for the National Pollutant
Inventory. Funding was
extended by $5.2 million in
2005 for the period 2005–2009.
The National Pollutant
Inventory database is available
at www.npi.gov.au.

Annual results
The National Pollutant Inventory provides
Australians with free access to information on the
The 2004–05 National Pollutant
types and amounts of pollutants being emitted in
their community. Photo: Greg Rippon Inventory results were

Outcome—1 Environment
published in January 2006. The

Human settlements
number of facilities reporting to the inventory rose from 3 629 in 2003–04 to 3 826
in 2004–05. The number of facilities reporting each year is steadily increasing as
more companies become aware of their obligations.
There are 90 chemical substances listed in the National Pollutant Inventory
for which emissions must be reported. For 2004–05 just over half of these
substances had decreased emissions compared to the previous year. For
example, the amount of phosphorus entering the Murray–Darling Basin from
sewerage and water treatment plants fell 31 per cent during 2004–05. In other
cases emissions rose, for example, the amount of benzene rose 33 per cent
over the previous year, reflecting an increase in manufacturing and processing
activities.
It is not clear what proportion of the lower emissions is attributable to improved
environmental performance from installing new equipment or changing the way
facilities operate. Several industries undertook work to improve the accuracy of
their data, and this may have had an impact on calculation of emissions. Some
industries may also have reduced their production levels, thereby reducing
emissions.

Review of the National Pollutant Inventory


The National Environment Protection Council commenced the statutory process
to make a variation to the National Environment Protection (National Pollutant
Inventory) Measure in July 2005. The council will consider ways to improve the
inventory’s effectiveness both as a source of information and as a driver of cleaner

139
production. A project team and a technical advisory panel were established and
have provided documentation on:
• including data on the transfer of substances in waste
• adding industries such as aquaculture and crematoria
• including greenhouse gases as National Pollutant Inventory substances
• adding or removing substances from the list
• changing the reporting timeframes
• reducing the reporting threshold for some substances including mercury and
particulate matter.
The council agreed in June 2006 to release the draft National Environment
Protection Measure variation, impact statement and other supporting documents
for public consultation. The public consultation will commence in late July 2006.
An associated project is under way to upgrade, improve and streamline the data
collection, approval, analysis and public reporting processes of the National
Pollutant Inventory.
Outcome—1 Environment
Human settlements

Environmental assessment
The Department of the Environment and Heritage manages referral, assessment
and approval processes under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity
Conservation Act 1999.
The department also manages assessment and approval processes under other
federal laws, particularly the Environment Protection (Sea Dumping) Act 1981 and
the Sea Installations Act 1987.

Environmental assessments and approvals


The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 establishes
procedures for determining which actions require approval under the Act, and
the related environmental assessment and approval processes. Approvals are
required for actions that are likely to have a significant impact on those matters of
national environmental significance protected under Part 3 of the Act. Approval
is also required for actions of the Australian Government and actions involving
Commonwealth land that are likely to have a significant impact on the environment.
Since the commencement of the Act in July 2000, more than 1 250 matters of
national environmental significance (including aspects of the environment for
actions of the Australian Government or actions involving Commonwealth land)
have been protected through the referral, assessment and approval process,
with 270 of these matters being protected in 2005–06. The matters of national
environmental significance protected include world heritage properties,
Ramsar wetlands of international importance, threatened species and ecological
communities, migratory species, and the Commonwealth marine environment.

140 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Timeframes for all decision-making in the referral, assessment and approval
process are fully specified in the Act. The chart (below) shows the percentage
of such decisions that have been made within statutory timeframes since the
commencement of the Act. In 2005–06, 85 per cent of decisions were made within
statutory timeframes.
Timeliness of decision-making in the referral, assessment and approval process is
an ongoing challenge for the department.

Percentage of statutory timeframes met, 2000 to present

100

75

Outcome—1 Environment
Percentage

Human settlements
50

25

0
2000–01 2001–02 2002–03 2003–04 2004–05 2005–06

A full report on the department’s environmental assessment and approval


activities can be found in the detailed report on the operation of the Environment
Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 included in the second volume
of this set of annual reports. The detailed report also includes information on:
• compliance activities being undertaken by the department, including the
operation of the department’s Environment Investigations Unit
• new guidelines to help the public understand what impacts could be classed as
significant and hence require detailed assessment and approval under the Act
• stakeholder and public awareness activities undertaken by the department,
including successful training and information sessions on the Act held for local
and regional bodies across Australia and strategic regional planning projects in
two high growth regions in Western Australia and Queensland.
Project work is partly funded through the national component of the Natural
Heritage Trust. During 2005–06, $2 million was invested from the Natural Heritage
Trust in environmental assessment and approval related projects—this figure
includes funding for projects related to assessments under the Environment
Protection (Sea Dumping) Act 1981, discussed on next page.

141
Sea dumping and sea installations regulation
The Environment Protection (Sea Dumping) Act 1981 was enacted to fulfil
Australia’s international responsibilities under the London Convention of 1972 and
has been amended to implement the 1996 Protocol to the London Convention,
which Australia ratified in 2001. The Act regulates the deliberate loading and
dumping of wastes and other matter at sea.
In 2005–06, 21 sea dumping permits were issued. This reflected the continual
need to dispose of dredged material at sea due to expansion of ports across
Australia particularly as a result of the increase in the resources export market.
Reviews of applications for offshore disposal of dredged material involve detailed
environmental impact assessments in accordance with the National Ocean
Disposal Guidelines for Dredged Material.
This year the department investigated a breach of the Environment Protection (Sea
Dumping) Act 1981 by Robe River Mining Co Pty Ltd, a member of the Rio Tinto
Outcome—1 Environment

Group, in relation to an extension of the Cape Lambert Tug Pen basin. The company
Human settlements

received an official warning after it agreed to make substantial improvements


in environmental management, including improved auditing and reconciliation
of projects against environmental mitigation conditions and the creation of an
environmental manager position within its business unit. The department accepted
that the breach primarily occurred as a consequence of project modifications and
inadequate monitoring, rather than a deliberate decision to contravene the Act.
There was a continual request for permits under the Environment Protection (Sea
Dumping) Act 1981 to place artificial reefs and to dispose of unwanted vessels at sea.
The Sea Installations Act 1987 regulates the construction and operation of human-
made devices, equipment and other installations in the marine environment
including tourism pontoons and fish aggregation devices. The Act ensures that sea
installations are operated safely, are environmentally sound and are operated in a
manner that is consistent with the protection of the environment.
Most sea installations in Australia are within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. In
2005–06 the department issued six permits/exemptions for sea installations under
the Act.

Pollution prevention strategies


Developing and implementing strategies to prevent pollution are important parts
of the department’s activities. The department’s pollution prevention strategies
focus on reducing pollution at the source, and promoting the collection, reuse and
recycling of waste materials. The successful delivery of these strategies relies on
cooperation with the state and territory governments and with industry. Ministerial
councils are the key forum for making decisions on priorities and agreed
management actions.

142 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Environment Protection and Heritage Council
The Environment Protection and Heritage Council comprises environment and
planning ministers from Australia’s federal, state and territory governments. The
scope of the council includes environment protection and heritage responsibilities
and it is the key forum in which the department pursues activities for pollution
prevention and managing impacts from human settlements. The council
incorporates the National Environment Protection Council (see below).
In February 2006, the Council of Australian Governments set priorities for the
Environment Protection and Heritage Council on climate change, transport,
greenhouse gas emissions reporting, chemicals regulation and reducing the
regulatory burden on industry. Other priorities include air quality standards,
varying the National Pollutant Inventory, water recycling guidelines, water
efficiency labelling, product stewardship for used materials such as tyres,
computers and televisions, and an environmental risk management framework for

Outcome—1 Environment
Human settlements
chemicals. All of these priorities are embraced in the strategic plan for 2006–2008
which the Environment Protection and Heritage Council agreed in June 2006.

Support for the National Environment Protection Council


The National Environment Protection Council is a statutory body with law-making
powers established under the National Environment Protection Council Act 1994
and corresponding legislation in the states and territories.
Each jurisdiction contributes funding to support the National Environment
Protection Council with the Australian Government contributing 50 per cent.
The department paid the Australian Government’s annual contribution which in
2005–06 was $440 000. This contribution goes to the National Environment
Protection Council Service Corporation which provides secretariat, project
management and administrative services.
Detailed outcomes are reported in the annual report on the operation of the
National Environment Protection Council Act 1994 available at
www.ephc.gov.au/nepc/annual_reports.html.
See page 203 for information on the Governance Review of Statutory Authorities
and Office Holders: National Environment Protection Council.

Air quality
Australians consistently rank air pollution as a major environmental concern
although Australia’s air quality is generally good. Actions taken by Australian
governments to improve air quality have already delivered billions of dollars in
avoided health costs.

143
The department works with other governments and industry to reduce air
emissions of major pollutants. The department’s work focuses on tackling the
major sources of air pollution, including motor vehicles, woodheaters, and
industry as well as specific pollutants that pose threats to human health and the
environment. Another focus is improving the quality of indoor air in non-industrial
settings.
As a result of these collaborative efforts, the levels of major pollutants including
nitrogen dioxide, lead, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide in
Australian cities are generally lower now than they were 10 to 15 years ago.
Particles and ozone levels are still a major concern in some cities. In larger cities,
the levels of ozone exceed the national standard several times a year. Particle levels
continue to exceed the national standard in some areas. Smoke from woodheaters
is a common cause of elevated particle levels, particularly during the cooler
months.
Outcome—1 Environment

To improve access to air quality data the department is establishing a national air
Human settlements

quality database, which is expected to be operational in early 2007. These data will
inform future decisions on standard setting and management strategies, and allow
better assessment of the status and trends in air quality.
Trends in air quality for the period 1991–2001 are available in the State of the Air
Report at www.deh.gov.au/atmosphere/airquality/publications/status.

Air quality standards


National Environment Protection Measures outline agreed national objectives for
protecting or managing particular aspects of the environment. These measures
have the force of law under the National Environment Protection Council Act
1994 and mirror legislation in the states and territories.
In 1998 the National Environment Protection (Ambient Air Quality) Measure was
made to set acceptable levels for the six common air pollutants: particles, ground-
level ozone, carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide.
The National Environment Protection Council began a review of the Ambient Air
Quality Measure in April 2005. The review is due to be completed in 2008, and
resulting changes to the measure will ensure that Australia has the most
up-to-date and effective policy framework to protect human health from exposure
to air pollution. As part of the review, the department contributed to a preliminary
review of the ozone and sulfur dioxide standards, and to a scoping paper that
sought public views on issues that ought to be considered by the review.
The National Environment Protection Council made the National Environment
Protection (Air Toxics) Measure in December 2004. The purpose of the Air Toxics
Measure is to gather information about the concentrations and distribution of air

144 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


toxics compounds in the environment for the purpose of setting new national air
quality standards for these pollutants. The measure sets benchmarks (monitoring
investigation levels) for five air toxic pollutants—benzene, formaldehyde,
polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, toluene and xylenes—against which to assess
the information being gathered.
In October 2005 the department assisted with the development of a methodology
for ranking air toxics for possible future inclusion in the measure.
Information on National Environment Protection Measures is available on the
Environment Protection and Heritage Council website at www.ephc.gov.au/nepms.

Managing woodsmoke pollution


Woodheaters are a major source of urban air pollution in some areas in winter.
During 2005–06 the department developed a certification procedure to improve
woodheater compliance with pollutant emission standards. Work will continue

Outcome—1 Environment
with other jurisdictions and industry over 2006–07 to implement the procedure,

Human settlements
including an ongoing audit of woodheaters and actions to increase public access to
details on woodheater performance.
While marked improvements have been made, Launceston in Tasmania continues
to experience poor air quality during the cooler months. In response to this
problem, the department provided grants to four industrial facilities under the
Launceston Clean Air Industry Programme to assist them to make technological
changes to reduce pollutant emissions. This three-year, $1 million programme will
build on a previous grants programme that helped 2 242 householders to replace
woodheaters with less-polluting alternatives. Together these initiatives will help
to continue the current trend of decreasing the number of annual exceedences of
particle pollution in the region.

CycleConnect
The $2.4 million CycleConnect Grants Programme promotes cycling as a way of
reducing air pollution in cities by installing secure bicycle parking facilities at city
bus and train stations. In 2004–05, the department provided $0.9 million in grants
to partners in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Fremantle and Bendigo to
extend existing bicycle locker schemes by 1 100 lockers or cage spaces. In 2005–06
the department paid a further $1.2 million to partners in Sydney, Melbourne,
Perth, Adelaide and Darwin to increase bicycle locker and cage capacity by
1 200 spaces at train or bus stations.

Clean Air Research Programme


In April 2006 the department provided funding of $1.4 million for 13 research
projects to investigate important air quality issues under the Clean Air Research

145
Programme. These research projects will be funded until June 2008 and will
address a broad range of priority research questions such as ground-level ozone
formation, public exposure to air pollutants and the estimated health benefits of
improved air quality. When completed, the findings of these research projects will
help inform policy to address the risks associated with air pollution and develop
effective strategies for its reduction.

Indoor air quality


During 2005–06 the department consulted with key stakeholders to identify
priority pollutants for action and research, and to identify strategies to improve air
quality in non-industrial indoor settings. Building on this work, the department is
funding a new formaldehyde study in 2006. This national study will measure levels
of formaldehyde in a range of indoor environments, including mobile homes,
caravans and demountable buildings where formaldehyde-containing materials
are typically used in high amounts, to determine if this pollutant poses a risk to
Outcome—1 Environment

people’s health and requires management action.


Human settlements

Vehicle emissions and fuel quality standards


Motor vehicles are the largest contributor to urban air pollution in Australia and
have a major influence on the incidence of smog and haze. To reduce motor
vehicle pollution the Australian Government has introduced national fuel quality
standards and is improving emissions standards for cars, buses and trucks.
The standards are contributing to improvements in environmental and health
outcomes. The standards also pave the way for new, cleaner vehicle technologies,
which will bring fuel consumption benefits.
The Department of the Environment and Heritage administers the Fuel Quality
Standards Act 2000. These standards currently apply to the quality of petrol,
diesel, biodiesel and autogas sold in Australia. The Department of Transport and
Regional Services is responsible for developing vehicle emission standards through
progressive tightening of vehicle design which is set to continue until 2010.
The limits for a number of key parameters regulated under the petrol and diesel
standards were either introduced or tightened from 1 January 2006 including:
• sulfur levels in diesel were limited to 50 milligrams per kilogram
• maximum diesel density level was limited to 850 kilograms per cubic metre
• polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon levels in diesel were limited to 11 per cent of
total mass
• benzene levels in all grades of petrol were limited to no more than 1 per cent of
total volume.
The department is responsible for monitoring fuel at outlets including terminals,
depots and service stations to ensure it complies with the standards.

146 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


The department will spend
$6.3 million over four years from
2006–07 to increase fuel quality
compliance inspections. This
will help to ensure fuel quality
standards are being met, thereby
increasing consumer confidence. It
will also help prevent poor quality
fuel having negative impacts on
vehicle operability and on the
environment, through increased
emissions of pollutants. In 2005–06
the department extended fuel
quality sampling to include liquefied
petroleum gas (LPG). This year the

Outcome—1 Environment
first samples of LPG were tested for

Human settlements
compliance with the Fuel Quality
Standards Act 2000.
The Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000
The Australian Government runs a fuel was reviewed during 2005–06. The
sampling programme to monitor the quality
of fuels sold in Australia. Fuels are sampled review concluded that the overall
throughout the fuel supply chain, including at policy objectives of the Act are being
service station forecourts. Photo: Alastair Betts
met and should not be altered,
but recommended strengthening
the monitoring, compliance and enforcement programme, and simplifying
administration of the Act, in particular the current approvals system for variations
to standards. Work commenced in April 2006 to implement the recommendations
arising from the review.
A full report on the operation of the Act including details of the outcomes of the
review appears in the second volume of this set of annual reports.

Reducing diesel emissions


Diesel vehicles make a disproportionately high contribution to oxides of nitrogen
and particle air pollution from the transport sector. Emissions from diesel vehicles
have the potential to cause adverse health impacts and detract from urban amenity.
The department supports in-service emissions testing for diesel (and petrol)
vehicles through funding agreements with the states and territories. Diesel vehicles
are tested for compliance with the exhaust emissions standards in the National
Environment Protection (Diesel Vehicle Emissions) Measure. In-service emission
testing helps to promote compliance with the standards and to reduce particle
pollution, smoke and smog-forming pollutants emitted from these vehicles.

147
During the year, the department signed a $480 000 funding agreement with
the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment for a
programme to reduce diesel emissions.
The Australian Government’s energy white paper Securing Australia’s Energy
Future announced the introduction from 1 July 2006 of tax credits for users of
heavy diesel vehicles who can demonstrate that their vehicle is not a high polluter.
One of the five permissible criteria for eligibility is to pass the in-service emission
standard referred to in the National Environment Protection (Diesel Vehicle
Emissions) Measure.

Biofuels
The Prime Minister released the Biofuels Taskforce report in September 2005. The
taskforce examined the latest scientific evidence on the impacts of ethanol and
other biofuels on human health, the environment, and the operation of motor
vehicles. The department commenced work on aspects of the government’s
Outcome—1 Environment

response to the Biofuels Taskforce report, including:


Human settlements

• a study on the health impact of ethanol. The study will assess the comparative
impact of low ethanol blend fuel on tailpipe particulate and evaporative
emissions and the resulting impacts under Australian conditions. Reliable
Australian data will assist in quantifying the health costs and benefits of using
low ethanol blend fuels
• a testing programme to assess how vehicles in the Australian market operate
on E5 (5 per cent ethanol and 95 per cent petrol) and E10 (10 per cent
ethanol and 90 per cent petrol). The study will focus on vehicle performance,
compatibility of engine components and engine durability. Results will provide
further information on the suitability of low ethanol blends and inform
decision-making on whether E5 blends may be sold unlabelled
• simplified labelling requirements for fuels containing ethanol. In January 2006
the existing, complex E10 fuel label was replaced with simplified labelling that
is more easily understood
• biodiesel blend standards. Standards already exist under the Fuel Quality
Standards Act 2000 for 100 per cent biodiesel and for automotive or petroleum
diesel, but not for blends of the two. Blends have proliferated on the Australian
market. Establishing standard forms of biodiesel will increase consumer
confidence and provide certainty to the market.

Emissions studies
Motor vehicles are well-known sources of air pollution and their emissions are
being regulated through fuel quality standards and emissions testing. With no or
low emissions control, often primitive combustion technology and widespread
use, small engines are also a significant source of pollution. This year the
department supported a study examining how much pollution comes from small

148 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


engines (two and four stroke cycle), including lawn mowers, hand-held garden
equipment and outboard motors.
So far a national inventory and a model to benchmark the environmental
performance of garden equipment and marine outboards (the two major non-
road contributors) have been completed. This information will inform air quality
management strategies in relation to emissions from small engines.
The department is providing funds for the second National In-service Emissions
Study. This study will test emissions from passenger vehicles, four wheel drives and
light commercial vehicles. The data will be used for emissions modelling and to
inform policy development with respect to vehicle emissions management.
A preliminary study was completed in September 2005. This study tested 60 light
duty petrol vehicles built in the period 1986–2002 for their emissions performance.
Further testing is expected to commence in 2007.

Ozone layer protection

Outcome—1 Environment
Human settlements
Some chemicals used by industry for applications such as refrigeration,
air conditioning, foam production and fire protection deplete the earth’s
stratospheric ozone layer. Ozone depletion allows biologically harmful ultraviolet
rays to reach the earth’s surface. Under the Montreal Protocol to the Vienna
Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer countries have agreed on dates
for phasing out ozone depleting substances.
Australia meets its obligations under the protocol through the Commonwealth
Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989
administered by the department. Under the Act, the department controls the
manufacture, import and export of all ozone depleting substances and their
synthetic greenhouse gas replacements, as well as regulating the end uses to
minimise emissions of these harmful gases. The department also develops policy
responses and programmes to phase out ozone depleting substances and to
minimise emissions of ozone depleting substances and their synthetic greenhouse
gas replacements.
In 2005–06 Australia continued to meet or exceed its responsibilities under the
Montreal Protocol. Australia will cease consumption of hydrochlorofluorocarbons
by 2015, five years ahead of its obligations under the Montreal Protocol. In doing
so, Australia will use 60 per cent less hydrochlorofluorocarbons than permitted
under the Montreal Protocol in the period to 2020 (see chart on page 150).
Under the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act
1989 a licence is required to import, export and manufacture ozone depleting
substances. Section 40 of the Act allows the Minister for the Environment and
Heritage to grant exemptions to import products containing prohibited ozone
depleting substances where they are essential for medical, veterinary, defence,
industrial safety or public safety purposes, and where no practical alternatives are

149
available. More information is available at www.deh.gov.au/atmosphere/ozone/
licences/index.html.
This year the department received 568 licence applications. All applications were
assessed within the statutory timeframe, with no disruption to applicants’ business
when the new licence period commenced on 1 January 2006.
The department received 11 applications for an exemption under section 40 of the
Act, and all these exemptions were granted to qualifying applicants.
In 2005 consumption of methyl bromide for non-quarantine and pre-shipment
purposes was reduced to 117.5 tonnes for approved critical uses. The department
has put in place supply controls to ensure that methyl bromide is used only by
critical use exemption holders.
The department manages Australia’s National Halon Bank. The facility recovers and
stores halon that is required for essential aviation and maritime use. It also collects and
destroys surplus halon from Australian business and the community. In 2005–06 the
Outcome—1 Environment

department oversaw the collection and destruction of 10 tonnes of halon, 21 tonnes


Human settlements

of chlorofluorocarbon from decommissioned mining equipment in Indonesia, and


28 tonnes of chlorofluorocarbon from the United States and New Zealand.
The department implemented a national end use system to minimise emissions
of ozone depleting substances and synthetic greenhouse gases used in the fire
protection and refrigeration and air conditioning industries. Under this system,
businesses and technicians who handle these products must be licensed,
demonstrate skills to an appropriate level and adhere to relevant Australian standards.

Australia’s performance against Montreal Protocol obligations

1 400
Ozone depleting substances (tonnes)

1 200

1 000

800

600

400

200

0
1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005

Australia's imports Australia's Montreal Protocol limit

Australia’s consumption of ozone depleting substances has decreased in advance of our responsibilities
due to government and industry initiatives to accelerate the phase-out of these substances.

150 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Detailed performance results on the operation of the Ozone Protection and
Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989 appear in the second volume of
this set of annual reports.

Product stewardship schemes


The department works closely with industry and with state, territory and local
governments to address waste issues through product stewardship initiatives.
The department is working with the states and territories to investigate the scope
for implementing stewardship programmes for tyres, televisions, mobile phones,
computers and plastic bags. Stewardship programmes are already operating for
newsprint, packaging and waste oil.

Product Stewardship for Oil Programme


Each year, about 520 million litres of lubricating oil is sold in Australia. Of this

Outcome—1 Environment
amount, about 280 to 300 million litres of used oil is generated. If disposed

Human settlements
of incorrectly, this oil can cause serious damage to the environment. It can
contaminate the soil, groundwater, streams, rivers, lakes and drinking water.
The Product Stewardship for Oil Programme came into effect on 1 January 2001 to
encourage used oil recycling by providing benefit payments to used oil recyclers.
The department has policy responsibility for the programme, while the Australian
Taxation Office administers the levy and benefit elements of the programme.
A total of $17.2 million in product stewardship benefits was paid in 2005–06,
with $14 million paid to recyclers for recycling used oil, an increase of almost
10 per cent from 2004–05. The volume of oil for which benefits were paid this year
was 210 million litres, compared to 220 million litres in 2004–05.
Industry estimates that about 150–165 million litres of used oil was being recycled
prior to the implementation of the programme. Since its implementation, used oil
recycling has increased by about 40 per cent.
The Australian Government provided $34.5 million in transitional assistance
funding from July 2000 until June 2007 as an interim mechanism to engender
change that will underpin the long-term viability of the oil recycling industry. This
assistance complements the stewardship levy-benefit arrangements.
Since it began, the Product Stewardship for Oil Programme has funded the
installation of 850 used oil collection facilities, with over 80 additional facilities
funded in 2005–06. This year 37 grants worth a total of $2.7 million were also
approved. Five of these grants, worth about $0.9 million, extend the used oil
collection infrastructure network into remote pastoral and Indigenous areas in
northern and central Australia.
Detailed performance results on the operation of the Product Stewardship (Oil)
Act 2000 appear in the second volume of this set of annual reports.

151
Reusing waste oil
Oil is a valuable and finite resource. Each year more than 500 million litres of lubricating oil is sold in Australia,
of which at least 280 million litres is available for recycling.
The Product Stewardship for Oil Programme aims to increase recycling. The programme provides benefit
payments to used oil recyclers and provides funds for used oil collection facilities. Since it began in 2000, the
programme has helped establish 850 collection facilities across Australia and has increased oil collection and
recycling by about 40 per cent, from 160 million litres to 210 million litres per year.
Outcome—1 Environment
Human settlements

Collection facility,
Maryborough, Qld
This new
collection facility
at Maryborough
will allow the city
Oil recycling facility to collect and
location recycle an extra
Featured facilities 5 640 litres of
used oil per year.

Bitumen blowing Recycling centre, Collection facility, Collection facility,


test plant, Umuwa, SA Penola, SA Dalgety, NSW
Bunbury, WA Establishing a This new collection A regional
Treating used recycling centre facility at Penola upgrade of
oil as part of at Umuwa in will enable the collection facilities
the recycling the Anangu– collection and at Jindabyne,
process leaves Pitjantjatjara lands recycling of up Adaminaby,
a residue; this will provide safe to 10 000 litres of Eucumbene and
partly completed storage for the oil used oil per year. Dalgety (pictured)
test plant for in these drums will allow 35 000
Wren Oil will allow and other waste litres of used oil to
the company before it is sent be collected each
to process the for recycling, and year for recycling.
residue so that will also create
it can be used in employment
road bitumen. opportunities.

152 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


National Packaging Covenant
The National Packaging Covenant is a voluntary arrangement to reduce the
environmental impacts of packaging. Companies that sign the covenant develop
plans to reduce the impacts of their packaging.
The National Packaging Covenant Council with membership from industry and
governments has overall responsibility for the implementation and management
of the covenant. The department provides secretariat support and administration
services for the covenant. In 2005–06 the Natural Heritage Trust contributed
$116 875 toward administration and has committed funding for a further two
years.
The National Packaging Covenant commenced in 1999 and by 2005 had over
600 signatories. After extensive review in 2004 the covenant was strengthened and
renewed for a further five years commencing in July 2005. The revised covenant
commits signatories to new performance targets, including:

Outcome—1 Environment
• a national recycling target of 65 per cent for packaging by the end of 2010

Human settlements
• no new packaging waste (above 2003 levels) going to landfill
• a national recycling rate of 25 per cent for materials that are currently not
recycled.

Sector representation in the National Packaging Covenant

Brand owners 71%

Community organisations <1%

Industry associations 4%

Local governments, groups and associations 4%

Packaging manufacturers 13%

Raw material suppliers 3%

Governments 2%

Waste managers <1%

Wholesalers and retailers 3%

153
Signatories are now required to provide data against the key performance targets
and for the first time this will allow national data to be generated on packaging
waste and recycling. This will allow determination to be made of whether the
desired outcomes are being delivered by the covenant.
The National Packaging Covenant is underpinned by the National Environment
Protection (Used Packaging Materials) Measure. Under this measure governments
agree to require brand owners who are not covenant signatories to take back and
recycle a percentage of their packaging products. The covenant council is aiming
to increase recycling and reduce packaging by focusing on retrieving beverage
containers from pubs, clubs and events and ensuring they are recycled.
In July 2006, 423 signatories had either re-signed or were new signatories to
the covenant. All sectors of the packaging supply chain and governments are
represented with the highest number of signatories being brand owners
(refer to chart on page 153).
Outcome—1 Environment
Human settlements

Plastic bags
A 2002 study estimated
that 50 to 80 million plastic
bags end up as litter in
Australia each year. They
can harm aquatic and
terrestrial animals. In 2002
the Environment Protection
and Heritage Council asked
the retail industry and
the community to work
Many plastic bags end up as litter and find their way into
waterways. The department works with industry and the
together to cut plastic bag
community to reduce the environmental impact of plastic litter by 75 per cent by
bags and other waste. the end of 2004. Retailers
responded by adopting
targets in a code of practice for reducing the use of single use, light weight plastic
shopping bags, including a 25 per cent reduction by code of practice signatories in
the use of plastic bags by the end of 2004 and a 50 per cent reduction by the end
of 2005. Reduced household consumption of such bags over time was expected to
lead to a reduction of plastic bag litter.
The department is working with retailers to develop a new voluntary arrangement
to reduce plastic bag litter following the expiry of the 2003–2005 Australian
Retailers Association Code of Practice for the Management of Plastic Bags. The
department is also working with the states and territories to examine the various
options available to the Environment Protection and Heritage Council to regulate

154 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


plastic bags should voluntary measures be assessed as inadequate. This year the
department provided $50 000 toward the development of a cost-benefit analysis
on these options.
During 2005–06 the department supported educational efforts about plastic bags,
and provided $158 000 from the Natural Heritage Trust to fund a campaign aimed
at small business. This campaign was run in partnership with Clean Up Australia
and the Australian Retailers Association (NSW), and included the creation of a
website (www.noplasticbags.org.au) and hotline.

Water efficiency labelling


On 18 February 2005 the parliament passed the Water Efficiency Labelling and
Standards Act 2005, which establishes the national Water Efficiency Labelling and
Standards Scheme. The scheme came into operation on 1 July 2005 on a voluntary
basis and became compulsory from 1 July 2006.

Outcome—1 Environment
Human settlements
The scheme encourages industry to produce water efficient appliances in order
to conserve national water supplies particularly in urban areas. The scheme
requires seven products to be rated and labelled for their water efficiency. These
are showers, dishwashers, clothes washing machines, lavatory equipment, tap
equipment, urinal equipment and flow controllers. Consumers will be able to save
water by selecting appliances based on their water efficiency rating.
The department administers the Act and manages all aspects of the scheme
including product registrations, inspections and compliance. Work is under way
in all these areas. Since 1 July 2005 the department has registered 4 000 products
under the scheme.
The scheme will be supported by complementary legislation enacted by all states
and territories. Complementary legislation has been enacted in New South Wales,
Victoria, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory. Queensland and Western
Australia are in the final stages of enacting their legislation and South Australia and
the Northern Territory are preparing legislation.
More information on the operation of the Water Efficiency Labelling and
Standards Act 2005 is available in the second volume of this set of annual reports.

Hazardous substances regulation and management


The department is involved in a range of Australian Government initiatives
to minimise the environmental and health impacts of hazardous substances.
Internationally the department represents Australia’s interests in the development
of agreements designed to control hazardous chemicals. The department is
the lead Australian agency on the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic
Pollutants, the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure

155
for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, and the
Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management.
Within Australia the department works through the Environment Protection and
Heritage Council to develop nationally applicable guidelines and standards for
hazardous chemicals in consultation with the states and territories, industry and
community groups.

Hazardous waste
The department administers the Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and
Imports) Act 1989 which implements Australia’s obligations under the Convention
on the Control of the Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their
Disposal (the Basel Convention).
The Act permits the import, export and transit of hazardous wastes under certain
conditions, including the environmentally sound management of the waste to
Outcome—1 Environment

protect both the environment and human health. Compliance and education are
Human settlements

important aspects of administering the Act.


In 2005–06 37 permit applications were processed (22 export, 11 import and
one transit), and 20 permits were granted, with one application refused and two
withdrawn.
The definition of ‘hazardous waste’ is often a highly complex issue. The
department developed criteria for used electronic equipment to determine
when it is hazardous waste. In 2005 the department surveyed companies using
the criteria to see how the criteria were being implemented and if revision was
required.
The survey indicated that the larger and more established companies were in
compliance with the criteria, primarily because the criteria were similar to their
own in-house operating procedures. Smaller companies (often sole traders), while
believing they were in compliance, often did not have the physical infrastructure
(e.g. test equipment) required for complete compliance.
A notable feature this year arising from high metal prices overseas has been the
development of an illegal trade in the export of used lead acid batteries. Several
shipping containers of batteries have been seized in Sydney and Melbourne. The
seized containers were sent to two authorised facilities where the batteries were
broken to recover lead scrap which was used as a feed for production of refined
lead metal. Acid from the batteries was neutralised at a liquid waste disposal facility
while plastics were collected for recycling.
In order to improve understanding of the Act, the department has been
developing a new education strategy. The strategy targets specific audiences in
the private and government sectors. These include the waste sector industry,

156 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


the freight forwarding and shipping industries, and the Australian Customs
Service. The strategy deals particularly with electronic equipment, used lead acid
batteries, and mobile phones, which are wastes that pose a significant risk to the
environment and human health because of their toxic constituents.
More information on the operation of the Hazardous Waste (Regulation of
Exports and Imports) Act 1989 is available in the second volume of this set of
annual reports.

Computer waste
An estimated 1.6 million computers are thrown away each year, most of them into
landfill. Computers contain many valuable products which can be salvaged through
recycling, but they also contain some chemicals and hazardous substances such
as lead, mercury and cadmium, most of which are not recovered in the recycling
process. This year a roundtable meeting of governments and industry, chaired by

Outcome—1 Environment
the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, agreed on a key set of guidelines to

Human settlements
develop a computer recycling scheme. Industry is currently developing a national
programme to take back computer waste within Australia.

Persistent organic pollutants


Persistent organic pollutants are chemicals that remain intact in the environment
for long periods, become widely distributed geographically, accumulate in the fatty
tissue of living organisms and are toxic to humans and wildlife.
Australia has obligations under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic
Pollutants, which it ratified on 20 May 2004, to restrict, reduce or eliminate the
release of the 12 chemicals listed as persistent organic pollutants.
This year the department finalised a national implementation plan that sets out
how Australia will meet its obligations under the Stockholm Convention. The plan
identifies actions Australia will take to reduce and eliminate persistent organic
pollutants. The National Strategy for the Management of Scheduled Waste, an
agreement of more than 10 years standing between the Australian Government,
states and territories, already provides for the safe management and disposal of
a number of persistent organic pollutants, including polychlorinated biphenyls,
hexachlorobenzene and organochlorine pesticides.
The department established the National Dioxins Programme in 2001, which
funded research to inform Australia’s policy response to address dioxins—one of
the 12 chemicals listed as persistent organic pollutants. The department released
the National Action Plan for Addressing Dioxins for public comment on 1 July 2005.
Fourteen submissions were received and were mostly of a minor nature. The
Environment Protection and Heritage Council adopted the National Action Plan at
its meeting in October 2005.

157
During the year the department funded additional research to determine the
extent to which dioxins are formed in bushfires. A report is being finalised and
results are expected later in the year.
In November 2005 Australia participated in the first meeting of the Persistent
Organic Pollutants Review Committee in Geneva, which assessed proposals to
include five new chemicals on the Stockholm Convention. A decision will be made
in November 2006. Australia also participated in a meeting in December 2005
of an expert group which is developing guidelines for reducing emissions of
persistent organic pollutants including dioxins. The expert group will meet again
in December 2006 to finalise the guidelines.
Some countries are seeking to include brominated flame retardants in the
Stockholm Convention. The department funded three studies to investigate the
levels of these chemicals in the Australian population, in indoor air, and in aquatic
sediments. The results are expected in the second half of 2006. The research
Outcome—1 Environment

will contribute to Australia’s policy position on these chemicals and to risk


Human settlements

assessments being undertaken by the National Industrial Chemicals Notification


and Assessment Scheme.
The department led the Australian delegation to the 2nd meeting of the conference
of the parties to the convention, held in Geneva, Switzerland from
1–5 May 2006. The parties agreed to enhance synergies with the Basel and
Rotterdam conventions by exploring how secretariat functions could be shared,
agreed to continue the development of a non-compliance mechanism for the
convention, and agreed to develop a process to evaluate the effectiveness of the
convention.

Informed consent to imports


In February 2004 the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent
Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade
came into force. The procedure set up under this convention enables countries
to decide whether to allow the import of chemicals listed under the convention.
Australia became a party to the convention on 18 August 2004.
The department led the delegation to the 2nd meeting of the conference of the
parties, held in Rome, Italy from 26–30 September 2005. The conference made
decisions on operational issues necessary for the functioning of the convention.
The department also participated in the 2nd meeting of the convention’s Chemical
Review Committee, held in Geneva, Switzerland from 13–17 February 2006. The
committee will seek agreement to list Australia’s nomination of chrysotile asbestos
under the convention at the next meeting of the conference of the parties in
October 2006.

158 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Strategic international approach to chemicals
In 2002 the World Summit on Sustainable Development urged international
organisations to cooperate in improving international chemicals management.
The Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme
in February 2003 began developing a Strategic Approach to International
Chemicals Management. The purpose of the strategic approach is to ensure that
internationally chemicals are used and produced in ways that mitigate significant
adverse impacts on human health and the environment by the year 2020.
The department led the delegation to the International Conference on Chemicals
Management in Dubai, United Arab Emirates from 4–6 February 2006. Final
agreement was reached on the strategic approach, which focuses on building
national governance for chemicals management in developing countries. The Global
Ministerial Environment Forum adopted the strategic approach in February 2006.

National risk management framework

Outcome—1 Environment
The department continued to work with the states and territories to develop the

Human settlements
National Framework for Chemicals Environmental Management (NChEM). The
framework aims to provide a nationally consistent approach to regulating and
managing the environmental impacts of chemicals, including ensuring consistent
implementation of chemical assessment decisions. Other aims are to address
current gaps in environmental chemicals management and to simplify chemicals
management in Australia. In June 2006, the Environment Protection and Heritage
Council agreed to the release of a public discussion paper on NChEM. The council
expects to finalise the framework in 2007.

National approach to industrial residues


While there are benefits from the reuse and recycling of industrial residues in
land management applications, there is also potential for harm to human health
and the environment if these materials are used inappropriately. The department
has been developing a national approach to assessing the beneficial reuse
of industrial residues in land management applications with the release of a
public discussion paper in September 2005. The national approach will increase
environment protection by providing nationally consistent criteria and information
that environment agencies can use to assess proposals for the reuse of industrial
residues. Based on the comments received in response to the discussion paper,
the national approach will be provided to the Environment Protection and
Heritage Council for approval in the second half of 2006.

Biotechnology risk assessments


The Gene Technology Regulator, within the Department of Health and Ageing,
regulates genetically modified organisms under the Gene Technology Act 2000.
The Act requires that the regulator seek advice from the Minister for the

159
Environment and Heritage on each intentional release of a genetically modified
organism into the environment. The Department of the Environment and Heritage
prepares advice for the regulator on environmental issues to be considered when
preparing the risk assessment and risk management plan, and then on the draft
plan once prepared.
In 2005–06 the Gene Technology Regulator sought the minister’s advice on 12
occasions in relation to nine licence applications. The minister provided advice
to the regulator on all occasions. As a result environmental risks were adequately
assessed and managed by the regulator for each licence granted.
The department also prepares risk assessments of genetically modified organisms
and other biological agents for the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines
Authority. In 2005–06 the department assessed two applications to ensure there
were no unintended adverse environmental effects as a result of these releases.
The department participates, as a member agency of Biotechnology Australia,
Outcome—1 Environment

in the implementation of the National Biotechnology Strategy, and supports the


Human settlements

minister’s involvement in the Commonwealth Biotechnology Ministerial Council.


A number of research projects and workshops were funded under the strategy
with the aim of improving basic knowledge of environmental risks associated with
genetically modified organisms. The department received $500 000 over a four-
year period for this work, including:
• work on future genetically modified organisms and their environmental
impacts
• a survey of feral cotton in northern Queensland
• a study of the risks associated with the use of new and emerging technologies
• a review of viral vectors and viral genes used in genetically modified organisms,
and their impacts
• modeling the environmental impacts of genetically modified versus non-
genetically modified, herbicide-tolerant canola
• work on the persistence and effects on soil organisms of Bt-toxin (insecticide)
from genetically modified cotton
• research into viral recombination and its environmental effects.
Two additional studies were commissioned this year to examine the potential
environmental risks of genetically modified organisms that have been developed
overseas being brought into Australia unintentionally or illegally. This research will
assist with the development of policies to manage the risk of genetically modified
organisms imported into Australia unintentionally.
The department also participated in the current reviews of the Gene Technology
Act 2000 and its Regulations, ensuring that the level of environmental protection
afforded by the regulatory system has been fully considered in the review
processes.

160 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Chemical risk assessments
The department provides other Australian Government regulators with advice on
the environmental impacts of new industrial, agricultural and veterinary chemicals.

Agricultural and veterinary chemicals


The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority regulates agricultural
and veterinary chemicals. One test for registering a new chemical product is
whether the product is likely to harm the environment when used according to its
instructions. The authority seeks the department’s advice when applying this test.
The authority provides funding in return for this service under an agreement with
the department.
In 2005–06 the department received $1 million under this agreement in return for
carrying out 102 environmental risk assessments for new uses of agricultural and
veterinary chemicals.

Outcome—1 Environment
Human settlements
As part of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority’s ongoing
review of existing chemicals, the department prepared a range of environmental
risk assessments for paraquat, diuron and 2,4-D. These assessments and
the department’s recommendations were forwarded to the authority for
consideration. Chemicals which have reached the public comment phase of the
authority’s process included 2,4-D volatile esters and diuron.

Industrial chemicals
The National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme regulates
industrial chemicals. The department assesses the potential environmental impact
of new industrial chemicals on behalf of the scheme. The scheme provides funding
in return for this service under an agreement with the department. In 2005–06
the department received $690 000 under this agreement in return for carrying out
270 environmental risk assessments for new industrial chemicals and the priority
review programme. The number of new chemicals assessed continues a long-term
trend of increasing numbers of industrial chemical assessments being undertaken
by the department.

161
Supervision of uranium mining
The Supervising Scientist is a statutory office under the Environment Protection
(Alligator Rivers Region) Act 1978 and the occupant of the office is the head of the
Supervising Scientist Division within the department. The Supervising Scientist
Division supervises uranium mining in the Alligator Rivers Region, which includes
Kakadu National Park. The department works closely with the Department of
Industry, Tourism and Resources and the Northern Territory Department of
Primary Industry, Fisheries and Mines in fulfilling this role.
The department has specific roles and responsibilities under the Act to protect
the environment of the Alligator Rivers Region from the potential impacts of
uranium mining. The roles and responsibilities include environmental monitoring,
supervision, and research into the impact of uranium mining.
The Alligator Rivers Region, some 220 kilometres east of Darwin, includes Kakadu
Outcome—1 Environment

National Park. The region contains a number of former, current and potential
Human settlements

uranium mines, including:


• Ranger, which is currently being mined
• Nabarlek, where mining has ceased and rehabilitation is under way
• Jabiluka, which has been in long-term care and maintenance since
December 2003
• Koongarra, a potential mine that is the subject of discussions between the
traditional Aboriginal owners and the mining company, Koongarra Pty Ltd.
None of these sites are part of Kakadu National Park. A number of smaller uranium
deposits were mined during the 1950s and 1960s in what is now the southern
portion of Kakadu National Park.
The Supervising Scientist Division continued to conduct research, monitoring,
supervision and audit activities during 2005–06. During the year the monitoring
programme was enhanced, with the introduction of continuous monitoring of
water quality parameters in Magela Creek adjacent to the Ranger mine. A first stage
trial of in situ biological monitoring was also successfully undertaken. Second stage
testing of this methodology will be carried out during the 2006–07 wet season. If
successful, the current resource-intensive creekside monitoring programme will be
replaced in subsequent years with this streamlined procedure.
Work to date indicates that the environment of the Alligator Rivers Region remains
protected from the impacts of uranium mining.
Detailed performance results are provided in the Supervising Scientist’s annual
report on the operation of the Environment Protection (Alligator Rivers Region)
Act 1978 at www.deh.gov.au/about/publications/annual-report/.

162 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Results for performance indicators
Performance indicator 2005–06 result

Environmental assessments

Number of actions affecting matters protected 270 matters protected under Part 3 of the
by Part 3 of the Environment Protection and Environment Protection and Biodiversity
Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 whose adverse Conservation Act 1999 were afforded protection
environmental impacts have been addressed through the referral, assessment and approval
process. This is an increase of 77 matters from the
previous year

Air pollution

Number of occasions where concentrations of key In accordance with the Ambient Air Quality
air pollutants exceeded the standards for ambient National Environment Protection Measure, data
air quality in major urban areas reporting is on a calendar year basis. Current
data is for 2004 and is sourced from the National
Environment Protection Council annual report for

Outcome—1 Environment
2004–05

Human settlements
No exceedences were experienced in urban areas
for 4 (carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, lead and
nitrogen dioxide) of the 6 key pollutants
The ozone standards were exceeded occasionally
in Vic, Qld and WA, while NSW (Sydney)
experienced widespread exceedences of the
standards
There were widespread exceedences of the
particle standard in NSW and Vic, and occasional
exceedences in WA, SA and ACT. A significant
number of exceedences of the particle standard
were experienced in Wagga Wagga (NSW) and
Launceston (Tas)
Exceedences of the sulfur dioxide (1 hour average)
standard were significant in 2 regional areas,
Mount Isa in Qld and Port Pirie in SA. The lead
standard was also exceeded at Port Pirie

National Environment Protection Measures for air The department contributed to the review of the
quality are implemented and reviewed to provide National Environment Protection (Ambient Air
world best-practice in the protection of community Quality) Measure in conjunction with the states and
health territories. The review commenced in April 2005
and is scheduled to conclude in 2008

Australian Fuel Quality Standards are Diesel sulfur standard was tightened to 50 mg/kg
implemented, and further harmonised with and maximum density level reduced to 850 kg/m3
international standards
Standards for petrol benzene and diesel polycyclic
aromatic hydrocarbon levels were introduced
1 067 fuel samples were taken and 500 fuel supply
sites tested. 6.7% of samples were non-compliant
(note: does not include non-compliance with
ethanol information standard). Details are contained
in the Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000 annual
report in volume 2, legislation annual reports

163
Performance indicator 2005–06 result

Hazardous substances and new organisms

Number of environmental risk assessments of (i) (i) 270 industrial chemicals assessed
industrial chemicals and (ii) agricultural pesticides
(ii) 102 agricultural pesticides or veterinary
and veterinary medicines completed
medicines assessed

Number of genetically modified organism release 12 advices on 9 applications


proposals for which environmental risk advice was
prepared

Used oil

Number of used oil collection facilities under the Over 850 (more than 80 additional facilities funded
Product Stewardship for Oil Programme in 2005–06)

Area serviced by collection facilities Urban and regional areas are well serviced and
the 2005–06 grants have also extended used oil
collection facilities into remote and Indigenous
areas across Australia
Outcome—1 Environment
Human settlements

Ozone depleting substances

Mass of imports compared to Montreal Protocol All phase-out obligations were met or exceeded
limits
HCFC consumption 152 ozone-depleting potential
tonnes compared to Montreal Protocol limit of
357 ozone-depleting potential tonnes
Methyl bromide consumption 119 metric tonnes
compared to Montreal Protocol limit of 147 metric
tonnes. All other consumption was nil

Packaging waste

Number of company signatories to the National 423 as of July 2006


Packaging Covenant

Agreement is reached by 2006 to phase out plastic Draft phase-out agreement negotiated, considered
bags by 2008 by Environment Protection and Heritage Council in
October 2005
Department is negotiating an alternative voluntary
option with retailers
Department is working with states and territories
to develop legislative options for consideration by
ministers should voluntary approach be assessed
as unlikely to succeed
Department is contributing to a regulatory impact
statement for consideration by ministers. This
includes providing $50 000 towards development
of cost-benefit analysis
Ministers considered options at June meeting of
Environment Protection and Heritage Council

164 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Performance indicator 2005–06 result

Uranium mining

Percentage measured as (i) median and (ii) (i) 0.055 µg/l or 0.93% of limit
maximum annual concentrations of the limit of
(ii) 0.153 µg/l or 2.55% of limit
uranium concentrations allowed downstream of
the Ranger mine (6 micrograms per litre)
[The limit value was recalculated from 5.8
micrograms per litre to 6 micrograms per litre.
The figure of 5.8 incorrectly appears in the
Portfolio Budget Statements]

Number of times limit exceeded None

Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Account (administered item)

The Australian Government’s obligations under the 8.9 tonnes of halon 1211 and 1.6 tonnes of halon
Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas 1301 were collected from the community for safe
Management Act 1989 (the Act) are met, including disposal at the National Halon Bank

Outcome—1 Environment
effective administration of the Act, management
No significant losses were recorded from stored

Human settlements
of the Halon Bank and programmes to phase
halon at the National Halon Bank
out ozone depleting substances and minimise
emissions of ozone depleting substances and
synthetic greenhouse gas

Licence and enforcement actions are undertaken 100%. 568 applications assessed within statutory
within statutory timeframes timeframes

Supplies of essential use halon are provided within 100%. 9 requests for halon met within customer’s
the requested timeframe timeframe

Number of facility inspections meets local 3. Inspections covered water quality and effluent;
ordinance requirements air quality and stack emissions; occupational
health and safety and industrial safety

Launceston’s air quality (administered item)

Percentage of payments that are consistent with 100%


the terms and conditions of funding (Target: 100%)

Percentage of payments that are consistent with 100%


the terms and conditions of funding (Target: 100%)

Commonwealth Environment Research Facilities (CERF) (administered item)

The extent to which funded projects successfully 19 transition projects were funded under
contribute to furthering Australia’s understanding the Marine and Tropical Sciences Research
of critical areas of environment research Facility which will contribute significantly to
understanding of how to conserve and manage
north Queensland’s environmental assets within
the Great Barrier Reef, tropical rainforests and the
Torres Strait. Many of these projects will be further
developed under the first annual research plan in
2006–07
4 research hubs were announced with grants
totaling $23.5 million. Research will commence in
2006–07

165
Performance indicator 2005–06 result

Commonwealth Environment Research Facilities (CERF) (administered item) continued ...

Percentage of projects delivered to a satisfactory 95% under Marine and Tropical Science Research
standard in accordance with the terms and Facility Transition Projects
conditions of the project contract (Target: 100%)

Number of projects funded 19 under Marine and Tropical Science Research


Facility Transition Projects

Sub-output 1.5.1—Environmental assessments

Percentage of payments that are consistent with 100%


the terms and conditions of funding
(Target: 100%)(a)

Percentage of statutory timeframes triggered that 85% of statutory timeframes were met for
are met (Target: >90%)(b) decision-making in the referral, assessment
and approval process. Details and reasons are
contained in the EPBC Act annual report volume 2,
Outcome—1 Environment

legislation annual reports


Human settlements

Note: A review of EPBC Act statistics undertaken


after the 2004–05 reporting period revealed that
90% of statutory timeframes were met, rather than
83% as reported in the 2004–05 annual report

Sub-output 1.5.2—Pollution prevention—Air quality

Percentage of payments that are consistent with 90%. Some milestones were not met under
the terms and conditions of funding (Target: 100%) the CycleConnect Programme due to delays in
infrastructure projects

Sub-output 1.5.2—Pollution prevention—Fuel quality

Percentage of payments that are consistent with 100%


the terms and conditions of funding
(Target: 100%)(a)

Sub-output 1.5.2—Pollution prevention—Used oil

Percentage of payments that are consistent with 100%


the terms and conditions of funding (Target: 100%)

Sub-output 1.5.2—Pollution prevention—Packaging

Percentage of payments that are consistent with 90%


the terms and conditions of funding (Target: 100%)

Sub-output 1.5.2—Pollution prevention—Hazardous waste

Percentage of statutory timeframes triggered that >90%


are met (Target: >90%)

(a) Applies to provision of grants programmes funded entirely from the Department of the Environment and Heritage
appropriations for the output (i.e. not those marked administered items).
(b) Applies to areas that administer legislation, for example reporting timeframes triggered under the Environment
Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

166 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Resources
Departmental outputs Budget prices Actual expenses
$’000 $’000

Sub-output: 1.5.1 Environmental assessments 14 202 14 912


Sub-output: 1.5.2 Pollution prevention strategies 40 047 40 383
Sub-output: 1.5.3 Supervision of uranium mines 8 630 9 306

Total (Output 1.5: Response to the impacts of human settlements) 62 879 64 601

Administered items

Commonwealth Environment Research Facilities 2 885 2 815


Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Account 1 600 1 294
Bio Fuels – Ministerial Council on Energy Additional and Australian
Government Task Force 355 356

Outcome—1 Environment
National Environment Protection Council 429 429

Human settlements
Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme 582 245
(a)
Australian Wildlife Hospital 2 500 2 500
Launceston’s air quality 200 200

Total (Administered) 8 551 7 839

(a) Results appear in the chapter on Land and Inland Waters on page 46.

Other annual reports providing information on


this output
Included in the second volume of this set of annual reports are the annual reports
on the operation of the following legislation administered by the department:
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
Product Stewardship (Oil) Act 2000
Water Efficiency and Labelling Standards Act 2005
Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1989
Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989
Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000
Other relevant reports are:
Annual report on the operation of the National Environment Protection Council
Act 1994 at www.ephc.gov.au/nepc/annual_reports.html
Annual report of the Supervising Scientist at www.deh.gov.au/about/publications/
annual-report/

167
OUTCOME 2—ANTARCTICA
Antarctica
The Department of the Environment and Heritage is advancing Australia’s
interests in Antarctica by carrying out Antarctic and Southern Ocean programmes,
participating in international forums, and conducting scientific research.

Main responsibilities for this outcome

Output 2.1: Antarctic policy


• Influence the Antarctic Treaty System
• Protect the Antarctic and Southern Ocean
environment
• Negotiate international whaling matters
• Administer the Australian Antarctic Territory and
the Territory of Heard Island and MacDonald
Islands
Australian
Antarctic Division
Outcome—2 Antarctica

Output 2.2: Antarctic science


• Carry out research in Antarctica and the Southern
Ocean
• Provide data to Australian and international
institutions and support them to undertake
research

Objectives
• Maintain the Antarctic Treaty System, to enhance Australia’s influence in it and
enhance international protection for whales and seabirds
• Protect the environment of Antarctica, the Southern Ocean and the Territory of
Heard Island and McDonald Islands including its marine living resources
• Improve understanding of Antarctica’s role in the global climate system
• Support practical and significant Antarctic scientific research

170 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Results 2005–06

• Australia continued efforts to pursue a permanent global ban on


commercial whaling and worldwide protection for whales at the 58th
annual International Whaling Commission meeting. Australia helped to
defeat pro-whaling countries’ proposals to remove consideration of small
cetaceans from the agenda, to introduce a mechanism for secret ballots,
to increase commercial ‘coastal’ whaling, and to abolish the Southern
Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
• At the meeting the Australian delegation also successfully defended
Australia’s resolution, put at last year’s meeting, to condemn ‘scientific
whaling’. Australia’s defence was supported by the Australian Antarctic
Division’s scientific contributions to developing non-lethal research
methods, and highlights the flaws in ‘scientific’ whaling.
• Results from research conducted under Australia’s five-year Antarctic
research programme (Antarctic Science Strategy 2004–2009) are helping
scientists to better understand the Southern Ocean ecosystem and the
effects upon it of a changing climate. Extensive populations of krill, an

Outcome—2 Antarctica
important food source for whales, seals and seabirds, were encountered
throughout the south-west Indian Ocean sector during a major
multidisciplinary survey.
• Australia’s new blue-ice runway in Antarctica is on track for the first
regular intercontinental flights in 2007. The airlink between Hobart and
Antarctica will make research more efficient by enabling scientists to
spend less time travelling by ship and more time conducting research.
• The Australian Antarctic Division established a new set of quarantine
principles to protect Antarctica and the subantarctic islands from the
threat of introduced alien species of plants and animals and from disease.

Antarctic policy
The department’s Australian Antarctic Division advances Australia’s policy interests
in Antarctica by supporting and participating in the Antarctic Treaty system,
including taking an active role in forums of the Antarctic Treaty Consultative
Meeting, the Committee for Environmental Protection, the Commission for
the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (fishing and ecosystem
management), the International Whaling Commission, and the Agreement on
Albatrosses and Petrels (seabird conservation).

171
The division administers the Australian Antarctic Territory, which covers 42 per
cent of Antarctica, as well as the Territory of Heard Island and McDonald Islands.

Australian Antarctic Territory and stations

Heard Island and


McDonald Islands
Mawson Station
*#

Davis Station
*#

ANTARCTICA

#
* Casey Station
Outcome—2 Antarctica

#
* Stations
Ice shelf
Land
Australian Antarctic Territory

Antarctic Treaty System


The Australian Government considers that support for the Antarctic Treaty system
is the best way to advance Australia’s Antarctic policy interests. The Antarctic Treaty
system has grown into a wide-ranging regime for managing Antarctica, with a
particular emphasis on environmental protection. It also provides for scientific and
logistic cooperation. Since 1961, 45 countries have become parties to the treaty.
In 2005–06 the department’s Australian Antarctic Division continued to represent
Australia’s interests at Antarctic Treaty meetings. The most significant forums are
the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting, the annual meeting of the Committee
for Environmental Protection and meetings under the Convention for the
Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.
The Committee for Environmental Protection is responsible for developing the
regulatory framework established by the Protocol on Environmental Protection.
The director of the Australian Antarctic Division was chair of the committee from
2002 until June 2006.

172 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Improvements to tourism management
While Antarctic tourism is a relatively small component of the industry worldwide,
the number and diversity of operations is increasing and each year more people
visit Antarctica. Tourist numbers have doubled over the past decade and the
Australian Government is concerned about possible environmental impacts.
In February 2006, the division participated in an inspection of popular tourist sites
in the Antarctic Peninsula. This follows from the June 2005 Stockholm Antarctic
Treaty meetings where it was agreed to continue work on the Australian Antarctic
Division’s previous proposals for accrediting tour operators. Since those meetings,
the division’s draft proposal for improving the management of Antarctic tourism
was endorsed at an international meeting of Antarctic tourism operators.
At its annual meeting held in Edinburgh in June 2006, the Committee for
Environmental Protection endorsed new guidelines protecting sites in Antarctica
that are subject to tourism. The guidelines were adopted at the 29th Antarctic
Treaty Consultative Meeting also held in Edinburgh from 8–19 June 2006.
The Committee for Environmental Protection also endorsed the Australian
Antarctic Division management plans for the Clark Peninsula and Hawker Island,
which provide for the management of two environmentally sensitive areas within

Outcome—2 Antarctica
Antarctica.

Protecting the Antarctic environment


The Antarctic Treaty’s Protocol on Environmental Protection requires Australia and
other signatories to minimise the environmental impacts of activities in Antarctica.
The Australian Antarctic Division implements Australia’s environment protection
programmes and legislation in Antarctica.

Environment protection laws


The Australian Government is scrupulous in minimising the environmental
impacts of Antarctic operations, including cumulative impacts. This includes
assessing possible impacts under the Antarctic Treaty (Environment Protection)
Act 1980 and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
Australia has quarantine procedures in place to protect Antarctica and the
subantarctic islands from introduced species. The Australian Antarctic Division
seeks to develop and promulgate these procedures through the Antarctic Treaty
system. Australia presented a working paper on quarantine to the 2005 meeting
of the Committee for Environmental Protection and for the 2006 meeting the
Australian Antarctic Division prepared several working and information papers,
including a management plan to complete a suite of protected areas covering the
three breeding colonies of endangered southern giant petrels in the Australian
Antarctic Territory.

173
The Australian Antarctic Division continues to be active in the Committee on
Environmental Protection Steering Group on ‘CEP Futures’, which is intended to
set the processes and focus of the committee’s work for the next 15 years.

Antarctic Approvals Online project


Each year the Australian Antarctic Division receives about 160 research applications
from scientists and another 30 or so applications to conduct other activities, such
as tourism, in Antarctica. The Australian Government has a range of laws and
processes to protect the Antarctic environment and people working in Antarctica.
The Australian Antarctic Division has invested $500 000 in the Antarctic Approvals
Online project. This website has streamlined the applications process, saving time
and costs for applicants as well as the division.

Cape Denison site and Mawson’s huts


Cape Denison site and Mawson’s huts: Australia’s most significant Antarctic
heritage site, Cape Denison, contains the national heritage listed Mawson’s huts.
Mawson’s huts rank alongside those of Scott, Amundsen and Shackleton as icons
Outcome—2 Antarctica

of the ‘heroic age’ of Antarctic exploration.


The Australian Antarctic Division manages the Mawson’s huts site. In May 2006
the Australian Government provided a grant of $320 000 to the Mawson’s Huts
Foundation for conservation work at Cape Denison. This work will be carried out
in the summer of 2006–07. The Australian Antarctic Division will continue to work
closely with the Mawson’s Huts Foundation to manage this important conservation
work and raise awareness of the site.

Environmental management system


The Australian Antarctic Division’s environmental management system provides a
transparent way to identify and manage the environmentally significant aspects of
Antarctic activities. The Australian Antarctic Division was the first national operator
among Antarctic Treaty parties to have its environmental management system
certified to the international ISO 14001 standard.

Renewable energy at Mawson


The Australian Antarctic Division has installed two wind turbines at Mawson
station. In suitable wind conditions the turbines contribute approximately
90 per cent of the station’s energy needs, so that fuel use in 2005–06 was
approximately 30 per cent less than 2002 levels. The next stage in this project is to
install equipment to use excess wind energy to generate hydrogen. This is planned
for the 2006–07 Antarctic summer.

174 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Clean-up operations
The Australian Antarctic Division has embarked upon an extensive clean-up
campaign to remove 30-year-old waste from disused tip sites at Australia’s
Antarctic stations, and to remediate the effects of fuel spills that have occurred.
Approximately 1 000 tonnes of excavated material remains in a bunded stockpile at
Thala Valley near Casey station, pending final disposal.
Research on the effects of the waste site on the marine environment has been
undertaken, and ongoing research and monitoring will evaluate the remediation
work. The results of this research will be shared with Australia’s Antarctic Treaty
partners in a major clean-up workshop to be held in Hobart in 2007.
The Australian Antarctic Division began planning for the removal of the old Davis
station, which was abandoned in the mid-1990s. The old station is now structurally
unsound, contains asbestos cement sheeting, has unstable foundations and is
releasing lead-based paint, insulation and other materials into the environment.
Approvals for the work were received under the Antarctic Treaty (Environment
Protection) Act 1980 and Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation
Act 1999.

Outcome—2 Antarctica
Protecting the Southern Ocean
The Southern Ocean has abundant wildlife but fishing and whaling are pressure
points. Since 2002 the Australian Government has pushed for improvements
to fisheries management in the Southern Ocean under the Convention on the
Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.
Under the convention the 24-member international Commission for the
Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (often referred to as CCAMLR)
is responsible for fisheries in much of the Southern Ocean. Australia is a founding
member of the commission. The director of the Australian Antarctic Division leads
Australian delegations to the commission, which meets annually.
In recent years highly organised illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing for
Patagonian toothfish in the Southern Ocean has heavily depleted several stocks.
Most fishers use longlines and make no attempt to avoid seabird bycatch. Such
fishing is killing tens of thousands of albatrosses and petrels each year, and has
brought some seabird populations to the brink of extinction.
The Australian Antarctic Division works with other departments and agencies to
develop Australia’s response to illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing and
provides support to the Australian Government’s armed patrols in the Southern
Ocean. Partly as a result of the division’s efforts, Australia has a strong record
of action against illegal fishing in the Southern Ocean, particularly in Australian
waters off the Territory of Heard Island and McDonald Islands.

175
Monitoring fishing
The Australian Antarctic Division continued to play a key role in actions aimed
at combating illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, and is working with
other government departments in developing and implementing the Australian
Government’s position. While illegal fishing within subantarctic regions of
Australia’s Economic Exclusion Zone has reduced dramatically, the threat from
illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing remains and continues unchecked on
the adjacent high seas, seriously threatening conservation goals.

Ecosystem-based management
The Australian Antarctic Division is active in research on the ecosystem approach
to management adopted by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic
Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). In 2005–06 this involved further development
of the CCAMLR Ecosystem Monitoring System, developing ecosystem models and
surveying krill in the south-west Indian Ocean so that precautionary catch limits
can be set by CCAMLR.

Conservation of albatrosses
Outcome—2 Antarctica

Albatrosses are one of the most threatened seabird groups in the world—a
total of 21 out of 24 species of albatross are considered threatened under
the World Conservation Union criteria. The Tasmanian Shy Albatross is
listed as vulnerable under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity
Conservation Act 1999.
The biggest threat facing albatross and other seabird populations is the
interaction with fishing operations, particularly longline fishing.
The department is helping to conserve albatross and other seabirds
by leading Australia’s
participation in the
Agreement on the
Conservation of Albatrosses
and Petrels, and supporting
projects to reduce the
impacts of longline fishing.
A threat abatement plan
is in place under the
Environment Protection
and Biodiversity
Conservation Act 1999 for
A Tasmanian shy albatross in flight.
incidental catch of seabirds
Photo: Mike Double during longline fishing.

176 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Albatrosses and petrels
The Australian Antarctic Division leads Australian participation in the Agreement
on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels. The agreement, which was
developed under the auspices of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory
Species of Wild Animals, came into force on 1 February 2004.
Under the agreement Australia supports projects to reduce the impacts of longline
fishing, and to tackle emergency situations where a particular species of albatross
or petrel is in rapid decline. Australia also supports the control and eradication of
non-native species threatening breeding colonies.
The Australian Antarctic Division has continued to lead the negotiations on
headquarters for the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels
secretariat. This is a key step toward establishing a permanent secretariat to
support the agreement. The Australian Antarctic Division currently supports the
interim secretariat. The division led discussions with the parties to the agreement
at the June 2006 meeting of the advisory committee, in the lead up to the meeting
of the parties in November 2006.

Heard Island and McDonald Islands Marine Reserve

Outcome—2 Antarctica
The Australian Antarctic Division manages the Heard Island and McDonald Islands
Marine Reserve on behalf of the Director of National Parks. Management results for
2005–06 are reported in the annual report of the Director of National Parks
(see www.deh.gov.au/parks/publications).

International whaling negotiations


The International Whaling Commission has maintained a moratorium on
commercial whaling for nearly two decades. Australia opposes all commercial and
scientific whaling. Australia supports the needs of some subsistence cultures for
continued access to whaling and whale products to meet demonstrated traditional,
cultural and dietary needs.
It is Australian Government policy to work through the International Whaling
Commission to achieve a permanent international ban on commercial whaling,
and worldwide protection for all cetaceans.
The Australian Antarctic Division was responsible during 2005–06 for carrying out
the government’s whale protection policy through relevant international forums,
including the International Whaling Commission.

Moves to resume commercial whaling


The International Whaling Commission held its 58th annual meeting in Basseterre,
St Kitts and Nevis from 16–20 June 2006. The Australian delegation argued against
moves to reintroduce commercial whaling.

177
Australia worked with like-minded parties to monitor the moratorium on
commercial whaling, maintain existing International Whaling Commission whale
sanctuaries and to ensure conservation of small cetaceans, such as dolphins, would
continue to be discussed by the International Whaling Commission.

Antarctic science
A core component of advancing Australia’s Antarctic interests is to carry out
scientific research in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. The Australian Antarctic
Division undertakes research and provides data on physical, biological and human
sciences. This research contributes to Australia’s knowledge of global climate,
Southern Ocean ecosystems, adaptation by plants and animals to global change,
meteorology, and the impact of human activities in Antarctica.

Antarctica’s influence on climate


Antarctica influences the global climate because of its low temperatures,
circumpolar ocean and immense size. Antarctica’s vast ice sheets affect the flow
Outcome—2 Antarctica

of heat in the oceans and atmosphere, the shape of the southern ozone hole, and
how much carbon dioxide the oceans absorb.
Climate change is beginning to cause large-scale changes to Antarctica’s ice sheets,
including the collapse of the Larsen B ice shelf in 2002. These changes could affect
major ocean currents and food webs.
The Australian Government
has a five-year research
plan called the Antarctic
Science Strategy 2004–05
to 2008–09. One of the
four priorities is adding
to knowledge about
Antarctica’s influence on
the climate. The Australian
Antarctic Division works
closely with the Antarctic
An iceberg off Antarctica. Photo: Alison McMorrow
Climate and Ecosystem
Cooperative Research
Centre and the Australian
Greenhouse Office to carry out this research. The division also works closely
with the CSIRO Marine and Atmosphere Division’s Wealth from Oceans Flagship
programme.

178 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Latest research on the Southern Ocean
The Australian Antarctic Division’s chartered research ship Aurora Australis
carried out a 10-week research voyage between January and March 2006.
The Baseline Research on Oceanography, Krill and the Environment—or BROKE-
West—voyage was led by the Australian Antarctic Division and the Antarctic
Climate and Ecosystem Cooperative Research Centre and covered more than
1.5 million square kilometres of the Southern Ocean off Australia’s Antarctic
Territory.
During the survey researchers found extensive krill populations—the main food
source for whales, seals and seabirds. The distribution and abundance of krill is
being matched to that of krill predators, and to other elements of the ecosystem
that are food for krill. This study is one of the most comprehensive marine
ecosystem analyses ever undertaken.
While most sectors of the survey area confirm earlier findings of cooler Antarctic
waters and less salinity, the easternmost line of the survey showed an increase
in both temperature and salinity. This is possibly due to a convergence of ocean
fronts and a movement of currents south. Researchers will undertake further
analysis over the coming year to determine why this has happened and what it

Outcome—2 Antarctica
means for ecosystems in the region.
Researchers on the voyage also confirmed the presence of a source of very deep
Antarctic waters—among the densest waters found on earth. These waters, known
as ‘bottom waters’, fill the abyssal ocean around Antarctica and are important in
carrying oxygen-rich waters and driving global deep ocean circulation.

Law Dome ice core project


Law Dome, 100 kilometres inland from Casey station, has been a focal point for
Australian glaciological research since the 1960s. Its ice sheet preserves a record
of the climate. In October 2004 scientists retrieved a 120-metre ice core from near
the summit. Preliminary analysis of the material indicates that the record covers
650 years. It will be used to validate recent reports of a 20 per cent decline in sea
ice over the past half-century and to extend this record back over past centuries.
Detailed analysis is proceeding at the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystem Cooperative
Research Centre.

Amery Ice Shelf


Research into the dynamics of heat transfer between the waters flowing
underneath the Amery Ice Shelf (Prydz Bay) continued in 2005–06, with the
completion of two further bore holes made with a hot-water drill. The project is
part of a strong research focus into the factors affecting local climate conditions.
Both holes (722 and 603 metres deep, respectively) were instrumented with

179
thermistors and upward-looking sonars to reveal details of the freeze-melt
interface and the crystal structure of re-forming marine ice. Samples from the sea
floor underneath the ice were extracted for examination of past glacial events.
Initial photographic analysis of the cavity beneath the ice reveals the presence of
Antarctic krill—an unexpected observation—and other invertebrates.
Also on the Amery Ice Shelf work is being conducted on a large block of ‘calving’
ice at the margin. Detailed observations are showing that rifting occurs faster
in summer than winter and occurs in short, sharp bursts followed by periods of
relative quiet. It is expected this block of ice will calve within the next few years into
a substantial iceberg. Observations are expected to continue for the next two years
with joint studies being undertaken by United States and Australian scientists.
The good atmospheric and weather conditions experienced during the 2005–06
Antarctic season allowed many observations of high altitude clouds to be made
by both lidar and radar. The status and prevalence of these high altitude clouds
is not well known in Antarctica and the division’s studies are in the forefront of
knowledge of this phenomenon. Changes in high altitude cloud abundance are
important indicators of environmental change.
Outcome—2 Antarctica

Australian Antarctic Programme


Antarctic science provides direct benefits to Australians. Examples include more
reliable weather forecasts, the geological history of the Australian continent,
and new ways to contain and treat pollutants in cold environments. Support for
Antarctic research reinforces Australia’s influence in the Antarctic Treaty system.
Providing logistical support for researchers is one of the main responsibilities of
the Australian Antarctic Division. The division maintains three permanent stations
in Antarctica and one at Macquarie Island. Each summer the Australian Antarctic
Division deploys around 200 people to these stations and to field camps. The
expeditions are supplied using chartered ships and aircraft.
In 2005–06 the Antarctic science programme supported 122 projects, leading to
316 publications (the best measure of scientific output) of which 127 are peer-
reviewed papers. Since 1999 the programme has produced 1 191 peer reviewed
publications. A recent review of publications output from the world’s Antarctic
programmes has shown that Australia’s output ranks third, behind the United
States and the United Kingdom.

Antarctic science grants


The Australian Antarctic Division supports the Australian Antarctic Science Grants
scheme. Applications for 2005–06 grants were sought nationally in May 2004,
prompting 159 research proposals. Following independent assessment 47
proposals were awarded grants with a total value of almost $800 000.

180 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Antarctic air link
The Australian Government provided funding of $46.3 million in the May 2005
Budget over four years to establish a permanent, intercontinental air link between
Hobart and Antarctica. The air link will make research more efficient by enabling
scientists to spend less time travelling by ship and more time conducting research.
The Australian Antarctic Division completed a feasibility study, including runway
construction trials, at a cost of $3.2 million. The construction of a 4 000 metre ice
runway near Casey station commenced in October 2005 and will continue over
the summer of 2006–07, to allow a long-range jet aircraft to land in Antarctica. The
Australian Antarctic Division expects to finalise the aircraft type for the service by
late 2006, with trial flights scheduled to commence in 2006–07.

International management meetings


Australian Antarctic Division scientists and managers participate in the
international Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programmes and the
Standing Committee on Antarctic Logistics and Operations. These bodies
represent countries with a national presence in Antarctica. They promote better
management through sharing operational experience and innovations.

Outcome—2 Antarctica
Concurrent meetings of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research and
Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programmes will be hosted by the
Australian Antarctic Division in Hobart from 26–30 July 2006.

International Polar Year preparations


The International Polar Year will be held over 24 months from March 2007 to
March 2009. It will mark the 50th anniversary of the International Geophysical
Year, which lasted 18 months from July 1957 to December 1958, and helped to
stimulate development of the Antarctic Treaty. The Australian Antarctic Division is
coordinating the Census of Antarctic Marine Life for the International Polar Year.

Pollution research
Research over the 2005–06 summer continued on the sensitivity of marine
invertebrates to heavy metal and other pollutants. Following a partial but
significant clean-up of the old rubbish tip at Casey Station (Thala Valley) the fate of
hydrocarbon and other polluting run-off is being studied in the adjacent Brown Bay
and on land. The marine ecosystem is particularly sensitive to pollutants due to the
high prevalence of reproductive brooding among marine invertebrate species.
A new ‘geo-active’ barrier composed of different materials has been established
between the old oil spill site and the coast to intercept the plume of hydrocarbons
flowing through the soil. Preliminary results suggest the barrier is acting effectively
and the technology might be transferable to other locations both in Antarctica and
in the Arctic.

181
Results for performance indicators
Performance indicator 2005–06 result

Antarctic Treaty System

The degree to which Australia’s policy interests (i) Australia’s interests were advanced through the
are advanced through international forums, June 2006 Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting.
particularly: (i) the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Australian-designed tourist site use guidelines
Meetings; (ii) the Commission for the Conservation for 12 frequently visited sites in the Antarctic
of Antarctic Marine Living Resources; and (iii) the Peninsula region were endorsed. Commitment to
Committee for Environmental Protection support International Polar Year scientific research
was obtained through a formal declaration.
Australia assisted the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat:
now fully functional, and thoroughly monitored by
the Consultative Meeting. Non-Antarctic Treaty
member Malaysia agreed to announce a timeline
to sign the treaty
(ii) A range of high priority Australian interests
and goals were significantly advanced through
participation in the Commission for the
Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources,
including with regard to increasing international
support for the commission; combating illegal,
Outcome—2 Antarctica

unreported and unregulated fishing; improving the


sustainability of legal fisheries and conserving high
seas biodiversity. In addition to longer-term policy
interests, several shorter-term fishery management
goals were achieved
(iii) Australia chaired the June 2006 Committee for
Environmental Protection meeting and its strategic
workshop on environmental challenges, which
ensured Australia’s interests were advanced to a
very high degree. Australia’s revised management
plan for the Clark Peninsula was endorsed.
Australia’s proposal to designate Hawker Island
as a specially protected area was endorsed. New
quarantine guidelines, to prevent introducing
non-native species into Antarctic waters in ballast
water, were agreed, codifying standards Australia
already applies

Illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing

The extent of Australia’s impact within the Australia has conducted extensive fisheries
Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic enforcement patrols in the waters managed by the
Marine Living Resources on measures to combat commission and has submitted several reports
illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing for that collectively present information about the
toothfish extent of illegal, unreported and unregulated
fishing and the offenders involved. Australia has
also successfully proposed to the commission that
it adopt improvements to existing measures and
new measures to combat such fishing

182 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Performance indicator 2005–06 result

International seabird conservation

The extent of Australia’s impact in changing fishery Australia advanced its interests through meetings
practices, including reduction in the number of of the Agreement on the Conservation of
albatrosses caught by fishing gear Albatrosses and Petrels Advisory Committee and
meetings of the parties. Australia took a leading
role in developing the agreement, and currently
provides the interim secretariat. 3 of the 4 working
group chairs are from Australia, including the chair
of the Seabird Bycatch Working Group
Australia promoted the uptake of bycatch
mitigation measures in Regional Fisheries
Management Organisations, including the
Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic
Marine Living Resources, Commission for the
Convention of Southern Bluefin Tuna and the
Indian Ocean Tuna Commission
Australia ensured that the reduced bycatch limits
specified in the threat abatement plan for the
incidental catch of seabirds in oceanic longline
fishing were met in domestic longline fisheries
through a combination of measures including
education, enforcement, and monitoring through

Outcome—2 Antarctica
fisheries-independent observer programmes and
fishing closures

International whaling

The degree to which Australia’s policy interests Australia and other pro-conservation countries
are advanced through the International Whaling were successful at the 58th International Whaling
Commission Commission meeting in retaining the simple
majority in all circumstances except one. As
such the moratorium on commercial whaling,
existing International Whaling Commission whale
sanctuaries, and transparency were retained,
and conservation issues associated with whales
continue to be discussed. Australia also opposed
scientific whaling and highlighted the flaws with
such programmes

183
Performance indicator 2005–06 result

Protecting the Antarctic environment

No outbreaks of introduced diseases, pests or A number of alien invertebrates were discovered in


weeds various food items and were reported and returned
to Australia for analysis. The mushroom gnat has
reappeared in the living quarters at Casey station
and is the subject of an eradication plan to be
undertaken in August 2006. None of these species
could survive outside warm buildings

Number and extent of oil spills and remediation 2 minor fuel spills (2 litres and 12 litres) were
action taken reported and cleaned up using fuel spill equipment.
In July 2005 there was a spill of 200 litres when
a fork was accidentally put through a full drum of
diesel near the bunded refuelling area at Mawson
station. All contaminated snow was removed,
melted and fuel recovered. In October 2005
approximately 1 000 litres of fuel leaked from a
damaged (now replaced) fuel bowser at Casey
station and is the subject of a bioremediation
project

Number of environmental impact assessments: (i) (i) 32 assessed (ii) 52 submitted under the Antarctic
completed by the department; and (ii) submitted Treaty (Environment Protection) Act 1980, and 3
Outcome—2 Antarctica

by third parties and assessed by the department referrals under the Environment Protection and
Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999

Percentage of completed environmental impact Audit process commences in 2007


assessments that are subsequently audited under
Australia’s Antarctic Environmental Management
System

Support for Antarctic science

Successful completion of the 2005–06 elements of A total of 122 projects from 34 institutions
the Antarctic Science Strategy 2004/05–2008/09 were undertaken to address 4 priority areas. 51
projects addressed the ice, ocean, atmosphere,
climate priority area, 34 addressed the Southern
Ocean ecosystems, 37 addressed adaptations to
environmental change and 28 addressed impacts
of human activity in Antarctica. Many projects
address more than one priority area

Number of peer-reviewed scientific papers 127


produced by scientists participating in the
Antarctic science programme

Number of scientists active in Antarctica and the 162


Southern Ocean

184 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Performance indicator 2005–06 result

Outcome 2—Individual outputs

The minister is satisfied with the timeliness The minister was satisfied
and accuracy of briefs and draft ministerial
correspondence provided by the department

Percentage of payments that are consistent with 100%


the terms and conditions of funding (Target: 100%)

Percentage of participants in the Australian 100%


Antarctic programme whose participation is
consistent with the terms and conditions of logistic
support (Target: 100%)

Resources
Departmental outputs Budget prices Actual expenses
$’000 $’000

Output 2.1 Antarctic policy 31 987 44 676

Outcome—2 Antarctica
Total (Output 2: Antarctic policy) 31 987 44 676

Administered items

Mawson’s Hut Foundation – expedition 320 320

Total (Administered) 320 320

Departmental outputs Budget prices Actual expenses


$’000 $’000

Output 2.2: Antarctic science 63 569 79 430

Total (Output 2.2: Antarctic science) 63 569 79 430

185
CROSS-CUTTING ACTIVITIES
Cross-cutting activities
The department provides other services that contribute to all of the outputs under
outcome 1 and outcome 2.

Main responsibilities for this work

• International policy advice


• Support for environment and heritage
Policy Coordination
organisations
Division
• Environmental information
• Public affairs

• Online information Corporate Strategies


• Environmental education Division

International policy advice


The department represents Australia’s interests on environment, heritage and
Cross-cutting activities

sustainable development issues in the region, and in broader international forums.


This work includes formulating policy and providing briefing material for the
minister and officials attending international meetings and events.
This year the department contributed to policy decisions at meetings of the
Commission on Sustainable Development, the United Nations Environment
Programme, and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development
(OECD). The department also engaged in bilateral forums with selected countries
in the Asia–Pacific region. Many specific activities are detailed in other chapters of
the report.

Commission on Sustainable Development


The United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development is a multilateral
forum that promotes dialogue on issues relating to sustainable development and
builds partnerships between governments and stakeholders.
The 14th session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development
was held in May 2006. The main themes under discussion were energy for
sustainable development, industrial development, air pollution and the
atmosphere, and climate change. The Minister for the Environment and Heritage

188 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


participated in the high level segment of the meeting. The minister emphasised
the need for improved national level governance and for economic growth to
foster sustainable development. The meeting gave impetus to the Johannesburg
Plan of Implementation by sharing experiences and case studies about the main
themes. Australian case studies were well received, particularly studies on the
Greenhouse Friendly Programme and on Bushlight—Indigenous Renewable
Energy Services.

United Nations Environment Programme


The United Nations Environment Programme is the principal United Nations body
in the field of the environment. Its role is to provide leadership and promote
partnerships for environmental protection.
A meeting of the programme’s governing council was held in February 2006. Major
themes were international chemicals management, energy, tourism, international
environmental governance, environmental assessment and reporting, capacity
building, and water policy and strategy. The department actively represented
Australia’s interests and the final decisions of the meeting reflected Australian
objectives.

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development


Cross-cutting activities
The department represented Australia’s interests at meetings of the Organisation
for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Environment Policy
Committee held in November 2005 and March 2006. The committee continued
to direct OECD studies on issues linking economic and environmental policy
formulation. At the March 2006 meeting an officer of the department was
appointed chair of the committee. The department was active in meetings of the
committee’s working groups and an expert group on climate change.

OECD Environment Performance Review of Australia


The department is coordinating the OECD’s Environment Performance Review
of Australia. The review focuses on Australia’s environmental progress since the
last review (published in 1998) and will provide recommendations for future
action. The major themes of the review are environmental effectiveness, economic
efficiency and sustainable development.
During 2005–06 the department completed the first stage of the review by
providing environmental information and data to the OECD and completing
the OECD questionnaire. The department managed the coordination of these
tasks across Australian, state and territory governments. The final report will be
published in late 2007.

189
Bilateral activities
Papua New Guinea: The department continued to assist Papua New Guinea’s
Department of Environment and Conservation in the areas of governance and
natural resource management, forestry and forest biodiversity conservation,
and partnership building. The department is supporting a national capacity
self assessment to help Papua New Guinea meet its international environment
obligations and improve environmental governance at the national level.
Indonesia: The department collaborated closely with Indonesia on environment
and heritage issues. A successful meeting of the Joint Working Group on the
Environment held in October 2005 identified a number of areas for collaboration
including sustainability education, hazardous waste and illegal trade in ozone
depleting substances. Other areas for bilateral cooperation with Indonesia
included climate change, illegal fishing and management of the traditional fishing
area near Ashmore Reef, migratory marine species and waterbirds, management of
world heritage areas and meteorological issues.
Japan: The department continued to work with Japan on a range of issues and
engaged with Japanese counterparts at international meetings. Discussions
covered topics such as sustainability education, migratory waterbird conservation,
climate change, joint polar research activities and international whaling.
New Zealand: The department held bilateral environment policy discussions
with New Zealand covering climate change and whales, chemicals management,
Cross-cutting activities

biodiversity issues, sustainable forest management and engagement with Pacific


island countries.
Pacific islands: Engagement with the South Pacific Regional Environment
Programme continued through Australia’s involvement in the 16th annual meeting
of officials in September 2005. Australia was commended by Pacific island countries
for its assistance in pollution prevention.
Australia has assisted Pacific island countries to manage the threat posed by
persistent organic pollutants to the environment and human health. Pacific
countries have stockpiles of persistent organic pollutants in the form of agricultural
pesticides, waste chemicals and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls). The persistent
organic pollutants are identified, collected and shipped to Australia for safe
destruction. The department has made a large contribution to this project by
arranging all transportation permits and approvals.
The department continued to assist Pacific Island countries in ratifying treaties,
meeting obligations or building capacity to implement environment treaties.
The department also provided specific advice and assistance on environmental
governance, climate monitoring and prediction, chemicals and waste management,
wetlands and biodiversity conservation, and the conservation of marine and
migratory species.

190 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Support for environment and heritage
organisations

Taxation concessions
The Register of Environmental Organisations is a list of approved environmental
organisations to which donations of money or property for the conservation of
the natural environment are tax deductible. Statistics for 2004–05, which are the
most recent available, show that the public donated more than $69 million to
environmental tax-deductible organisations to protect and enhance the natural
environment. This is down by around $4 million from the previous year, possibly
as a result of the massive public response to fund-raising appeals following the
26 December 2004 tsunami.
During 2005–06 the department assisted 76 organisations interested in applying to
join the register. The Minister for the Environment and Heritage and the Assistant
Treasurer approved the entry of 45 organisations on the register, and
11 organisations were removed at their own request. At 30 June 2006 the register
contained 357 organisations, compared to 323 organisations at 30 June 2005.

Grants to Voluntary Environment and Heritage Organisations


The programme of Grants to Voluntary Environment and Heritage Organisations Cross-cutting activities
assists community-based environment and heritage groups to meet the
administrative costs of their activities. In this year’s funding round 144
organisations received a total of $413 200. Twenty of these groups were offered
multi-year grants for up to three years. In addition 28 voluntary organisations that
were awarded multi-year funding in the previous year received their second year of
support, totalling $354 000 in 2005–06.

191
Environmental information
The department collects information and data to inform policy advice and to
monitor progress on environmental protection.

2006 State of the Environment Report


The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 requires
that a report on the State of the Environment is released every five years.
The State of the Environment Report assesses the Australian environment under
eight themes: atmosphere, coasts and oceans, inland waters, biodiversity, human
settlements, natural and cultural heritage, land, and Australia’s Antarctic Territories.
The Minister for the Environment and Heritage appointed an independent State
of the Environment Committee in early 2004 to prepare the 2006 State of the
Environment Report. During 2005–06, the committee compiled its report, tested
it with a group of experts and considered the comments from a number of peer
reviewers. The department supported the committee’s work by commissioning
commentaries and papers. The committee expects to deliver the final report to the
minister later in 2006.

Environmental Resources Information Network


Cross-cutting activities

The department’s Environmental Resources Information Network develops new


information products and improves existing products to support the department’s
core functions, and for use by other government agencies and the public.
The department updated the Species Profile and Threats database and the
National Vegetation Information System, and developed a spatial analysis tool to
help assess Community Water Grant applications.
The department’s biodiversity analysis tool allows users to produce maps of
the distribution of species in terms of their diversity, endemism and taxonomic
distinctiveness. The department presented the tool to the Global Biodiversity
Information Facility Governing Board in Stockholm, Sweden, and at an
international workshop on biodiversity information tesources in Japan. It is also
being used by the National Institute of Genetics in Mishima, Japan.
The department began work on the first stage of Australia’s Resources Online which
will allow users to access information on Australia’s natural resources, including the
monitoring and evaluation of management programmes.

192 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


The department has been developing My Environment, a web-based tool that
enables people to generate a personal environment and heritage report for their
home, school or property by entering their address details. My Environment
allows people to search the department’s national environmental databases to find
information specific to their needs. It is expected to be available later in the year.

Online information

Visits to the department’s websites (2005–06)

Department’s main website 15%

National Pollutant Inventory website 4%

Australian Greenhouse Office website 12%

Natural Heritage Trust website 4%

Other departmental websites 66%

Results are based on ‘unique user sessions’. ‘Other departmental websites’ include: Natural Resource
Management, Australian Heritage Council, Australian Heritage Directory, Community Water Grants, Australian Cross-cutting activities
Government Environment Portal, Travel Smart Australia, Australian Natural Resources Atlas, National Action
Plan for Salinity and Water Quality, Used Oil Recycling, Waterwatch, Water Rating, National Centre for
Tropical Wetland Research, and Lake Eyre Basin Ministerial Forum.

The department’s websites provide public access to substantial holdings of


information and knowledge. The websites meet the Australian Government’s
online accessibility standards.
During 2005–06 there were over 11 million visits to the department’s websites,
up by more than three million from last year. The most popular site was the
department’s main website (www.deh.gov.au) with over seven million visits.
This was an increase of about two million from 2004–05 and was followed by the
Australian Greenhouse Office site with nearly 1.7 million visits.

193
Public affairs
The department aims to communicate clearly, consistently and effectively with the
Australian public, other agencies and governments, industry, community groups
and non-government organisations. Community awareness of, and engagement
with, the government’s programmes and policies to protect the environment and
heritage is central to their success.
Priorities for communications were to engage Australians more actively in:
• on-ground work and regional planning across Australia’s 56 natural resource
management regions
• encouraging wise use of water with the uptake of Community Water Grants
• participating in the government’s campaign for whale conservation
• raising awareness of climate change and Australia’s efforts to combat climate
change and adapt to global warming
• raising awareness of the National Heritage List and of Australia’s rich natural
and cultural heritage.

Environmental education
The goal of the department’s sustainability education activities is to develop the
Cross-cutting activities

skills, knowledge and values that the Australian community needs to protect the
environment.
The department continued to work with the Australian Government’s advisory
body on environmental education, the National Environmental Education
Council, to implement the National Action Plan for Environmental Education. In
conjunction with the council, the department began work on a new national action
plan. The revised plan will take into account Australia’s response to the United
Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005–2014).
The department helped to prepare and disseminate the first National
Environmental Education Statement for Australian Schools. The statement
provides a model of good practice for delivering sustainability education.
Sustainability education is being delivered in schools in all states and territories
through the Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative and other programmes.
The Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative helps schools to improve
management of their resources and grounds (including energy, waste, water,
biodiversity, landscape design, products and materials) and to integrate the
principles of sustainable development into the curriculum and daily running
of the school. For more information on sustainability education see
www.deh.gov.au/education.

194 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


The department continued to support the Australian Research Institute in
Education for Sustainability at Macquarie University to carry out research on
applied sustainability education. Under the national component of the Natural
Heritage Trust, the department is commissioning $1.7 million of research over
two years (2006–2008). In 2005–06 the institute completed five research projects
including a national review of environmental education and its contribution to
sustainability in Australia, the effectiveness of air quality and coastal management
education, whole-school approaches to sustainability, and models for professional
development in the education of new teachers (for more information see
www.aries.mq.edu.au).

Cross-cutting activities

195
MANAGING THE DEPARTMENT
Managing the department
Corporate governance
The department is committed to sound governance and has established a
comprehensive range of mechanisms and documentation to control and safeguard
the organisation’s business systems and assets.

Results 2005–06

• Completed assessments of the Bureau of Meteorology, the National


Environment Protection Council Service Corporation and the Director
of National Parks against recommendations of the Review of Corporate
Governance of Statutory Authorities and Office Holders
• Completed the review of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975
• Resolved all the main issues identified by the Australian National Audit
Office through the 2004–05 and 2005–06 financial statements audits
• Implemented new arrangements for corporate governance and internal audit
• Updated the department’s service charter and created a new role of client
service officer
• Completed the department’s 2005–2007 fraud control plan and the business
continuity plan for the period 1 January 2006 to 31 December 2007.

Senior executive and responsibilities


Managing the department

The secretary, Mr David Borthwick, is the chief executive officer of the department.
He is assisted in the management of the organisation by an executive team
consisting of three deputy secretaries and 14 first assistant secretaries.
During 2005–06 the department made the following new appointments to the
executive team:
Corporate governance

• Ms Mary Harwood was appointed first assistant secretary of the newly created
Environment Quality Division
• Mr Alan Hughes was appointed as the Supervising Scientist and the first
assistant secretary of the Supervising Scientist Division
• Ms Virginia Mudie was appointed deputy director of the Australian Antarctic Division
• Ms Donna Petrachenko was appointed first assistant secretary of the Marine Division
• Mr Barry Sterland was appointed first assistant secretary of the International,
Land and Analysis Division
• Mr Darren Schaeffer was appointed to chief finance officer and assistant
Secretary of the Financial Management Branch, Corporate Strategies Division

198 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


• Ms Lynden Ayliffe, Ms Vicki Dickman, Mr Richard McAllister, Mr Andrew McNee,
Ms Alex Rankin, Ms Kerry Smith, Mr Greg Terrill, and Dr Charlie Zammit were
appointed to assistant secretary positions in the department.
Three senior executives retired from the department in 2005–06: Dr Arthur
Johnson, Mr Mark Hyman and Ms Alison Russell-French.

Dr Arthur Johnston
Dr Arthur Johnston retired from the department in
October 2005 after six years as the Supervising Scientist
and over 20 years of distinguished service in the
department. The position of Supervising Scientist plays
a vital role in ensuring that the environment of the
Northern Territory’s Alligator Rivers Region, which includes Kakadu National
Park, remains protected from any potential impacts of uranium mining.
Dr Johnston joined the Environmental Research Institute of the Supervising
Scientist in 1982. He was director of the Institute for nine years and was head
of the research programme on environmental radioactivity at the Institute.
Dr Johnston was awarded the Public Service Medal on Australia Day in
2003 for outstanding public service in the development of environmental
standards, particularly relating to the Kakadu National Park, ensuring the
highest levels of scientific integrity of the environmental research programme.

Mark Hyman
Mark Hyman retired from the department in October 2005
Managing the department

after 13 years of distinguished service. Mr Hyman was


assistant secretary of the Environment Protection Branch
since 2003. His responsibilities included policy relating to
environmental management of chemicals and hazardous
wastes, environmental aspects of biotechnology, the National Pollutant Inventory,
ozone protection, state of the environment reporting and the development
of partnerships with industry, especially relating to sustainability in business.
Corporate governance

Prior to this Mr Hyman was in charge of the Department’s International


Branch, when that was a separate organisational unit, with general
responsibility for international environmental and sustainable development
matters, including coordinating Australia’s preparations for the World Summit
on Sustainable Development.
Mr Hyman’s extensive experience included science, technology and industry
policy, with a wide variety of environmental responsibilities, especially relating
to environment protection.

199
Alison Russell-French

Alison Russell-French retired from the department in


July 2006 after 16 years of distinguished service having
joined the department in 1990. Prior to this, Ms Russell-
French worked in a broad range of natural resource
management areas of the Australian Public Service.
Alison Russell-French was a member of the senior executive team delivering
the Australian Government’s Natural Heritage Trust and the National Action
Plan for Salinity and Water Quality.
Ms Russell-French’s experience covers a wide range of policy development
and programme administration in natural resource management particularly
in the areas of wetlands, coastal and marine, introduced marine pests,
migratory waterbird conservation, and world heritage. She also represented
the Australian Government in international environment forums.

Executive committees
The Executive Roundtable is the key senior management forum. It meets weekly
to monitor performance and review significant issues across the department and
portfolio. Members are the secretary (chair), deputy secretaries and heads of
all divisions of the department and portfolio agencies. A summary of outcomes
Managing the department

from meetings is made available to all employees via the department’s intranet
and through regular meetings with staff held in each division and agency. The
names and responsibilities of the department’s senior managers are shown in the
organisation chart on page 11.
The department has eight committees that direct specific aspects of the
department’s internal affairs. Each committee reports its decisions and
recommendations to the Executive Roundtable after major meetings. The major
Corporate governance

achievements of the committees in 2005–06 are summarised in the table below.


In late 2005 the Executive Roundtable agreed to establish a senior forum across
the portfolio to consider climate change impacts and adaptation. The role of the
Executive Group on Climate Change Adaptation is to ensure effective integration
of work on climate change impacts and adaptation into environment and heritage
policies, strategies and programmes. The first meeting was held in February 2006.

200 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Roles and achievements of the department’s Executive Roundtable
committees 2005–06

Committee Role Major achievements in 2005–06

Audit Committee Oversees the internal and Reviewed the committee’s charter,
external audit programme and operating procedures and performance
reviews, risk management, fraud
Updated the 2005–2007 fraud control plan
prevention, financial processes,
for the department
legislation and compliance
Completed the 2005–06 internal audit
programme of the department

Budget, Finance Considers strategic budget and Undertook a rigorous review of the
and Strategy significant financial matters, and resources allocated to the seven outputs,
Committee guides corporate governance and reprioritising 2006–07 funding to ensure
strategic policy activities priority functions are properly resourced
and to allow the department to respond to
emerging issues
Set the initial budget strategy for 2007–08
and 2008–09
Adopted an internal budget management
strategy which sets out clear lines of
responsibility between strategic policy
and financial management aspects of the
budget process
Implemented change management
initiatives to enhance the financial
management of the department
Developed and implemented activity
tracking for major and/or sensitive projects
to identify and monitor risks
Developed detailed guides for line areas
Managing the department

and agencies on the budget and new policy


processes

Compliance Sets the department’s policy Endorsed the 2006 compliance and
Executive and direction for legislative enforcement strategy setting the direction
Committee compliance, endorses operational for department-wide compliance and
policies and practices, sets enforcement activities
performance measures and
Initiated a review of the department’s
reviews performance on
investigation services in line with audit
compliance and governance
Corporate governance

recommendations
Endorsed an operational draft of the
departmental investigation procedures
manual

International Oversees and provides strategic Endorsed a Pacific strategy for the portfolio
Steering Committee direction to the international
Endorsed a strategy for participation in the
work of the department, and
conference of the parties to the Convention
sets priorities for its international
on Biological Diversity
activities
Established a 2005–06 international
engagement strategy

201
Roles and achievements of the department’s Executive Roundtable committees 2005–06 continued ...

Committee Role Major achievements in 2005–06

Knowledge Supports improved information Created training programmes to improve


Management and knowledge management the department’s recordkeeping and
Committee in the portfolio, including developed a new intranet site to improve
implementation of new communication
information and communications
Established subcommittees to improve
technology
access to and application of environmental
information and to progress the cultural
and work practice aspects of knowledge
management
Endorsed a new information and
communications technology strategic plan

Marine and Coastal Coordinates domestic and Initiated the Natural Resource Management
Coordination international marine and coastal Marine and Coastal Committee Strategic
Committee policies and programmes across Directions Workshop to be held in July 2006
the portfolio
Coordinated departmental input to the
Marine Pollution Response Plan

Portfolio Indigenous Coordinates Indigenous issues Provided leadership and advice on a


Affairs Coordination across the portfolio and sets future direction for shared responsibility
Group the portfolio’s strategic focus on agreements, and for communicating
Indigenous matters changes in regional marine planning to
Indigenous people
Championed the ‘Healthy Country, Healthy
People’ schedule under the Overarching
Agreement on Indigenous Affairs between
the Commonwealth of Australia and the
Northern Territory of Australia. Leadership
from this committee has improved
coordination of Indigenous issues
Managing the department

across the portfolio and forged stronger


external links, particularly with the Office
of Indigenous Policy Coordination and
Indigenous Coordination Centres
Championed a successful NAIDOC week in
the department

Workforce Provides strategic oversight Approved changes to the graduate


Management for workforce issues such development programme and significantly
Corporate governance

Committee as recruitment, performance increased the graduate intake for 2007 and
management, learning and 2008
development, occupational health
Created three subcommittees to develop
and safety
respectively a workforce plan for the
department, a project management tool
accessible on the intranet, and a leadership
development programme for senior
employees of the department

202 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Corporate governance developments

Uhrig review
The department is assessing the governance arrangements of statutory authorities
and office holders in the portfolio against the recommendations of the 2003
Review of the Corporate Governance of Statutory Authorities and Office Holders
(the Uhrig Report).
Having completed assessments of the Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator
and the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust in 2004–05, this year the department
completed assessments of the Bureau of Meteorology, the National Environment
Protection Council Service Corporation, and the Director of National Parks. The
governance arrangements for all of these entities were found to be generally
consistent with the Uhrig Report.
In relation to the National Environment Protection Council Service Corporation,
a review of the National Environment Protection Council Act 1994 (and the
corresponding legislation in other jurisdictions) commenced in late June 2006.
Building on the department’s assessment in the context of the Uhrig Report, this
review will consider the governance framework for the National Environment
Protection Council Service Corporation.
A review panel completed the assessment of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
Authority against the Uhrig Report as part of a broader review of the Great Barrier
Reef Marine Park Act 1975. It is now some 30 years since the Act came into force
and established the authority. In the 2004 federal election, the government made
a commitment to review the Act to improve the performance of the Great Barrier
Managing the department

Reef Marine Park Authority, its office holders and its accountability frameworks.
The minister announced the review and its terms of reference on 23 August 2005.
The review was undertaken by a panel chaired by the secretary of the department
with a representative of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and a
representative of the Department of Finance and Administration as the other panel
members. In all, 227 submissions were received, as well as a number of campaign
submissions, and 36 consultation meetings were held. The review was completed
Corporate governance

in April 2006 and is currently subject to consideration by the government.

Internal audit
This year the department reviewed its requirements and organisational
arrangements for internal audit. A new section was created to facilitate improved
governance in the department. It provides strategic input to the internal audit
and risk management functions and manages the work programme for the
department’s external provider of internal audit, risk management and fraud
prevention services. The section also provides the secretariat to the Audit

203
Committee and the Risk Assessment Panel, provides advice to the executive on
programme implementation and performance, and prepares the department’s
annual report.
The department’s Audit Committee provides independent assurance and
assistance to the secretary on the integrity of the department’s financial
management processes, its risk, fraud control and legislative compliance
framework, and its external accountability responsibilities.
The Audit Committee has five members, as set out in the table below. The current
membership of the committee was formally appointed from 1 September 2005
with a new chair and one new member appointed at that time.

Audit Committee membership 2005–06

Member Role

Howard Bamsey Chair

Rod Allen Member

David Anderson Member

Greg Wood Independent member

Jenny Morison Independent member

All members attended the five meetings held in 2005–06.


Observers at meetings of the committee are the chief finance officer, chair of the
Risk Assessment Panel, the director of the Governance Unit and representatives of
Managing the department

the Australian National Audit Office and internal audit.


This year, the Audit Committee’s major activities included:
• reviewing and updating the committee’s charter in light of the Better Practice
Guide for Public Sector Audit Committees produced by the Australian National
Audit Office. The charter was endorsed by the secretary in March 2006. The
charter documents the roles, responsibilities, accountability and operating
Corporate governance

procedures of the committee


• finalising the department’s fraud control plan for 2005–2007. The fraud control
plan helps to prevent and manage fraud and complements the department’s
fraud management guidelines for staff
• completion of the 2005–06 internal audit plan and agreement to the strategic
internal audit programme for 2006–2009 and the 2006–07 internal audit plan.
The 2006–09 internal audit programme was developed in consultation with the
department’s senior executive. The planning process incorporated:
• a review of key departmental documentation

204 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


• consideration of internal audit coverage over the past two years
• identification of significant operational and financial risks, key projects and
challenges facing divisions across the department
• identification of areas where there is significant reliance on controls that are
crucial to ensuring accuracy, integrity and reliability of systems.
The internal audit team developed a list of audit topics based on an understanding
of the key risks of the department and areas where internal audit activity can
best assist staff to continuously develop and upgrade processes to improve the
department’s overall efficiency and effectiveness in achieving its outcomes. The
2006–07 internal audit plan was approved by the Audit Committee. The Audit
Committee will monitor and follow-up audit findings and recommendations.

Risk management
Risk management is integral to the department’s planning and review systems.
A senior management subcommittee, the Risk Assessment Panel, implements the
department’s risk management policy, maintains an overall risk management plan
for the department, and reports to the Audit Committee. The risk management
service provider and the director of the Governance Unit are observers at Risk
Assessment Panel meetings.

Risk Assessment Panel membership 2005–06

Member Role Meetings attended (of 4 meetings held)

Mark Tucker Chair 4


Managing the department

Gerard Early Member 3

David Anderson Member 4

Malcolm Forbes Member 3

Rod Allen Member 4

This year the Risk Assessment Panel began investigating ways to identify risks
Corporate governance

at an early stage in programme implementation. As part of this process, in


February 2006, the Budget, Finance and Strategy Committee began trialling a new
reporting tool to allow the department’s executive to monitor the progress of key
departmental activities and identify emerging risks. In April 2006 the department
commissioned a review of the risk management framework. The results are
expected in early 2006–07.
The department’s insurable risks are identified annually as part of Comcover’s
insurance renewal process. Both actual and potential insurance claims are
reported to Comcover. For risks associated with injury to staff the department is

205
covered by Comcare. The department maintains an occupational health and safety
unit, which helps to reduce claims. Comcare conducts inspections to help the
department measure its performance. Success in managing business risks led to
the department receiving a six per cent discount off its Comcover premium with
the completion of the 2006 Comcover Risk Management Benchmarking Survey in
April 2006.

Fraud control
The department has a fraud control plan and conducts risk assessments to prevent
and manage fraud within the department, in accordance with the Commonwealth
Fraud Control Guidelines.
The secretary endorsed the department’s current fraud control plan in October 2005.
The plan covers the period 2005–2007.

Business continuity plan


The department has a business continuity plan for the period 1 January 2006
to 31 December 2007 endorsed by the secretary. The business continuity plan
describes the arrangements that the department will use to ensure the continuity
of its key services after a major, unexpected and disruptive incident (such as a fire).
It describes the management structure, staff roles and responsibilities, and actions
that are to be implemented after a major incident.

Knowledge management
The department is committed to basing its decision-making on the best available
Managing the department

information and acknowledges the need to develop and effectively manage its
knowledge base. This year the department established subcommittees of the
Knowledge Management Committee to look at the department’s environmental
information needs, particularly in the area of natural resource management, and at
cultural and work practices that are needed for effective knowledge sharing.
This year a new intranet was launched to assist with internal communications and
knowledge sharing. The department has been focusing on learning from staff who
Corporate governance

have already built up experience and understanding in specific areas, and has used
their experience in practical ways including participating in the design of the new
intranet.

206 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Environmental economics advice
The Environmental Economics Unit supports the department with economic
analysis that brings together environmental and economic considerations when
developing advice about policies and programmes. The unit identifies issues
where economic policies need to take into account environmental considerations.
During the year the unit assisted with submissions to Productivity Commission
inquiries into heritage and waste management. The unit continued to participate
in the management of the $10 million National Market Based Instruments
Pilot Programme under the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality.
Nine of the 11 pilot projects approved under round one of the programme are
now complete. A focus during the year was to address the issue of providing
environmental outcomes at least cost (see www.napswq.gov.au/mbi/round1/index.
html). Additional pilot projects will be funded under round two of the programme
over coming years.
Other activities included assessing impact estimates associated with marine
protected areas, the use of market based instruments in programme development
for the Tasmanian Forests Conservation Fund, management and advice for
projects associated with the Reef Water Quality Protection Plan, and advice on
environmental economics proposals under the Commonwealth Environment
Research Facilities programme.

Managing the department


Corporate governance

207
Stakeholder relations
The department strives to provide a high standard of service to its clients. These
include ministers; other Australian Government departments and agencies; state,
territory and local government bodies; non-government organisations; industry;
and members of the wider community.
The department values the views of its clients and stakeholders, and acknowledges
and values the rights of stakeholders to scrutinise its actions. In doing so, officers
of the department maintain the ethical standards required of the Australian Public
Service.

Ethical standards
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 and procedures for handling suspected breaches. Individual
performance agreements require a personal commitment to the Australian Public
Service Values and Code of Conduct.
The department maintains a network of workplace contact officers to raise
awareness about acceptable behaviour in the workplace and to assist employees
with complaints. When new employees join the department they attend an
orientation programme that introduces them to the specific requirements of
the Australian Public Service code of conduct, including the need to disclose any
Managing the department

potential conflicts of interest. The programme illustrates commonly encountered


ethical issues. Participants in the graduate programme also attend an ethics course.
Guidelines available on the department’s intranet warn staff against the
inappropriate use of information technology. The department’s whistleblower
policy ensures that allegations are treated seriously and investigated promptly and
independently.
Stakeholder relations

Ministerial and parliamentary services


The department advises and supports the minister and the parliamentary secretary
through briefings, correspondence, website maintenance and office support
services.
The department has been reviewing its workflow systems and databases currently
used to support the minister. The department expects to implement a new
and more integrated system before the end of 2006. The new system will offer
electronic workflow for important areas of ministerial and parliamentary business,

208 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


namely correspondence, briefings and parliamentary questions. The system will
also automate and streamline management reporting to a much greater degree
than is currently possible, improve document (version) control, and improve the
overall quality of the material being produced.
The minister, the parliamentary secretary and their staff regularly provide informal
feedback in the normal course of their routine contacts with senior officers of the
department. Such feedback, positive or negative, is useful in framing the approach
to similar matters in the future.
The department provides a fortnightly report to the executive and to the
minister’s staff on workflows relating to briefings, correspondence, parliamentary
questions, Cabinet and parliamentary business and legal, legislation and freedom
of information matters. In 2005–06, 10 890 items of correspondence were received
by the minister and parliamentary secretary and registered on the department’s
database. Between 100 and 150 draft replies to correspondence were submitted
for the minister’s signature each week. Reports on overdue correspondence are
discussed at the relevant meeting of the department’s executive including, where
appropriate, mitigating circumstances and steps needed to improve performance.
Nearly 3 000 briefing submissions for the minister and parliamentary secretary
were prepared in 2005–06. The department modified its procedures to ensure
a minimum five working day period between when a submission arrived in the
minister’s office and when a decision was required.

Results for performance indicators


Managing the department

Performance indicator—parliamentary Result 2005–06

The minister is satisfied with the timeliness Minister was satisfied—procedural adjustments
and accuracy of briefs and draft ministerial have improved timeliness and quality while
correspondence provided by the department responsiveness to requests continues at a high
level

Services to the community


Stakeholder relations

The department’s Community Information Unit and the department’s switchboard


(02 6274 1111) receive requests for information from the community, feedback on
the department’s services and redirect enquiries to the appropriate action officer.
The Community Information Unit responded to 38 927 enquiries from the
Australian community. Grant related enquiries accounted for 53.8 per cent of the
enquiries, while the remaining 46.2 per cent were for general information about
the department and its programmes. The unit distributed 253 759 publications in
response to requests.

209
Service charter
The department released a new service charter in October 2005 for the period
2005–2008. The charter sets out the standards of service clients can expect from
the department, their rights and responsibilities, and how to find out more about
the department. The charter is available at www.deh.gov.au/about/publications/
charter.html or in hard copy by contacting the Community Information Unit toll-
free on 1800 803 772.
Clients can provide feedback to the department on its performance by emailing
servicecharter@deh.gov.au. A feature of the new service charter is the creation
of a client service officer position, an impartial contact point to accept feedback
and coordinate the department’s response to members of the public who raise
concerns about service standards. The client service officer can be contacted at:
Client Service Officer
Department of the Environment and Heritage
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601

Phone: 02 6274 3199


Fax: 02 6274 1322
Email: clientservice@deh.gov.au

Complaints about service


No formal complaints were received about service in 2005–06 through the client
Managing the department

service officer.
Five client service complaints were received through the Community Information
Unit and these were redirected to the appropriate area for resolution.
All future client service complaints received through the Community Information
Unit will be forwarded to the department’s client service officer.
Stakeholder relations

Access and equity


The department contributes to the Australian Government’s access and equity
annual report on whole-of-government progress in implementing the Australian
Government’s Charter of Public Service in a Culturally Diverse Society
(see www.dimia.gov.au/multicultural/access_equity).
The department’s performance in implementing the charter in 2005–06 for its core
roles as policy adviser, regulator, purchaser, and provider is summarised in the
following table.

210 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Department’s performance in implementing the Charter of Public Service in a
Culturally Diverse Society

Performance indicator Results 2005–06

Policy adviser role

New or revised policy/ Indigenous people have been involved in the development of policy
programmes that impact in and programmes through participation on the Bushlight Steering
different ways on the lives of Committee, Indigenous Advisory Committee, Envirofund state and
people from different cultural national assessment panels, natural resource management regional
and linguistic backgrounds are bodies and the Community Water Grants National Advisory Panel
developed in consultation with
Indigenous people have been consulted on new or revised policies/
people from those backgrounds
programmes including developing priorities for environmental
research under the Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility
in north Queensland, revising the guidelines for the delivery of future
Envirofund grant funding rounds and implementing integrated waste
and used oil management practices in remote and Indigenous
Australia

New or revised policy/ Impacts on the lives of Indigenous people were considered in relation to
programme proposals assess programmes such as the review of the Bushlight Project and accessing
the direct impact on the lives of Natural Heritage Trust resources and Community Water Grants
people from a range of cultural
The national review of environmental education in Australia
and linguistic backgrounds prior
considered existing environment education programmes that
to decision
specifically involve communities of culturally and linguistically diverse
backgrounds and made recommendations for future resources,
programmes, research and policy development

New or revised policy/programme Communication strategies for new or revised policy/programme


initiatives have a communication initiatives have included the use of plain English in all
strategy developed and communications, advertising grant funding rounds via the Indigenous
sufficiently resourced to inform media network and non-English speaking media, providing translator
people from relevant cultural and services and incorporating Indigenous art and imagery in targeted
linguistic backgrounds promotional material
Managing the department

Regulator role

Resources are provided so that Indigenous people were informed about how the department helps
publicly available and accessible to protect and preserve areas and objects in Australia that are of
information on regulations is particular significance to Indigenous peoples through the Aboriginal
communicated appropriately to and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984 and the
people from a range of cultural Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986 by using plain
and linguistic backgrounds, and English correspondence and by providing opportunities for telephone
especially to those identified and face-to-face meetings
as having a high level of non-
Stakeholder relations

compliance

Purchaser role

Purchasing processes that Indigenous people helped develop purchasing processes for
impact in different ways Commonwealth reserve management plans, and service level
on the lives of people from agreements between the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community and the
different cultural and linguistic Director of National Parks, to help the Wreck Bay community provide
backgrounds are developed in services to Booderee National Park
consultation with people from
Parks Australia examined how to involve traditional owners more in
those backgrounds
the delivery of services such as construction and maintenance of
park assets for reserves in the Northern Territory

211
Department’s performance in implementing the Charter of Public Service in a Culturally Diverse Society continued ...

Performance indicator Results 2005–06

Tendering specifications and The department’s tendering specifications and contract requirements
contract requirements for comply with the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines. The
the purchase of goods or principles of the guidelines are consistent with the Charter of Public
services are consistent with the Service
requirements of the Charter

Complaints mechanisms enable Complaint mechanisms are built into the Commonwealth
people regardless of cultural Procurement Guidelines which apply to the department’s purchasing
and linguistic backgrounds arrangements
to address issues and raise
concerns about the performance
of service providers and the
purchasing agency

Provider role

Providers have established Indigenous people are represented on the regional bodies
mechanisms for planning for responsible for developing natural resource management plans and
implementation, implementation, are assisted by facilitators funded through the Natural Heritage Trust
monitoring and review that
Indigenous culture is presented to visitors to Commonwealth
incorporate the principles reserves, following consultation with Indigenous representatives
underpinning the Charter on the boards of management and advisory committees of these
reserves

Providers have established Service delivery was enhanced by providing cross-cultural awareness
service standards that utilise the training for staff. Regional bodies implementing the Natural Heritage
cultural and linguistic diversity of Trust were encouraged to provide cross-cultural awareness training
their staff, or their staff’s cross-
The department supported Indigenous participation in natural
cultural awareness to facilitate
resource management through the Indigenous Land Management
and enhance service delivery
Facilitator Network and the National Indigenous Engagement
Coordinator, which are identified Indigenous positions. Access for
Managing the department

non-English speaking applicants was also assisted through the


provision of translator services for the Envirofund and Community
Water Grants rounds

Complaints mechanisms enable The department has a service charter and a client service manager to
people regardless of cultural and deal with complaints by phone and internet
linguistic background to address
The department has a ‘Contact Us’ facility on the website inviting
issues and raise concerns about
comments, queries and feedback
the performance of Providers

Employer role
Stakeholder relations

No indicator The department promotes recruitment and career development


of Indigenous employees especially for positions that deal with
Indigenous clients. The department also promotes awareness of
Indigenous issues through the annual celebration of NAIDOC week

212 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


External scrutiny

Courts and tribunals


The decision of the Full Federal Court in Save the Ridge Inc v Commonwealth
handed down on 16 September 2005 affirmed the scope of the application of the
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 to government
decision-making. The case concerned amendments to the National Capital Plan
relating to the construction of the Gungahlin Drive extension (major roadworks in
the Australian Capital Territory).
The court upheld the Commonwealth view that the amendments were not an
‘action’ under the Act because they were a governmental authorisation under
section 524 of the Act.

Auditor-General reports
Audit Report No. 21 2004–05 Audit of Financial Statements of Australian
Government Entities for the Period Ended 30 June 2005. The focus of the report
is on the year end results of the financial statement audits of all general purpose
reporting entities for the 2004–05 financial year.
The Australian National Audit Office identified eight moderate issues and one
legislative breach in the interim phase of the 2005–06 audit relating to deficiencies
in the financial statement preparation process, the reconciliation of leave balances,
the reconciliation of financial records, the reconciliation of special accounts and
access management. All issues were satisfactorily resolved in 2005–06.
Managing the department

Parliamentary committees
One report was tabled by the Senate Environment, Communications, Information
Technology and the Arts Committee: Report 2343 tabled on 28 March 2006:
• Living with Salinity – A Report on Progress. The committee considered the
extent and economic impact of salinity, focusing attention on the effectiveness
External scrutiny

of current arrangements to manage salinity across Australia. The report makes


23 recommendations to build on the work that has taken place over the last
five years.
One report was tabled by the House of Representatives Standing Committee
on Environment and Heritage: Parliamentary paper 215/2005 tabled on
12 September 2005:
• Inquiry into Sustainable Cities. The report encompassed a wide ranging set
of recommendations related to the complex matter of urban sustainability. The
Australian Government is formulating its response to the report.

213
Commonwealth Ombudsman
There were no formal reports from the Commonwealth Ombudsman during the year.

Freedom of information
This section is presented in accordance with the requirements of section 8 of the
Freedom of Information Act 1982. The Act gives the Australian community the
right to access information held by the Australian Government. The only limits are
exemptions needed to protect essential public interests and privacy.

Applications received
The department received 35 applications pursuant to the Act during 2005–06.
There were no requests for review by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

Information about the department


Under section 8 of the Act the department has to make available information about
its functions, organisation, operations and powers that affect members of the
public. Relevant information is contained elsewhere in this annual report
(the executive summary, beginning on page 2, presents an overview).

Information about categories of documents


Under section 8 of the Act the department has to report details of certain
categories of documents it maintains. The department holds a large range of
documents in the following categories:
• General policy: administrative files, consultants’ reports, memoranda of
understanding, agreements, permits, licences, submissions, guidelines for
Managing the department

programmes, grant documents, manuals, financial records, staffing records,


instructions of the secretary, legal documents, and tender evaluations
• Specific: Australian Antarctic Division records, committee records, and court
documents and records
• Parliamentary: briefing documents, Cabinet documents, ministerial
submissions, policy advice, ministerial correspondence, explanatory
memoranda to Acts, Ordinances and Regulations.
External scrutiny

Some documents may have been transferred into archival custody or destroyed in
accordance with the Archives Act 1983.

Arrangements for outside participation


Under section 8 of the Act the department has to report details of arrangements
whereby members of the public can participate in certain kinds of decision-making.
The department consults members of the public and bodies outside the Australian
Government’s administration when developing policy and programmes, and
administering legislation and schemes. In addition to general public consultation,

214 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


which may be a requirement of particular legislation, the department and the
minister receive advice from various scientific and expert committees and other
bodies. These include the Australian Heritage Council, the Threatened Species
Scientific Committee, the Biological Diversity Advisory Committee, the Indigenous
Advisory Committee and the Antarctic Science Advisory Committee.
Generally people can participate by making oral or written representations to
the minister or the department or by putting submissions to the various working
groups chaired by the department.
Formal arrangements under the Environment Protection (Sea Dumping) Act
1981, Sea Installations Act 1987, Environment Protection and Biodiversity
Conservation Act 1999, and the environmental impact assessment provisions of
the Antarctic Treaty (Environment Protection) Act 1980 provide for proposals to
be examined publicly and for comments to be received.
Formal arrangements under the Territory of Heard Island and McDonald Islands
Environment Protection and Management Ordinance 1987 provide for public
consultation during the development of management plans.
Formal arrangements under the Environment Protection (Alligator Rivers Region)
Act 1978 provide for public consultation on scientific research programmes and
matters relating to the effects on the environment in the Alligator Rivers region of
uranium mining operations.

Procedures for gaining access to information


Freedom of information matters within the department are handled by the Legal
Section in the Policy Coordination Division. Contact details for the freedom of
Managing the department

information officer are:


Phone: (02) 6274 1578
Fax: (02) 6274 1587
Email: foi_contact_officer@deh.gov.au
Written requests for access to documents should be addressed to:
External scrutiny

The Freedom of Information Coordinator


Legal Section
Department of the Environment and Heritage
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601
For enquiries specific to the Antarctic contact:
The Director
Australian Antarctic Division
Kingston TAS 7050

215
Environmental sustainability
This section is presented in accordance with the requirements of section 516A of
the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
Section 516A requires government departments to report on:
• how the department’s activities accord with the principles of ecologically
sustainable development (subsection 6a)
• how the department’s outcomes contribute to ecologically sustainable
development (subsection 6b)
• the environmental impacts of the department’s operations during the year, and
measures taken to minimise the impacts (subsections 6c, d and e).

How the department applies the principles


The principles of ecologically sustainable development1 are central to the
department’s environment and natural heritage protection activities, all of which
aim to conserve biodiversity and ecological integrity, and to maintain the health,
diversity and productivity of the environment for the benefit of future generations.
The department administers the Environment Protection and Biodiversity
Conservation Act 1999 and the Natural Heritage Trust of Australia Act 1997, both
of which explicitly recognise these principles.
Examples of how the department applies the principles of ecologically sustainable
development are summarised in the table on page 217. More details on specific
programmes are contained in other chapters of this annual report.
Managing the department

Contribution of outcomes
The Department of the Environment and Heritage is the lead Australian
Government agency for developing and implementing national policy,
programmes and legislation to protect and conserve the natural environment.
One of the key functions of the department is to promote and support ecologically
sustainable development.
The department’s outcomes contribute to ecologically sustainable development as
Environmental sustainability

follows:
Outcome 1: Protecting and conserving the environment helps to maintain the
ecological processes on which life depends.
Outcome 2: Australia’s Antarctic interests include a strong focus on protecting the
Antarctic environment, as well as managing the sustainable use of Antarctic marine
resources.

1 The principles of ecologically sustainable development are set out in sections 3A and (in the case of the precautionary
principle) 391 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

216 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


How the department applies the principles of ecologically
sustainable development
Principles Activities

Integration principle: Integrated natural resource management: develops and invests


decision-making processes in natural resource management plans and other strategies for
should effectively integrate integrating management based on the need to maintain ecosystems,
both long-term and short-term including the regional component of the Natural Heritage Trust and
economic, environmental, regional marine plans. These plans integrate both long-term and short-
social and equitable term economic, environmental, social and equitable considerations
considerations Integrated reporting: publishes its own triple bottom line report
(renamed sustainability report) and State of the Environment report

Precautionary principle: if Environmental impact assessments: applies the precautionary


there are threats of serious principle to prevent serious environmental damage when assessing
or irreversible environmental the possible environmental impacts of proposed actions, often in
damage, lack of full scientific the absence of full scientific certainty, most notably through the
certainty should not be used Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, and
as a reason for postponing through chemical and gene technology assessment schemes
measures to prevent National response to climate change: develops Australia’s national
environmental degradation and international response to the threat of climate change in the
absence of full scientific certainty, and manages for uncertainty,
including preparing Australia for unavoidable climate change impacts

Intergenerational principle: Pollution prevention: applies laws and other national measures
the present generation to prevent environmentally harmful substances from entering the
should ensure that the health, environment, notably the various national environment protection
diversity and productivity of measures, the Environment Protection (Sea Dumping) Act 1981, the
the environment is maintained Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1989, and the
or enhanced for the benefit of Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989
future generations Whole-of-government policy development: advocates
environmental protection in the development of other Australian
Government policies, including major energy and water reforms
Managing the department

Community capacity building: administers the Australian


Government’s major natural resource management programmes that
have an environmental focus, including the Natural Heritage Trust.
These programmes increase the capacity of Australians to conserve
ecosystems for future generations

Biodiversity principle: the Biodiversity conservation: applies laws for the conservation of
conservation of biological biodiversity to protect wildlife and places with environmental values,
diversity and ecological including the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation
Environmental sustainability

integrity should be a Act 1999, and through the Natural Heritage Trust, marine protected
fundamental consideration in areas, terrestrial parks and reserves
decision-making

Valuation principle: improved Conservation incentives: promotes incentives for protecting wildlife
valuation, pricing and incentive and habitats on private land through covenants. Supports fishing
mechanisms should be industry adjustment processes to reduce pressures on the marine
promoted environment
Waste reduction incentives: provides incentives for more efficient
uses of resources, including markets for waste products such as used
lubricating oils, water efficiency labelling, and product stewardship
programmes to reduce plastic bag consumption and to recycle used oil

217
Environmental impacts of operations
The department is a strong advocate of environmental accountability and
sustainability reporting. The department reports in detail on its environmental,
social and economic performance in a sustainability report (previously called a
triple bottom line report). Reporting is in accordance with the Global Reporting
Initiative sustainability reporting (see www.globalreporting.org).
The following section summarises the environmental performance of the
department’s operations during the year. It covers how the department is
minimising the environmental impacts of its operations, and is increasing the
effectiveness of the measures it takes to minimise its environmental impacts.
The department reports on the environmental impacts of four major operational
areas:
• head office in the John Gorton Building and the Edmund Barton Building in
Canberra
• Australian Antarctic Division in Hobart and the Australian Antarctic Territory
• Parks Australia Division
• Supervising Scientist Division in Darwin.
The department will be publishing its sustainability report for 2005–06 later in
the year. The Sustainability Report will contain more detailed information on
the department’s environmental performance and goals. Information on last
year’s Triple Bottom Line Report can also be obtained at www.deh.gov.au/about/
publications/tbl/04-05/index.html.
Managing the department

Results 2005–06
John Gorton Building and Edmund Barton Building
• The department’s environmental management system, which covers the
department’s Canberra-based operations, was recertified in May 2006 to
the upgraded international environmental management system standard
ISO14001:2004.
Environmental sustainability

• The department’s environmental management system moved from a paper-


based to electronic system, in order to streamline maintenance, reporting and
scheduling of environmental objectives, targets and activities.
• A contract was let for the supply and installation of upgraded electricity
metering in part of the John Gorton Building and the Communications Centre.
• Total tenant light and power consumption was up by six per cent from last year
(1 687 601 kWh compared to 1 782 875 kWh).
• Electricity consumption per person per year was 11 per cent higher, rising from
4 849 megajoules to 5 376 megajoules. The department’s consumption is still
well below the Australian Government energy use target of 10 000 MJ/pp/pa.

218 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


• The department continued purchasing 100 per cent accredited greenpower for
the John Gorton Building.
• A water audit of the John Gorton Building conducted in 2005 indicated that,
while the department’s performance was above average for comparable
office-based operations, further improvement can be achieved. The audit
recommendations are being implemented.
• General waste sent to landfill decreased by four per cent from 45 to 43.5 tonnes
in 2005–06.
• Recycled waste comprising paper, cardboard, commingled and organic material
increased by seven per cent from 134 to 144 tonnes.
• Greenhouse gas emissions are up 14 per cent from last year (637 compared to
544 kilograms per person per year).
• Membership of the Environmentally Conscious Officer Network (ECONet)
support group is now 18 strong, the highest it has been, following the
recruitment of six new members and despite the loss of three members moving
to other areas.
Australian Antarctic Division
• The divisions’ environmental management system was recertified to meet the
requirements of the Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS ISO 14001:2004
in September 2005. This system has operated since 2002 and the current
certification is due to expire in September 2008.
• The division’s environmental policy was reviewed in September 2005 and
reissued.
• An internal environmental audit programme was instituted. Regular audits will
be conducted of all major activity groups of the division.
• An inventory of all the division’s environmental training was prepared for
Managing the department

2006–07 and will be reviewed annually.


• A controlled document system was implemented across the division in
August 2005. This system will ensure that all controlled documents are
reviewed regularly.
• The Kingston, Tasmania offices consumed 3.86 million kWh of electricity.
• The Kingston offices consumed 6 216 kilolitres of water, unchanged from
last year.
Environmental sustainability

• The division reused or recycled 26 per cent of waste, landfilled 27 per cent and
treated and disposed of 47 per cent of all waste.
• The warehouse ordered 3 897 reams of A4 and A3 paper on behalf of the
Kingston office and stations.
Parks Australia Division
• Plans of management for individual protected areas include environmental
management goals.
• The Australian National Botanic Gardens introduced a computerised water
management system and has met water restrictions for the past three years.

219
• Several parks have water metering: Booderee National Park consumed
15 270 kilolitres of water (up 39 per cent), Kakadu National Park headquarters
consumed 35 830 kilolitres and the Australian National Botanic Gardens
consumed 166 356 kilolitres (up 14 per cent).
• At Booderee National Park, where statistics are available, 1 200 cubic metres of
waste was recycled.
• Available data suggests staff used eight reams of paper per person per year, up
from 6.5 reems last year.
• Electricity use was reduced from last year by nearly eight per cent across Parks
Australia Division, largely due to more efficient cooling systems.
Supervising Scientist Division
• The division reviewed how scientific research activities can be incorporated
into the draft environmental management system, and implemented an action
plan to track achievement of the goals set in the 2004–05 Triple Bottom Line
report against the Global Reporting Initiatives.
• Electricity usage by the Darwin and Jabiru offices and Parks Australia North
Darwin office increased by four per cent from last year due to the increased
number of occupants, while the total megajoules per person decreased by
six per cent.
• Fuel usage (transport and other usage) was reduced by 17.7 per cent and distance
travelled by vehicles decreased by 18.3 per cent for the same period last year.
• Water usage at the Darwin office increased from 724 kilolitres last year to
1 403 kilolitres this year, partly because of an increase in aquaculture work in
the Environmental Research Institute of the Supervising Scientist.
• It is the division’s practice, where possible, to purchase ‘green’ stationery and
Managing the department

toiletry products rather than standard products.


• The division used 20.2 per cent less paper this year than last year, exceeding
the 10 per cent target set in the 2004–05 Triple Bottom Line report. This was
achieved through reusing paper printed on one side, installing duplex trays
in printers for double-sided printing, encouraging staff to edit documents on
screen, and disseminating information electronically.
• There was also a 40.4 per cent reduction in the use of non-recycled paper, and
Environmental sustainability

an 8.5 per cent reduction in partly recycled paper.


• Greenhouse gas emissions this year are down by almost 380 tonnes or
33 per cent (1 202.5 tonnes in 2004–05 compared to 822.67 tonnes in 2005–06).
The lower emissions can be attributed to lower fuel usage, reduced distance
travelled by vehicles and less waste produced on site.
• To reduce landfill waste, staff sort waste including toner cartridges, glass, paper
and plastic products into recycle bins. Organic waste is recycled through the
worm farm established to provide live feed for breeding populations of fish
(purple spotted gudgeon) used for research purposes.

220 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Human resources
The Department of the Environment and Heritage manages its people to ensure
the achievement of corporate goals and to meet its changing business needs.

Results 2005–06

• Negotiated a new comprehensive three-year collective agreement with


staff and unions, which came into effect in August 2006
• Developed a new comprehensive Australian Workplace Agreement for
non-senior executive service staff, which came into effect in August 2006
• Made substantial progress on a new workforce plan
• Revised the graduate programme and approved an intake of 30 graduates
for 2007
• Finalised the department’s people strategy 2005–2007
• Developed divisional improvement plans to follow up findings of the 2004
staff survey
• Made substantial progress on the development of a leadership programme
• Finalised and approved a new project management methodology
• Audited the Investors in People programme and continued certification to
the international standard.

Workforce Management Committee


The Workforce Management Committee plays a key role in reviewing people
Managing the department

management policies and programmes across the department and ensuring that all
people management activity is closely aligned to the department’s business goals.
The committee is chaired by a deputy secretary and includes all division heads. The
committee’s achievements for the year are summarised in the table on page 201.

People Management Branch restructure


Human resources

The People Management Branch was restructured during the year. The changes
were made to improve the branch’s services to management and employees
and to increase capacity to develop and deliver new people management and
accommodation projects for the department.
A People Assistance and Advisory Group was established to provide services
to managers and employees in such areas as pay and conditions, recruitment,
occupational health and safety, performance and wellbeing.
A new team-based Human Resource Strategies Group replaced two previously
separate sections with responsibility for the workforce and performance. The

221
group concentrated on key people management projects, including negotiating
a new collective agreement and Australian Workplace Agreements, workforce
planning, recruitment and leadership programmes.
The programme services area provides accommodation solutions and is responsible
for office services, the environmental management system and fleet management.

Staff turnover and retention rates


The department’s retention rate of its ongoing staff for 2005–06 was 89.2 per cent
(compared to 87.5 per cent for the 2004–05 year). The overall separation rate for
the department (including promotions and transfers to other Australian Public
Service agencies) was 28.3 per cent. This figure includes the department’s above
average percentage of non-ongoing staff primarily required to meet operational
and seasonal employment needs in the Australian Antarctic Division and some
of the national parks. Excluding these staff, the separation rate for ongoing
departmental staff was 10.9 per cent in 2005–06, slightly above the 2004–05
separation rate of 10.7 per cent.

Makeup of workforce
The department has a diverse workforce carrying out a wide range of
responsibilities and tasks across Australia and in Australia’s external territories.

Key to job classification symbols in the following tables


Secretary Secretary of the department
PEO Principal Executive Officer. Refers to Director of National Parks, a
statutory office holder
Managing the department

SES 1–3 Senior Executive Service bands 1–3. Includes Chief of Division,
Australian Antarctic Division
EL 1–2 Executive Level bands 1–2. Includes equivalent Australian Antarctic
Division bands 7–8
APS 1–6 Australian Public Service levels 1–6. Includes equivalent Australian
Antarctic Division levels 1–6. Includes graduate programme recruits
Human resources

RS 1–3 Research Scientist (equivalent to APS 6 or EL 1), Senior Research


Scientist (equivalent to EL 2) and Principal Research Scientist
(equivalent to EL 2)
AMP 1–2 Antarctic Medical Practitioner levels 1–2 (Expeditioner)
AE 1–3 Antarctic Expeditioner bands 1–3
LO 1–3 Legal Officer (equivalent to APS 3–6), Senior Legal Officer (equivalent
to EL 1) and Principal Legal Officer (equivalent to EL 2)
PAO 1–4 Public Affairs Officer 1–2 (equivalent to APS 3–6), Public Affairs Officer 3
(equivalent to EL 1) and Senior Public Affairs Officer (equivalent to EL 2)

222 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Job classification, gender and location (as at 30 June 2006)

Classification

Location Gender Secretary PEO SES 1–3 EL 1–2 APS 1–6 RS 1–4 AMP 1–2 AE 1–3 PAO 1–4
Total
Australian Capital Female 15 254 505 20 794
Territory Male 1 1 30 277 266 4 6 585
New South Wales Female 5 5
Male 1 1
Northern Territory Female 1 8 84 2 95
Male 2 16 91 8 117
Queensland Female 1 1
Male 4 4
South Australia Female 1 1
Male 3 3
Tasmania Female 3 20 96 6 125
Male 5 49 109 37 3 203
Victoria Female 1 1
Male 2 1 3
Western Australia Female 2 1 3
Male 3 1 4
Jervis Bay Female 2 17 19
Male 3 19 22
Norfolk Island Female 0
Male 3 3
Indian Ocean Female 3 3
Male 1 17 18
Antarctica Female 6 6
Male 6 40 46
Total 1 1 56 653 1 213 57 9 46 26 2 062

Human resources Managing the department

223
Human resources Managing the department

224
Full-time employees under the Public Service Act 1999 as at 30 June 2006

Non-ongoing Ongoing Total by gender

Division Female Male Sub-total Female Male Sub-total Female Male Total

Australian Antarctic Division 25 74 99 63 154 217 88 228 316


Parks Australia Division 28 30 58 61 139 200 89 169 258
Department–other divisions 65 43 108 599 499 1 098 664 542 1 206
Total 118 147 265 723 792 1 515 841 939 1 780

Part-time employees under the Public Service Act 1999 as at 30 June 2006

Non-ongoing Ongoing Total by gender

Division Female Male Sub-total Female Male Sub-total Female Male Total

Australian Antarctic Division 8 4 12 10 6 16 18 10 28

Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Parks Australia Division 47 20 67 17 1 18 64 21 85
Department–other divisions 18 8 26 112 31 143 130 39 169
Total 73 32 105 139 38 177 212 70 282
Employment agreements
All senior executive service employees have Australian Workplace Agreements.
All ongoing substantive executive level 1 and 2 employees and equivalent
classifications are also offered Australian Workplace Agreements. Agreements are
offered to other employees on a case-by-case basis. Existing non-senior executive
service Australian Workplace Agreements expired on 30 June 2006. A revised
Australian Workplace Agreement was developed during the year and a new round
of offers was made in August 2006. Current senior executive service Australian
Workplace Agreements have a nominal expiry date of June 2007.
Remuneration for employees on Australian Workplace Agreements is based on
ensuring that individuals are rewarded according to their assessed contribution in
meeting performance expectations, remuneration is competitive with other similar
organisations, and that remuneration arrangements are flexible so that the department
can recruit and retain staff with special skills. The payment of a performance bonus is
based on the individual’s performance during an appraisal cycle.
The department’s other Australian Public Service employees, who make up the
bulk of the workforce, are covered by either the department’s certified agreement,
which notionally expired on 30 June 2006, or the Australian Antarctic Division’s
certified agreement. Development of a new whole of department collective
agreement under the work choices provisions of the Workplace Relations Act 2006
to replace the two current certified agreements was substantially completed by
30 June 2006. The new collective agreement will run for three years and includes
for the first time the Australian Antarctic Division. The new collective agreement
will provide pay rises to staff over the life of the agreement and improve some
conditions. The increased cost of the agreement is offset by productivity
Managing the department

improvements.

Number of employees under various types of employment agreements


(as at 30 June 2006)

Classification

Type of agreement SES non-SES Total


Human resources

Australian Workplace Agreements 49 483 532


Certified agreement (department) 0 1 188 1 188
Certified agreement (Australian Antarctic Division) 0 275 275
Total 49 1 946 1 995

Note:
• Australian Workplace Agreement figures include the Australian Antarctic Division.
• The figures for Australian Workplace Agreements do not include the principal executive officer position and exclude
employees on temporary transfer to another agency who would otherwise be covered by an Australian Workplace
Agreement.
• All figures include staff on leave without pay and exclude irregular or intermittent employees.

225
Base salaries—excluding the Australian Antarctic Division (as at 30 June 2006)

Classification Certified agreement Australian Workplace


Agreement

Australian Public Service Level 1–2 $31 665–$40 998 $31 665–$40 998

Australian Public Service Level 3 $41 877–$46 119

Australian Public Service Level 4 $46 938–$50 652 $46 938–$50 652

Australian Public Service Level 5 $51 370–$55 062 $51 370–$55 062

Australian Public Service Level 6 $56 028–$64 841 $56 028–$64 841

Executive Level 1 $70 254–$78 061 $70 254–$88 061

Executive Level 2 $81 029–$94 936 $81 029–$108 150

Public Affairs Officer 1 $46 938–$55 063

Public Affairs Officer 2 $59 805–$66 101

Public Affairs Officer 3 $73 902–$91 865 $73 902–$91 865

Senior Public Affairs Officer 1–2 $94 936–$99 700 $97 936–$102 700

Legal Officer $42 942–$64 841

Senior Legal Officer $70 254–$85 482 $70 254–$85 482

Principal Legal Officer $91 865–$97 361 $91 865–$100 361

Research Scientist $59 805–$78 061 $59 805–$78 061

Senior Research Scientist $81 029–$96 552 $81 029–$99 552

Principal Research Scientist $98 170–$109 934 $98 170–$112 934


Managing the department

Senior Principal Research Scientist $116 189–$126 690 $116 189–$127 800

Senior Executive Service 1 $114 800–$132 200

Senior Executive Service 2 $138 400–$157 100

Senior Executive Service 3 $171 400–$198 400

Note:
• Does not include salaries relating to the principal executive officer position or the secretary as they are not employed
under the certified agreement or an Australian Workplace Agreement.
Human resources

226 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Base salaries—Australian Antarctic Division (as at 30 June 2006)

Classification Certified agreement Australian Workplace


Agreement

Australian Antarctic Division Band 1 $32 685–$35 715

Australian Antarctic Division Band 2 $36 787–$42 483

Australian Antarctic Division Band 3 $42 644–$45 239

Australian Antarctic Division Band 4 $46 599–$50 920

Australian Antarctic Division Band 5 $52 448–$55 639

Australian Antarctic Division Band 6 $57 310–$64 501

Executive Level 1 $72 599–$77 020 $73 325–$77 790

Executive Level 2 $84 160–$100 495 $85 002–$101 500

Research Scientist $57 310–$77 020 $67 101–$77 790

Senior Research Scientist $79 330–$100 495 $80 123–$101 500

Principal Research Scientist $103 510–$113 108 $104 545–$114 239

Senior Principal Research Scientist $119 998–$131 125 $121 198–$132 436

Antarctic Medical Practitioner Level 1 (Head Office) $94 728–$106 614 $95 675–$107 680

Antarctic Medical Practitioner Level 2 (Head Office) $109 814–$119 998 $110 912–$121 198

Expeditioner Band 1 $45 072–$60 354

Expeditioner Band 2 $55 473–$74 866

Expeditioner Band 3 $77 047–$88 349


Managing the department

Antarctic Medical Practitioner Level 1 (Expeditioner) $108 894–$121 991

Senior Executive Service 1 $114 800–$127 800

Senior Executive Service 2 $138 400–$157 100

Chief of Division 1 $147 200–$160 100

Note:
• Senior executive service employees may access a further salary point, subject to continuing high performance.
Human resources

227
Performance pay for employees up to executive level 2

Classification

APS 1–6 Executive Level 1 Executive Level 2


Performance pay
statistic 2004–05 2005–06 2004–05 2005–06 2004–05 2005–06

Number of 11 18 194 252 154 161


performance
payments

Average $2 597 $2 659 $4 533 $4 112 $5 580 $5 732


performance pay

Range of $1 135– $422– $491– $243– $999– $416–


performance pay $3 715 $5 259 $9 519 $9 007 $10 893 $12 135

Total paid $28 562 $47 854 $879 341 $1 036 289 $859 299 $922 807

Notes:
• Performance pay bonuses for the 2003–04 appraisal cycle were paid during 2004–05. Performance pay bonuses for
the 2004–05 appraisal cycle were paid during 2005–06.
• Some payments were made on a pro-rata basis as employment did not span the full appraisal period.

Performance pay for senior executive service employees

Classification

SES bands 2 and 3 SES band 1

Performance pay statistic 2004–05 2005–06 2004–05 2005–06

Number of performance payments 10 12 31 26

Average performance pay $11 455 $12 533 $7 932 $8 682


Managing the department

Range of performance pay $7 156– $7 476– $2 309– $2 591–


$14 658 $23 678 $8 897 $15 728

Total paid $114 553 $150 402 $245 898 $225 743

Notes:
• Performance pay bonuses for the 2003–04 appraisal cycle were paid during 2004–05. Performance pay bonuses for
the 2004–05 appraisal cycle were paid during 2005–06.
• Some payments were made on a pro-rata basis as employment did not span the full appraisal period.
Human resources

• Payments do not include the secretary and the principal executive officer

228 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Performance management
Following feedback from the staff survey, the department revised the performance
development scheme and implemented changes on 1 July 2005. Key changes
included:
• simpler forms
• clearer responsibilities for each employee and supervisor for completing
performance agreements
• improved links between the individual learning plans and wider departmental
development programmes
• new training programmes on how to write a good performance agreement,
how to develop good performance expectations, and how to give and receive
feedback.
Participation in the scheme is expected for all ongoing staff and for non-ongoing
staff engaged for three months or more. Salary rises set out in the certified
agreement are subject to a 95 per cent participation rate in the scheme, which the
department has achieved.

Learning and development

Ongoing strategies
Graduate programme: The department places significant importance on
recruiting graduates from a variety of academic disciplines to participate in the
graduate programme. Existing departmental employees also have the opportunity
to participate in the programme. The department also offers a number of positions
Managing the department

to graduates recruited through the Australian Public Service Commission’s


Indigenous Graduate Programme. Graduates are provided with professional
development including training courses, work rotations, and mentoring. In
2005, 18 graduates completed the department’s graduate programme and have
been placed within the department. In 2006, 16 graduates were recruited. The
department is planning to expand its graduate intake for 2007 to 30 and has
actively sought applicants from all academic disciplines with particular emphasis
Human resources

on economics, commerce and law backgrounds. The programme continues to


increase the diversity and depth of talent in the department’s workforce while
introducing fresh ideas and attitudes to the workplace.
Online learning: The department continued to use online learning to educate
employees about concepts, business processes and how to use computer
applications. Online learning programmes developed during the year included
an orientation programme for new staff, an occupational health and safety
programme, and a vendor request and purchasing cards programme. A number
of programmes were used as an assessment and compliance tool to help staff

229
remember information they need to carry out a particular business function, for
example, ensuring purchasing cardholders know their responsibilities.
Cultural diversity programmes: The department held cross-cultural and
cultural diversity development programmes to enhance the appreciation of
cultural diversity. Employees participating in these programmes can broaden
their understanding of Indigenous and other cultural groups and gain experience
in collaborating with these groups. As part of NAIDOC week the department
provided cross-cultural training courses. Feedback from participants, who ranged
from graduates to senior executives, highlighted the understanding they gained of
working with people from Indigenous cultures.
Seminar programmes: The department holds an executive seminar series and a
human resources seminar series throughout the year. These seminars are open to
all staff. They enable senior managers of the department to share their knowledge
and experience and help staff to build their supervisory and people management
skills.
In 2006 the seminar series was expanded to include an ‘insights’ series, which
highlights significant work being undertaken across the department, and a
programme on environmental economics for non-economists. The environmental
economics programme was tailored to the needs of the department and targeted
staff at executive level 1 and above. The first course attracted a high level of
interest, and was substantially over-subscribed, with over 90 applications received
for the 30 places on offer.

New strategies
Online occupational health and safety training package: The department
Managing the department

implemented an online occupational health and safety training package, which all
staff were required to complete.
People strategy: In October 2005 the workforce management committee
approved the department’s people strategy 2005–2007. This strategy supports the
department’s corporate and strategic plans. The strategy sets out the values, policy
framework, delivery model, goals and strategies of the department for the next
Human resources

two years in relation to people management.


Workplace diversity programme: The department’s workplace diversity
programme has three objectives:
• to increase awareness and acceptance of workplace diversity principles among
staff at all levels of the organisation
• to foster diversity in the department and use the diverse skills, experiences and
cultural backgrounds of staff
• to ensure the department has flexible workplace practices to allow staff to
balance their work and personal lives.

230 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Individual learning: As part of the department’s performance and development
scheme, individual employees must complete learning plans with their supervisor,
to identify learning needs and solutions related to the work they are required
to complete under their performance agreement. The staff survey raised some
concerns about the lack of links between individual learning plans and the wider
divisional and departmental learning and development programmes. As a result,
the learning plans have been redesigned to clearly identify both the learning
needs and the solutions. Procedures have been put in place to ensure the agreed
learning solutions are passed on to the support units within each division and
the department’s People Management Branch, to be taken into account in
their planning for both divisional and departmental learning and development
programmes.
Leadership development: The department is preparing a leadership
development programme based on the Integrated Leadership System developed
for the Australian Public Service Commission. The programme is for all staff with
supervisory responsibilities. It will provide development to support leaders and
managers and will improve leadership skills in the department. The programme
will be launched in the latter half of 2006.
Mobility and development: Eight executive level staff participated in a new
mobility programme during the year. The programme aims to broaden the
leadership skills, experience and opportunities of employees at this level.

Rewards and recognition


The department participated in formal Australian Public Service wide recognition
programmes in 2005–06 as well as holding department-wide employee recognition
Managing the department

schemes to reward outstanding performance.


Twenty-one Australia Day
achievement awards were
presented to individuals and
teams within the portfolio at the
department’s 2006 Australia Day
award ceremony on 25 January.
Human resources

In September 2005 the Minister


for the Environment and Heritage
presented presented six team
awards and two individual awards
Peter Graham receiving an award from Howard
in recognition of outstanding
Bamsey. Peter received an Australia Day award
from the department in 2006 for his role in leading achievements for the portfolio.
the team that produced the department’s 2004–05
annual report. Photo: Mark Mohell The Secretary’s Awards continued
to recognise the outstanding

231
contributions of staff. Fifteen awards were presented to individuals and teams
in December 2005 in three categories: sharing knowledge and experience
within teams, mentoring and role models for staff, and consistent and effective
contribution to the department’s goals.

Work–life balance
The department remains committed to the work–life balance of its employees. The
department’s certified agreements offer a range of leave provisions which assist
employees to meet commitments outside work.
As part of the 2004–2006 certified agreement the department conducted a
feasibility study into the provision of childcare services for employees located in
Canberra. The report provided a number of options which are currently under
consideration by management.
The department involves its staff in decision-making processes through
informal and formal mechanisms such as workshops, surveys, the department’s
Consultative Committee and related divisional consultative committees.

Occupational health and safety


This section is presented in accordance with the requirements of section 74 of the
Occupational Health and Safety (Commonwealth Employment) Act 1991.
The department is committed to preserving the health, safety and welfare of its
staff and any other persons at or near work sites.
The department’s occupational health and safety policy aims to provide and
maintain a safe and healthy workplace in line with the requirements of the
Managing the department

Occupational Health and Safety (Commonwealth Employment) Act 1991. The


department works to achieve high standards of occupational health, safety and
rehabilitation in all its work locations and operations by providing a safe system of
work to prevent work-related injuries and illnesses.
Under its rehabilitation policy and guidelines, the department supports injured
and ill employees and provides an early-return-to-work programme.
Human resources

The department’s Canberra-based Occupational Health and Safety Committee


meets regularly to address a wide range of issues. Each of the mainland national
parks, other departmental offices on the mainland and in Tasmania, and the
Antarctic stations maintain local occupational health and safety committees to
address site-specific issues.
A network of health and safety representatives looks after the health and welfare
of employees within designated workgroups throughout the department. On
appointment, all health and safety representatives undergo Comcare-approved
training to enable them to fulfil their roles.

232 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Number of reports under section 68 of the Act
Section 68 of the Occupational Health and Safety (Commonwealth Employment)
Act 1991 relates to the requirement for employees to report to Comcare accidents
or incidents that cause death or serious personal injury or incapacity, or that are
otherwise dangerous. The following table shows the number of accidents or
occurrences that were reported to Comcare under section 68 of the Act.

Workplace Number of reports

Canberra workplaces 3

Parks Australia remote workplaces 25

Australian Antarctic Division 6

Investigations conducted during the year


Four internal investigation reports relating to the department’s Antarctic
operations were provided to Comcare. No directions were issued under section 45
of the Occupational Health and Safety (Commonwealth Employment) Act 1991,
nor were any notices given under sections 29, 46 or 47 of the Act.

Contaminated water incident


On Friday 16 December 2005 the department received a report on the quality of
the rain water supply to the refurbished former Communications Centre of the
John Gorton Building.
The report indicated the levels for lead, zinc and copper were above those
Managing the department

prescribed in the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines and the pH level was
below that prescribed in the guidelines. The contaminated rain water supply was
immediately turned off and replaced with mains water supplied by ACTEW/AGL.
Comcare was advised of the incident. The ACT Chief Health Officer was
immediately requested to assess the level of public health risk associated with
these readings and advised the department that there was a low risk.
The department engaged a consultant occupational physician to assist staff and the
Human resources

department in the assessment of any health impacts.


The risk to individuals was best determined by testing for blood lead. The
department contacted and tested employees who may have been exposed;
170 employees presented for testing.
All results received were within the limits specified by the National Health and Medical
Research Council for blood lead and no cases of lead poisoning were identified.
Comcare conducted an independent investigation. The report was provided to the
department in August 2006.

233
Agreements with employees
The department has an Occupational Health and Safety Policy and Agreement which
covers all aspects of its work other than Antarctic operations. The Australian Antarctic
Division has a separate agreement in light of the specialised occupational health and
safety challenges faced by expeditioners and others working in the Antarctic.
The agreements recognise sharing of responsibilities and the commitment of
all parties to maintaining health and safety in the workplace, with the aim of
minimising the human and financial costs of injury and illness through active
prevention strategies.

Routine support for employees


The following measures undertaken during the year are routine support that the
department provides for its employees.

Measure Results 2005–06

Orientation sessions to inform new and ongoing 136 employees from the department attended
employees of occupational health and safety orientation sessions
legislation, responsibilities and procedures
All new employees of the Australian Antarctic
Division attended orientation sessions
Supervisors and managers of the Australian
Antarctic Division attended general training,
incident analysis and asbestos awareness training

Training for first aid officers, health and safety 20 employees, 39 first aid officers and 43 park
representatives and workplace contact officers rangers were trained in first aid; 22 health and
safety representatives received appropriate training
All wintering Antarctic expeditioners attended first
aid training
Managing the department

Ergonomic and work station assessments by in- 328 work station assessments were conducted for
house and external occupational therapists the department
52 work station assessments were conducted—all
in-house—for the Australian Antarctic Division

Reimbursement of the costs of having eyesight 60 tests were reimbursed


tests for using screen-based equipment

Reimbursement of the costs of being screened All Antarctic expeditioners have hearing tests as
for skin cancer and hearing loss, for field-based part of their recruitment medical
Human resources

employees

Employees Assistance Programme, which is also 216 new appointments were made with Davidson
available to the families of employees Trahaire Corpsych, the department’s provider
31 people used the service of OSA Group, the
Australian Antarctic Division’s provider

Testing and tagging of electrical equipment in the 793 items were tested and tagged
Canberra offices

Blood tests in relation to John Gorton Building 170 blood tests were conducted
basement water contamination

234 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Compensation and rehabilitation
Under the rehabilitation policy and guidelines, the department continued to
provide support for injured and ill employees and provided an early-return-to-
work programme. The following table summarises activity in this area.

Measure Results 2005–06

Number of claims lodged with Comcare 48 claims, includes 16 from the Australian
Antarctic Division

Return-to-work plans in place for injured staff 14 plans, includes 1 from the Australian Antarctic
Division

Response to workers compensation claims All new claims were responded to with 13 being
referred to an approved rehabilitation provider for
the management of a return-to-work plan. Of these
13 claims, 11 achieved a successful return to work
within 11.5 weeks.

Other measures taken during the year


The department undertook other measures during the year to ensure the health,
safety and welfare at work of employees and contractors as follows:
• introduced an online occupational health and safety training programme called
SAFETRAC
• improved the occupational health and safety programme (ParkSafe) for staff
working in the Parks Division
• developed an online occupational health and safety management system
Managing the department

(Safety-Suite), which enables online reporting of incidents to Comcare,


investigation and management of incidents and hazards, processing of
compensation claims and monitoring of rehabilitation programmes
• developed an online occupational health and safety information system for the
department’s intranet, including a policy database and relevant information
required by staff
• developed a new online orientation programme containing occupational health
and safety and emergency procedures for new employees.
Human resources

The Australian Antarctic Division:


• revised its field manual in October 2005. The manual describes the currently
recommended practices for Antarctic expeditions to protect personal safety
and the environment
• continued to improve occupational health and safety management systems.
Each branch has a two-year safety action plan with key performance indicators
to measure progress. Training is provided to all expeditioners and a series of
training sessions are provided for Kingston-based staff.

235
Commonwealth Disability Strategy
The Commonwealth Disability Strategy 2005 includes a performance reporting
framework built around the five key roles performed by Australian Government
organisations. These roles are policy adviser, regulator, purchaser, provider and
employer. This framework was established to ensure consistency in measurement
of and reporting on achievements in implementing the strategy.
The department’s performance in implementing the strategy is summarised in the
following table.
The department’s disability action plan 2004–2006 is being reviewed and revised
to ensure that the department continues to meet the performance reporting
requirements established by the Commonwealth Disability Strategy.
Managing the department
Human resources

236 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Department’s performance in implementing the Commonwealth Disability
Strategy

Performance indicator Results 2005-06

Policy adviser

New or revised policy/ The department will shortly launch the 2006–07 disability action plan.
programme proposals assess The plan applies to all employees, contractors, and clients of the
the impact on the lives of department
people with disabilities prior to
decision

People with disabilities are The current disability action plan provides a checklist for developing
included in consultation reports, policies and procedures on consultation with people with
about new or revised policy/ disabilities. Directors and policy developers are required to complete
programme proposals this checklist before finalising their policy documents

Public announcements of new Community Information Unit provides access to information on the
or proposed policy/programme department’s activities
initiatives are available in
The department maintains extensive websites where documents are
accessible formats for people
available in PDF and html format. The department’s website meets
with disabilities
the Australian Government online standards that relate to access for
people with disabilities (www.deh.gov.au/about/accessibility.html). The
website has been developed to display adequately on all commonly
used browsers and to work effectively with accessibility hardware and/
or software. Although it is designed for an 800 x 600 screen resolution,
this site will scale to both higher and lower screen resolutions
The department makes online resources accessible to people with
technical constraints, such as old browsers and low speed internet
connections
For technical reasons and to meet some legal requirements, the
department’s website has a limited number of documents that cannot
be provided in the preferred HTML format. In such cases, contact
Managing the department

details have been provided for their supply in alternative formats

Regulator role

Publicly available information Legislation is accessible via the internet (www.deh.gov.au/about/


on regulations and quasi- legislation.html)
regulations is available in
Additional fact sheets are made available on request from the
accessible formats for people
Community Information Unit
with disabilities
Legislative instruments are accessible via the internet
Publicly available regulatory
Human resources

(www.comlaw.gov.au)
compliance reporting is
available in accessible formats Administrative instruments are available in the Australian Government
for people with disabilities Gazette, and where required on the department’s website
The department responds to specific requests by fax, email or post

237
Department’s performance in implementing the Commonwealth Disability Strategy continued...

Performance indicator Results 2005-06

Purchaser role

Processes for purchasing The department’s procurement policies are consistent with the
goods and services with a requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992
direct impact on the lives of
The department has complaints and grievance mechanisms in place
people with disabilities are
developed in consultation with
people with disabilities

Purchasing specifications The department’s procurement guidelines complement the


and contract requirements Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines, January 2005, and are
for the purchase of goods consistent with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act
and/or services are consistent 1992
with the requirements of the
Long and short form contracts both make reference to the Disability
Disability Discrimination Act
Discrimination Act 1992. The department’s request for tender template
1992
does not make reference to the Act

Publicly available information The department’s procurements valued at $80 000 or more are
on agreed purchase advertised and are available for download on AusTender, which meets
specifications is provided in the Australian Government online standards that relate to access for
accessible formats for people people with disabilities
with disabilities

Complaints/grievance The department has a complaints and grievance mechanism in place


mechanisms, including access in accordance with the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines
to external mechanisms,
are available to address
issues and concerns about
purchasers’ performance

Provider role

Mechanisms are in place Information regarding parks and reserves is available in accessible
for quality improvement and formats on the department’s website (www.deh.gov.au/parks/
Managing the department

assurance commonwealth) and in hard copy from park management


Wheel chair access is provided in some parks for people with a
disability. However, physical access to the terrestrial reserves varies
according to the nature of the terrain

Service charters have been The department has a new service charter. The charter commits the
developed that specify the department to be respectful and sensitive to the needs of all clients
roles of the provider and
consumer and adequately
Human resources

reflect the needs of people


with disabilities

Complaints/grievance A client service officer is available to accept feedback and coordinate


mechanisms, including access the department’s response to members of the public who raise
to external mechanisms, are concerns about service standards
available to address concerns
There were no disability related complaints in 2005–06
raised about performance

238 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Department’s performance in implementing the Commonwealth Disability Strategy continued...

Performance indicator Results 2005-06

Employer role

Recruitment information for Applicants are requested to advise whether they require accessible
potential job applicants is formats when preparing their application. Applicants are also asked to
available in accessible formats advise whether special arrangements are required for them during the
on request recruitment process

Agency recruiters and The department’s recruitment and selection policy was implemented
managers apply the principle on 1 July 2005 requiring recruiters and managers to apply this principle
of reasonable adjustment

Training and development All managers are responsible for ensuring the training and
programmes consider the development needs of all of their staff are appropriately met
needs of staff with disabilities

Training and development For in-house training, all internal and external providers must ensure
programmes include that disability issues are addressed in the delivery of their programmes
information on disability issues
Managers are responsible for monitoring whether information
as they relate to the content of
on disability issues is provided when referring staff to individual
the programmes
programmes provided on the private market

Complaints or grievance The certified agreement 2004–2006 sets out complete procedures for
mechanisms, including access complaints and grievances. These procedures apply to all employees
to external mechanisms, are and situations
in place to address issues and
concerns raised by staff

Managing the department


Human resources

239
Finances
Financial performance
The department performed well against its budget this financial year.
Departmental and administered expenses were $906.324 million. This is slightly
greater than expected (by $4.847 million or 0.5 per cent).
Outcome 1 recorded a $3.7 million deficit, which was slightly favourable to the budget,
primarily due to investments in information technology infrastructure to improve
productivity and efficiencies. Outcome 2 recorded a $25.5 million deficit primarily
due to the adoption of the new Australian Equivalents to International Financial
Reporting Standards and increased operating costs such as fuel and shipping.
The Natural Heritage Trust expended 99.95 per cent of its $312.3 million budget.
Other administered programmes were generally in line with budget expectations
apart from a $27 million transaction relating to Point Nepean, which under the new
accounting standards was treated as a prepayment.

Summary of financial results

2005 2006 2006 2006


PSAES(a)
Actuals budget Actuals Variance
$000’s $000’s $000’s $000’s

Department of the Environment and Heritage

Departmental Outcome 1 Revenue 242 714 275 814 277 375 1 561
Expenses (232 012) (280 650) (281 114) (464)
Surplus/(Deficit) 10 702 (4 836) (3 739) 1 097
Managing the department

Departmental Outcome 2 Revenue 90 245 95 556 98 623 3 067


Expenses (116 839) (95 556) (124 106) (28 550)
Surplus/(Deficit) (26 594) 0 (25 483) (25 483)

Total departmental Revenue 332 959 371 370 375 998 4 628
Expenses (348 851) (376 206) (405 220) (29 014)
Surplus/(Deficit) (15 892) (4 836) (29 222) (24 386)

Administered expenses, specific payments to the states and territories and special accounts
Finances

Administered expenses Revenues 10 418 9 392 13 078 3 686


Outcome 1 Expenses (97 018) (177 365) (154 672) 22 693

Administered expenses Revenues 0 0 0 0


Outcome 2 Expenses 0 (320) (320) 0

Administered specific Revenues 4 466 3 498 7 948 4 450


payments to the states and Expenses (327 968) (347 586) (346 112) 1 474
territories and special accounts

Total administered Revenues 14 884 12 890 21 026 8 136


Expenses (424 986) (525 271) (501 104) 24 167

(a)
PSAES = Portfolio Supplementary Additional Estimates Statements

240 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


The two comparison tables below explain the main features of the department’s
funding in 2005–06. The department’s funding is listed in more detail in the
summary resource tables on the following pages.

Comparison of departmental funding with budget

Funding class Revenues Expenses

Departmental Increased from 2004–05 by Increased from 2004–05 by


Outcome 1 $34.661 million due to the first full $49.102 million due to the first full
year impact of the absorption of the year impact of the absorption into the
Australian Greenhouse Office and the department of the Australian Greenhouse
National Oceans Office ($9.64 million), Office and the National Oceans Office
and the following new measures: and new measures as outlined in the
adjacent column
• Tasmanian Community Forest
Agreement ($4.8 million) Are greater than budget by $0.464 million
due to additional Comcare insurance
• Kakadu and Uluru–Kata Tjuta
expenses for workers compensation
National Parks ($1.2 million)
offset by minor timing of programme
• Commonwealth Environment expenses
Research Facilities ($1.8 million)
• Regional Marine Planning
($9.4 million)
• ATSIS(a) funding ($1.5 million)
• Water wise communities ($0.4 million)
• National Pollutant Inventory
($1.3 million)
• Protecting Australia’s Biodiversity
Hotspots ($2.47 million)
• Other minor adjustments to
programmes ($2.15 million)
Managing the department

Are favourable to budget by


$1.561 million due to additional
recoveries from the Natural Heritage
Trust

Departmental Increased from 2004–05 by Increased from 2004–05 by


Outcome 2 $8.378 million due to the new measure $7.267 million due to the new measure
for the Australia–Antarctica Airlink for the Australia–Antarctica Airlink and
($6.820 million) and additional insurance the adoption of the AEIFRS(b) as well as
Finances

recoveries ($1.558 million) higher fuel and shipping costs


Are favourable to budget ($3.067 million) Are unfavourable to budget by
due to greater than expected insurance $28.550 million due to the unbudgeted
recoveries adjustments relating to AEIFRS and the
increases in fuel and shipping costs

(a)
ATSIS = Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Services
(b)
AEIFRS = Australian Equivalents to International Financial Reporting Standards

241
Comparison of administered funding with budget

Funding class Revenues Expenses

Administered Grant refunds were greater than Are greater than 2004–05 by
Outcome 1 expected to budget by $2.355 million $57.654 million due to:
and greater than expected regulatory
• Commonwealth Environment
fees by $1.331 million
Research Facilities ($3.0 million)
• Natural Heritage Investment Initiative
($2.2 million)
• Cathedral restorations ($9.0 million)
• Australian Wildlife Hospital
($2.5 million)
• HMAS Sydney ($1.3 million)
• Tasmanian Community Forest
Agreement ($2.2 million)
• ATSIS(a) funding ($3.4 million)
• Great Barrier Reef Structural
Adjustment ($4.0 million)
• Daintree Conservation Initiative
($2.7 million)
• Maintaining Australia’s Biodiversity
Hotspots ($7.2 million)
• Regional Natural Heritage
Programmes ($3.64 million)
• Climate Change Programmes
($16.51 million)
Are favourable to budget
($22.693 million) due to the different
Managing the department

accounting treatment from actuals to


budget. This includes a prepayment
for restoration works of $27 million to
Pt Nepean Community Trust offset by
administrative costs for Tasmanian
Community Forests initiatives

Administered Not applicable Are greater than 2004–05 by


Outcome 2 $0.320 million due to the new measure
to restore Mawson’s Huts in the Antarctic
Finances

No variance

Administered Not applicable Are greater than 2004–05 due to new


Specific monies as above but attributable to the
payment to states and territories
the states
and special
accounts

(a)
ATSIS = Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Services

242 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Summary resource tables
Key to column headings in the following tables
2005 Actuals Actual revenues and expenses for 2004–05 as at 30 June 2005
2006 PSAES Budget The department’s revised budget shown in the 2005–06
Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements plus adjustments
through the Portfolio Supplementary Additional Estimates
Statements
2006 Actuals Actual revenues and expenses for 2005–06 as at 30 June 2006
2006 Variance The difference between the revised budget and the actual
results for 2005–06, i.e. 2006 Actuals minus 2006 Budget

Managing the department


Finances

243
Overview of Financial Results

Outcome 1 – Departmental resourcing

2005 2006 2006 2006


PSAES
Actuals Budget Actuals Variance
$000’s $000’s $000’s $000’s

Response to climate Revenue 48 473 65 029 64 972 (57)


change Expenses (39 875) (65 867) (64 029) 1 838
Surplus/(Deficit) 8 598 (838) 943 1 781

Conservation of the land Revenue 81 026 95 154 96 947 1 793


and inland waters Expenses (76 324) (95 650) (99 143) (3 493)
Surplus/(Deficit) 4 702 (496) (2 196) (1 700)

Conservation of the coasts Revenue 32 364 29 225 29 530 305


and oceans Expenses (33 938) (29 718) (30 512) (794)
Surplus/(Deficit) (1 574) (493) (982) (489)

Conservation of natural, Revenue 24 121 23 527 23 398 (129)


Indigenous, and historic Expenses (24 551) (25 110) (22 830) 2 280
heritage Surplus/(Deficit) (430) (1 583) 568 2 151

Response to the impacts Revenue 56 730 62 879 62 529 (351)


of human settlements Expenses (57 324) (64 305) (64 601) (296)
Surplus/(Deficit) (594) (1 426) (2 073) (647)

Total Outcome 1 Revenue 242 714 275 814 277 375 1,561
Expenses (232 012) (280 650) (281 115) (465)
Surplus/(Deficit) 10 702 (4 836) (3 740) 1 096

Outcome 2 – Departmental resourcing


2005 2006 2006 2006
Managing the department

PSAES
Actuals Budget Actuals Variance
$000’s $000’s $000’s $000’s

Antarctic policy Revenues 32 487 31 987 35 503 3 516


Expenses (42 062) (31 987) (44 676) (12 689)
Surplus/(Deficit) (9 575) 0 (9 173) (9 173)

Antarctic science Revenues 57 758 63 569 63 120 (449)


Expenses (74 777) (63 569) (79 430) (15 861)
Finances

Surplus/(Deficit) (17 019) 0 (16 310) (16 310)

Total Outcome 2 Revenues 90 245 95 556 98 623 3 067


Expenses (116 839) (95 556) (124 106) (28 550)
Surplus/(Deficit) (26 594) 0 (25 483) (25 483)

244 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Outcome 1 and 2 – Administered
2006 2006 2006
PSAES
Budget Actuals Variance
$000’s $000’s $000’s

Outcome 1 – Administered revenues

Maintaining Australia’s Biodiversity Hotspots 0 2 050 2 050


Environment Management Charge 7 400 7 500 100
Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme 1 992 1 295 (697)
Wildlife protection fees 0 205 205
Miscellaneous revenue 3 498 6 595 3 097

12 890 17 645 4 755

Maintaining Australia’s Biodiversity Hotspots (4 124) (1 919) 2 205


Tasmanian Community Forest Agreement 0 (5 500) (5 500)
Australian Biological Resources Study (1 869) (1 865) 4
Bio Fuels – Ministerial Council on Energy Additional and Australian
Government Task Force (355) (356) 1
National Environment Protection Council (429) (429) 0
Improving Launceston’s Air Quality (200) (200) 0
Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme (582) (245) 337
Commonwealth Environment Research Facilities (2 885) (2 815) 70
Churches and Cathedrals (10 500) (10 500) 0
Grants-in-Aid National Trusts (842) (842) 0
Regional Natural Heritage Programme (4 358) (4 260) 98
Indigenous Heritage Programme (3 256) (3 261) (5)
Daintree Conservation Initiative (2 650) (2 650) 0
National Heritage Investment Initiative (2 200) (2 200) 0
Australian Wildlife Hospital (2 500) (2 500) 0
Representative Areas Programme – Structural Adjustment Package (157) (157) 0
Structural Adjustment Package – Enhancement (4 000) (4 000) 0
Structural Adjustment Package – Business Restructuring Assistance (28 460) (28 460) 0
Australian Government’s Community Water Grants (46 210) (46 149) 61
Managing the department

Renewable Energy Equity Fund (1 338) (1 338) 0


Alternative Fuels Conversion Programme (862) (223) 639
Photovoltaic Rebate Programme (357) (357) 0
Renewable Energy Commercialisation Programme (1 954) (1 694) 260
Renewable Remote Power Generation Programme (2 103) (2 103) 0
Renewable Energy Equity Fund – writedown of receivable 0 (2 840) (2 840)
Greenhouse Gas Abatement Programme (13 339) (13 318) 21
Action on energy efficiency (800) (800) 0
Local greenhouse action (400) (404) (4)
Greenhouse action to enhance sustainability in regional Australia (3 400) (3 400) 0
Finances

Low emissions technology and abatement (2 235) (1 950) 285


Influencing international climate change policy (1 450) (1 390) 60
Climate change science programme (6 000) (6 000) 0
Solar Cities (550) (550) 0
Point Nepean Community Trust (27 000) 0 27 000

Outcome 1 – Total administered expenses (177 365) (154 675) 22 690

Outcome 2 – Administered expenses

Mawson’s Huts Foundation expedition (320) (320) 0


Outcome 2 – Total administered expenses (320) (320) 0

245
Outcome 1 and 2 – Administered continued ...

2006 2006 2006


PSAES
Budget Actuals Variance
$000’s $000’s $000’s

Outcome 1 – Administered specific payments to the states and territories

Development of Sewerage Schemes for Boat Harbour and (108) (108) 0


Sisters Beach Tasmania
Renewable Remote Power Generation Programme (26 655) (26 643) 12
Photovoltaic Rebate Programme (5 000) (4 265) 736
Strengthening Tasmania - Tamar River Pylons (1 000) (1 000) 0
Strengthening Tasmania - Low Head Precinct (150) (150) 0

Outcome 1 – Total administered specific payments to the (32 913) (32 166) 748
states and territories

Outcome 1 – Administered special accounts

Natural Heritage Trust (312 391) (312 170) 221


Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Account (1 600) (1 294) 306
Natural Cultural Heritage Account (682) (479) 203

Outcome 1 – Total administered special accounts (314 673) (313 943) 730

Outcome 1 – Total administered specific payments to the (347 586) (346 109) 1 478
states and territories, and special accounts
Managing the department
Finances

246 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Financial position

Assets
The written down value of assets administered directly by the department in
2005−06 amounted to $493.405 million. This was an increase from the previous
year of $36.579 million. The increase was due to the revaluation of assets and
make-good costs ($64.752 million), offset by a reduction in cash reserves due to a
formal reduction in net appropriation ($24.809 million) and inventory adjustments
stemming from an accounting policy change ($3.364 million).

Liabilities
Liabilities administered directly by the department in 2005–06 amounted to
$257.189 million. This was a decrease from the previous year of $10.638 million.
The decrease was due to a decrease in grant and supplier payables.

Total equity
The department concluded the year with total equity of $236.216 million, an
increase from the equity of $188.999 million in 2004–05.

Measurement 2004–05 2005−06


$ million $ million

Assets 456.826 493.405

Liabilities 267.827 257.189


Managing the department

Total equity 188.999 236.216


Finances

247
Major adjustments to the 2005–06 financial year and the 2004–05 comparative
year figures were made in this year’s accounts due to the adoption of the new
Australian Equivalents to International Financial Reporting Standards, accounting
policy changes, asset revaluations and some other adjustments required under the
accounting standards. The following table summarises the adjustments to equity.

Adjustments to equity 2004–05 2005−06


$ million $ million

Equity opening balances 294.754 188.999

Retrospective adjustment of take-up of make-good costs (152.794) 0

Adjustments required under the accounting standards (7.292) 2.019

Accounting policy changes 0 (3.731)

Revaluations of assets 8.519 98.811

Restructuring 43.938 0

Capital injection – Antarctic Airlink 0 4.805

Reversal of receivable due to net appropriation reduction 0 (25.464)

Net operating result 1.874 (29.223)

Equity closing balances 188.999 236.216

Resolution of previous audit findings


Work in 2005–06 focused on resolving the issues raised in the Audit Report No. 21
Managing the department

2004–05 Audit of Financial Statements of Australian Government Entities for the


Period Ended 30 June 2005.
The Australian National Audit Office identified eight moderate issues and one
legislative breach in the interim phase of the 2005–06 audit relating to deficiencies
in the financial statement preparation process, the reconciliation of leave balances,
the reconciliation of financial records, the reconciliation of special accounts and
Finances

access management. All issues were satisfactorily resolved in 2005–06.


For each issue a detailed project plan was prepared, which was monitored at
senior levels. Further investment in resources was made to progress a number of
complex accounting treatments surrounding assets and their make-good costs
particularly in the Antarctic. As well as this, a large number of unresolved issues
going back over a number of years are now satisfactorily completed. A number of
assurance processes have been implemented and internal controls strengthened.
Challenges remain with the issue of attracting and retaining appropriately qualified
and experienced accounting personnel.

248 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Assets management
The department’s assets are located throughout Australia. The largest material
component of assets is attached to the Australian Antarctic Division. Assets are
ageing and are perpetually putting pressure on funding streams for their upkeep
and replacement. The replacement of assets is of particular concern due to the
large unfunded component.
The Australian Accounting Standards Board has issued replacement Australian
Accounting Standards to apply from 2005–06. The new standards are the
Australian Equivalents to International Financial Reporting Standards. Under the
new standard, a requirement sees, for the first time, a ‘make-good’ provision for
departmental assets, obliging the department to remove and restore assets to the
amount of approximately $156 million.
Work is under way to implement a capital infrastructure plan which will outline
the requirements of capital replacement and maintenance over the next 10 years.
The plan is expected to be implemented progressively across the department in
2006–07.

Purchasing and procurement


The department’s purchasing and procurement activities were conducted
in accordance with the core principle of the Commonwealth Procurement
Guidelines. This principle is value for money. The principle is underpinned by
encouraging competition (including non-discrimination), efficiency, effectiveness,
the ethical use of resources, accountability and transparency.
Managing the department

Procurement Review Board


The Procurement Review Board is a committee within the department responsible
for overseeing procurement. The Procurement Review Board ensures that all
aspects of the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines and the department’s
procurement requirements are adequately met.
All purchases valued over $80 000 are subject to review by the Procurement Review
Finances

Board. Delegates also refer any purchases below this threshold that are considered
to be particularly complex or controversial to the Procurement Review Board.
During the year the department’s Procurement Review Board examined
127 submissions for contracts over $80 000.
The department’s procurement framework places responsibility for procurement
with the appropriate financial delegates. To support these delegates the
department provides awareness training; maintains relevant documentation;
provides central advice on risk management, probity, specification and writing; and
maintains standard tender and contract templates.

249
The department’s procurement policies are available on its website
(www.deh.gov.au/business). The department implements the Commonwealth
Procurement Guidelines through its Chief Executive’s Instructions. These
instructions are supported by the department’s procurement guidelines and
procedures. During the year the department reviewed its procurement guidelines
and released amended guidelines to reflect updates provided by the Department
of Finance and Administration and to ensure better practice such as the issuing of
tender documentation via the AusTender website.
The department advertises tender opportunities through the AusTender website.
In December 2005, the department implemented the dissemination of tender
documentation and issued amendments or addenda via the AusTender website.

Procurement benchmarks
The department’s procurement benchmarks were changed from 1 July 2005 to
align with the reporting requirements and the Commonwealth Procurement
Guidelines. During 2005–06 the procurement benchmarks were as follows.

Benchmark Procurement method

Up to $1 999 Quotes are not required (but may be advisable if it is believed there is a possible
material disparity between suppliers)

$2 000–$9 999 Obtain at least three competitive verbal quotes

$10 000–$79 999 Obtain at least three competitive written quotes. However, depending on the value,
complexity and risk of the proposed project, consideration should be given to open
or select tenders
Managing the department

$80 000+ Covered procurement (or open competition), subject to the Commonwealth
Procurement Procedures, unless specifically exempt

Reporting
The department met the requirement to report to the Department of Finance and
Administration on projects requiring Regulation 10 authorisation.
Finances

The department met the requirement to report on the Senate Order on


Government Agency contracts for the financial year and the calendar year. All
contracts over $100 000 are listed at www.deh.gov.au/about/contracts.

Small and medium enterprises


The department is committed to the Australian Government’s policy of supporting
small and medium enterprises, as was demonstrated by the department’s
15.8 per cent usage of the smaller airlines in 2005–06. The department’s Australian
Antarctic Division has working relationships with small and medium enterprises
and notifies them of business opportunities in Tasmania.

250 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Consultancy services2
As with its policy on general purchasing activities, the department’s policy on the
selection and engagement of consultants is based on the principles contained in
the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines, Financial Management Guidance
No. 12–Guidance on Identifying Consultancies for Annual Reporting Purposes,
Requirements for Annual Reports, the department’s Chief Executive’s Instructions
and the department’s procurement guidelines.
Selection methods are outlined in the department’s procurement guidelines, in
line with the department’s procurement benchmarks.
The department’s internal audit team conducts periodic probity reviews to help
ensure compliance with the general probity principles of the Commonwealth
Procurement Guidelines and the Chief Executive’s Instructions.

Expenditure on consultancies during 2005–06


During 2005–06, 329 new consultancy contracts were entered into involving
total actual expenditure of $12.334 million. In addition 289 ongoing consultancy
contracts were active during the year, involving total actual expenditure of
$40.032 million.
A list of all consultancy contracts let in 2005–06 to the value of $10 000 or more is
available at www.deh.gov.au/about/annual-report/05–06.

Competitive tendering and contracting3


During 2005–06 the department continued to source its internal audit and
Managing the department

information technology support service delivery from external providers.

Exempt contracts
During 2005–06 there were no standing offers or contracts in excess of $10 000
(inclusive of GST) exempted by the chief executive from being published in the
Purchasing and Disposal Gazette under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.
Finances

2 The definition of ‘consultant’ used by the department is the definition in the Requirements for Annual Reports published
on the website of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet at www.dpmc.gov.au/guidelines/index.cfm.

3 For the purposes of departmental annual reports ‘competitive tendering and contracting’ means the process of contracting
out the delivery of government activities that were previously performed by the department to another organisation.

251
Advertising and market research
This section is presented in accordance with the requirements of section 311A of
the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.

Type of expense 2005–06 expenses

Market research
Open Mind Research Group $142 196
Elliott and Shanahan $116 092
Sub-total—market research $258 288

Advertising
Creative
Zoo $91 287
Media buy
Universal McCann $3 248 822
HMA Blaze $2 678 334
Sub-total—advertising $6 018 443

Direct mail
Complete Mail and Warehousing $91 978
KWP Pty Ltd $58 685
Cultural Partners $129 208
Cox Inall $98 351
Sub-total—direct mail $378 202

Total $6 654 933

Legal expenditure
This is a statement of legal services expenditure by the department for 2005–06,
Managing the department

published in compliance with paragraph 11.1 (ba) of the Legal Services


Directions 2005.

Legal expenditure GST-exclusive

Department’s total legal services expenditure $2 940 534


Agency’s total external legal services expenditure $2 380 618
External expenditure on solicitors $1 943 042
Finances

External expenditure on counsel $245 965


Number of male counsel briefed 11
Value of briefs to male counsel $223 943
Number of female counsel briefed 1
Value of briefs to female counsel $22 022
Other disbursements on external legal services $191 611
Department’s total internal legal services expenditure $559 916
Salaries $519 690
Other (includes travel, training and legal resources) $40 225

Explanatory note: The salary component of the department’s internal legal services expenditure includes salaries,
superannuation and other staff allowances.

252 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Discretionary grant programmes
The department administers a range of discretionary grant programmes.
Discretionary grants are payments made to particular applicants, either
organisations or individuals, at the discretion of the portfolio minister or the
paying agency. Conditions may or may not be imposed in return for the grant.
Discretionary grants may be single ad hoc payments, or grants renewed under
continuing programmes.
Programmes for which grants were approved in 2005–06 are listed below. A list of
grant recipients is available on request from the department.

Climate change
Action on Energy Efficiency: Assists industry, business, the community
and governments to increase the uptake of cost effective energy efficiency
opportunities that will reduce greenhouse emissions, reduce energy demand, and
improve Australia’s competitiveness.
Alternative Fuels Conversion Programme: Assists fleet operators of heavy
commercial vehicles and buses to convert from diesel and petrol motors to
gaseous fuels, including natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and hydrogen.
Australian Greenhouse Science Programme: Aims to better understand
climate systems and the factors which influence them, the role of human activity in
bringing about changes to climate, and how climate changes may affect natural and
managed environments.
Greenhouse Action to Enhance Sustainability in Regional Australia:
Addresses challenges and knowledge gaps about climate change in regional
Managing the department

Australia (agriculture, forestry and natural resource management sectors).


Influencing International Climate Change Policy: Provides specialist advice
on international climate change arrangements and on building the capacity of
key developing countries to take effective climate change action through bilateral
partnerships.
Low Emissions Technology and Abatement: Supports cost effective
Finances

greenhouse gas emissions abatement opportunities and the uptake of small-scale


low emission technologies in business, industry and local communities.
National Climate Change Adaptation Programme: Provides national
leadership and coordination on assessment of climate change impacts, and enables
risks to be managed and opportunities to be captured through effective adaptation.
Solar Cities: Provides funding to demonstrate the costs and benefits of
integrating solar power, smart electricity technologies, energy efficiency and
pricing mechanisms in urban settings.

253
Greenhouse Gas Abatement Programme: Provides funding for mainly
large-scale projects that use low emissions technologies and practices to deliver
emissions reductions from 2008–2012.
Wind Energy Forecasting Capability Initiative: Supports a wind energy
forecasting system to assist electricity network management and increase the value
of wind energy in the electricity market.
Local Greenhouse Action: Assists local government, communities and
individual households to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, particularly in
the areas of energy use, transport and waste.

Land and inland waters


Australian Government’s Community Water Grants Programme: Supports
communities, organisations, local governments, schools, businesses and natural
resource management regional bodies to develop on-ground water savings and
water quality improvement projects.
Bushcare: Invests in activities that contribute to conserving and restoring habitat
for Australia’s unique native flora and fauna. Part of the Natural Heritage Trust.
National Competitive Component: Funds innovative national projects that will
most effectively improve regional natural resource management delivery. Part of
the Natural Heritage Trust.
Rivercare: Invests in activities that contribute to improved water quality and
environmental condition in Australia’s river systems and wetlands. Part of the
Natural Heritage Trust.
Managing the department

Landcare: Invests in activities that contribute to reversing land degradation and


promoting sustainable agriculture. Part of the Natural Heritage Trust.
Envirofund: Provides grants to communities for on-ground activities targeting
local government problems, including improving water quality, protecting native
vegetation, and combating salinity and coastal erosion. Part of the Natural Heritage
Trust.
Finances

Australian Biological Resources Study Participatory Programme: Supports


the documentation of Australia’s biological diversity and facilitates training to
increase the national taxonomic effort.
National Reserve System Programme: Assists with the establishment and
maintenance of a comprehensively adequate and representative system of
terrestrial protected areas in Australia. Part of the Natural Heritage Trust.
Tri-National Wetlands Programme: Protects the environment of Australia
through international leadership and cooperation.

254 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Coasts and oceans
Facilitation of Community Involvement in Marine Issues and Decision-
making: Enhances community involvement in marine issues and decision-making
by raising community awareness, building the capacity of stakeholder groups and
facilitating communication. Part of the Natural Heritage Trust.
Introduced Marine Pests Programme: Supports actions that lead to the
control and local eradication of introduced marine pests. Part of the Natural
Heritage Trust.
Marine Protected Areas: Facilitates the establishment of the National
Representative System of Marine Protected Areas and the management of existing
reserves. Part of the Natural Heritage Trust.
Coasts and Clean Seas—Oceans Protection: Provides financial assistance for
specific domestic and international activities that contribute to the prevention and
clean-up of pollution from shipping.
Coastal Catchments Initiative: Maintains ecologically sustainable pollutant
loads consistent with agreed environmental values for coastal waters.
Coastcare: Invests in activities that contribute to protecting Australia’s coastal
catchments, ecosystems and the marine environment. Part of the Natural
Heritage Trust.

Natural, Indigenous and historic heritage


Commemorating Historic Events and Famous Persons: Provides funding to
Managing the department

projects for the maintenance of graves of former Australian prime ministers and
governors-general buried in Australia and projects commemorating people, events
and places of national historical significance.
Historic Shipwrecks Programme: Assist Australian Government, state and
territory government agencies and the Institute of Marine Archaeology to protect
and preserve historic shipwrecks and associated relics and educate the public
about this cultural resource.
Finances

Indigenous Heritage Programme: Supports projects that identify, conserve and


promote the Indigenous heritage values of places. The programme may also help
identify places likely to have outstanding Indigenous heritage value to Australia
suitable for inclusion on the National Heritage List.
Regional Natural Heritage Programme: Provides grants to non-government
organisations and other relevant agencies to protect outstanding biodiversity in
hotspot areas of South-East Asia and the Pacific. The programme is over four years
(2003–04 to 2006–07).

255
Sharing Australia’s Stories: Supports creative projects that contribute to an
understanding of the great events and themes that have shaped Australia.
National Heritage Investment Initiative: Provides assistance to restore and
conserve Australia’s most important historic heritage places. Priority is given to
places included in the National Heritage List.
Cultural Heritage Projects Programme: Supports projects that conserve
places of cultural significance or identify Indigenous places for conservation
planning and listing. This programme has finished.
Grants to Historic Churches and Cathedrals: Not a programme, although
the department administers ad hoc grants to assist with the conservation and
restoration of historic churches and cathedrals.
Indigenous Protected Areas: Supports Indigenous landowners to establish and
manage Indigenous Protected Areas.

Human settlements
Assessments and Legislation Programme: Protects matters of national
environmental significance through the assessment regime of the Environment
Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and promotes and facilitates
community awareness and understanding of the Act.
Commonwealth Environment Research Facilities: Supports world class,
public good research on the significant environmental challenges facing Australia.
Diesel National Environment Protection Measure: Supports the
Managing the department

development and implementation of in-service emissions testing capabilities for


diesel and petrol vehicles.
Environment Protection and Ad Hoc Grants Programme: Protects the
environment of Australia through national leadership and cooperation.
Launceston Clean Air Industry Programme: Makes co-contributions towards
the reduction of industrial wood smoke by improvements to, or replacement of,
Finances

existing plant and equipment.


Used Oil Recycling—Transitional Assistance: Provides grants for strategic
initiatives to increase used oil recycling and ensure a sustainable oil recycling
industry. Part of the Product Stewardship for Oil Programme.
Sustainable Cities—Urban Environment Initiatives: Provides funding for a
range of urban environment initiatives to address water quality, public information
promotion, improved air quality and renewable energy, chemicals and waste
management.

256 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Cross-cutting activities
Environment International Obligations: Protects the environment of Australia
through national leadership and contributing to international programmes.
Eureka Environmental Journalism Award: Encourages excellence in
environmental journalism.
Grants to Voluntary Environment and Heritage Organisations: Provides
administrative funds to help community based environment and heritage
organisations to involve the community in the conservation and protection of
Australia’s natural environment and cultural heritage.
Public Affairs and Environmental Education: Raises the profile of
environmental challenges and solutions through activities and awards that
promote best practice and leadership. Part of the National Action Plan for
Environmental Education.
Environmental Education Grants Programme: Supports strategic
environmental education activities that are national in focus or that have the
potential to act as a catalyst for national change.

Antarctica
Australian Antarctic Science Grants Programme: Provides grants for high
quality scientific research relevant to the government’s Antarctic programme.
Managing the department
Finances

257
FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
Financial statements

260 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Financial statements

261
Financial statements

262 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Financial statements

263
DEPARTMENT OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND HERITAGE
INCOME STATEMENT
for the year ended 30 June 2006
2006 2005
Notes $'000 $'000
INCOME
Revenue
Revenues from Government 4.1 329,358 294,447
Goods and services 4.2 42,976 36,066
Interest 4.3 - 1
Other revenue 4.6 2,291 915
Total revenue 374,625 331,429

Gains
Net Gains from disposal of assets 4.4 138 -
Reversals of previous asset write-downs 4.5 25 11
Other gains 4.7 1,210 1,519
Total gains 1,373 1,530
TOTAL INCOME 375,998 332,959

EXPENSES
Employees 5.1 138,812 120,930
Suppliers 5.2 155,920 127,573
Grants 5.3 24,728 19,595
Transfer funding 5.3 41,962 40,085
Depreciation and amortisation 5.4 25,822 25,898
Finance costs 6.0 9,986 8,031
Write-down and impairment of assets 5.5 7,659 6,243
Net losses from disposal of assets 4.4 - 406
Other expenses 5.6 332 90
TOTAL EXPENSES 405,221 348,851

OPERATING (LOSS) (29,223) (15,892)

The above statement should be read in conjunction with the accompanying notes.
Financial statements

264 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


DEPARTMENT OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND HERITAGE
BALANCE SHEET
as at 30 June 2006
2006 2005
Notes $'000 $'000

ASSETS
Financial Assets
Cash 7.1 5,144 3,879
Receivables 7.2 66,784 91,665
Accrued revenue 7.3 466 910
Total Financial Assets 72,394 96,454
Non-Financial Assets
Land and buildings 8.1/8.4 254,492 200,831
Infrastructure, plant and equipment 8.2/8.4 147,678 137,133
Intangibles 8.3/8.4 11,183 9,937
Inventories 8.5 7,360 10,724
Other non-financial assets 8.6 298 1,747
Total Non-Financial Assets 421,011 360,372
TOTAL ASSETS 493,405 456,826

LIABILITIES
Payables
Suppliers 9.1 1,292 7,579
Grants 9.2 842 5,029
Other payables 9.3 14,928 16,926
Total Payables 17,062 29,534
Interest Bearing Liabilities
Loans 10.1 2,102 3,065
Other interest bearing liabilities 10.2 498 601
Total Interest Bearing Liabilities 2,600 3,666
Provisions
Employees 11.1 39,534 36,563
Other provisions 11.2 197,993 198,064
Total Provisions 237,527 234,627
TOTAL LIABILITIES 257,189 267,827

NET ASSETS 236,216 188,999

EQUITY
Contributed equity 37,169 49,901
Financial statements

Reserves 236,903 138,092


Retained surpluses or (accumulated deficits) (37,856) 1,006
TOTAL EQUITY 236,216 188,999

Current assets 80,052 104,821


Non-current assets 413,353 352,005
Current liabilities 37,376 39,874
Non-current liabilities 219,813 227,953

The above statement should be read in conjunction with the accompanying notes.

265
DEPARTMENT OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND HERITAGE
STATEMENT OF CASH FLOWS
for the year ended 30 June 2006
2006 2005
Notes $'000 $'000
OPERATING ACTIVITIES
Cash received
Appropriations 331,440 265,641
Goods and services 47,441 40,881
Interest - 1
Net GST received from the ATO 12,520 10,005
Other cash received from operating activities 2,850 1,138
Total cash received 394,251 317,666
Cash used
Employees 137,406 122,296
Suppliers 171,467 134,354
Grants 28,915 16,794
Transfer funding 41,962 40,085
Financing costs 260 233
Other cash paid for operating activities 332 -
Total cash used 380,342 313,762
Net cash from operating activities 13 13,909 3,904

INVESTING ACTIVITIES
Cash received
Proceeds from sales of property, plant and equipment 4.4 312 248
Total cash received 312 248
Cash used
Purchase of property, plant and equipment 8.4 13,090 7,747
Purchase of intangibles 8.4 3,708 3,030
Total cash used 16,798 10,777
Net cash (used by) investing activities (16,486) (10,529)

FINANCING ACTIVITIES
Cash received
Capital Injections 4,805 -
Other - 4,588
Total cash received 4,805 4,588
Financial statements

Cash used
Repayment of debt 963 1,012
Total cash used 963 1,012
Net cash from financing activities 3,842 3,576

Net increase or (decrease) in cash held 1,265 (3,049)


Cash at the beginning of the reporting period 3,879 6,928
Cash at the end of the reporting period 13 5,144 3,879

The above statement should be read in conjunction with the accompanying notes.

266 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


DEPARTMENT OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND HERITAGE
STATEMENT of CHANGES in EQUITY
for the year ended 30 June 2006

Accumulated Results Asset Revaluation Reserve Contributed Equity/Capital Total Equity

2006 2005 2006 2005 2006 2005 2006 2005


$'000 $'000 $'000 $'000 $'000 $'000 $'000 $'000

Opening Balance 1,006 16,898 138,092 129,515 49,901 6,021 188,999 152,434
Adjustments for errors (5,908) - - - 7,927 - 2,019 -
Adjustments for changes in accounting policies (3,731) - - - - - (3,731) -
Adjusted Opening Balance (8,633) 16,898 138,092 129,515 57,828 6,021 187,287 152,434

Income and Expense


Revaluation adjustment - - 82,130 8,519 - - 82,130 8,519
Revaluation increment - make good provisions - - 16,681 - - - 16,681 -
Subtotal income and expense recognised directly in equity - - 98,811 8,519 - - 98,811 8,519

Net Operating Result (29,223) (15,892) - - - - (29,223) (15,892)

Total Income and Expenses (29,223) (15,892) 98,811 8,519 - - 69,588 (7,373)

Transactions with Owners


Contributions by Owners
Appropriation (equity injection) - - - - 4,805 - 4,805 -
Restructuring - - - 58 - 43,880 - 43,938
Other (Refer note 7.2) - - - - (25,464) - (25,464) -
Subtotal transactions with Owners - - - 58 (20,659) 43,880 (20,659) 43,938

Closing balance at 30 June (37,856) 1,006 236,903 138,092 37,169 49,901 236,216 188,999

The above statement should be read in conjuction with the accompanying notes.

Financial statements

267
DEPARTMENT OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND HERITAGE
SCHEDULE OF COMMITMENTS
as at 30 June 2006
2006 2005
$'000 $'000

BY TYPE

Capital commitments
Land and buildings 76 -
Infrastructure, plant and equipment 1,184 248
Intangibles 279 739
Total capital commitments 1,539 987

Other commitments
Operating leases 135,702 150,486
Project commitments 16,837 16,862
Other commitments 28,691 17,727
Total other commitments 181,230 185,075

Commitments (receivable) (17,417) (16,758)

Net commitments by type 165,352 169,304

BY MATURITY

Capital commitments
One year or less 1,539 987
Total capital commitments 1,539 987

Operating lease commitments


One year or less 35,922 23,148
From one to five years 69,861 84,615
Over five years 29,919 42,723
Total operating lease commitments 135,702 150,486
Financial statements

Project commitments
One year or less 13,814 9,381
From one to five years 3,023 7,481
Total project commitments 16,837 16,862

Other commitments
One year or less 21,282 12,850
From one to five years 7,409 4,877
Total other commitments 28,691 17,727

Commitments (receivable) (17,417) (16,758)

Net commitments by maturity 165,352 169,304

268 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


(1) Capital commitments relate to contractual payments for new assets and assets under
construction.
(2) Operating leases are effectively non-cancelable and include:

Nature of lease General description of leasing arrangements


Leases for office * Lease payments are subject to increases in accordance with
accommodation terms as negotiated under the lease.
* The Department's leases for office accommodation each have
options for renewal. Future options not yet exercised are not
included as commitments.
Leases for * Lease payments are subject to increases in accordance with
transportation to and terms as negotiated under the lease.
within the Antarctic * The transportation leases generally have options for renewal.
Territory Future options not yet exercised are not included as
commitments.
Leases for support * Lease payments are subject to increases in accordance with
facilities for Antarctic terms as negotiated under the lease.
operations * The facility leases each have options for renewal. Future
options not yet exercised are not included as commitments.

Lease of computer * The lessor provides all computer equipment and software
equipment designated as necessary in the supply contract for five years
plus for two further two year periods at the Department's
option.
The Department is currently within the first two year extention
of the lease.
* The equipment has on average a useful life of three years.

(3) Project commitments relate to grant amounts payable under agreements in respect of
which the grantee has yet to complete the milestone required under the agreement.
(4) Other commitments relate to contracts for goods and services in respect of which the
contracted party has yet to provide the goods and services required under the contract.
Note: All commitments are GST inclusive where relevant.
Financial statements

The above schedule should be read in conjunction with the accompanying notes.

269
DEPARTMENT OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND HERITAGE
SCHEDULE OF ADMINISTERED ITEMS
2006 2005
Notes $'000 $'000

Income Administered on Behalf of Government


for the year ended 30 June 2006

Revenue

Taxation
Other taxes, fees and fines 19A 1,270 1,480

Non-taxation
Goods and services 19B 4,666 1,987
Interest 19C 108 9
Industry contributions 19D 7,500 7,400
Grant repayments 19E 3,761 1,406
Assets recognised for the first time 19F 1,411 2,113
Other sources of non-taxation revenue 19G 2,237 424
Total Non-Taxation 19,683 13,339

Gains
Resources received free of charge 19H 73 65
Total Gains Administered on Behalf of Government 73 65

Total Income Administered on Behalf of Government 21,026 14,884

Expenses Administered on Behalf of Government


for the year ended 30 June 2006

Grants 20A 441,784 337,418


Suppliers 20B 56,342 54,147
Write-down and impairment of assets 20C 2,978 32,840
Other 20D - 581
Total Expenses Administered on Behalf of Government 501,104 424,986
Financial statements

The above schedule should be read in conjunction with the accompanying notes.

270 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


DEPARTMENT OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND HERITAGE
SCHEDULE OF ADMINISTERED ITEMS (continued)
2006 2005
Notes $'000 $'000

Assets Administered on Behalf of Government


as at 30 June 2006

Financial Assets
Cash and cash equivalents 21A 115 435
Receivables 21B 14,356 6,289
Investments 21C 277,597 134,801
Accrued revenues 21D 38 1,562
Total Financial Assets 292,106 143,087

Non-Financial Assets
Land and buildings 21E 4,750 4,750
Infrastructure, plant and equipment 21F 1,271 1,271
Other 21G 27,129 2,899
Total Non-Financial Assets 33,150 8,920
Total Assets Administered on Behalf of Government 325,256 152,007

Liabilities Administered on Behalf of Government


as at 30 June 2006

Payables
Suppliers 22A 987 4,035
Grants 22B 17,666 53,391
Other payables 22C 1,448 1,022
Total Payables 20,101 58,448
Total Liabilities Administered on Behalf of the Government 20,101 58,448

Net Assets Administered on behalf of Government 23 305,155 93,559

Current assets 3,818 9,988


Non-current assets 321,438 142,019
Current liabilities 20,101 58,448
Financial statements

The above schedule should be read in conjunction with the accompanying notes.

271
DEPARTMENT OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND HERITAGE
SCHEDULE OF ADMINISTERED ITEMS (continued)
for the year ended 30 June 2006 2006 2005
Notes $'000 $'000

Administered Cash Flows


for the year ended 30 June 2006

OPERATING ACTIVITIES
Cash Received
Rendering of services 4,761 2,352
Interest 108 10
Net GST received from ATO 23,208 16,368
Other cash received from operating activities 15,273 9,172
Total Cash Received 43,350 27,902

Cash Used
Suppliers 90,278 59,383
Grant Payments 500,670 339,793
Other cash used by operating activities - 581
Total Cash Used 590,948 399,757
Net Cash (used by) Operating Activities (547,598) (371,855)

INVESTING ACTIVITIES
Cash Received
Repayment of advances 1,065 3,020
Total Cash Received 1,065 3,020
Cash Used
Issue of advances 2,665 32,238
Total Cash Used 2,665 32,238
Net Cash (used by) Investing Activities (1,600) (29,218)

Net (decrease) in Cash Held (549,198) (401,073)

Cash at beginning of reporting period 435 (340)


Cash from Official Public Account for
Appropriations (including GST appropriation) 23 256,079 129,964
Financial statements

Special Accounts 23 334,555 309,859


590,634 439,823
Cash to the Official Public Account
Appropriations (including return of GST appropriation) 23 (33,872) (32,733)
Special Accounts 23 (7,884) (5,242)
(41,756) (37,975)

Cash at End of Reporting Period 21A 115 435

The above schedule should be read in conjunction with the accompanying notes.

272 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


DEPARTMENT OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND HERITAGE
SCHEDULE OF ADMINISTERED COMMITMENTS (continued)
as at 30 June 2006
2006 2005
$'000 $'000

BY TYPE

Other commitments
Project commitments 1 226,693 302,310
Other commitments 2 59,426 15,150
Total other commitments 286,119 317,460

Commitments (receivable) (11,673) (16,713)

Net commitments by type 274,446 300,747

BY MATURITY

Other commitments
One year or less 177,329 218,160
From one to five years 108,790 99,300
Total other commitments by maturity 286,119 317,460

Commitments (receivable) (11,673) (16,713)

Net commitments by maturity 274,446 300,747

NB: Commitments are GST inclusive where relevant.


1. Project commitments relate to grant amounts payable under agreements in respect of which
the grantee has yet to complete the milestone required under the agreement.
2. Other commitments relate to contracts for goods and services in respect of which the
contracted party has yet to provide the goods and services required under the contract.

The above schedule should be read in conjunction with the accompanying notes.
Financial statements

273
DEPARTMENT OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND HERITAGE
NOTES TO AND FORMING PART OF THE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

Note Description
1 Summary of Significant Accounting Policies
2 Adoption of Australian Equivalents to International Financial Reporting
Standards from 2005-2006
3 Events Occurring after Reporting Date
4 Operating Revenues
5 Operating Expenses
6 Borrowing Cost Expenses
7 Financial Assets
8 Non-financial Assets
9 Payables
10 Interest Bearing Liabilities
11 Provisions
12 Restructuring
13 Cash Flow Reconciliation
14 Contingent Liabilities and Assets
15 Executive Remuneration
16 Remuneration of Auditors
17 Average Staffing Levels
18 Financial Instruments
19 Revenues Administered on Behalf of Government
20 Expenses Administered on Behalf of Government
21 Assets Administered on Behalf of Government
22 Liabilities Administered on Behalf of Government
23 Administered Reconciliation Table
24 Administered Contingent Liabilities and Assets
25 Administered Investments
26 Administered Restructuring
27 Administered Financial Instruments
28 Appropriations
Financial statements

29 Specific Payment Disclosures


30 Reporting of Outcomes

274 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2005–06


Note 1: Summary of Significant Accounting Policies

1.1 Objectives of The Department of the Environment and Heritage

The Department of the Environment and Heritage (the Department) is an Australian


Public Service organisation.
The objectives of the Department are to:
• advise on and implement policies and programs for the protection and
conservation of the environment while ensuring its use is ecologically sustainable;
and
• administer the Australian Antarctic Territory and the Territory of Heard and
McDonald Islands, enhance Australia's role in the Antarctic Treaty System,
conduct and support strategic research, and protect the Antarctic environment.
The Department is structured to meet two outcomes:
Outcome 1
The environment, especially those aspects that are matters of national environmental
significance, is protected and conserved.
Outcome 2
Australia's interests in Antarctica are advanced.
Department activities contributing toward these outcomes are classified as either
departmental or administered. Departmental activities involve the use of assets,
liabilities, revenues and expenses controlled or incurred by the Department in its own
right. Administered activities involve the management or oversight by the Department,
on behalf of the Government, of items controlled or incurred by the Government.
The following provides a representation of the individual outputs under each of the two
outcomes.
Outcome 1
1.1 Response to Climate Change
1.2 Conservation of the land and inland waters
1.3 Conservation of the coasts and oceans
Financial statements

1.4 Conservation of natural, indigenous and historic heritage


1.5 Response to the impact of human settlements
Outcome 2
2.1 Antarctic Policy
2.2 Antarctic Science
The continued existence of the Department in its present form and with its present
programs is dependent on Government policy and on continuing appropriations by
Parliament for the Department’s administration and programs.

275
 "ASISOF0REPARATIONOFTHE&INANCIAL3TATEMENTS

The financial statements are required by section 49 of the &INANCIAL-ANAGEMENTAND


!CCOUNTABILITY!CT and are a general purpose financial report.

The statements have been prepared in accordance with:


s Finance Minister’s Orders (or FMOs, being the &INANCIAL-ANAGEMENTAND
!CCOUNTABILITY/RDERS&INANCIAL3TATEMENTSFORREPORTINGPERIODSENDINGONOR
AFTER*ULY));
s Australian Accounting Standards issued by the Australian Accounting Standards
Board (AASB) that apply for the reporting period; and
s Interpretations issued by the AASB and Urgent Issues Group (UIG) that apply for
the reporting period.
This is the first financial report to be prepared under Australian Equivalents to
I