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Environmental Performance Reporting

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act) outlines principles of ecologically sustainable development (ESD), which are to guide Commonwealth involvement in matters of national environmental importance and actions by Commonwealth agencies and in Commonwealth administered regions. The following are the ESD principles as defined by section 3A of the EPBC Act:

  1. decision- making processes should effectively integrate both long- term and short- term economic, environmental, social and equitable considerations
  2. if there are threats of serious or irreversible environmental damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation (the 'precautionary principle')
  3. the principle of inter- generational equity' that the present generation should ensure that the health, diversity and productivity of the environment is maintained or enhanced for the benefit of future generations
  4. the conservation of biological diversity and ecological integrity should be a fundamental consideration in decision making
  5. improved valuation, pricing and incentive mechanisms should be promoted.

A significant amount of the Department's activities are concerned with the day to day implementation of ESD principles. Also, in working with other Commonwealth agencies and other levels of government, the Department is active in the development of policies and implementation of programmes that have positive environmental and social impacts.

In accordance with reporting requirements under the EPBC Act, this section describes how activities in each of the Department's divisions have accorded with the principles of ESD, as well as, where applicable, the measures they have taken to minimise environmental impacts and contribute to ESD.

Table 30: Environmental performance reporting

Description of activity

ESD principle(s)

Effect of this activity on the environment

Measures taken to minimise negative impacts on the environment
Mechanisms for reviewing and increasing effectiveness of those measures

Australian Transport Safety Bureau

Carry out safety investigations and research.

(b) If there are threats of serious or irreversible environmental damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation (the precautionary principle).

The purpose of safety investigations and research is to reduce accidents and incidents that adversely impact on people and the environment.

Not applicable.

Transport and Infrastructure Policy

Supported the Industry Steering Committee, in developing and implementing the Freight Transport Logistics Industry Action Agenda.

(a) Decision-making processes should effectively integrate long- term and short-term economic, environmental, social and equitable considerations.

The Action Agenda report, endorsed in March 2002, recommends actions that may impact on the environment and sustainability of the freight logistics sector, including:

  • building industry awareness of technologies available to eliminate waste from freight logistics chains
  • developing knowledge of the benefits of improved logistics management and eco-efficiency in resource management
  • developing environmental accreditation and industry standards
  • developing and supporting wider take- up of technological and Intelligent Transport System (ITS)-based solutions for improving freight efficiency and reducing congestion and its associated impacts on air quality and greenhouse gas emissions.

Not applicable.

Provision of secretariat services for the Australian Bicycle Council, established to coordinate implementation of the Australia Cycling National Strategy.

(a) Decision-making processes should effectively integrate long-term and short-term economic, environmental, social and equitable considerations.

Australia Cycling seeks to increase participation in cycling in order to contribute to growth and improvements in transport, urban development, public health and the environment. It is implementing strategies to improve bicycle safety and promote awareness of cycling issues in professions such as planning and urban development and within appropriate areas of education and training.

Not applicable.

Responsible for studies (undertaken by Maunsell Consultancy):

  • investigating opportunities of using Intelligent Transport Systems, e-commerce and other technologies to reduce freight transport emissions and improve air quality; and
  • investigating options available to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, encouraging a shift of freight from road to rail and sea transport.

(c) The principle of inter- generational equitythat the present generation should ensure that the health, diversity and productivity of the environment is maintained or enhanced for the benefit of future generations.

(a) Decision-making processes should effectively integrate long-term and short-term economic, environmental, social and equitable considerations.

Both studies contributed to the Departments implementation of Measure 5.14 of the National Greenhouse Strategy to identify opportunities to reduce freight transport emissions.

The studies identify and evaluate a wide range of options for reducing vehicle emissions in the transport sector and alleviating future environmental degradation.

Aviation and Airports Policy

Developing policy options for attaining compatible land use around smaller and regional airports. The Government has retained ownership of the Badgerys Creek site (western Sydney) and will be implementing measures to protect the site from incompatible development in surrounding areas. No decision has been made as to whether or not Badgerys Creek will be the location for a second major airport for Sydney.

(a) Decision-making processes should effectively integrate long-term and short-term economic, environmental, social and equitable considerations.

(c) The principle of inter- generational equitythat the present generation should ensure that the health, diversity and productivity of the environment is maintained or enhanced for the benefit of future generations.

Anticipate will lead to communities being exposed to lower aircraft noise levels and reduce restrictions on airport operations. This ensures long-term compatibility between economic imperatives (the need for airports) and environmental/health/ social downsides (primarily aircraft noise).

Exploring policy options for developing and implementing an appropriate land- use planning regime to achieve the Governments objectives.

Developing ways to describe aircraft noise which are easily understandable by the non-expert.

(a) Decision-making processes should effectively integrate long-term and short-term economic, environmental, social and equitable considerations.

Aimed at reducing tensions between airports and their surrounding communities, which resulted from communication breakdowns over reporting of what constitutes aircraft noise. This ensures ongoing compatibility between economic imperatives (the need for airports) and the environmental/health/social downsides of aircraft noise.

The type of information produced allows, for example, noise sensitive persons to be aware of aircraft noise exposure before they consider whether to buy a house near a flight path.

Reviewing activities carried out to manage aircraft noise around airports (for example, noise and flight path monitoring, operation of noise inquiry units, environmental reporting) in relation to performance.

(a) Decision-making processes should effectively integrate long-term and short-term economic, environmental, social and equitable considerations.

Ongoing compatibility between economic imperatives (the need for airports) and the environmental/health/ social downsides of aircraft noise will remain.

The current regime clearly defines roles and responsibilities, is effective and is appropriately funded under the polluter pays principle.

Transport Regulation

Provides strategic input into integrated oceans management policies under Regional Marine Plans being developed by the National Oceans Office and the planning arrangements for Commonwealth Marine Protected Areas managed by Environment Australia.

(a) Decision-making processes should effectively integrate long-term and short-term economic, environmental, social and equitable considerations.

Integrated oceans management attempts to integrate long-term and short term economic, environmental and social considerations. This activity recognises the importance of shipping to Australias economic and social well being, while managing the risks of negative impacts on the environment.

Not applicable.

Membership of the National Introduced Marine Pest Coordination Group (NIMPCG).

(a) Decision-making processes should effectively integrate long-term and short-term economic, environmental, social and equitable considerations.

NIMPCG is tasked with developing a national regime to minimise the risk of marine pest incursions, including from discharge of ballast water. The economic objective of trading is integrated with the environmental objective to protect natural resources and ecosystems.

National regime is still to be developed.

Development of domestic policy consistent with implementation of the international ban on Tributylin (TBT) anti-fouling substances through the International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Substances on Ships 2001.

(a) Decision-making processes should effectively integrate long-term and short-term economic, environmental, social and equitable considerations.

Anti-fouling systems prevent the build up of marine organisms, such as barnacles on vessel hulls, enabling ships to move faster through water, consume less fuel and prevent the spread of exotic marine organisms.

The policy assists in minimising harmful effects of TBT-based anti-fouling substances to the environment while maintaining the economic and environmental benefits of antifouling systems.

Member of committee which undertook a Review of the Great Barrier Reef Ship Safety and Pollution Prevention Measures.

(a) Decision-making processes should effectively integrate long-term and short-term economic, environmental, social and equitable considerations.

(d) The conservation of biological diversity and ecological integrity should be a fundamental consideration in decision making.

Enhances measures to protect the world heritage area of the Great Barrier Reef while maintaining economic activity.

Review recommendations are designed to build on existing measures to improve ship safety and environmental protection in the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait.

Provided input into activities of the International Maritime Organisation, Marine Environment Protection Committee, the Asia Pacific Economic Transportation Working Group and a range of international environmental forums which will culminate in the World Summit on Sustainable Development in August 2002.

(a) Decision-making processes should effectively integrate long-term and short-term economic, environmental, social and equitable considerations.

The importance of shipping to Australias economic and social well being is recognised alongside the need for environmentally responsible, safe and cost effective transport.

Not applicable.

The Departments airport environment strategies provide the basis for airport lessees to manage the environmental impacts of their operations. The Department and its airport environment officers work with airport operators and airport tenants to ensure a high level of compliance with the Airports Act 1996 and Airports (Environment Protection) Regulations 1997.

(a) Decision-making processes should effectively integrate long-term and short-term economic, environmental, social and equitable considerations.

Airport environment strategies encompass measures to prevent or minimise:

  • environmental pollution at airport sites
  • impact on biota or habitat
  • interference with sites of heritage value or sites of significance to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander People.

As part of the Departments ongoing environmental commitment at Australian airports, airport environment officers encourage the education of environmental awareness and responsibilities. This includes monitoring of training in areas such as spills management and prevention and water quality. Continued advice, regulation and guidance has heightened consideration of potential environmental impacts.

Airport environment officers monitor groundwater and stormwater quality. They also regulate on-airport noise and monitor any impact on local residents and on-site tenants.

(a) Decision-making processes should effectively integrate long-term and short-term economic, environmental, social and equitable considerations.

Groundwater monitoring is an important benefit to the community, as groundwater flowing through the airport site is in some cases used for stock and irrigation off-site.

The policy protects groundwater quality through early detection and isolation of potential negative environmental impacts from the commercial operation of airports. Water quality is currently being addressed under the Australia and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council (ANZECC) guidelines.

Essendon Airport has an Interim Heritage Listing on the Register of National Estate.

(c) The principle of inter- generational equitythat the present generation ensures that the health, diversity and

Essendon airport contains areas of Aboriginal significance which are preserved.

Not applicable.

Sydney and Coolangatta airports have Heritage properties.

productivity of the environment is maintained or enhanced for the benefit of future generations.

To preserve the significant historical role these two airports played in Australias development.

Not applicable.

From April 1 2002 it became mandatory for aircraft flying in Australian airspace to comply with noise standards under the Air Navigation (Aircraft Noise) Regulations 1984, unless they have a permit allowing a dispensation. Two permits (allowing a dispensation from the noise standards) granted for historical aircraft were revoked in May 2002

(a) Decision-making processes should effectively integrate long-term and short-term economic, environmental, social and equitable considerations.

The adoption of these standards has resulted in noisier aircraft being banned from Australian airspace, to the benefit of residents and fauna living in the vicinity of airports. It also prevents further disturbance of residential communities and world heritage areas.

Noise standards for aircraft are reviewed through a subcommittee of ICAO and its decisions are fed back into Australian standards, providing a decision-making process in line with world best-practice. Review of a noise permits use is usually carried out upon notification of noise disturbance from an affected community.

Fuel spillage from aircraft is monitored. Operators of aircraft identified as conducting unapproved spillages are required to explain the reason for spillage and are subject to fines.

(a) Decision-making processes should effectively integrate long-term and short-term economic, environmental, social and equitable considerations.

(e) Improved valuation, pricing and incentive mechanisms should be promoted.

This process is in place to reduce unapproved spillages, thereby discouraging pollution.

Monitoring of fuel spillage is conducted and fines are issued to aircraft operators accordingly.

At the instigation of the Commonwealth, Airport Environment Consultative Committees are in place at all major leased airports in Australia.

(a) Decision-making processes should effectively integrate long-term and short-term economic, environmental, social and equitable considerations.

The consultative committees are intended to provide stakeholders, including the public, an opportunity to contribute to discussions on issues such as aircraft operational effects on residential amenity, flight paths, noise abatement procedures, compatible land use planning and on- airport noise issues.

Consultative committees may give advice and recommendations to organisations with administrative and legislative responsibilities for specific issues. Membership usually includes representatives from each airport, the Commonwealth Government, State/Territory governments, airlines, the aviation industry, Federal/State members of parliament and local community groups.

Transport Programmes

The National Highway and Roads of National Importance programmes provide funding to State and Territory governments for construction, rehabilitation and maintenance of Australian roads.

(a) Decision-making processes should effectively integrate long-term and short-term economic, environmental, social and equitable considerations.

The Commonwealth seeks to minimise environmental degradation associated with the construction, rehabilitation and maintenance of roads.

Funding provided for projects is dependent on States and Territories receiving appropriate environmental approvals under the EPBC Act and complying with any environmental conditions relating to those approvals.

The Commonwealth is providing up to $191.4 million for construction of the Alice Springs to Darwin Railway.

(a) Decision-making processes should effectively integrate long-term and short-term economic, environmental, social and equitable considerations.

It is anticipated that this will prevent unnecessary environmental degradation resulting from construction of the railway.

An Environmental Management Plan (EMP) was developed for the project in 1997. The Commonwealth has agreements in place to ensure project proponents comply with requirements of the EMP and recommendations the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment made regarding the project.

Committed to funding ($50 million) a remediation programme to provide a safer environment for communities with railway facilities no longer in use. Involves environmental remediation of these facilities in all States and Territories (except Victoria and Queensland) to an agreed standard following the winding up of the Australian National Railways Commission (AN).

(c) The principle of inter- generational equity. That is, that the present generation should ensure that the health diversity and productivity of the environment is maintained or enhanced for the benefit of future generations.

The programmes objective is to remediate former AN land to the environmental standards applicable in the relevant jurisdiction in 1997, and having regard to the purpose for which the land was used at that time.

Not applicable.

The Federal Government is contributing $20.45 million from the Centenary of Federation Fund to help re- establish a heritage railway linking Strahan and Queenstown on Tasmanias West Coast, known as the Abt Railway. It is also contributing $5 million from the Fund for the restoration of a heritage railway and re-opening of the Beaudesert branch line for heritage railway purposes.

(a) Decision-making processes should effectively integrate long-term and short-term economic, environmental, social and equitable considerations.

The project will provide a significant and ongoing economic, social and cultural contribution to the region and deliver employment creation and job skills training.

The projects may impact on matters of national environmental significance.

The Commonwealth has agreements in place with the Abt Railway and Beaudesert Rail projects. This ensures the grantee acknowledges referral processes under the EPBC Act if the project will, or is likely to have, a significant impact on a matter of national environmental significance.

Regional Policy

Work in cooperation with Environment Australia and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry-Australia on programmes such as the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality and Phase Two of the Natural Heritage Trust.

(c) The principle of inter- generational equity that the present generation ensures that the health, diversity and productivity of the environment is maintained or enhanced for the benefit of future generations.

In cooperation with other Departments, facilitates the appropriate use of natural resources without compromising their necessary environmental services.

Not applicable.

Regional Programmes

Ongoing administration and funding of the Sustainable Regions Programme. The programme aims include assisting eight regions across Australia to undergo major economic, social and environmental change to build a viable foundation for the future. The Federal Government assists locally-based Advisory Committees established under the programme to, for example:

  • formulate and test future development options for regions
  • identify and support specific activities to promote sustainable development
  • support community leadership in the development of local solutions
  • foster new ideas, community energy, drive and self-reliance
  • forge partnerships between the private sector and all three spheres of government.

(a) Decision-making processes should effectively integrate long-term and short-term economic, environmental, social and equitable considerations.

(c) The principle of inter- generational equitythat the present generation ensures that the health, diversity and productivity of the environment is maintained or enhanced for the benefit of future generations.

Negative impacts on the environment are reduced through an increased awareness of these issues by locally-based advisory committees. Advisory committees assist in identifying and supporting specific activities to promote sustainable development.

A mandatory funding requirement is that all proposals must comply with relevant planning and environment laws.

To measure effectiveness of outputs and outcomes of the programme, CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems is developing an evaluation framework using performance measures and Regional Profiles produced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics for each region.

Territories and Local Government

Employ an environmental officer who monitors and advises on environmental issues in areas outside National Parks on Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands, and applies particular sections of the WA Environment Protection Act 1986 (WA) (Christmas Island) (Cocos (Keeling) Islands) including licence and permit provision.

(a) Decision-making processes should effectively integrate long-term and short-term economic, environmental, social and equitable considerations.

Facilitates the effective implementation of environmental legislation on the Islands.

Not applicable.

At the Jervis Bay Territory the Department conducted a groundwater quality audit on land within and abutting the Booderee National Park.

(b) If there are threats of serious or irreversible environmental damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation (the precautionary principle).

(c) The principle of inter- generational equitythat the present generation should ensure that the health, diversity and productivity of the environment is maintained or enhanced for the benefit of future generations.

The audit will provide information on the short and long-term viability of activities affecting this resource while maintaining its integrity by facilitating informed management by the Department.

Not applicable.

The Department facilitated the approval process for the Christmas Island Shires Town Planning Scheme, which was approved by the Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government. Cocos (Keeling) Islands Shire is in the process of completing their Scheme.

(a) Decision-making processes should effectively integrate both long-term and short-term economic, environmental, social and equitable considerations.

(c) The principle of inter- generational equitythat the present generation should ensure that the health, diversity and productivity of the environment is maintained or enhanced for the benefit of future generations.

This process will result in the protection of potentially environmentally sensitive areas.

Not applicable.

Responsible for obtaining land and constructing housing and infrastructure associated with the Immigration Reception and Processing Centre on Christmas Island. The Minister for the Environment and Heritage granted exemptions under section 158 and 303A of the EPBC Act, to proceed without the usual environmental impact assessment on the grounds that it is in the national interest to do so. Despite the EPBC Act exemption, processes are in place to ensure the developments are carried out in a manner reflecting best practice environmental management.

(a) Decision-making processes should effectively integrate long-term and short-term economic, environmental, social and equitable considerations.

(d) The conservation of biological diversity and ecological integrity should be a fundamental consideration in decision making.

The proximity of these activities to Christmas Island National Park means they may have the potential to affect protected species and areas of National Park, however impacts will be minimised by the necessity of being bound by the EPBC Act.

  • Ensured all contractors submitted Environmental Management Plans to Parks Australia and the Christmas Island environment officer setting out a framework for environmental management to ensure all precautionary steps are taken to protect the environment.
  • A suitably qualified person has been appointed to provide environmental advice and oversight of the project, including monitoring for protected species and the application of mitigation measures should the proposed action have any adverse impacts on those species.
  • Required permits have been obtained relating to locally occurring species protected by the EPBC Act and relevant authorisations from the Director of National Parks have been sought in relation to activities that might impact on the Christmas Island National Park.

Facilitate the provision of land and establish the requirements for construction of the Asia Pacific Space Centre on Christmas Island.

(d) The conservation of biological diversity and ecological integrity will be fundamental to decision making.

The Asia Pacific Space Centre activities are subject to full environmental scrutiny of applied WA legislation as well as the requirements imposed by the former Environment Protection (Impact of Proposals) (EPIP) Act 1974.

The legislation provides for the appointment of an environmental officer to oversee construction. Additionally, an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) is being assessed by Environment Australia under the EPIP Act. Full construction of the facility cannot commence until the construction EMP has been approved.

Responsible for strengthening and extending the Christmas Island Airport runway to accommodate heavy transport aircraft (Antonov and Boeing 747).

(a) Decision-making processes should effectively integrate both long-term and short-term economic, environmental, social and equitable considerations.

(d) The conservation of biological diversity and ecological integrity should be a fundamental consideration in decision making.

Due to the potential for environmental impacts, the Department completed an environmental impact statement under the EPBC Act. A draft for this report has been released for public comment.

The Federal Minister for Environment and Heritage will be able to impose conditions on his decision about the projects to ensure appropriate environmental measures are taken.

Responsible for constructing an additional port facility to improve port access to Christmas Island during the swell season.

(a) Decision-making processes should effectively integrate both long-term and short-term economic, environmental, social and equitable considerations.

(d) The conservation of biological diversity and ecological integrity should be a fundamental consideration in decision making.

Due to the potential for environmental impacts, the Minister for Environment and Heritage required a Public Environment Report, recently published, to be prepared under the EPBC Act.

The Federal Minister for Environment and Heritage will be able to impose conditions on his decision about the projects to ensure appropriate environmental measures are taken.

Responsible for upgrading the existing Linkwater Road from the additional port facility to the upper terrace of Christmas Island.

(a) Decision-making processes should effectively integrate both long-term and short-term economic, environmental, social and equitable considerations.

(d) The conservation of biological diversity and ecological integrity should be a fundamental consideration in decision making.

The Minister for Environment and Heritage has determined that this facility may be assessed by preliminary information under the EPBC Act.

The Federal Minister for Environment and Heritage will be able to impose conditions on his decision about the projects to ensure appropriate environmental measures are taken.

Oversees the leases and provisions of the phosphate mine on Christmas Island. The Department collects a conservation levy from mining operations based on tonnage of product shipped by the mine. The rehabilitation process is currently conducted by Parks Australia, but this arrangement is under review.

(e) Improved valuation, pricing and incentive mechanisms should be promoted.

The conservation levy is directed towards a rainforest rehabilitation programme.

A 21-year mine lease between the Commonwealth and Phosphate Resources Limited (which came into effect In February 1998) contains provisions to ensure mining is conducted according to acceptable environmental standards.

A joint Norfolk Island/Commonwealth initiative continued to progress the land initiative prerequisites including:

  • During 200102 a draft Norfolk Island Plan was prepared by the Department and Norfolk Island Administration planners and presented to the Norfolk Island Government for its consideration.
  • Plans of management have also been prepared and publicly exhibited for 12 of 19 public reserves.
  • A report on possible issues of national environmental significance on Crown land was produced in July 2001 and negotiations continued on the possible implications of this report on the transfer of Crown land.

(a) Decision-making processes should effectively integrate both long-term and short-term economic, environmental, social and equitable considerations.

(c) The principle of inter- generational equitythat the present generation should ensure that the health, diversity and productivity of the environment is maintained or enhanced for the benefit of future generations.

(d) The conservation of biological diversity and ecological integrity should be a fundamental consideration in decision making.

This will ensure Norfolk Island has a robust land management system. Economic, environmental, social and equitable considerations are included in decision making.

The Norfolk Island Planning Act 1996 requires a five year review of the Norfolk Island Plan. Plans of management for the public reserves are reviewed as needed. The report on possible issues of national environmental significance is being prepared by Environment Australia and the Department.

The Department has provided $496,000 in funding to the Register of the National Estate listed Kingston and Arthurs Vale Historic Area (KAVHA) on Norfolk Island for restoration works.

(c) The principle of inter- generational equitythat the present generation should ensure that the health, diversity and productivity of the environment is maintained or enhanced for the benefit of future generations.

Assists in the protection of this historical area for the benefit of future generations.

Not applicable.

The National Office of Local Government (NOLG) liaises with Environment Australia on Natural Resource Management issues including the National Action Plan on Salinity and Water Quality and Natural Heritage Trust II Programmes.

(a) Decision-making processes should effectively integrate both long-term and short-term economic, environmental, social and equitable considerations.

(d) The conservation of biological diversity and ecological integrity should be a fundamental consideration in decision making.

By ensuring local government participation in these processes, local level participation is ensured, thereby increasing the effectiveness of their implementation.

Not applicable.

The NOLG co-convenes the Local Leaders in Sustainability Forum.

(c) The principle of inter- generational equitythat the present generation should ensure that the health, diversity and productivity of the environment is maintained or enhanced for the benefit of future generations.

Discussed environmental, planning and natural resource management issues. The Forum advocates leading practice in local sustainability to the Commonwealth and to all Local Governments. The Forum drafted national recommendations for how Federal, State and Local Governments can best progress local sustainability.

Not applicable.

The NOLG acts as the Secretariat for the Development Assessment Forum. This Forum produced the Good Strategic Planning Guide, which is designed to assist Local Government with planning and is based on ESD principles.

(a) Decision-making processes should effectively integrate both long-term and short-term economic, environmental, social and equitable considerations.

This forum, and its publications, promotes ecologically sustainable development.

Not applicable.

Funds a range of flood mitigation works and measures under the Regional Flood Mitigation Programme (RFMP).

(d) The conservation of biological diversity and ecological integrity should be a fundamental consideration in decision making.

This programme aims to reduce the physical, social and economic costs of flooding to communities throughout Australia. It recognises the fundamental importance of Australias floodplains to the commercial, social and ecological well being of the nation. Enhancement of the biological diversity and ecological amenity of an area are also encouraged where practicable.

Favourable consideration is given to projects that are consistent with the principles of total or integrated catchment management and ecologically sustainable development. Agreements between the Federal and State governments and local agencies ensure all necessary Federal and State government requirements under environmental, heritage, planning and other relevant legislation have been or are in the process of being obtained before RFMP funding is provided.

The NOLG manages the National Awards for Local Government.

(a) Decision-making processes should effectively integrate both long-term and short-term economic, environmental, social and equitable considerations.

(d) The conservation of biological diversity and ecological integrity should be a fundamental consideration in decision making.

The awards foster and acknowledge innovation, excellence and continuous improvement in Local Government. Categories include:

  • Environment Natural Resource Management: Partnerships for Biodiversity Conservation, which recognises innovation and excellence in the protection and management of Australias biodiversity
  • EnvironmentSustaining Local Communities: Local Agenda 21, which recognises the efforts of Local Governments, regional organisations and communities in the promotion and implementation of ecologically sustainable development at the local level through Local Agenda 21 or other integrated planning frameworks.

These categories encourage local governments and the communities they represent to become the lead agencies in achieving sustainable development by integrating environmental, economic and social goals.

Not applicable.

Economic Research and Portfolio Policy

Policy development and provision of advice and research in the following areas:

  • Greenhouse Policy and the National Greenhouse Strategy.
  • Approaches to sustainable transport through the National Transport Secretariat.
  • Transport research relevant to economic and environmental policy formation.
  • Natural resources and environmental policy development and advice.
  • International processes including World Summit for Sustainable Development and Japan Ministerial conference relevant to sustainable transport

(a) Decision-making processes should effectively integrate both long-term and short-term economic, environmental, social and equitable considerations.

(b) If there are threats of serious or irreversible environmental damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation (the precautionary principle).

(e) Improved valuation, pricing and incentive mechanisms should be promoted.

A core focus of work in these areas relates to consideration in practical policy terms of the balance between and achievement of environmental, social and economic goals.

These activities result in better incorporation and consideration of ESD objectives and principles in policy development and subsequent decision making by governments.

Involved in development and application of Australias Oceans Policy, the Greenhouse Gas Abatement Programme and the Remote Renewable Power Generation Programme, in consultation with Transport and Infrastructure Policy and Regional Policy Divisions.

The principle of inter-generational equity that the present generation ensures that the health, diversity and productivity of the environment is maintained or enhanced for the benefit of future generations.

In cooperation with other Departments, facilitates the appropriate use of natural resources without compromising their necessary environmental services.

Not applicable.

Responsible for developing the Australian Design Rules (ADR) for vehicle emissions, vehicle noise and fuel consumption labelling.

Developing a Green Vehicles Guide, which aims to inform consumers of the environmental performance of new vehicle models in terms of urban air pollution and greenhouse gas impact.

(a) Decision-making processes should effectively integrate both long-term and short-term economic, environmental, social and equitable considerations.

(b) If there are threats of serious or irreversible environmental damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation (the precautionary principle).

(c) The principle of inter- generational equitythat the present generation should ensure that the health, diversity and productivity of the environment is maintained or enhanced for the benefit of future generations.

The objective of these measures is to minimise adverse impacts of motor vehicles on the environment in terms of urban air quality, noise disturbance and greenhouse gas emissions.

It is widely accepted that the implementation of vehicle emission standards has made a significant contribution to reductions in air pollution in Australias major cities. Noise standards have also reduced the level of traffic noise. The fuel consumption labelling standard is relatively new, but is anticipated to lead to reductions in fuel consumption from the new vehicle fleet. The Green Vehicles Guide will enable new vehicle consumers to factor environmental considerations into their purchasing decisions. ADRs are reviewed on a regular basis in light of changes to the international standards on which they are based. A review is underway to consider what emission standards Australia should adopt following implementation of the current package of standards over the 200207 period.

In addition to making a contribution through its activities with external environmental and ESD-related impacts, the Department continues to support ESD through its internal activities. As part of the 19992001 and 200204 Certified Agreements, the Department agreed to develop and promote initiatives that will result in reductions in energy use and waste generation. The Department runs a successful paper recycling programme and energy conservation programme. Staff are encouraged to participate in these programmes through electronic bulletins on the Departments intranet site. Building management systems apply to lighting and air conditioning, and daytime cleaning obviates the need for additional lighting at night. These systems are revised and fine-tuned regularly to achieve maximum results.