Appendix E : Report on ecologically sustainable development
This appendix reports on how we implemented the principles for ecologically sustainable development (ESD) set out in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). As required by section 516A of the Act, it explains:
How our activities accord with ESD principles
Examples of how our activities accord with ESD principles can be found throughout this report, starting with the first chapter (see Environmental Performance). Specific examples of how we implement each ESD principle are as follows:
1. The integration principle
We integrate environmental, social, economic and equitable considerations into decisionmaking. For example, in 2003-04 we:
2. The precautionary principle
We do not use lack of scientific certainty as a reason for postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation. For example, in 2003-04 we:
3. The intergenerational principle
We promote conservation of the environment for the benefit of future generations. For example, in 2003-04 we:
We will receive an extra $6.3 million over four years from 2004-05 to continue and expand our efforts to promote, regulate for and enforce reduced vehicle emissions.
4. The biodiversity principle
We ensure biodiversity and ecological integrity are fundamental to decision-making. For example, in 2003-04 we:
5. The valuation principle
We are working to improve valuation, pricing and incentive mechanisms to ensure the true cost of activities are recognised. For example, in 2003-04 we:
How we administer legislation in accordance with ESD principles
Certain officers exercise decision-making powers and advise our ministers on the exercise of their powers under portfolio legislation and other matters. These are as set out in the Administrative Arrangements Order (AAO) for the Commonwealth of Australia. More than 20 pieces of our portfolio legislation go to ESD issues. The main Acts relate to:
To review a complete and up-to-date copy of the AAO, visit http://www.pmc.gov.au/. A version of the AAO with links to each Act listed is also available at: scale.law.gov.au
How our outcomes contribute to ESD
ESD is integral to our two outcomes: transport and regional services.
In building a better transport system for Australia, we seek to provide transport systems which are sustainable and accessible, as well as secure, safe and competitive. For more information on how we achieved this, see Chapter 4.
In providing regional services, we aspire to build sustainable regions and sound local development practices that take into account issues including natural disaster risks. For more information on how we achieved this, see Chapter 5.
a Occupants may include contractors and employees of contracted service providers as well as staff
How our activities affect the environment and how we minimise harm
Our activities generally have a positive impact on the environment, as highlighted in Chapter 1 and elsewhere in this appendix. However, in our day-to-day operations, we do consume resources such as electricity, water, petrol and paper. We also create waste in various forms.
In 2003-04 we met the Australian Government target for energy consumption for the third year running. However, as illustrated below, our overall consumption and consumption per person rose slightly due to a shift to 24 hours operations in the new Office of Transport Security and a shift in the locations where staff are based (see table 7.7).
To reduce any harm that our operations may cause to the environment, we aspire to 'rethink, reduce, reuse and recycle'. We are:
No breaches of environmental laws or licenses were reported in 2003-04.
How we review and increase the effectiveness of environmental measures
Our new certified agreement, as negotiated over 2003-04, commits the department's management and staff to develop and promote initiatives to reduce energy usage, waste generation and the cost of consumables through a departmental energy plan.
We have engaged DASCEM Holdings Pty Limited, an Australian-based environmental and engineering services consultancy, to help us analyse and improve our environmental performance on accommodation issues. We monitor our performance on a location by location basis, and are looking to consolidate our office accommodation further in coming years.
We contribute to a detailed annual report on energy use in Australian Government operations. This report is published by the Australian Greenhouse Office and is available at www.greenhouse.gov.au/. Our energy consumption is summarised in the table 7.4.
Evaluating the impact and sustainability of the policies and programmes we deliver remains a challenge. This reflects the difficulty of measuring long term national outcomes, especially where:
We are active contributors to ongoing debate on this issue. For example, our Programmes Group provided one of several speakers for a seminar on measuring sustainability convened by the Canberra Evaluation Forum in August 2003.