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Department of the Environment and Heritage

www.deh.gov.au

The lead agency for carrying out the Australian Government’s policies on the environment, heritage and Antarctica

Vision

A sustainable Australia

Mission

Deliver the Australian Government’s environment and heritage legislation, policies and programmes

and heritage legislation, policies and programmes Main office at the John Gorton Building Photo: A Mostead

Main office at the John Gorton Building

Photo: A Mostead

How to contact the department

Main office:

John Gorton Building

Post:

GPO Box 787

Phone:

02 6274 1111

King Edward Terrace

Canberra ACT 2601

Facsimile:

02 6274 1666

Parkes ACT 2600

Internet: www.deh.gov.au

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

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 2005. This set of reports comprises two volumes:

• First, the annual report of the department prepared in accordance with subsection 63(2) of the Public Service Act 1999. Subsection 63(1) of that Act requires me to give you the report for presentation to the parliament. A copy of this annual report must be laid before each House of the parliament on or before 31 October 2005.

• Secondly, seven annual reports about Acts the department administers. This volume must be tabled in each House of the parliament within 15 sitting days after the day on which you receive it.

Yours sincerely

days after the day on which you receive it. Yours sincerely David Borthwick Secretary 20 October

David Borthwick Secretary 20 October 2005

Contents

Executive summary

1

Secretary’s review

2

Summary of main results

5

Organisation

8

Role and functions

8

Outcomes and outputs

10

Total resources

11

Environment—Outcome 1

13

Climate change

14

Air pollution

32

Biodiversity and wildlife

44

Coasts and oceans

61

Assessments and approvals

84

Heritage

90

Human settlements and industry

105

Inland waters

128

Land

140

Parks and reserves

150

Cross-cutting environmental work

158

Antarctica—Outcome 2

169

Managing the department

193

Environmental impacts

194

Stakeholder relations

200

External scrutiny

204

Corporate governance

208

Workforce

215

Finances

234

Financial statements

255

Department of the Environment and Heritage

256

Australian Greenhouse Ofce

334

National Oceans Office

384

Glossary

423

Indexes

431

Compliance index

432

Alphabetical index

438

Executive summary

Executive summary
Executive summary
Executive summary

Executive summary

Secretary’s review

Executive summary Secretary’s review David Borthwick This is the first full financial year that I have

David Borthwick

This is the first full financial year that I have led the Department of the Environment and Heritage. For me the clear ‘take home message’ of the past year is the need for a sustained effort to follow through on the government’s major environmental reforms.

Environmental degradation is often an insidious process; the cumulative result of multiple causes, each appearing insignificant in the initial stages and when viewed in isolation. The damage can escalate until it reaches the point where it affects entire ecosystems, and an enormous effort is required to prevent further harm.

There are no quick solutions to continental-scale problems like the over-allocation of water resources and the loss of native vegetation, or global problems like greenhouse gas emissions. It will take years of consistent hard work on many fronts before improvements become noticeable.

Strong foundations

The government has established strong foundations for this work. Major environmental programmes like the Natural Heritage Trust, the implementation of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, and regional marine planning are driving important reforms to the way Australians manage natural resources. For the first time the continuing health of ecosystems is fundamental to resource management, and not just a secondary consideration. In addition the high level of protection afforded by the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 now applies to places of outstanding national heritage significance. The total government investment in the environment and heritage continues to increase.

Progress report

The department can report progress in carrying out this work (see the summary on pages 6–7). Support for ‘on-ground’ activities continues to expand, including $200 million for water-saving projects initiated by the community. More native habitat is being protected, notably an additional 171 300 hectares of forest reserves in Tasmania. New programmes to address climate change have been established and Australia is still on track to meet its internationally agreed greenhouse gas emissions target.

2 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2004–05

Executive summary

During the year real progress was made in international diplomatic efforts to develop practical solutions to the problem of climate change, culminating in the July 2005 announcement of a partnership between the United States, China, India, Japan, South Korea and Australia. Australia also had a success with its diplomatic effort to oppose commercial whaling. International engagement on issues like climate change and whaling will continue to be priorities in the year ahead.

However many of the department’s activities, although fundamental to solving environmental problems in the long term, typically make only incremental improvements to the overall condition of the environment in any given year. Activities like managing the Natural Heritage Trust, improving the management of major river basins and administering legislation covering a wide range of environmental issues (including ozone depletion, wildlife protection and sea dumping, to name a few) have to be viewed in context. It will take many years of sustained effort over the entire catchment-to-sea continuum before the department can report major environmental outcomes from these activities.

Moreover, it is simply not feasible to monitor many key indicators of change in the condition of the environment on an annual basis. This is why the department produces Australia’s State of the Environment reports—independent stocktakes of the condition of our environment—on a five-yearly cycle, with the next report due in 2006.

Other departmental activities—corporate support functions like providing assistance to the minister, maintaining our buildings and our records, and managing the department’s accounts—tend not to make it onto lists like the one on pages 6–7 but are absolutely essential to the department’s ability to achieve these results. I encourage readers to explore the relevant chapters of this annual report to nd out more about what was achieved.

The tsunami

In looking back over the year a single event overshadowed all others: the Boxing Day tsunami in the Indian Ocean. Like other Australians I was appalled by the scale of the human tragedy. The tsunami was also the single most significant event affecting the environment in Australia’s region so it was important that the environment and heritage portfolio contributed to the Australian Government’s response. The portfolio’s contribution included assistance from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, involving assessing the impacts on coral reefs. The Bureau of Meteorology is helping to establish an early warning system for future tsunamis in the Indian Ocean.

3

Executive summary

Changes to the portfolio

The year saw a significant change to the portfolio, with the government bringing the Australian Greenhouse Office and the National Oceans Office into the department (they were previously separate executive agencies in the portfolio).

This kind of transition can be trying for employees as well as for our clients, so

I was particularly pleased with the way everyone adapted to the new working

arrangements. Both offices are continuing to operate within the department,

enabling a more integrated approach to delivering the government’s climate change and marine programmes.

There was also a shift in the way government works with Indigenous communities, with Indigenous programmes now distributed across a range of portfolios. The department already has a strong record of engagement with Indigenous communities on park management, natural resource management, heritage protection and marine planning. New whole-of-government coordination arrangements will enhance the ability of these programmes to meet local and regional needs.

More support for staff

I am of the strong view that the department’s success in delivering the

government’s programmes rests on the quality and dedication of its staff. Following

on from last year’s comprehensive staff survey, the department is making a number of changes to improve support for its staff.

The department’s senior executives are leading a concerted effort to improve internal communications. For example I have made a point of meeting regularly with the department’s section managers. The department’s intranet is being improved; innovations during the year included a regular staff newsletter and a feedback mechanism.

This year also saw a major information technology review and upgrade. New systems will roll out over 2005–06. Other improvements include new recruitment procedures, and initiatives to develop the leadership potential of managers.

The department will survey its staff again in 2006.

Following through

The department’s vision is ‘a sustainable Australia’. Achieving this vision means planning for the longer term to maintain the health of our natural resources while our economy continues to develop. Getting the right balance between environmental, social and economic priorities is an ongoing challenge. In order to

4 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2004–05

Executive summary

do this effectively the department often finds itself seeking to influence activities that are the primary responsibility of other portfolios. It is essential, therefore, that the department forges effective ways of working with other portfolios.

In most cases it will take time before the benefits of the government’s environment and heritage programmes become apparent. It will be critical to work with and maintain the confidence and support of the Australian community over these long time frames.

The department has proven its ability to broker innovative solutions. It needs to become a leader in demonstrating the effectiveness of environment and heritage programmes.

It needs to become a leader in demonstrating the effectiveness of environment and heritage programmes. David

David Borthwick

5

Executive summary

Summary of main results

Protecting the environment (progress towards Outcome 1)

Climate change

• New programmes under the Climate Change Strategy were established to help build an effective global response to climate change, and to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions both to meet its Kyoto target and in the longer term

pages 20–22

• The Tracking to the Kyoto Target 2004 report confirmed Australia is on track to meet its Kyoto emissions target

page 26

Air pollution

• A new Air Toxics National Environment Protection Measure will help develop air quality standards for the main toxic air pollutants

page 34

• New fuel standards meant cleaner petrol was available in Australia from 1 January 2005, giving lower levels of sulfur, olefins and aromatics in vehicle exhaust

page 37

• The Cycle Connect grants programme started, supporting cycling as a way of reducing air pollution in cities

page 36

Biodiversity and wildlife

• The first projects under the Maintaining Australia’s Biodiversity Hotspots Programme provided funding to conserve biodiversity

page 46

• 67 new recovery plans for threatened species and ecological communities were approved

page 48

• The great white shark is now protected internationally and trade in its products is regulated under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999

pages 58, 66

Coasts and oceans

• Australian governments signed off on agreements for dealing with issues related to coastal development and introduced marine pests

pages 62, 65

• Major marine surveys off northern Australia helped build the knowledge base needed to ensure marine activities are ecologically sustainable

pages 73–75

Assessments and approvals

• Since July 2000 more than 1 000 matters of national environmental significance have been protected through the referrals, assessments and approvals process, with 193 of these matters protected in 2004–05

page 85

• The department’s compliance and enforcement capabilities were enhanced

page 85

 

Heritage

• The site of the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens in Victoria was inscribed on the World Heritage List

page 92

• The new national and Commonwealth heritage lists were extended, meaning that more nationally important heritage places are now protected

page 92

Human settlements and industry

Major supermarkets exceeded their national target for reducing the use of plastic bags

page 107

A new version of the National Packaging Covenant was agreed, reducing waste from used packaging for another five years

page 110

A new water efficiency and labelling scheme for household appliances was established to help consumers buy products that use less water

page 112

6

Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2004–05

Executive summary

Inland waters

Under the Australian Government Water Fund, part of the National Water Initiative, the first round of Community Water Grants was funded to show how local communities can save water

page 132

Land

The Tasmanian Community Forest Agreement was signed, guaranteeing protection for 171 300 hectares of forests

page 143

Parks and reserves

• Government funding helped to add 212 895 hectares to the National Reserve System, which now protects 80.9 million hectares

pages 152–153

• A strategic national approach for the establishment and management of the National Reserve System was endorsed by Australian governments

page 152

Advancing Australia’s Antarctic interests (progress towards Outcome 2)

• An international regulatory approach to assigning liability for environmental emergencies in Antarctica was agreed

page 172

• Australia and like-minded countries blocked Japan’s proposed management scheme for commercial whaling, and a majority of International Whaling Commission members supported Australia’s resolution calling on Japan to withdraw its proposal to extend scientific whaling

pages 177–179

• Australia established an east Antarctic air link—the first stage of providing essential transport services—and the Australian Government allocated additional funding for the second stage

pages 185–186

Managing the department

Managing the department’s environmental impacts

The department extended its triple bottom line reporting to include Antarctic, parks and Supervising Scientist operations

pages 197–199

Engaging with stakeholders

The department put in place a new service charter, committing a client service officer to respond to feedback or complaints from clients

page 200

Improving the way the department operates

• New streamlined outputs and targeted performance indicators were developed for 2005–06 to improve reporting on environmental outcomes

page 208

• An internal review of the department’s corporate governance framework found that the current systems are operating effectively

page 209

Supporting the department’s workforce

• Procedures for recruitment, performance management, workload management, and change management were reviewed and updated

page 216

• The refresh of the department’s IT systems was brought forward to respond to staff concerns page 216

• The department’s status as an Investor in People was reconfirmed

page 216

• The intake of the graduate recruitment programme was expanded

page 227

7

Executive summary

Organisation

As at 30 June 2005 the department was made up of 12 divisions (opposite).

Changes since the 2004–05 Budget

After the election of 9 October 2004 the government decided to move the Australian Greenhouse Office and the National Oceans Office into the department. 1 As a result:

• two divisions (the Industry, Communities and Energy Division and the International, Land and Analysis Division) moved into the department

• the department created the Marine Division, taking the opportunity to bring together marine policy functions from various parts of the department.

Some Indigenous heritage functions were transferred to the department after the Australian Government abolished the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Services agency on 20 June 2004. See also page 301.

Role and functions

Advising the Australian Government on its policies for protecting the environment and heritage

Administering the government’s main laws relating to the environment and heritage, including the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999

Managing the government’s main environment and heritage programmes including the $3 billion Natural Heritage Trust—the Australian Government’s main environmental programme

Implementing an effective response to climate change

Representing the Australian Government in international negotiations related to the environment and Antarctica—examples include the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Antarctic Treaty System and the International Whaling Commission.

1

8

Both agencies ceased as separate executive agencies under the Public Service Act 1999 on 26 October 2004, and as prescribed agencies under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 on 3 November 2004.

Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2004–05

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

Howard Bamsey

Anthea Tinney

Conall O’Connell

Deputy Secretary

Deputy Secretary

Deputy Secretary

Australian

Approvals and

Land, Water and Coasts Division Tony Slatyer First Assistant Secretary

Antarctic Division

Wildlife Division

Tony Press

Gerard Early

First Assistant

First Assistant

Secretary,

Secretary

Director

 

Corporate

Marine Division Donna Petrachenko First Assistant Secretary Includes the National Oceans Office

Industry,

Strategies Division

Communities and

David Anderson

Energy Division

First Assistant

Barry Sterland

Secretary

First Assistant

Secretary

Heritage Division

Natural Resource

International, Land and Analysis Division Ian Carruthers First Assistant Secretary

Peter Burnett

First Assistant

Secretary

Management

Programmes

Division

Malcolm Forbes

Policy

First Assistant

Coordination

Secretary

and Environment

 

Protection Division

Parks Australia Division Peter Cochrane Director of National Parks

The Industry, Communities and Energy Division and International, Land and Analysis Division make up the Australian Greenhouse Office

Mark Tucker

First Assistant

Secretary

Supervising

Bruce Leaver

Scientist Division

First Assistant

Arthur Johnston

Secretary

First Assistant

 

Secretary,

Executive Policy

Supervising

Advisor

Scientist

Diana Wright

 

First Assistant

Secretary

Bureau of Meteorology Geoff Love Director

Bureau of Meteorology Geoff Love Director Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority The Hon Virginia Chadwick

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority The Hon Virginia Chadwick Chairman

Marine Park Authority The Hon Virginia Chadwick Chairman Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator David Rossiter

Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator David Rossiter Renewable Energy Regulator

Regulator David Rossiter Renewable Energy Regulator Sydney Harbour Federation Trust Geoff Bailey Executive

Sydney Harbour

Federation Trust

Geoff Bailey

Executive Director

Regulator Sydney Harbour Federation Trust Geoff Bailey Executive Director Director of National Parks Peter Cochrane

Director of

National Parks

Peter Cochrane

9

Executive summary

Outcomes and outputs

The department receives annual funding to deliver a set of outputs that contribute to achieving two outcomes:

Outcome 1: The environment, especially those aspects that are matters of national environmental significance, is protected and conserved

Output 1.1:

Atmosphere

Output 1.2:

Biodiversity

Output 1.3:

Coasts and oceans

Output 1.4:

Environmental assessment and approvals

Output 1.5:

Heritage

Output 1.6:

Human settlements

Output 1.7:

Inland waters

Output 1.8:

Land management

Output 1.9:

Parks and reserves

Output 1.10: Climate change

Outcome 2:

Australia’s interests in Antarctica are advanced

Output 2.1:

Influence in Antarctic Treaty System

Output 2.2:

Protecting the Antarctic environment

Output 2.3:

Understanding global climate system

Output 2.4:

Undertake scientific work of practical, economic or national significance

Changes since the 2004–05 Budget

The department changed its outputs for the 2004–05 additional estimates statement to accommodate the functions of the Australian Greenhouse Office and the National Oceans Office. Output 1.3 (originally just ‘coasts’) was revised to accommodate marine functions. Output 1.10 (‘climate change’) was added.

The department subsequently reviewed its outputs structure and developed a new structure in consultation with the minister and the Department of Finance and Administration. The new structure appeared in the 2005–06 portfolio budget statement. The department will report against the new structure in 2006. See also page 208.

10 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2004–05

Executive summary

Total resources

Financial resources

Total resources 2004–05 = $744 million
Total resources 2004–05 = $744 million

See page 234 for a detailed breakdown. To prevent double counting, a $23 million payment from the Natural Heritage Trust (part of ‘Outcome 1 administered’) has been excluded from ‘Outcome 1 departmental’.

Workforce

Total workforce 2004–05 = 2 000 personnel
Total workforce 2004–05 = 2 000 personnel

See page 219 for a detailed breakdown. A map showing office locations appears on page 456.

A map showing offi ce locations appears on page 456. Part of the Department’s Canberra-based staff.

Part of the Department’s Canberra-based staff.

Photo: M Mohell

11

Executive summary

Environment—Outcome 1

Environment—Outcome 1 Outcome 1: The environment, especially those aspects that are matters of national environmental
Environment—Outcome 1 Outcome 1: The environment, especially those aspects that are matters of national environmental

Outcome 1: The environment, especially those aspects that are matters of national environmental significance, is protected and conserved.

Environment—Outcome 1

Climate change

Environment—Outcome 1 Climate change The Department of the Environment and Heritage, through its Australian Greenhouse
Environment—Outcome 1 Climate change The Department of the Environment and Heritage, through its Australian Greenhouse

The Department of the Environment and Heritage, through its Australian Greenhouse Office, contributes to the global effort to respond to climate change and implements the Australian Government’s climate change strategy. 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 strategy.

Main responsibilities relevant to this output

Australia’s climate change strategy:

• International engagement on climate change

• Greenhouse gas emissions management

• Foundation: understanding of climate change

Australian Greenhouse Office, comprising the Industry, Communities and Energy Division, and the International, Land and Analysis Division

Objectives

• To lead the development and implementation of the government’s major climate change programmes, working in partnership with other departments

• To work with industry, business and the community across Australia in taking action to reduce national greenhouse gas emissions

• To enhance Australia’s regional development and natural resource management by promoting greenhouse action on the land

• To act to increase the uptake of energy efficiency

• To pursue a multi-pronged effort to build a practical and effective global response to climate change, including action at the multilateral, regional and bilateral levels

14 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2004–05

Environment—Outcome 1

Climate change

Environment—Outcome 1 Climate change • To extend Australia’s world-class scientific expertise in climate change,

• To extend Australia’s world-class scientific expertise in climate change, and build the capacity of regions, industries and community to adapt to climate change

• To deliver robust projections of Australia’s progress in meeting its internationally agreed 108 per cent greenhouse gas emissions target

Main results

• Progress was made in developing and implementing new programmes under the Australian Government’s $1.8 billion Climate Change Strategy

• The Ministerial Council on Energy agreed to stage one of the National Framework for Energy Efficiency, delivering up to 9 million tonnes of greenhouse gas savings and $400 million to gross domestic product when fully implemented

• The Tracking to the Kyoto 2004 emissions projections and the 2003 National Greenhouse Gas Inventory showed Australia is on track to meet its Kyoto target

• Progress was made under bilateral climate change partnerships, and formative discussions were held with key regional countries on a new Asia–Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate

Australia’s Climate Change Strategy

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 greenhouse gas emitting nations will need to commit to reducing their emissions.

15

Environment—Outcome 1

Environment—Outcome 1 Climate change In 2004 the Australian Government announced a new Climate Change Strategy to:

Climate change

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 was articulated through measures announced in the May 2004 federal Budget and the June 2004 energy white paper, Securing Australia’s Energy Future. These measures increased the Australian Government’s commitment to climate change activities that directly involve the Australian Greenhouse Office to around $1.8 billion until 2012–13. This included $802.1 million for ongoing programmes, $275.2 million for new Budget measures and $732.6 million for energy white paper measures (provided through the Budget additional estimates).

Implementing the full range of measures that make up the climate change strategy was a key focus of the work of the Australian Greenhouse Office during 2004–05.

International engagement on climate change

Australia is pursuing an international climate change strategy that includes both multilateral and bilateral actions. 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.’ Bilateral relationships provide a framework for high-level engagement on policy issues and cooperative projects that benefit both countries involved.

The Australian Greenhouse Office contributes to Australia’s efforts to progress action on climate change through international forums. The office provides briefings to ministers and departmental officials who participate in negotiations at these meetings.

Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol is an international treaty under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change designed to limit global greenhouse gas emissions. It includes emissions target commitments for developed countries. The Kyoto Protocol came into force on 16 February 2005 following Russian ratification.

In the 1997 Kyoto negotiations Australia agreed to limit its greenhouse gas emissions to 108 per cent of the level of 1990 emissions by 2008–2012. The Australian Government is committed to meeting this target. The most recent projections (see page 26) show that Australia is on track to do so.

16 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2004–05

Environment—Outcome 1

Climate change

Environment—Outcome 1 Climate change While strongly investing in domestic greenhouse action, the Australian Government

While strongly investing in domestic greenhouse action, the Australian Government has decided not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. The government believes the protocol is not a sufficient global response to climate change because it does not provide a pathway for all major emitting countries to commit to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. The majority of the world’s top 12 greenhouse gas emitters, including the world’s largest emitter the United States, and large developing countries such as China and India, have not accepted or are not covered by the protocol’s binding emissions caps.

During 2004–05 Australia continued to work for 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.

Buenos Aires climate change conference

The 10 th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was held from 6–17 December 2004 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Australia supported the development of the Buenos Aires Programme of Work on Adaptation and Response Measures, a long-term work programme to assist the most vulnerable developing countries adapt to the unavoidable adverse consequences of climate change.

The Minister for the Environment and Heritage was one of six ministers invited to speak at the high-level segment on the impacts of climate change, adaptation measures and sustainable development. He highlighted two key priorities for international adaptation efforts:

• addressing the information gaps to better understand the likely impacts of climate change at a regional and local level

• identifying ways of mainstreaming adaptation to climate change into broader sustainable development objectives.

Other key international forums

Other international forums in which Australia played a strong role included the United Kingdom Ministerial Roundtable on Energy and the Environment (15–16 March 2005, London) and the Australia–New Zealand climate change forum (7–8 April, Sydney).

The London ministerial roundtable brought together ministers from key developing and developed countries to discuss ways to respond to climate change, ensure energy security and end energy poverty. The Minister for the Environment and Heritage chaired the session on developing lower carbon energy systems at this meeting.

17

Environment—Outcome 1

Environment—Outcome 1 Climate change The climate change forum brought together senior Australian and New Zealand

Climate change

The climate change forum brought together senior Australian and New Zealand industry and government leaders to discuss possible approaches to respond to climate change internationally. The forum was facilitated by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, a leading US-based think-tank that is conducting a high- level international dialogue on future global action on climate change.

The minister and the department also participated in formative discussions with the United States and other countries in the Asia–Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate.

Multilateral projects

In November 2004 Australia joined with 13 other nations as a founding member of the Methane to Markets Partnership. The partnership focuses on cost-effective, short-term methane recovery and its use as a clean energy source. This will enhance economic growth, improve energy security and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from coal mines, landfills, and the oil and gas sector. The partnership promotes collaboration between developed and developing country partners, with strong participation from the private sector.

Australia also participates in three other technology focused partnerships—the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership, the International Partnership on the Hydrogen Economy and the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum. In June 2005 funding of $381 000 was provided to the Australian Business Council for Sustainable Energy to establish and operate an Oceania Secretariat of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership for three years. A further $90 000 contribution was provided for the renewable energy partnership’s Renewable Energy International Law Project.

Bilateral relationships

Australia continued to work with its five bilateral climate change partners—the United States, China, New Zealand, Japan and the European Union—on practical actions to contribute to the global climate change response. More than 40 projects are now under way through these partnerships.

United States: The Australia–United States Climate Action Partnership continued to deliver concrete outcomes across a broad range of areas, including work with Australia’s Pacific neighbours on climate change science, research and monitoring; and constructive work on geosequestration and hydrogen through the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum and International Partnership on the Hydrogen Economy. There was also significant progress on renewable energy with the US Department of Energy and the Australian Greenhouse Office establishing a future programme of work on renewables under the partnership.

18 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2004–05

Environment—Outcome 1

Climate change

Environment—Outcome 1 Climate change China: The Australia–China Climate Change Partnership was strengthened with the

China: The Australia–China Climate Change Partnership was strengthened with the signing on 16 August 2004 of a Memorandum of Understanding on Climate Change Activities, followed by a workshop in Beijing from 13–15 September 2004. This workshop enabled Australian and Chinese industry representatives to identify opportunities for collaboration on climate change projects.

New Zealand: From 4–5 November 2004 the Australian and New Zealand Governments co-sponsored Climate Change and Business: The Australia–New Zealand Conference and Trade Expo, which was attended by more than 200 representatives. The event enabled an exchange of ideas and information on activities and opportunities to respond to climate change.

Japan: Australia and Japan co-hosted the Asia–Pacific Seminar on Climate Change held in Sydney, Australia from 21–24 September 2004. Experts from 19 countries and representatives from eight 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 learnt for future action.

European Union: Work continued with the European Union to develop an agreed plan of action on energy efficiency including reducing standby power consumption of consumer electronics, benchmarking of minimum energy performance standards for residential air conditioners, examining standby power losses in non-residential buildings, and developing efficiency standards and labels for residential appliances.

Greenhouse gas emissions management

While Australia only contributes about 1.4 per cent to global greenhouse gas emissions, our economy is relatively energy intensive. Fossil fuels dominate our energy production. As Australia is a major exporter of emission-intensive goods our economy is potentially vulnerable to domestic and international measures to address climate change, which could affect the global competitiveness of Australian industries.

Australia’s challenge is to continue to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining and growing a strong economy that provides for the well-being of all Australians.

The Australian Greenhouse Office contributes by building partnerships with industry, developing energy technologies that have low emissions, and investing in local and regional actions that reduce overall emissions.

19

Environment—Outcome 1

Environment—Outcome 1 Climate change Current measures undertaken across all levels of government are helping to reduce

Climate change

Current measures undertaken across all levels of government are helping to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by 94 million tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2010. This has Australia on track to meet its Kyoto Protocol emissions target (see projections, page 26).

During the year the Australian Greenhouse Office began implementing new programmes announced in 2004 as part of the Australian Government’s $1.8 billion Climate Change Strategy. This strategy will help Australia to meet its Kyoto target in the short term, while positioning us for future greenhouse gas reduction action in the long term.

Building industry partnerships—new programmes

During the year the Minister for the Environment and Heritage launched the reinvigorated Greenhouse Challenge Plus programme. The programme builds on the success of Greenhouse Challenge and incorporates two existing initiatives—Greenhouse Friendly and Generator Efficiency Standards—into a single industry partnerships programme. Greenhouse Challenge Plus helps participants integrate greenhouse issues into business decision-making, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and accelerate the uptake of energy efficiency. Greenhouse Challenge Plus has more than 770 participants, representing almost 50 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions from industry. It has excellent coverage of companies in key sectors, including the electricity supply, oil and gas, aluminium, cement, mining and manufacturing sectors. The new programme will provide $31.3 million over four years.

Most Greenhouse Challenge Plus member companies participate in the programme voluntarily but from July 2006, companies that receive more than $3 million per year of business fuel credits will be required to join the programme in order to receive these credits. In addition, a new requirement for proponents of major energy resource developments to join the programme is being developed.

New programmes for low emission technologies were developed, requiring extensive consultation with industry organisations, technical experts and the public. The 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 aims to leverage at least $1 billion in contributions from the corporate sector. On 3 June 2005 the Australian Greenhouse Office invited public comment on draft guidelines for the first round of funding, and on a statement of challenges and opportunities, which reflects the energy sector’s operating environment and the Australian Government’s current priorities. During the year the office also progressed the $26.8 million Low Emissions Technology

20 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2004–05

Environment—Outcome 1

Climate change

Environment—Outcome 1 Climate change and Abatement programme, including preparations for a monitoring regime for a

and Abatement programme, including preparations for a monitoring regime for a geosequestration pilot project, and undertaking consultancies to develop other programme themes (including fossil fuels, and local and regional action— see also page 23).

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.

Under the Alternative Fuels Conversion Programme the Australian Greenhouse Office worked with the United States engine manufacturer Clean Air Power to develop the Caterpillar C15 engine for long-haul truck rigs, tailor it to Australian conditions and test its operation in Australian fleet conditions. The new engine uses liquefied natural gas and diesel, with tests showing an 8 per cent reduction in greenhouse emissions and improved air quality outcomes.

Action on energy efficiency

The Australian Greenhouse Office supported the Australian Government’s input to the development of the National Framework for Energy Efficiency, which was adopted by the Ministerial Council on Energy on 27 August 2004. The framework will 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. During the year Minimum Energy Performance Standards for air-conditioners came into effect, and standards for refrigerators were upgraded. The Your Building project was announced as a collaborative effort between industry and government to produce a guide to sustainable commercial office building. This will complement the successful Your Home guide to sustainable housing.

Renewable energy—new programmes

The government’s flagship Solar Cities programme will provide $75 million over nine years (2004–2013) to demonstrate the costs and benefits of solar power and smart electricity technologies on a large scale. The programme is on track for the announcement of the location of Solar Cities during 2006. Programme development during the year included stakeholder consultation, finalising of programme guidelines and a call for expressions of interest.

The Australian Greenhouse Office contributed to the development of the Renewable Energy Development Initiative, which will support the

21

Environment—Outcome 1

Environment—Outcome 1 Climate change commercialisation of important renewable energy projects. The initiative will

Climate change

commercialisation of important renewable energy projects. The initiative will provide $100 million in funding to industry over seven years (2004–2011).

It is being administered jointly with the Department of Industry, Tourism and

Resources. Applications were invited under the first round of funding on 8 June 2005.

A programme framework was developed for the Advanced Electricity

Storage Technologies Programme and a study of Australian capabilities was

commissioned. This programme will provide $20.5 million over five years (2004–2009) to help develop advanced technologies for storing electricity generated through renewable sources.

The Australian Greenhouse Office completed planning for the delivery of the government’s wind forecasting capability in consultation with stakeholders. This programme will help increase the value of wind energy in the electricity grid by more accurately predicting wind energy generation. Negotiations were advanced with the National Electricity Market Management Company on design and implementation of the forecasting system. In addition, agreements were nalised with the CSIRO Wind Energy Research Unit, the Bureau of Meteorology, and the Centre for Energy and Environmental Markets.

Renewable energy—ongoing programmes

Environmental Markets. Renewable energy—ongoing programmes Providing power to remote communities Photo: Solar Systems

Providing power to remote communities

Photo: Solar Systems Pty Ltd

A 220 kilowatt solar power station for the Anangu Pitjantjatjara lands in north-east South Australia was built with the help of $1 million in Australian Government funding.

The Renewable Remote Power Generation Programme provided 638 grants totalling $22.4 million to increase the use of renewable energy generation in remote parts of Australia and to reduce the amount of diesel used to generate electricity. These grants brought the total number of projects funded to 3 608.

The $55.6 million Renewable Energy Commercialisation Programme is fully committed. During the year, nine recipients of programme funding completed their projects. For example a concentrating dish solar photovoltaic project in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara lands in the north west of South Australia is now providing electricity

to the local Indigenous community (left). This has led to the construction of a further three similar power stations at remote communities at Hermannsburg, Yuendumu

and Lajamanu in the Northern Territory.

22 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2004–05

Environment—Outcome 1

Climate change

Environment—Outcome 1 Climate change The Renewable Energy Equity Fund continued to provide venture capital to small,

The Renewable Energy Equity Fund continued to provide venture capital to small, innovative renewable energy companies to help commercialise their technologies. During 2004–05 an additional $2.2 million was invested in five companies, leveraging an additional $1.1 million in private sector investment.

The Photovoltaic Rebate Programme provides cash rebates for consumers who install grid-connected or stand-alone photovoltaic systems. In 2004–05 the programme provided 808 rebates, representing more than $3.2 million invested. This brought the total number of photovoltaic systems installed over the life of the programme to 6 176. As part of the May 2005 Budget the government announced that it would extend the programme for two years, providing $5.7 million in each of 2005–06 and 2006–07.

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 Australian Greenhouse Office.

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 regulatory amendments to improve the administrative efficiency and operational effectiveness of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000.

Local and regional action

The Australian Government helps local governments to reduce their net greenhouse gas emissions through the Local Greenhouse Action programme. This programme includes Cities for Climate Protection™ Australia, where Australia has the largest and most advanced programme of activities in the world, involving 203 local governments and representing 78 per cent of the Australian population. Grants totalling $0.8 million in 2004–05 supported home energy audits and retrofits, community workshops, transport initiatives and energy efficient retrofits of community facilities such as child care centres, aquatic centres and libraries.

Greenhouse Action to Enhance Sustainability in Regional Australia addresses challenges and knowledge gaps about climate change in regional Australia. During the year work started on a range of partnership projects addressing emissions management and adaptation issues across the agriculture, forestry and natural resource management sectors. Expenditure on these projects was $6.2 million in 2004–05, leveraging an additional $16.5 million from industry and the states.

See also: native vegetation management framework, page 141.

23

Environment—Outcome 1

Environment—Outcome 1 Climate change Foundation: understanding of climate change The Australian Government’s response

Climate change

Foundation: understanding of climate change

The Australian Government’s response to climate change is built on the quality of underpinning knowledge about the issues, the capacity to accurately measure greenhouse gas emissions at a national and sectoral level, and the ability to identify and respond to emerging issues.

For example research is revealing more about the influence ocean circulation has on the regional and global climate and on transporting heat and absorbing carbon. The discovery this year that the deep waters of the Southern Ocean are cooler and less salty than they were 10 years ago (see page 182) demonstrated the benefits of future investment in scientific research into the connections between climate change and the Southern Ocean.

Australian Climate Change Science Programme

The $30.7 million Australian Climate Change Science Programme will support research over four years 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.

The Australian Government increased funding for the programme in the May 2004 Budget. New elements introduced into the programme following stakeholder consultation include work on the detection and attribution of climate change in Australia; research into the implications of climate change for climate variability and extreme events; and a new generation of climate change projections based on probabilities of change.

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).

A report commissioned during the year—the National Risk and Vulnerability Assessment—identified the sectors and regions where Australians would benefit most from giving early attention to planning how to adapt to the consequences of climate change (see www.greenhouse.gov.au/impacts). The Australian Greenhouse Office also began developing guidance for this type of planning.

24 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2004–05

Environment—Outcome 1

Climate change

Environment—Outcome 1 Climate change Other key areas of work during 2004–05 included: • a four-year, $2

Other key areas of work during 2004–05 included:

• a four-year, $2 million partnership with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to develop a climate change action plan for the reef

• establishment 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

• an investigation of the possible implications of climate change impacts for building practices, undertaken in cooperation with the Australian Building Codes Board.

National Greenhouse Gas Inventory

Each year the Australian Greenhouse Office prepares an inventory of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, as required under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. These inventories, which are available at www.greenhouse.gov.au/ inventory, are prepared in accordance with international guidelines under the guidance of a national committee made up of federal, state and territory government representatives (the methods used are also available online).

The inventory includes emission estimates for different industry sectors (right) with estimates for the land-use change and forestry sector produced by the National Carbon Accounting System (discussed below, page 27).

The 2003 National Greenhouse Gas Inventory was released on 24 May 2005, showing that national greenhouse gas emissions were 101.1 per cent of their 1990 level. This small increase in emissions is consistent with the updated projections released in December 2004 (see next section).

Sources of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions

Total greenhouse gas emissions in 2003 = 550 carbon dioxide equivalent (CO 2 -e) megatonnes

Total greenhouse gas emissions in 2003 = 550 carbon dioxide equivalent (CO 2 -e) megatonnes Data

Data current in 2003.

25

Environment—Outcome 1

Environment—Outcome 1 Climate change Also during the year an interactive Australian Greenhouse Emissions Information

Climate change

Also during the year an interactive Australian Greenhouse Emissions Information System was published online at www.greenhouse.gov.au/inventory. The new system allows anyone to check how Australia is tracking against its Kyoto target and to identify sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Its development keeps Australia among the world’s leading nations in providing access to greenhouse gas emissions data.

The Australian Greenhouse Office also prepared state and territory inventories to complement the national inventory and to inform state and territory policy-making. The new Australian Greenhouse Emissions Information System provides the capability to issue state and territory inventories on an annual basis.

Greenhouse gas projections

The Australian Greenhouse Office prepares projections of Australia’s future greenhouse gas emissions (see chart below). The projections help the government to determine whether its policies and programmes will help Australia meet its international emissions target.

Updated projections which follow accounting rules developed under the Kyoto Protocol were released on 6 December 2004 in a report called Tracking to the Kyoto Target 2004. The projections showed that Australia is on track to meet its Kyoto target of limiting greenhouse gas emissions in the period 2008–2012 to 108 per cent of their 1990 level. Australia’s greenhouse policies and programmes are projected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 94 million tonnes by 2010— more than the equivalent of eliminating all emissions from the transport sector. See www.greenhouse.gov.au/projections.

Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions (1990–2020)

Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions (1990–2020) The dashed horizontal line shows Australia’s Kyoto Protocol target.

The dashed horizontal line shows Australia’s Kyoto Protocol target.

26 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2004–05

Environment—Outcome 1

Climate change

Environment—Outcome 1 Climate change National Carbon Accounting System Australia’s capability to account for

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.

provide a national map of emissions at a sub-hectare scale. David Borthwick (secretary) with Dr Gary

David Borthwick (secretary) with Dr Gary Richards and Howard Bamsey (deputy secretary)

Photo: L Cotton

Dr Gary Richards, principal scientist of the National Carbon Accounting System, received

a CSIRO Chairman’s Medal as part of the

CSIRO Mathematical and Information Sciences Mapping and Monitoring Team. The award

recognised Dr Richards’ contribution to applying remote sensing to environmental management on a continental scale. Dr Richards was part

of a team that used satellite images to map

vegetation change in Australia over a 30-year period. This work is being used to assess Australia’s carbon budget and also to develop policies for land management issues such as land clearing and salinity.

Over the last 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. In recognition of his contribution to the application of remote sensing to environmental management on

a continental scale, the principal scientist of the National Carbon Accounting System received a CSIRO Chairman’s Medal on 9 November 2004 (left).

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.

Review of Australia’s Third National Communication

Parties to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change are required to 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 secretariat carried out the in-depth review of Australia’s Third National Communication in 2004. The Australian Greenhouse Office received a draft report of the review in February 2005 and has worked closely with the secretariat to ensure the report is complete and accurate. The review of the Third National Communication was released in August 2005.

See also: Antarctica’s influence on the climate, page 182.

27

Environment—Outcome 1

Environment—Outcome 1 Climate change Results for performance indicators Performance indicator 2004–05 results

Climate change

Results for performance indicators

Performance indicator

2004–05 results

International

Effectiveness in key international, regional and bilateral climate change processes on issues for which the Australian Greenhouse Office has lead responsibility

Worked effectively through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to achieve key outcomes, including reaching agreement to develop a 5-year programme on adapting to climate change

Played a key role in several international forums on post-2012 action on climate change

Further developed both bilateral and plurilateral climate change partnerships

The number of initiatives delivered through key international, regional and bilateral processes

More than 50, including implementing more than 30 practical bilateral climate change projects and agreement to 12 additional projects; co-hosting with Japan a major Asia-Pacific Seminar on Climate Change in Australia; and gaining international support for an Australian initiative on a land use, land use change and forestry dialogue

Emissions management

Reporting systems are appropriately targeted and high quality

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–Environment Protection and Heritage Council streamlining and standardising emissions and energy reporting mechanisms for business

Implementation of consistent measurement of abatement across programmes

Ongoing programme of continuous improvement as part of projections process, supported by close involvement of programme managers in specifying abatement measurements

Risks to programme delivery identified and managed

Comprehensive risk management plans in place for each programme

Effectiveness of support for greenhouse response within sectors

Series of Australian Greenhouse Office programmes providing high level of engagement with sectors (for example, Greenhouse Challenge Plus includes approximately 770 member companies, Cities for Climate Protection TM Australia has over 200 participating local governments covering approximately 78% of the population)

Measurable behaviour change within sectors

Analysis of Recent Trends and Greenhouse Indicators 1990 to 2002 released in May 2004 with update due by the end of 2005

28 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2004–05

Environment—Outcome 1

Climate change

Environment—Outcome 1 Climate change Performance indicator 2004–05 results Emissions management continued

Performance indicator

2004–05 results

Emissions management continued

Effectiveness in relevant inter-jurisdictional processes on issues for which the Australian Greenhouse Office has lead responsibility

Climate Change in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management Working Group established under Natural Resources Management Ministerial Council with Australian Greenhouse Office secretariat, to coordinate inter-jurisdictional efforts on emission management

Australian Greenhouse Office closely involved in a productive joint Ministerial Council on Energy– Environment Protection and Heritage Council working group to streamline reporting requirements for business

Effectiveness of financial administration

Moved from independent agency financial management system to departmental system

Reported abatement activity including emissions reductions or energy savings

Reported in Tracking to the Kyoto Target 2004 released 6 December 2004

National measures delivering 94 million tonnes of emissions abatement

Estimated cost (government funds) of greenhouse abatement (dollars per tonne)

Based on the 2003 projections of abatement from 2008–2012 and Australian Government expenditure on programmes to end of June 2003, the cost per tonne of abatement averaged $4.00 per tonne (including all measures) or $3.40 per tonne looking only at those programmes where the primary objective was to deliver abatement. This estimate will be updated as new programmes are implemented.

Investment dollars (or contributory funding) leveraged from other parties by projects and programmes

Several-fold increase in investment by private sector through initiatives such as the Greenhouse Gas Abatement Programme, the Greenhouse Action in Regional Australia programme and the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target

Extent of engagement of key stakeholders

Series of Australian Greenhouse Office programmes providing high level of engagement with sectors (see examples given for ‘Effectiveness of support for greenhouse response within sectors’; also Greenhouse Action in Regional Australia is delivering 8 regional workshops on forest sinks)

Extent of support for long-term low emission technology uptake

COAL21 action plan reflects private sector and inter-jurisdictional support for low emissions technologies

Public consultation on the Low Emissions Technology Development Fund was well attended and the 33 written submissions were all supportive

29

Environment—Outcome 1

Environment—Outcome 1 Climate change Performance indicator 2004–05 results Foundation   Effectiveness

Climate change

Performance indicator

2004–05 results

Foundation

 

Effectiveness in relevant and inter-jurisdictional processes on issues for which the Australian Greenhouse Office has the lead responsibility

See results under ‘Emissions management’ for ‘Effectiveness in relevant inter-jurisdictional processes on issues for which the Australian Greenhouse Office has lead responsibility’

Extent to which climate change policy is integrated in national policies and programmes across key sectors

Energy white paper integrated climate change into national energy policy

Trends in community responses to key policy issues

Market research to track community attitudes to climate change will be undertaken in 2005–06

Suitability of climate change publications to meet targeted stakeholder needs

Audit of effectiveness of current communications vehicles is being undertaken during development of broader climate change communications strategy

Comprehensiveness, timeliness and quality of monitoring and public reporting on the implementation of the programmes

Milestones in programme development and implementation have been announced publicly in a timely fashion

Delivery of a credible, high quality, annual projection of Australia’s greenhouse emissions trends

Tracking to the Kyoto Target 2004 released on

6

December 2004

Development of consistent measurement of abatement across programmes

Ongoing programme of continuous improvement as part of projections process, supported by close involvement of programme managers in agreeing abatement measurements

Number of gaps in climate change policy and emerging policy issues identified and managed

Energy white paper and Climate Change Strategy identified a range of gaps in Australian Government policy and addressed these gaps

Investment dollars (or in-kind contribution) leveraged from other parties for Australian Greenhouse Office climate change science priorities

$5.8 million in 2004–05

Number of reports and submissions made in accordance with national and international commitments and level of user interest

9

submissions to the United Nations Framework

Convention on Climate Change

Number of partnership initiatives developed to address impacts or adaptation

11 established in 2004–05, involving a total Australian Greenhouse Office contribution of $5.4 million and a total value of $17.8 million

30 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2004–05

Environment—Outcome 1

Resources

Element of pricing (1)

Budget prices (2)

Climate change

Actual expenses

1 ) Budget prices ( 2 ) Climate change Actual expenses   $’000 $’000 Departmental outputs
 

$’000

$’000

Departmental outputs

Sub-output: International Engagement

2

842

1

380

Sub-output: Emissions Management

24

540

26

473

Sub-output: Foundation

16

415

12

023

Total (=Output 1.10: Climate change)

43 797

39 876

Administered items

Renewable Remote Power Generation Programme

25

259

15

781

Photovoltaic Rebate Programme

4

338

3

537

Renewable Energy Commercialisation Programme

3

721

1

713

Alternative Fuels Conversion Programme

2

796

2

770

Greenhouse Gas Abatement Programme

15

137

12

685

Renewable Energy Equity Fund

3

165

300

Action on energy efficiency

750

750

Low emissions technology and abatement

1

400

0

Local greenhouse action

392

390

Greenhouse action to enhance sustainability in regional Australia

3

165

3

078

Influencing international climate change policy

1

414

1

164

Climate Change Science Programme

6

000

1

477

Advanced Electricity Storage Technologies (3)

500

0

Solar Cities (3)

600

0

Total (Administered)

68 637

43 645

(1)

(2)

(3)

The budget price estimates and actual expenses shown in the table do not include the resources of the Australian Greenhouse Office from 1 July 2004 to 3 November 2004, when the office was a separate financial entity from the department. The financial statements beginning on page 338 show the resources of the Australian Greenhouse Office for the period 1 July 2004 to 3 November 2004. For an overview of Australian Greenhouse Office resources covering the entire financial year please refer to pages 241–242. Prices are the estimated full-year revenues for departmental outputs and full-year expenses for administered items that are shown in the 2004–05 portfolio additional estimates statements. Funds were moved to 2005–06 and out years at the 2005–06 Budget.

See also: summary resource tables, pages 236–242.

31

Environment—Outcome 1

Air pollution

Environment—Outcome 1 Air pollution The Department of the Environment and Heritage contributes to improving and
Environment—Outcome 1 Air pollution The Department of the Environment and Heritage contributes to improving and

The Department of the Environment and Heritage contributes to improving and protecting the air quality in Australia’s cities and towns, and contributes to the international effort to restore the Earth’s protective ozone layer.

Main responsibilities relevant to this output

• Improving air quality • Vehicle emission and fuel standards Policy Coordination and Environment Protection
• Improving air quality
• Vehicle emission and fuel standards
Policy Coordination and
Environment Protection
Division
• Ozone layer protection
Objectives
• To improve urban air quality in order to protect human health and the
environment
• To reduce pollutant emissions from the in-service vehicle fleet
• To protect the stratospheric ozone layer by meeting Australia’s international
obligations and by encouraging Australian industry to minimise emissions of
ozone depleting substances
Main results
• A new Air Toxics National Environment Protection Measure will help
develop air quality standards for the main toxic air pollutants
• New fuel standards meant cleaner petrol was available in Australia from
1 January 2005, giving lower levels of sulfur, olefins and aromatics in
vehicle exhaust
• The Cycle Connect grants programme started, supporting cycling as a
way of reducing air pollution in cities

32 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2004–05

Environment—Outcome 1

Air pollution

Environment—Outcome 1 Air pollution Improving air quality National air quality trends Australians consistently rank air

Improving air quality

National air quality trends

Australians consistently rank air pollution as a major environmental concern. The department works with other government agencies and industry to reduce emissions of major pollutants, by tackling the major sources of air pollution, including motor vehicles, woodheaters and industry.

As a result of these collaborative efforts, the levels of the major pollutants in Australian cities are generally lower than those found in comparable overseas cities (Australia State of the Environment 2001 report). Of the major pollutants, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and lead are continuing to decline in Australia’s major cities. However, particle and ozone levels show no obvious downward trend and are still a major concern in some cities.

To improve access to national air quality data and enable a better assessment of air quality in Australia, the department undertook considerable developmental work on a national air quality database during 2004–05. This work built on the existing database developed for the department’s State of the Air report on air quality trends in Australia over the period 1991–2001 (www.deh.gov.au/atmosphere/ airquality/publications/status), which was released in April 2004. The new database will be established in 2005–06 and will provide for the regular updating of air quality data across Australia.

National air quality standards

The department works with other government agencies through the Environment Protection and Heritage Council (a council of government ministers responsible for environment and heritage protection matters) to establish and further develop the National Environment Protection (Ambient Air Quality) Measure. This measure includes national benchmarks, such as standards or guidelines, for specified air pollutants that ensure all Australian communities receive adequate protection from the harmful effects of air pollution.

Reviewing the ambient air quality standards

The National Environment Protection (Ambient Air Quality) Measure was established in 1998 and set acceptable levels for the six common pollutants:

particles, ground-level ozone, carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide. These levels are to be met in all states and territories by 2008.

During 2004–05 the department contributed to a number of reviews of these standards to ensure that they remain at the forefront of air quality protection around the world.

33

Environment—Outcome 1

Environment—Outcome 1 Air pollution In October 2004 a review was completed that examined whether to include

Air pollution

In October 2004 a review was completed that examined whether to include

a standard within the National Environment Protection (Ambient Air Quality)

Measure to protect against short-term (that is, 10-minute) exposures to sulfur dioxide, mainly from industrial point sources such as smelters. The Environment Protection and Heritage Council concluded that the introduction of such a standard was outside the scope of the National Environment Protection (Ambient Air Quality) Measure and it would consider other options to establish an appropriate benchmark.

A full review of the National Environment Protection (Ambient Air Quality)

Measure, starting with the development of an issues scoping paper, commenced in April 2005. This review will assess the effectiveness and appropriateness of the measure and is scheduled to conclude in 2008. The review may lead to the variation of National Environment Protection (Ambient Air Quality) Measure standards and monitoring methods.

To prepare for this full review the department worked with states and territories on

a preliminary review of the ozone standards in the measure. An issues paper was released for comment on 6 June 2005 (see www.ephc.gov.au/nepms/air/air_nepm_ozone_review.html).

National standards for air toxic pollutants

In December 2004 a new national environment protection measure was established by the National Environment Protection Council (part of the Environment Protection and Heritage Council). The new National Environment Protection (Air Toxics) Measure sets ‘monitoring investigation levels’ for five air toxic pollutants: benzene, formaldehyde, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, toluene and xylenes. The levels set in the new measure are not mandatory and are designed to facilitate the future development of air quality standards for these pollutants through the collection of monitoring data. However, if monitoring investigation levels are exceeded, relevant governments are required to investigate further.

Australians are exposed to other air toxic pollutants at levels which, given certain circumstances, may be of health concern. During 2004–05 the department commenced work with states and territories to develop a method for identifying and ranking other toxins that could be included in a future variation to the National Environment Protection (Air Toxics) Measure. This developmental work will be completed in late 2005.

34 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2004–05

Environment—Outcome 1

Air pollution

Environment—Outcome 1 Air pollution Managing woodsmoke pollution Smoke from woodheaters is a major source of urban

Managing woodsmoke pollution

Smoke from woodheaters is a major source of urban air pollution in some areas in winter. The department administers programmes to reduce air pollution from woodheaters and other sources of woodsmoke.

pollution from woodheaters and other sources of woodsmoke. View of the Launceston airshed driving in from

View of the Launceston airshed driving in from the freeway.

Photo: Jim Markos (reproduced with permission)

The Australian Government has already completed work to target woodsmoke pollution in Launceston, which has the worst woodsmoke problem of any city in Australia (left).

In the 2005–06 Budget the government allocated an additional $1 million over three years (2005–2008) for the Launceston Clean Air Industry Programme. During 2004–05 the department undertook the detailed scoping and design work of the programme for the launch in July 2005. Building on the success of the

government’s previous programme, the new programme will provide incentives for industries in the Tamar Valley area to change their technologies or processes to

reduce particle emissions.

The National Woodheater Audit Programme, administered by the department between 2003 and 2004, found that most of the woodheater models tested failed to comply with the national standard for particle emissions from woodheaters. The programme revealed shortcomings in manufacturing and certification procedures for woodheaters.

As part of a combined government and industry response the department is developing a certification procedure to significantly improve the compliance of woodheaters available for retail sale with Australian standards. The department is also in the process of making details of woodheater performance available to the public through the Environment Protection and Heritage Council web site (www.ephc.gov.au). This will allow consumers to consider the environmental impacts of various models when purchasing a woodheater.

The department, along with state and territory agencies, is contributing towards the costs of an expanded audit programme to test all woodheater models over two years. The audit is being carried out, on behalf of participating governments, by the Australian Home Heating Association, who are also contributing to the costs of the programme. The programme started in September 2004. Woodheaters found to be non-compliant in this audit will have their certification suspended, which will make them illegal for retail sale in most states and territories.

35

Environment—Outcome 1

Environment—Outcome 1 Air pollution Indoor air quality The department is investigating ways to improve indoor air

Air pollution

Indoor air quality

The department is investigating ways to improve indoor air quality in non-industrial locations. A workshop of health experts that met from 2–3 December 2004 identified priorities for action and further investigation, including priority indoor pollutants (nitrogen oxides, formaldehyde, volatile organic compounds and ozone). Consultations with industry and community groups are to be undertaken to help identify possible actions to improve indoor air quality.

Cycle Connect

The $2.4 million Cycle Connect grants programme promotes cycling as a way of reducing air pollution in cities. The programme pays for secure bicycle parking facilities at city bus and train stations, addressing one of the barriers to cycling in highly built up areas.

The programme’s first round of funding supported six projects with 2004–05 expenditure totalling $0.9 million. Grants were paid to install 1 200 lockers and cage spaces in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide; 20 lockers in Bendigo; and a secure cage to house over 100 bicycles at the Fremantle railway station.

The programme increased the capacity of bicycle locker storage by targeting areas of high demand, and improved management of existing storage schemes.

In 2005–06 $1.2 million will be available for grants under the programme’s second round.

Vehicle emission and fuel 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. Harmonisation with European emissions and fuel standards is predicted to reduce the emissions of some pollutants by up to 60 per cent over a 20-year period from 2000. 1 The standards are contributing to improved environmental and health outcomes. It is estimated that from 2000 to 2019 avoided health costs will amount to more than $3.4 billion. 2 The standards also pave the way for new and cleaner vehicle technologies, which will bring fuel consumption benefits.

1 Coffey’s Geosciences Pty Ltd, Review of Fuel Quality Requirements for Australian Transport (2000), Chapter 6.

2 Setting National Fuel Quality Standards, Paper 1, Summary Report of the Review of Fuel Quality Requirements for Australian Transport (2000), pages 149–153.

36 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2004–05

Environment—Outcome 1

Air pollution

Environment—Outcome 1 Air pollution The emission standards are being implemented by the Department of Transport and

The emission standards are being implemented by the Department of Transport and Regional Services, with progressive improvements set to continue until 2010.

The Department of the Environment and Heritage administers the Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000. Standards currently apply to the quality of petrol, diesel, biodiesel and autogas sold in Australia. The department is developing new quality standards for diesohol and ethanol.

During the year the government tightened existing limits for a number of key parameters regulated under the petrol and diesel standards, and introduced new limits. From 1 January 2005:

• sulfur levels in all grades of petrol were limited to 150 milligrams per kilogram

• all grades of petrol are to have a maximum final boiling point of 210 degrees Celsius

• the olefin content of petrol was limited to a flat maximum of 18 per cent in all grades

• the aromatics content in all grades of petrol will drop to 42 per cent (pool average) with a cap of 45 per cent.

Limits for a number of parameters under the biodiesel standard also came into force on 18 September 2004 including limits relating to glycerol, metals, alcohol, total contamination, cetane number, and oxidation stability. The biodiesel standard will ensure that quality fuel is supplied to the marketplace, ensuring vehicle operability and emissions outcomes.

The Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000 was reviewed during the year. The review concluded that the overall policy objectives of the Act are being met and should not be altered, but recommended that a number of issues should be addressed to facilitate nationally consistent standards, strengthen the monitoring, compliance and enforcement programme, and simplify administration of the Act, in particular the current approvals system for variations to standards.

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

As part of the Australian Government’s Measures for a Better Environment programme the department supports in-service emissions testing for diesel and petrol vehicles through funding agreements with the states and territories. Funding agreements have been entered into with the Roads and Traffic Authority of New South Wales, the Brisbane City Council and the South Australian Department of Transport and Urban Planning. During the year the department signed similar

37

Environment—Outcome 1

Environment—Outcome 1 Air pollution agreements with the Western Australian Department of the Environment ($2.3 million

Air pollution

agreements with the Western Australian Department of the Environment ($2.3 million over three years) and the Environment Protection Authority Victoria ($4.7 million over three years). Negotiations are currently under way with Tasmania.

The diesel emissions testing must be connected with the implementation of the National Environment Protection (Diesel Vehicle Emissions) Measure. The goal of this measure is to reduce exhaust emissions from diesel vehicles consistent with emissions standards. Developing in-service emission testing facilities helps to promote compliance with the standards.

The facilities will also help heavy vehicle users claim conditional excise credits for diesel. The Australian Government’s energy white paper Securing Australia’s Energy Future announced the introduction from 1 July 2006 of conditional excise 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.

Ozone layer protection

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 ultra-violet 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. As understanding of ozone depletion has improved, countries have added to the list of controlled substances and brought forward the phase-out dates, most recently through the Beijing Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.

Although experts predict the ozone layer will recover, this will only be achieved by full compliance with the Montreal Protocol. Australia accounts for less than 1 per cent of the global emissions of ozone depleting substances. The single most effective way to protect the ozone layer over Australia is to secure global compliance with the protocol.

The department represents Australia on the protocol’s Implementation Committee, which works to promote compliance. Australia also contributes funding through AusAID to the protocol’s Multilateral Fund. This fund aims to help developing countries comply with the protocol. Significant reduction targets began to apply to developing countries in 2005. As part of its contribution to the fund the department manages projects to help phase out ozone depleting substances in neighbouring countries.

38 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2004–05

Environment—Outcome 1

Air pollution

Environment—Outcome 1 Air pollution To phase out the use of ozone depleting substances in Australia the

To phase out the use of ozone depleting substances in Australia the department implements the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989. The Act controls the supply (import, export and manufacture) and use of ozone depleting substances and certain greenhouse gases through a licensing system.

Imports of ozone depleting substances (1997–present)

Total imports in 2004 = 296.6 tonnes

of ozone depleting substances (1997–present) Total imports in 2004 = 296.6 tonnes Data is updated by

Data is updated by calendar year.

There is no domestic manufacture of ozone depleting substances, hence the overall decline in imports since 1999 (chart above) indicates that Australia’s net consumption of ozone depleting substances is reducing over time. The department’s regulation of imports consistently exceeds Australia’s obligations under the Montreal Protocol (upper line in the chart).

The Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989 establishes the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Account, which is funded from levies and licence fees. The department uses this account to pay for administration of the Act and related projects, including the National Halon Bank which collects halon for disposal or reuse. Other projects include the preliminary work for the establishment of the refrigeration and air conditioning board and fire protection industry board. The latter is developing and codifying competencies to implement a licensing system for technicians. These projects are funded under the Australian Government’s Measures for a Better Environment programme to give technicians the skills and experience to minimise emissions of environmentally harmful substances when they install and service equipment.

Approximately 350 tonnes of ozone depleting substances were destroyed at the National Halon Bank. This amount included destruction of 320 tonnes of refrigerant recovered through Refrigerant Reclaim, Australia’s

39

Environment—Outcome 1

Environment—Outcome 1 Air pollution industry based product stewardship scheme; four tonnes of halons and chlorofl

Air pollution

industry based product stewardship scheme; four tonnes of halons and chlorofluorocarbons imported for destruction from New Zealand by DASCEM Pty Ltd; and 16 tonnes of contaminated halon and refrigerants collected for destruction by the Australian Government.

A full report on the operation of the Act appears in the second volume of this set of

annual reports, including progress in developing new Regulations and in ratifying

the Beijing Amendment.

Industries that use or have used ozone depleting substances often replace them with synthetic greenhouse gases that could contribute to global warming. The department is working with the United States and New Zealand under the Climate Action Partnerships programme to develop ways to manage refrigerant gases with

a high potential to increase global warming, in particular hydrofluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride.

The department also works to minimise emissions of synthetic greenhouse gases other than those covered by the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989. Projects include developing sulfur hexafluoride handling guidelines for the electricity supply industry, and developing an alternative cover gas for magnesium production.

See also: effects of ozone depletion, page 183.

40 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2004–05

Environment—Outcome 1

Air pollution

Environment—Outcome 1 Air pollution Results for performance indicators Performance indicator 2004–05 results

Results for performance indicators

Performance indicator

2004–05 results

Programme administration

Cycle Connect

Number of projects or activities approved under each programme

6

projects

Degree to which projects, activities, agreements or plans contribute to the output

High—increased bicycle storage capacity, targeted areas of high demand and improved management

Air Quality Management

Number of projects or activities approved under each programme

4

projects

Degree to which projects, activities, agreements or plans contribute to the output

High—provided information used to inform the design of a national air quality database, the Launceston Clean Air Industry Programme and a new approach to woodheater emission standards

Both programmes

Accurate and timely approval, payment and acquittal of grants in accordance with legislation and guidelines

Grants disbursed subject to achievement of funding agreement milestones

Accurate and timely payment of monies

Correct invoices paid promptly

Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Account (Administered item)

The Australian Government’s obligations under the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989 are met, including effective administration of the Act, management of the Halon Bank, and programmes to phase out ozone depleting substances and minimise emissions of ozone depleting substances and synthetic greenhouse gas

All obligations met. Halon stocks were managed to ensure availability of strategic reserves for 30 years, with excess quantities collected from the community for destruction. Phase-out and emission minimisation programmes focused on implementation of Regulations controlling the sale, purchase, use, storage and destruction of ozone depleting substances in the fire protection and refrigeration and air industries. See also: report on the operation of the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989 in the second volume of this set of annual reports.

41

Environment—Outcome 1

Environment—Outcome 1 Air pollution Performance indicator 2004–05 results Ozone Protection and Synthetic

Air pollution

Performance indicator

2004–05 results

Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Account continued

Licence and enforcement actions are undertaken within statutory timeframes, supplies of essential use halon are provided within the requested timeframe and number of facility inspections meets local ordinance requirements, and a phase-out and emission minimisation programme is commenced

All enforcement actions, including remedial measures, were undertaken in accordance with the compliance and enforcement plan. Re licensing: see ‘statutory administration’ below. All halon requests were met within the requested delivery timeframe. Halon Bank facility inspections indicated the bank was operating within its licence requirements and meeting all local ordinance requirements.

Statutory administration

Extent to which statutory timeframes are met under legislation

High—all permit applications were processed within statutory timeframes

Number of permits or applications considered (granted and refused) under legislation

138 licences granted (no refusals) under the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989 (see also: report on the operation of this Act in the second volume of this set of annual reports)

15 licences granted (no refusals) under the Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000 (see also: report on the operation of this Act in the second volume of this set of annual reports)

Extent to which stakeholders meet legislative requirements

High—all enforcement actions, including remedial measures, undertaken in accordance with the compliance and enforcement plan

International

Percentage of written pre-meeting objectives at international meetings achieved

100%

Extent to which Australia’s strategic objectives are achieved through international forums

High—All cables from delegations indicated that Australia’s objectives were achieved.

Stakeholder awareness

Information and education products distributed to stakeholders (measured by web site hits, information material distributed, etc)

Various air pollutant fact sheets published (see www.deh.gov.au/atmosphere/publications)

Average of 16 347 user sessions per month to the atmosphere-related part of the department’s web site

Research, analysis and evaluation

Number of research reports, articles and papers prepared and publicly released

1 report on unflued gas appliances and air quality in Australia

42 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2004–05

Environment—Outcome 1

Air pollution

Environment—Outcome 1 Air pollution Other annual reports—more detailed results Annual report on the operation of the

Other annual reports—more detailed results

Annual report on the operation of the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989 included in the second volume of this set of annual reports

Annual report on the operation of the Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000 included in the second volume of this set of annual reports

Legislation

Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000

National Environment Protection Council Act 1994

National Environment Protection Measures (Implementation) Act 1998

Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989

Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas (Import Levy) Act 1995

Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas (Manufacture Levy) Act 1995

Resources

Element of pricing

Budget prices (1)

Actual expenses

$’000

$’000

Departmental outputs

Output 1.1: Atmosphere

14 723

14 087

Administered items

Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Account

2 870

2 209

(1)

Prices are the estimated full-year revenues for departmental outputs and full-year expenses for administered items that are shown in the 2004–05 portfolio additional estimates statements.

See also: summary resource tables, pages 236–242.

43

Environment—Outcome 1

Biodiversity and wildlife

Environment—Outcome 1 Biodiversity and wildlife Biodiversity, or biological diversity, means the variety of life at all
Environment—Outcome 1 Biodiversity and wildlife Biodiversity, or biological diversity, means the variety of life at all

Biodiversity, or biological diversity, means the variety of life at all scales, including the variety of genes, of types within species, of species, and of ecosystems. There are currently between 1.5 to 1.8 million named species in the world, about half of which are insects. No one knows how many species are still to be discovered and efforts to estimate the total number of species on the planet reflect this uncertainty. We do know that biodiversity is not evenly distributed across the different groups of plants and animals and regions. For example, some 20 per cent of described species are beetles and 70 per cent of the world’s species occur in only 12 countries. Australia is one of these ‘mega-diverse’ countries.

The Department of the Environment and Heritage aims to protect biodiversity, including wildlife and their habitats, and works to ensure that Australia’s use of biological resources is ecologically sustainable.

Main responsibilities relevant to this output Biodiversity conservation framework Maintaining Australia’s biodiversity
Main responsibilities relevant to this output
Biodiversity conservation framework
Maintaining Australia’s biodiversity hotspots
Threatened species recovery
Threatened species protection
Whale protection
Wildlife trade regulation
Genetic resource management
Australian Biological
Resources Study

Land, Water and Coasts Division

Approvals and Wildlife Division

Parks Australia Division

44 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2004–05

Environment—Outcome 1

Biodiversity and wildlife

Environment—Outcome 1 Biodiversity and wildlife Objectives • To conserve biodiversity, focusing on Australia’s

Objectives

• To conserve biodiversity, focusing on Australia’s biodiversity hotspots and threatened species

• To protect wildlife by ensuring the management of wildlife industries is ecologically sustainable and by regulating imports and exports of wildlife

• To develop an effective legal framework for managing access to genetic resources

• To increase understanding of biodiversity

Main results

• The first projects funded under the Maintaining Australia’s Biodiversity Hotspots Programme will protect habitat in Queensland and South Australia—total funding of $36 million over 2004–2007 allows the government to target highly threatened areas and species across Australia, complementing the department’s longer-term work to protect threatened species

• 67 new recovery plans for threatened species and ecological communities were approved

• The great white shark is now protected internationally and trade in its products is regulated under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999

Biodiversity conservation framework

At the international level the department represents Australia in the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. Current priorities include negotiating an international regime on managing genetic resources (see ‘Genetic resource management’, page 54).

Within Australia, Australia’s state and territory governments are legally responsible for many activities that affect whether biodiversity is conserved. Through the Minister for the Environment and Heritage the department supports the work of the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council (a council of government ministers responsible for collective national decisions about the conservation and sustainable use of Australia’s natural resources) to develop national plans to conserve biodiversity.

Departmental project work is funded in part through the national component of the Natural Heritage Trust. The $3 billion Natural Heritage Trust is the Australian Government’s main programme for conserving biodiversity.

45

Environment—Outcome 1

Environment—Outcome 1 Biodiversity and wildlife Review of engagement with the Convention on Biological Diversity During

Biodiversity and wildlife

Review of engagement with the Convention on Biological Diversity

During the year the department completed a review of Australia’s interests and priorities in the Convention on Biological Diversity. The review focused on ways to handle the convention’s expanding agenda and ways to manage cross-cutting issues such as trade and the environment, and agricultural biodiversity. Out of the review the department achieved a whole-of-government strategy for engaging with relevant government departments on the Convention on Biological Diversity over the next two years.

National Biodiversity and Climate Change Action Plan

The department worked with state and territory officials to develop detailed implementation plans to achieve the objectives of the 2004–2007 National Biodiversity and Climate Change Action Plan. An Australia-wide inventory of government activities aimed at addressing climate change impacts on biodiversity was compiled. A report will be provided to the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council in early 2006 to identify how to address any gaps in the implementation of the plan.

In June 2005 the department hosted a workshop to identify information gaps and research needs for the plan. The workshop raised awareness of the research challenges in addressing climate change impacts on biodiversity. The workshop’s report will inform Australian Government research priorities.

Maintaining Australia’s biodiversity hotspots

priorities. Maintaining Australia’s biodiversity hotspots High Peak, Brooklyn Station Photo: R Woldendorp Biodiversity

High Peak, Brooklyn Station

Photo: R Woldendorp

Biodiversity hotspots are areas that are rich in biodiversity but under threat. Australia’s 15 national biodiversity hotspots were announced in October 2003 (see map opposite). On 20 August 2004 the Prime Minister announced the Maintaining Australia’s Biodiversity Hotspots Programme. This programme protects biodiversity values in hotspots by providing incentives to landholders and assisting conservation groups to purchase land to be managed for conservation (see www.deh.gov.au/biodiversity/ hotspots). The first two initiatives funded under the programme were:

• $4.5 million to buy Brooklyn Station in far north Queensland (left). This is a diverse property of 60 000 hectares supporting more than 290 bird species. These species include the endangered buff-breasted button quail, which is endemic to north-eastern Queensland.

46 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2004–05

Environment—Outcome 1

Biodiversity and wildlife

Environment—Outcome 1 Biodiversity and wildlife • $1.5 million to establish stewardship agreements with private

• $1.5 million to establish stewardship agreements with private landholders in the eastern Mount Lofty Ranges in South Australia. The arrangements will protect grassy woodland communities, among the most threatened ecosystems in Australia.

Total funding of $36 million over 2004–2007 will allow the government to target investment in areas with significant biodiversity values and where conservation action will be timely and cost-effective. This will complement the department’s longer-term work to protect matters of national environmental significance.

Australia’s biodiversity hotspots

significance. Australia’s biodiversity hotspots See also: biodiversity hotspots in South East Asia–Pacifi

See also: biodiversity hotspots in South East Asia–Pacific region, page 97.

Threatened species recovery

The Australian Government’s main tool for protecting threatened species is the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Under the Act the department is working to prevent threatened species from becoming extinct and to recover their populations. This includes addressing key threats such as pests, weeds and diseases.

As part of this work the department develops recovery and threat abatement plans. Recovery plans set out the actions needed to maximise the chances of long-term survival in the wild of a threatened species or ecological community. Threat abatement plans set out the actions needed to reduce the impacts of key threatening processes on affected native species or ecological communities. The plans must come into force within certain time limits, which are set out in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

47

Environment—Outcome 1

Environment—Outcome 1 Biodiversity and wildlife During the year the Minister for the Environment and Heritage approved

Biodiversity and wildlife

During the year the Minister for the Environment and Heritage approved 67 recovery plans under the Act, increasing the total number of recovery plans in force to 216, covering 303 species and ecological communities. A further 514 species and communities have plans in place or in preparation. This brings the total number of species and communities covered by plans in place or in preparation to 817, or 51 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 this set of annual reports.

Project work for the department’s threatened species activities is funded partly through the national component of the Natural Heritage Trust. During 2004–05 $2.2 million was spent from the national component of the Natural Heritage Trust on developing and implementing plans to recover terrestrial threatened species, with $2.8 million spent on strategic research and the development of national approaches to abating key threats, and on control methods for invasive species.

See also: migratory and marine species, page 66; marine pests, page 65; Senate report on invasive species, page 205.

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 260 species and ecological communities listed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. This included developing 35 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. In addition, the network has been able to survey 144 492 hectares and conserve 122 116 hectares through habitat management such as fencing, revegetation, translocation and weed and predator control.

The Australian Government announced a further three years of funding for the Threatened Species Network and its community grants programme, totalling over $4.5 million.

48 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2004–05

Environment—Outcome 1

Biodiversity and wildlife

Environment—Outcome 1 Biodiversity and wildlife Weeds The department jointly manages the $40 million Defeating the Weed

Weeds

The department jointly manages the $40 million Defeating the Weed Menace Programme with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. The Department of the Environment and Heritage is managing 18 of the 30 projects funded from the Defeating the Weed Menace Programme in 2004–05. During 2004–05 $1.1 million was spent from the programme on research and development into weed biology and potential management techniques, the development and monitoring of weed biological control agents, the development of best practice management guides for several weed species, and targeted on-ground weed control actions.

The department also managed 29 projects totalling $1.8 million funded through the national component of the Natural Heritage Trust. These projects supported national coordination for each of the weeds of national significance; research and development; and education and awareness activities.

Cane toads

Cane toads could invade Western Australia and spread as far south as Margaret River. The department is supporting a joint Australian–Western Australian government task force, including leading scientists, to reduce this risk. A joint work programme (including actions by the Northern Territory Government) will begin later in 2005.

To date the Natural Heritage Trust has invested over $2.7 million in developing cane toad controls, including research by CSIRO to develop a biological control agent. While work in this area is showing promising results, the Australian Government is also funding research into the development of controls that will be available within a few years and which will provide local level control measures.

Tasmanian devil facial tumour disease

The Australian Government has committed $2 million over two years (2005–2006) to accelerate research into 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. The cause and means of transmission are unknown. The Tasmanian Government has developed a management plan and research priorities for the disease, which will be supported by the Australian Government funding.

49

Environment—Outcome 1

Environment—Outcome 1 Biodiversity and wildlife ‘Extinct’Tammar wallabies recovering The department supported a

Biodiversity and wildlife

‘Extinct’Tammar wallabies recovering

The department supported a South Australian Government project to return 40 Tammar wallabies from a mainland subspecies that was previously thought to be extinct to Innes National Park in South Australia. The release was possible

because a population of the wallabies was established in New Zealand over 100 years ago. Following their return to South Australia a core population of wallabies was established at Monarto Zoological Park near Murray Bridge. It now stands at

84 wallabies as a result of successful breeding. The department spent $0.2 million

from the national component of the Natural Heritage Trust on this project during 2004–05, bringing the total Australian Government expenditure to $0.5 million.

Threatened species protection

Under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 actions that are likely to have a significant impact on matters of national environmental signficance, including listed threatened species and communities and listed migratory species, require approval.

Activities that may affect listed species or communities in Commonwealth areas (land and waters) may require permits. During 2004–05 the government issued

17 species and communities 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 set of annual reports.

The department is continuing to develop projects to support landholders in protecting matters of national environmental significance and in meeting their obligations under the Act. For example in 2004–05 the department, in collaboration with a local council, undertook a project to map and identify the threats to a listed threatened species, the leafy greenhood orchid, on the Mornington Peninsula. This project will provide improved information on best practice natural resource management to help conserve the species within the area.

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 2004–05 Natural Heritage Trust project expenditure for these activities was approximately $1.8 million.

50 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2004–05

Environment—Outcome 1

Biodiversity and wildlife

Environment—Outcome 1 Biodiversity and wildlife Whale protection The Australian Government takes a strong stand on

Whale protection

The Australian Government takes a strong stand on protecting whales and dolphins. The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 establishes the Australian Whale Sanctuary in Commonwealth waters. The Act also regulates how people should behave around whales and dolphins in Commonwealth marine areas and waters beyond the Australian Whale Sanctuary.

During the year the minister approved recovery plans for the five Australian whale species listed as threatened under the Act: blue, southern right, humpback, fin and sei whales. Recent data indicate that southern right and humpback whale populations, while still much lower than pre-whaling numbers, are increasing. The Australian southern right whale population is currently approximately 1 500 individuals and the Australian humpback whale population is approximately 18 500 individuals. Both species are increasing at around 7–11 per cent per year. There are no current estimates for the abundance of Australian blue, fin or sei whales.

The department is developing a database to record whale and dolphin sightings and strandings. During the year the department began a consultative process to update the national whale watching guidelines. The third national large whale disentanglement workshop was held to provide information and training on safe methods for disentangling large whales from fishing gear and marine debris.

Details of these and other whale and dolphin protection activities (including new draft seismic survey guidelines) 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 for whale and dolphin research and conservation activities is partly funded through the national component of the Natural Heritage Trust. During 2004–05 approximately $0.4 million was spent to improve knowledge of distribution, abundance and habitat requirements of whales and dolphins, and on other activities such as the development of a protocol for taking scientific samples from dead stranded whales and dolphins.

See also: international whaling, page 177.

51

Environment—Outcome 1

Environment—Outcome 1 Biodiversity and wildlife Wildlife industry regulation The Australian Government helps to protect

Biodiversity and wildlife

Wildlife industry regulation

The Australian Government helps to protect Australia’s native wildlife from over- exploitation by regulating wildlife exports and assessing wildlife industries under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (see chart below). Imports of wildlife and wildlife products are also regulated under the Act. The Australian Government uses its regulatory powers to encourage better management practices and to promote animal welfare. A key aim is to make sure wildlife industries are ecologically sustainable.

Wildlife trade programmes approved (2002–present)

Number approved to date = 229

approved (2002–present) Number approved to date = 229 Programmes are approved under the Environment Protection

Programmes are approved under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Results for 2001–02 are from January 2002.The relevant provisions of the Act commenced on 11 January 2002.

The department also conducts assessments of all fisheries whose products are exported. 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 required under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, strategic assessment of the 15 Commonwealth-managed fisheries and the eight Torres Strait fisheries was commenced within five years of the Act coming into force. To 30 June 2005 12 of these had received export approvals, seven in 2004–05. An additional 43 state-managed fisheries also received export approvals in 2004–05, bringing the total number of fisheries assessments undertaken in 2004–05 to 50 (chart at top right opposite).

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 regulates the import and export of specimens of species protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (usually called CITES), exports of specimens of species native to Australia, and imports of live specimens, in order to protect internationally endangered wildlife and

52 Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2004–05

Environment—Outcome 1

Biodiversity and wildlife

Environment—Outcome 1 Biodiversity and wildlife Fisheries assessed (2000–present) Number assessed to date = 88

Fisheries assessed (2000–present)

Number assessed to date = 88

assessed (2000–present) Number assessed to date = 88 Assessments are carried out under the Environment

Assessments are carried out under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Australia’s environment. The slight reduction in the number of permits issued in 2004–05 (chart below) is due to streamlining measures being undertaken that allow more traders to take up the option of a multiple use permit. In addition the figures shown do not include personal accompanied baggage permits—19 418 personal baggage permits were issued in 2004–05.

Wildlife export and import permits issued (2002–present)

Number issued in 2004–05 = 3 284

issued (2002–present) Number issued in 2004–05 = 3 284 Permits are issued under the Environment Protection

Permits are issued under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Results for