Annual Report

Ecologically sustainable development and environmental performance

The following summary of the Department’s environmental management activities and performance is provided in accordance with section 516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act), which requires Australian Government departments to report on:

  • how their activities accord with, and their outcomes contribute to, the principles of ecologically sustainable development (subsection (6)(a) and (b))
  • the environmental impacts of their operations during the year and measures taken to minimise those impacts (subsection (6)(c), (d) and (e)).

Ecologically sustainable development

As outlined in our Environmental Policy Statement we are committed to each of the five principles of sustainable development (integration, precaution, intergeneration, biodiversity and valuation) identified in the EPBC Act, where they apply to our operations. In 2013–14 we continued to mitigate the effects of our impact on the environment by:

  • conserving energy, water, paper and other natural resources while still providing a comfortable working environment
  • minimising waste through recycling and using recycled products and materials wherever practical
  • providing an environmentally sound workplace and progressively implementing a range of environmentally sound work practices
  • including environmental impacts in our purchasing policies where appropriate
  • complying with all relevant Australian Government, State and Territory environmental legislation, regulations, policies and initiatives
  • using TelePresence facilities for many of our meetings with the States and Territories
  • encouraging the use of double-sided printing
  • providing facilities to support staff to ride and walk to work
  • supporting the use of recycled paper and recycling systems
  • communicating our environmental commitments to staff and the public.

Environmental performance

During 2013–14 we continued to demonstrate environmental responsibility by minimising the negative effects we have on the environment in the areas of energy efficiency, waste and water. This includes:

  • maintaining a National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) rating of 4.5 stars for whole building energy and achieving a 5 star rating for base building energy and 3 stars for water at the Andrew Fisher Building
  • maintaining a NABERS rating of 5.5 stars for tenancy and 5 star base building NABERS rating for building energy and water at the Centraplaza Building
  • holding monthly Building Management Committee meetings in line with our Green Lease obligations and quarterly Environmental Committee meetings to review energy usage and analyse consumption
  • continuing to provide staff with environmental awareness material through the Go Green campaign during 2013 with an awareness campaign to be rolled out to include other sites in 2014
  • supporting the use of electronic solutions (i.e. iPads) to reduce paper usage
  • continuing to use a 70,000 litre rainwater tank to flush toilets and water gardens at the Andrew Fisher Building
  • continuing to encourage recycling by providing recycling bins as well as waste bins in the café at the Andrew Fisher Building
  • continuing to use drought tolerant plants in the Andrew Fisher Building gardens
  • participating in Earth Hour each year
  • implementing our Environmental Management System (EMS), based on the Australian Standard AS/NZS ISO 14001, and conducting regular reviews of the EMS
  • lights automatically dimmed in workplaces following periods of inactivity
  • regularly monitoring levels of waste recycling
  • using desk side recycling bins to replace waste baskets
  • encouraging staff to utilise black and white and two sided printing options.

Figure 3.8 Environmental performance report

Theme Steps taken to reduce effect Measures to review and improve reducing the effect
Energy efficiency LED Lighting We changed over from Metal Halide floodlights to LED floodlights at the Andrew Fisher Building.
The replacement LED floodlights use 3 times less energy than the Metal Halide lights that were previously installed.
Green Energy Purchased 10 per cent Green Energy for Tenant Light and Power for both the Andrew Fisher Building and Centraplaza.
Energy Saver Mode Energy saver mode on most office equipment when not in use at both Andrew Fisher Building and Centraplaza.
Waste Steps taken to reduce waste production Steps taken to ensure ongoing effectiveness of those reductions in waste production.
Recycling Introduced additional paper recycling bins at Centraplaza.
Water Reduction of Water Consumption Continuing to use drought tolerant plants and water tank for watering gardens and flushing toilets at the Andrew Fisher Building.