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Appendix 5: Other mandatory information

This appendix provides information required by other legislation, relating to:

  • advertising and market research (section 311A of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918)
  • ecologically sustainable development and environmental performance (section 516A of theEnvironment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999)
  • work health and safety (Schedule 2, Part 4 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 [WHS Act]).

The ARC is not defined as a ‘public service care agency’ and has no obligations under the Carer Recognition Act 2010.

Advertising and market research

During 2019–20 the ARC conducted no advertising campaigns.

Under section 311A of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, agencies are required to report in their Annual Reports on payments made to advertising agencies, market research organisations, polling organisations, direct mail organisations and media advertising organisations.

The ARC paid $3,329 (including Goods and Services Tax) for advertising costs to Universal McCann in 2019–20. The advertising consisted of non-campaign advertisements.

During 2019–20 the ARC did not employ the services of any market research, polling or direct mail organisations.

Ecologically sustainable development and environmental performance

Under section 516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, Australian Government entities have a statutory requirement to report against two criteria in their Annual Reports:

  • how they accord with and contribute to ecologically sustainable development (ESD)
  • their environmental performance, that is, the impact their activities have on the natural environment, how these are minimised and how they will be further mitigated.

Accordance with and contribution to ecologically sustainable development

Under the NCGP the ARC provides funding support for research in all disciplines, including issues of national significance such as health, social welfare, defence, transport, communications and the environment. The accordance between the ARC’s activities and the principles of ESD is outlined in Table A6.

Table A6: Principles of ESD and ARC activities

Principle

ARC activities

Integration: decision making processes should effectively integrate both long-term and short-term economic, environmental, social and equity considerations

Assessment criteria relating to the provision of economic, environmental, social, health and/or cultural benefits to Australia are employed across a range of NCGP schemes. Applications are assessed through a competitive peer review process.

Intergenerational: if there are threats of serious or irreversible environmental damage, lack of full

scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation

The NCGP provides funding for research in all disciplines including research relevant to ESD and environmental protection. Excellence in Research for Australia identifies and promotes excellence across all research fields in Australia’s higher education institutions. One aim is to build research excellence resulting in better outcomes for Australia.

Biodiversity: the conservation of biological diversity and ecological integrity should be a fundamental consideration in decision-making

All ARC-funded projects must comply with ethics and research practice requirements including the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research. This includes the requirement that researchers should conduct research so as to minimise adverse effects on the wider community and the environment.

valuation: improved valuation, pricing and incentive mechanisms should be promoted

The ARC complies with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules ensuring that any procurement takes into consideration, among other factors, the environmental sustainability of the proposed goods and services.

National Competitive Grants Program outcomes

Of the 1,190 NCGP projects awarded funding commencing in 2018–19, 157 involved research relevant to the Australian Government Science and Research Priority area ‘environmental change’. These projects were allocated total funding of approximately $141.2 million.

The ARC also continued to fund a range of ongoing environment-related research projects. Examples of larger scale projects funded include:

  • the ARC CoE for Integrated Coral Reef Studies (established 2014), which aims to provide the scientific knowledge necessary for sustaining coral reef ecosystems and the goods and services they provide that support the livelihoods and food security of millions of people in the tropics
  • the ARC Training Centre for Mining Restoration (established 2015), which aims to deliver integrated research projects and industry-ready professionals focused on the needs of the mining restoration industry
  • the ARC CoE for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (established 2017), which aims to track changes to Australia’s environment, to examine the processes responsible for these changes and to identify the lessons that can be used to promote adaptation to Australia’s changing environment
  • the ARC CoE for Climate Extremes (established 2017), which is the world’s first fully integrated centre focused explicitly on understanding and predicting climate extremes.

Environmental performance

The ARC’s daily operational activities have an impact on the environment through the use of electricity, vehicles, water, paper and other materials, and the generation of waste.

Measures to minimise this impact are outlined below.

Building

The ARC leases office space at 11 Lancaster Place, Canberra Airport, Canberra. This location houses one of the largest tri-generation plants in Australia. Tri-generation is a process through which natural gas is used as the single input source of energy to generate electricity. Excess energy that would have been lost during the production of electricity is used to heat the buildings in winter and cool them in summer.

In addition to producing three forms of energy, tri-generation provides efficiencies of 90 per cent. This far surpasses the Commonwealth Green Lease Requirement of 4.5 Star NABERS (the National Australian Building Environment Rating System). It also equates to less than half the carbon dioxide emissions of a 5 Star NABERS building.

Energy

ARC office lighting operates on motion sensors and automatically switches off if movement is not detected for a specified period of time.

The ARC undertakes an electrical audit of any personal devices to be used on ARC premises. The audit applies a reasonableness test, considering key priorities, including cost, productivity and environmental impact. Devices that do not meet the requirements of this test cannot be used on ARC premises.

ARC staff participated in Earth Hour on 28 March 2020. Earth Hour is a ‘lights out’ initiative designed to draw attention to tackling global warming. This year marked the thirteenth anniversary of the initiative as a global phenomenon.

Information management

In accordance with the Australian Government’s Digital Transformation Strategy the ARC has committed to digital information management practices and is transitioning to primarily digital record keeping.

In 2019–20 the ARC introduced 12 new digital human resources forms, replacing the use of paper forms.

Information and Communication Technology services

During this period the ARC continued to pursue the principles of the Australian Government’s ICT Sustainability Plan, which ceased in 2015, including:

  • sustainable procurement (for example, using recycled office paper and ensuring appropriate resource reuse or recovery for mobiles, toner cartridges and ICT equipment)
  • managing resource consumption and demand (for example, monitoring computer to printer ratios)
  • managing waste (for example, ensuring e-waste is used or recycled and ICT packaging is recycled).

Work health and safety

In accordance with the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act), agencies must provide information relating to WHS matters in their Annual Reports.

Health and safety initiatives

During the year the ARC continued to:

  • hold WHS meetings
  • provide first aid training to nominated first aid officers
  • provide employer-subsidised eyesight testing for screen-based work
  • provide training for fire wardens and health and safety representatives
  • provide influenza vaccinations to employees and contractors
  • organise workstation assessments where required
  • provide online WHS training
  • organise health checks.

Health and safety outcomes

No incidents were reported to the Director, People and Services, in accordance with the ARC’s incident notification and reporting procedures.

Notifiable incidents

The ARC had no notifiable incidents during 2019–2020. Under the WHS Act, a notifiable incident is one involving the death of a person, the serious injury or illness of a person, or a dangerous incident.

Investigations including details of all notices

The ARC was not issued with any WHS notices and there were no WHS investigations undertaken during 2019–2020.

Other matters

There are no other matters required by guidelines approved on behalf of the Parliament by the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit.