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Purpose 2: Vibrant and resilient regions

Summary

PM&C achieved all 4 of the performance measures under Purpose 2 in 2020–21. The detailed performance analyses and case studies below demonstrate PM&C’s performance against each key activity, measure and target to support the purpose of realising vibrant and resilient regions.

Results: Key Activity 2.1

Key activity

Measure

Target

Ensure initiatives are coordinated across governments to boost resilience and support economic growth in regional Australia.

Policies and programs affecting regional Australia are data-driven, place-based and targeted to the needs of regional Australia.

  • Regional economies are supported to grow and diversify with effective government support.

Source

Corporate Plan 2020–24, pp 12–13

Result

Achieved

Methodology

Evaluation through data analysis

Analysis

PM&C achieved the measure under this key activity by providing advice, coordinating investment activities, working closely with line agencies and other central agencies and supporting National Federation Reform Council priorities.

PM&C coordinated timely advice to the Prime Minister and Cabinet on a diverse range of issues, including the establishment of a new National Recovery and Resilience Agency, the next 5-year plan for developing Northern Australia Our North, Our Future 2021–26, and reforms to the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility to improve support for economic infrastructure in Northern Australia.

PM&C also worked with Commonwealth agencies to advise the Prime Minister and the Cabinet on data-driven and place-based measures to support the needs of regional Australia. For example, we coordinated investments through the Regional Recovery Partnerships with all levels of government, which support recovery and growth in 10 regions across Australia; and also through the COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Fund, which supports regions, communities and industry sectors that have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Results: Key Activity 2.2

Key activity

Measure

Target

Increase awareness of, and advocate for the importance of conserving and improving Australia’s soil and landscape conditions.

Support the National Soils Advocate to influence government policies to improve the health of Australian soils.

  • Australia’s soil and agricultural landscape benefit the environment, improve agricultural productivity and sustainability, and support a food secure nation.

Source

Corporate Plan 2020–24, pp 12–13

Result

Achieved

Methodology

Evaluation through data analysis and case study

Analysis

PM&C achieved the measure under this key activity. We have supported the National Soils Advocate to undertake a range of activities to achieve key performance measures and targets.

For example, we have:

  • contributed advice to assist the development of the National Soil Strategy and accompanying Commonwealth Interim Action Plan
  • successfully delivered the Soil Organic Carbon Forum to 146 policy advisors and decision makers
  • established the General Jeffery Soil Health Award to sponsor the winner to continue to champion soil health in the community
  • started a 2-year soils perceptions survey to measure the effectiveness of delivering the objectives of the National Soils Advocate
  • attended and contributed to numerous meetings, including with the Parliamentary Friends of Soil group, conferences, field days and forums during the year, to talk about soil sustainability and health.

Stakeholder survey results demonstrated a positive response, supporting our successful delivery against this performance measure. Ministerial stakeholders also provided an overall positive assessment of our performance.

Several factors have influenced PM&C’s performance under this key activity. Some key events were cancelled or delayed due to COVID-19, while others were replaced with virtual events. Where events were held virtually the National Soils Advocate and the Office of the National Soils Advocate contributed to the fullest extent.

COVID-19 travel restrictions also meant that the National Soils Advocate was not able to attend some events. Where possible, the National Soils Advocate and the Office of the National Soils Advocate participated online. The National Soils Advocate also attended several events online and was able to use these to raise awareness of the role of the National Soils Advocate and how the Office of the National Soils Advocate can support international efforts to improve soil health.

Case study: National Soils Advocate – Soil Organic Carbon Forum

On 22 April 2021 – Earth Day – the Office of the National Soils Advocate hosted the Soil Organic Carbon Forum, ‘Soil Organic Carbon Realities for Policy Makers’.

The forum aimed to inform policy makers of the science, challenges and complexities associated with changing and quantifying soil carbon. It enabled some of Australia’s top soil scientists to provide policy makers with evidence-based information about soil organic carbon; why and how we should be building, maintaining and measuring soil organic carbon on farm land; and how to apply this information to future policy design and decisions.

The Office of the National Soils Advocate led the organisation and delivery of the Soil Organic Carbon Forum. This included securing the venue, organising catering and audio visual services, and identifying and inviting potential attendees and speakers for the event.

The Office of the National Soils Advocate prepared the program in consultation with a number of peak soil bodies, research institutions and government departments. Speakers were well-respected scientists from across Australia.

A range of policy makers and decision makers from government and non-government organisations attended. In all, there were 146 delegates, including parliamentarians, policy officers, industry representatives and decision makers working in soil health policy. A post-event survey received 42 responses showing that the majority of respondents agreed that the event met expectations (74%) and its objectives (67%).

The forum also forged closer links between scientists and decision makers across both government and the private sector. As the Government delivers the National Soil Strategy, and is directing greater attention to the issue of soil carbon sequestration and soil carbon policy, it is vital that there is a good understanding of the science underpinning this work to ensure realistic policy expectations.

Results: Key Activity 2.3

Key activity

Measure

Target

Support the National Waste Taskforce to implement the waste export ban and drive better waste and recycling outcomes.

Legislation is introduced into Parliament to give effect to the waste export ban timeline.

  • Increase Australia’s ability to reduce, reuse and recycle and take care of its own waste.

Source

Corporate Plan 2020–24, pp 12–13

Result

Achieved

Methodology

Evaluation through case study

Analysis

PM&C achieved the measure and target under this key activity by supporting the National Waste Taskforce to develop and introduce legislation to give effect to a waste export ban. In 2020 the National Waste Taskforce moved to the Environment Protection Division in the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE). PM&C continued to support the taskforce’s work, leading to the passage of the Recycling and Waste Reduction Act 2020 and the commencement of the first 2 phases of the waste export ban (see the case study below).

PM&C regularly engaged with DAWE to support the development and implementation of measures to drive better recycling outcomes. Constructive engagement across the Commonwealth helped secure funding for measures in the 2020–21 Budget, including:

  • a $190 million Recycling Modernisation Fund to transform Australia’s waste and recycling industries by addressing critical gaps in Australia’s recycling infrastructure, improving our capability to manage our waste on our own shores
  • over $30 million to support implementation of the National Waste Policy Action Plan, including actions to drive change in industry, business, governments and the community to turn waste into a reusable commodity
  • over $20 million to improve our national waste data so it can effectively measure recycling outcomes and track progress against our national waste targets.

Case study: Driving change to turn waste into a reusable commodity

In March 2020, the Australian Government, state and territory governments and the Australian Local Government Association released a strategy to regulate the export of waste glass, plastic, tyres and paper to increase Australia’s ability to reduce, reuse and recycle and take care of its own waste. The aim is to ensure that Australia is taking responsibility for its own waste by banning it from being exported. We are working to build Australia’s domestic capacity to turn waste materials into high-value recycled commodities because it will create jobs, build a more sophisticated waste and recycling industry and deliver positive outcomes for the environment.

PM&C provided high-quality, influential and timely advice to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet to progress measures to support the Government’s waste and recycling agenda. As a result, $190 million was secured for a Recycling Modernisation Fund to address critical gaps in Australia’s recycling infrastructure; and over $30 million to support implementation of the National Waste Policy Action Plan, which sets the direction for Australia’s waste management until 2030 as part of the 2020–21 Budget.

To support the Australian Government’s leadership role in the national effort to reduce waste and increase Australian recycling, PM&C jointly led the National Waste Taskforce – later the Waste Policy and Planning Branch in the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) – and provided feedback on policy proposals it developed.

This work culminated in Parliament passing the Recycling and Waste Reduction Act 2020 on 8 December 2020. The Act implements the framework to deliver on the commitment to ban the export of Australia’s waste. Importantly, the rules made under the Act will be phased in between 1 January 2021 and 1 July 2024. This will give industry certainty and sufficient time to adapt to the new rules. The glass rules commenced on 1 January 2021 and the plastic rules commenced on 1 July 2021.

Following commencement of the Recycling and Waste Reduction Act 2020, PM&C is continuing to support DAWE to implement subsequent phases of the waste export ban, including mixed plastics from 1 July 2021 and whole tyres from 1 December 2021.

PM&C will continue to support DAWE’s efforts to drive better recycling outcomes and to create a market for greater use of recycled content by governments, industry and the community.

Results: Key Activity 2.4

Key activity

Measure

Target

Ensure policies and programs support farmers and regional communities to build resilience and better prepare for future drought and natural disasters.

Advice to Government is evidence based, reflects short term needs, wider community impacts and long term resilience.

  • Farmers and communities have the tools they need to become more resilient and prepared for future droughts and natural disasters.

Source

Corporate Plan 2020–24, pp 12–13

Result

Achieved

Methodology

Evaluation through data/statistics analysis and delivery of milestones

Analysis

PM&C achieved its measure and target under this key activity by working closely with line agencies and providing high-quality advice to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet on measures in the 2020–21 Budget and Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO), and in the 2021–22 Budget process.

Key measures such as those that will drive the development and adoption of drought-resilient technologies and practices, and help farmers plan for future drought risks and making climate information more accessible and useful, are being delivered through the Future Drought Fund.

We supported Future Drought Fund initiatives agreed during the 2020­–21 and 2021–22 Budget periods, totalling $318.5 million. These included the Drought Resilience Research and Adoption program, the Farm Business Resilience program and the Regional Drought Resilience Program. These initiatives are focused on driving the development and adoption of drought-resilient technologies and practices, helping farmers plan for future drought risks and making climate information more accessible and useful.

The Disaster Resilience and Recovery Taskforce in PM&C worked across a broad range of stakeholders to deliver significant reforms, supported by deep stakeholder engagement and extensive briefing to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet.

PM&C led the development of the new $600 million Preparing Australia Program to be delivered by the new National Recovery and Resilience Agency. We also helped to establish the $210 million Australian Climate Service, which will provide authoritative climate and disaster risk data and information to the National Recovery and Resilience Agency to improve national resilience.

PM&C also proactively supported regional communities to build resilience for future natural hazard events. We participated on the Review Panel for the $50 million National Flood Mitigation Infrastructure Program and assisted in delivering the 2021­–22 Budget measures to address insurance affordability in cyclone-prone Northern Australia.

These initiatives were designed to provide national leadership and strategic coordination for natural disaster resilience, risk reduction and preparedness, and to support locally led recovery of communities affected by recent bushfires and floods.