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Appendix C Ecologically sustainable development and environmental performance

Section 516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 requires Commonwealth agencies to report against two core criteria:

  • how the agency accords with and contributes to the principles of ecologically sustainable development
  • the environmental performance of the agency, including the impact of its activities on the natural environment, how these are mitigated and how they will be further mitigated.

How the department accords with and contributes to environmentally sustainable development

We do not administer any legislation that has a direct impact on ecologically sustainable development. The principles relating to scientific certainty and biological diversity are generally of limited application to our activities.

Our operations fall into five categories of environmental impact:

  • electricity/gas consumption
  • water use
  • waste generation
  • paper use
  • transportation.

We continue to improve our collection and monitoring of data on energy use, water consumption, and waste management in all National Office buildings. We also assess the effectiveness of current processes through our procurement policy and the Green Lease Schedule to property leases.

Measures taken to minimise the effect of activities on the environment

The following tables provide quantitative information on measures taken to minimise the effect of activities on the environment and environmental performance data on our energy and waste production.

Table C-1 Energy, waste and water efficiency measures and monitoring mechanisms

Measures taken

Mechanisms for monitoring and review

Energy

The following departmental offices have Green Lease Schedules in place:

  • Centennial Plaza (levels 8 and 9), Sydney
  • Jacana House (levels 2 and 3), Darwin
  • National Office, Enid Lyons Building, 71 Athllon Drive, Tuggeranong
  • Aviation House (levels 5 – 8), Phillip.

Conduct annual National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) assessments to ensure energy consumption is minimised.

Building Management Committee meetings are conducted as required under the Green Lease Schedule.

Continue to conduct Building Management Committee meetings.

Continue to reduce electricity through use of efficient lighting solutions, including sensor lighting and fit-out designs that take advantage of natural light.

Careful consideration of fit-out design.

We participated in Earth Hour 2020.

Continue to participate in Earth Hour each year.

Waste

Some initiatives promoted throughout our leased office portfolio include:

  • reducing storage requirements as a result of our Electronic Document and Records Management System and the digitisation of records
  • digital signage promoting correct waste management behaviours displayed on monitors through tenancies
  • bin signage updated throughout Canberra sites to support improved waste management.

Regularly monitor the amount of waste removed from Canberra based sites.

Continue to examine new ways of reducing waste to landfill.

Table C–2 Environmental performance indicators

Performance measure

Indicator

2019–20

201819

Energy efficiency

Total consumption of energy in buildings

Electricity consumption (kWh)

2,510,556

2,993,150

Total consumption of energy in vehicles

Diesel (L)

9,855

16,258

E10 (Biofuel) (L)

2,848

3,524

Unleaded petrol (L)

9,369

10,082

Total vehicle distance travelled

Motor vehicle distance travelled (km)

270,408

389,042

Total air travel distance

Air travel distance (km)

6,159,048

10,125,387

Waste

Office paper waste production (National)

Waste-paper to recycling facilities (tonnes)

149

165.8

Commingled recycling (including cardboard but excluding office paper)
(Canberra Sites – sole tenant)

Commingled waste to recycling facilities (tonnes)

21

16.82

Landfill (Canberra Sites – sole tenant)

Landfill waste to ACT landfill (tonnes)

65

82