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 Ecologically sustainable development

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The department reports under section 516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 on how its activities accord with, and its outcomes contribute to, the principles of ecologically sustainable development, as well as the effect of its activities on the environment.

The department's activities are consistent with the ecologically sustainable development principle that 'decision making processes should effectively integrate both long-term and short-term economic, environmental, social and equitable considerations'. Further information on the environmentally sustainable development principles can be found at www.environment.gov.au.

The department addresses the principles of 'inter-generational equity' and 'improved valuation, pricing and incentive mechanisms' by applying the Chief Executive Instructions on Environmental Management and the Green Lease Schedule. Principles of the Act, which relate to scientific certainty and biological diversity respectively, are generally of limited application to the department's activities.

A sustainable organisation

Minimising our impact on the environment

Our organisation is committed to tackling the challenge of reducing our everyday environmental impact. We recognise that our daily operations do have an effect on the environment, consuming resources such as electricity, paper and water, and generating waste. However, we strive to conduct our operations in an environmentally responsible manner, including efficient use of resources and effective waste management.

A range of practical strategies are in place to minimise our impact on the environment, including:

  • electronic document management systems and web-based information sharing tools that reduce or eliminate the need to print and retain paper copies of documents
  • videoconferencing to reduce the need for local, interstate and international travel
  • reviewing leased buildings and cooperating and encouraging building owners to improve energy performance
  • ensuring that any new leases entered into comply with the Australian Government's energy policy
  • procuring energy-efficient equipment and lighting solutions, including a smart lighting system that activates only when areas are occupied
  • recycling facilities in all work areas.

The department has established the Green group to champion environmentally friendly work practices and initiatives. The Green group works to provide the leadership, motivation and information needed to raise awareness and increase participation in environmentally-friendly work practices and initiatives, including:

  • promoting and encouraging environmentally sustainable work practices
  • raising awareness and understanding of environmental issues for the department
  • providing information to the department about environmental initiatives
  • providing a forum for staff to discuss environmentally sustainable work practices.

The integration of energy efficiency practices into our organisation and planning processes allows us both to reduce our energy costs and decrease consumption of valuable resources — a true win-win.

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