ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AND BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION
Section 516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 requires that Australian Government entities include a section detailing their environmental performance and contribution to ecologically sustainable development (ESD) in their annual report.
While the ANAO does not have any specific responsibility for administering ESD provisions, our audit reports make an indirect contribution by improving accountability and providing independent assessments of Australian Government programs to Parliament.
We do not administer any programs or legislation that explicitly mention ESD. However, some of our performance audits of agencies and programs are associated with environmental issues. In 2010–11, we produced a number of reports on the administration of programs that have a direct influence on environmental outcomes:
- Audit Report No.9 2010–11, Green Loans Program
- Audit Report No.12 2010–11, Home Insulation Program
- Audit Report No.27 2010–11, Restoring the Balance in the Murray–Darling Basin.
Our activities affect the environment by consuming resources such as energy, water, paper, office supplies and equipment. Other than seven staff outposted to Sydney, our staff are located in Canberra. The following information covers our Canberra office site, as the Sydney lease does not give Sydney staff the opportunity to materially affect their environmental circumstances. However, the Sydney site shares office-wide initiatives such as energy-efficient computers and the data centre.
Figure 10 compares our light and power use and central services (water and waste disposal) against the energy efficiency in government operations (EEGO) target figures.
Figure 10 Tenant light and power and central services
EEGO = energy efficiency in government operations; MJ = megajoules
The Australian Government’s EEGO policy sets energy intensity targets of 7,500 megajoules per person per year for tenant light and power, and 400 megajoules per square metre per year for central services.
The ANAO leases its office premises and continues to work with the lessors to improve its environmental performance. During 2010–11 we maintained our 4.5-star rating for the whole building, and improved our overall energy consumption. Our tenant light and power use fell by 615 megajoules to 6,880 megajoules per person and our central services energy usage improved by 115 megajoules to 357 megajoules per square metre (well below the energy intensity target for the year).
Based on our occupied building floor area, our building water use intensity was 0.32 kilolitres per square metre in 2010–11, which equates to a 4-star National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) water rating, compared with 0.29 kilolitres per square metre in 2009–10.
The waste collection provider measures the weight of paper sent for recycling, the volume of co-mingled waste sent for recycling and the volume of general waste sent to landfill. The volumes are calculated by annual full bin collections. In 2010–11, the ANAO:
- sent 18,205 kilograms of paper for recycling (18,664 kilograms in 2009–10)
- sent 66 cubic metres of co-mingled waste for recycling (52 cubic metres in 2009–10)
- sent 495 cubic metres of general waste to landfill (411 cubic metres in 2009–10).
Through a local organic recycler, we recycled 2.125 tonnes of organic waste in 2010–11.
Monitoring and further improvement
High-return initiatives to minimise the impact of our activities on the environment have been implemented over the past few years and we are now achieving the benefits. We continue to seek improvement when the opportunity arises and we have conducted a comprehensive revision of our Environmental Management Strategy to focus on improving our environmental performance. Work has begun on refining our recycling program. The office is scheduled to replace computers in 2011–12 under a leasing arrangement that will place a priority on environmental considerations.
In accordance with our Green Lease Schedule, the Building Management Committee meets regularly to oversee the implementation of environmental property initiatives. The committee is currently negotiating the development of an energy management plan, as required under the Green Lease Schedule.