Over recent years there has been an increasing focus on improving the environmental performance of public sector entities, including growing expectations from governments and the community for more sustainable approaches to the delivery of goods and services . At the same time, there has been a greater awareness, in both the public and the private sectors, of the opportunities for improved business outcomes, such as greater productivity and lower costs, that can accrue from reducing environmental impacts.
Against this background, the Australian Government has progressively introduced legislative, regulatory and policy requirements to improve the environmental sustainability of public sector operations. Within this environmental management framework, public sector entities are expected to better monitor and regularly adapt their environmental policies and practices. Adopting a strategy that integrates environmental management considerations into business–as–usual operations helps to ensure that policies and practices remain up–to–date, foster continual improvement, and support improved entity performance.
This Guide has been designed to provide public sector executives and environmental managers with practical implementation strategies, advice and insights to better position their organisations to meet the Government’s requirements and improve their overall environmental performance.
The development of the Guide was informed by a review of current environmental management requirements, relevant literature and developments in environmental management practices. We also consulted with key policy agencies, such as the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, and the Department of Finance and Deregulation. Discussions with a number of other government entities provided valuable insights into successful implementation strategies and lessons learned based on experience and on–the–ground expertise.
The ANAO would like to express its appreciation to those officers who have contributed to the development of this Guide, assisting the public sector to improve its environmental performance and promote more sustainable operations.
 In this Guide, the term entity applies to all organisations subject to the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 and Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997.
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