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Economic Aspects | Natural Resource Aspects | Institutional Aspects | Social Aspects | Australia

ECONOMIC ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN AUSTRALIA

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INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

The Minister for Foreign Affairs is responsible for the Australian aid program. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, assists the Minister in these duties.  They are advised by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID).  

AusAID consults closely with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and other Government departments (including, for example, Treasury; Environment Australia; the Department of Agriculture, Forests and Fisheries; the Department of Defence; the Department of Health and Aged Care; and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research) for decision-making on sustainable development.

The Australian Government is committed to policy-making that focuses on linkages across portfolios, and recognises the value of an integrated approach to the various strands of international cooperation/development assistance for sustainable development. The Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) has primary responsibility for co-ordination and advising the Government.  Coordination occurs through a variety of processes, including inter-departmental committees, and ongoing interdepartmental liaison and cooperation on issues such as Desertification and Climate Change.

International relations and cooperation are the province of the Australian Government.  State/Territory Governments maintain some international networks and activities where relevant to their interests.  Local governments have limited international involvement, for example, through sister city arrangements and international programs such as the global Cities for Climate Protection Program run by the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives. 

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations  

The Australian Parliament has appointed a Joint Standing Committee on Treaties to review and report on all treaty actions proposed by the Government before action is taken which binds Australia to the terms of the treaty.  Further information on the Committee is available at web-site  http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/jsct/index.htm

The 1997 White Paper on Australia’s Foreign and Trade Policy, “In the National Interest” (see web-site http://www.dfat.gov.au/ini/wp.html) outlines Australia’s overall development cooperation policy and priorities.  A major review of Australia’s aid program was also undertaken at this time.  

The review made clear that sustainable development is an overarching principle of the aid program.  Australia’s commitment to sustainable development cooperation policy and priorities are well documented and can be seen, for example in:

These statements and paper are available through the website http://www.ausaid.gov.au/publications/pubs.cfm?Type=PubPolicyDocuments

Open markets remain crucial to Australia's economic prosperity, with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) acting as the primary vehicle for Australia to advance its interests in achieving greater market access and secure trading conditions for exporters. As a medium-sized economy not a member of a powerful geo-political bloc, Australia sees multilateral cooperation and negotiation with other economies as the most effective and efficient way to promote a trade facilitating framework which benefits all participating countries including developing countries.

Australia also promotes an open, non-discriminatory and multilateral trading system through regional bodies such as APEC, and through its bilateral relationships with other nations.  Australia has reduced tariffs and other trade barriers significantly in recent decades.  This has:

Australia’s overseas aid program assists partners to mobilise private sector investment in the promotion of sustainable development. In order to support private sector development the aid program targets three priority areas including:

Australia also recognises that the transfer of technologies to developing countries for sustainable development activities in industry, energy supply and transportation predominantly occurs through the private sector. The Australian aid program encourages developing countries to expand their private sector development in these areas.  For further information see http://www.ausaid.gov.au/publications/pdf/privsectordevel.pdf  

The Environment Industries Focus Unit, in the Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage, pursues sustainable development by identifying and promoting Australian environment industry capabilities, in partnership with the private sector, and promoting these domestically and internationally.  Further information on the Unit can be found at http://www.environment.gov.au/epg/eifu.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans   

Regional integration and cooperation in sustainable development including environmental protection;

The Australian Government contributes to sustainable development in several regional areas, the Pacific, Asia, and to a lesser extent Africa and the Middle East.  Australia assesses all aid activities to ensure that negative environmental impacts are avoided or minimised and to maximise positive impacts.

The Pacific

Australia plays a strong role in promoting sustainable development on a regional basis in the Pacific, where protection of the environment and the sustainable development of natural resources are major concerns.  Australia's support focuses on the key sectors of governance, environment, health and education and includes major initiatives in sustainable fisheries management, forestry, meteorological services, sea level monitoring, disaster management services, biodiversity conservation, pollution control and pest management.  Much of Australia's support is provided through the Pacific network of regional organisations, for example the South Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP).  In this way Australia actively encourages regional cooperation among Pacific island countries.

Asia

Australia’s Asia Regional programs seek to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development by tackling transboundary development challenges and by strengthening regional cooperation and economic integration.  Responding to the East Asian economic crisis has been a major focus of the program in recent years: this has led to a significant increase in resources directed to economic governance and social protection issues.  A sustained response in these areas, along with programs designed to allow regional development partners to benefit fully from trade liberalisation are priorities for the near future. 

A new phase of support for the Mekong River Commission is a key Australian contribution to sustainable regional development.  Australian assistance particularly aims to support the Commission’s introduction of integrated basin (i.e. land and water) planning and community participation approaches in the Mekong Basin.  

Africa and the Middle East

The objective of Australia’s aid to Africa is to build partnerships between Australia and selected African countries and communities to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development.  Preventing environmental degradation is essential in achieving this objective.  All activities are designed and implemented so that possible negative impacts on the environment are prevented or mitigated.

At a regional level Australia is supporting the Southern African Wildlife College to protect biodiversity and encourage the growth of eco-tourism by supporting the training of protected area managers in the Southern African region. 

Multilateral cooperation and agreements related to sustainable development;

Australia funds a wide range of multilateral organizations working on sustainable development activities including the multilateral development banks, United Nations organisations, international health programs, international environment programs, and Commonwealth Organisations.  

Australia also has international obligations under a number of multilateral agreements relating to sustainable development, for example the Food Aid Convention and the Ottawa Treaty.  Australia plays an active role in a number of sustainable development fora, including the Commission on Sustainable Development.  Australia’s strategic objective for participation in these fora is the progression of the sustainable development agenda through action programs with practical and achievable outcomes.

Further information on Australia's multilateral cooperation can be found in AusAID's 1999 - 2000 Annual Report and 2000-2001 Budget Statement.

Trade liberalisation and globalisation;

Globalisation remains one of the profound influences on Australian trade policy. Trade liberalisation has underpinned Australia’s economic growth and living standards over the last fifty years.  The Australian Government is committed to open markets and free trade, which it pursues through the WTO, regional forums such as APEC and bilateral efforts. 

To take advantage of the benefits associated with globalisation and trade liberalisation, the Australian Government continues to take necessary steps to reduce barriers not only for goods and services that Australia exports but also for the goods and services that its trading partners export.  Australia’s general tariffs on imports have been reduced significantly since the early 1970s.  With the exceptions of goods within the passenger motor vehicle and textiles, clothing and footwear sectors, and of some cheeses, all general tariffs applied to imports are now 5 per cent or less.  All imports from certain countries, including New Zealand, the Forum Island countries and Papua New Guinea are subject to lower preferential tariff rates.  Such rates also apply to particular imports from Canada and certain developing countries.

Australia is a traditional supporter of the WTO and remains a strong advocate of a new, market access focussed round of multilateral trade negotiations.  APEC is the most significant regional forum in which Australia participates and will remain a key element in Australia’s trade strategies. The Government is committed to meeting the objective of free and open trade and investment by 2010 as set out in the Bogor Declaration.

In pursuing its globalisation or trade liberalisation strategies, the Government takes account of the adjustment difficulties associated with tariff reductions.  Spreading the time period over which adjustments are made, and giving advance notice of liberalisation initiatives, gives industries and communities more time to adjust and improve their competitiveness.  These principles have been applied to reducing protection in the PMV and TCF sectors.  The Government’s microeconomic reforms have also assisted industries to minimise adjustment costs and improve productivity.

Mobilisation of domestic and external financial resources for development cooperation;

Australia has emphasised the importance of efficient and effective use of resources, including domestic resources, in the interests of development. Good governance, including economic governance, and institutional strengthening are crucial in attracting foreign direct investment and other private flows, an important element of external resources. Sustainability assessments for activities supported by Australia include consideration of the mobilisation of domestic and external financial resources for development cooperation. 

For more detail on actual processes dealing with this issue please refer to AusGUIDE (a guide for AusAID staff, contractors and others involved in aid delivery) available on the website http://www.ausaid.gov.au/ausguide/index.html

Transfer of environmentally sound technology and know-how.

The Australian aid program facilitates the transfer of both hard and soft environmentally sound technology.  One of these strategies is the transfer of both hard and soft environmentally sound technology.  The Australian overseas aid program helps partner countries to build capacity, develop enabling environments and gain access to innovative and environmentally sound technologies, particularly renewable energy technologies. As an example, a key output for 1999-2000 included the training of 508 people in environmental management in the eastern islands of Indonesia.

Further information on the transfer of environmentally sound technologies may be found in the 2000 - 2001 Budget Paper and The Australian Overseas Aid Program and the Challenge of Global Warming brochure and fact sheets.  The web-site address for this latter publication is http://www.ausaid.gov.au/publications/pdf/globalwarming1997.pdf

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement   

The Australian Government is committed to involving all relevant groups in its decision-making processes, including providing appropriate information, consulting, and encouraging feedback on the quality of the aid program. This is done through a variety of consultative mechanisms including the Aid Advisory Council (community advice to the Minister), the Committee for Development Cooperation (an NGO consultative group), and specialist advisory groups such as the Advisory Group on International Health, the Gender and Development Advisory Group and the Private Sector Contractors Group.

The Australian Government consults with representatives of major stakeholder groups during strategic policy formulation processes related to sustainable development.  The role of the stakeholder groups is to provide expert and/or technical advice on particular issues.  Australian delegations to multilateral fora, such as the annual sessions of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) and the Framework Convention on Climate Change, have regularly included representatives from major stakeholder groups.

Further information on cooperation and involvement with NGOs is available at the NGO home page at http://www.ausaid.gov.au/publications/pubs.cfm?Type=PubNGOs

The Australian Government actively involves major non-government groups and organisations in international negotiations and cooperative activities at several different levels.

Australia takes a whole of government approach to international meetings which ensures consistency across international negotiations and issues.  Interested groups are consulted in determining Australia's position for international negotiations and COPs.  This consultation generally involves at least business and environment NGOs, but is often broader than this depending on the issues involved and can involve community members from a variety of perspectives. 

Consultation with interested parties can take the form of meetings or electronic consultation, and can be often informed by discussion papers prepared which highlight key or important issues.  In some cases, consultative or reference groups are established to provide ongoing advice to the Government where an issue requires particular attention.  Membership of these groups is often very diverse and reflects the broad concerns of community sectors.  Outcomes of international meetings are disseminated to interested stakeholders again through meetings or electronic means.  Stakeholders have the opportunity to seek further information and make their views known on the outcomes.

The process of ratification of an international treaty entails extensive community consultation and scrutiny by Federal Parliament.  There is a formal process by which Federal Departments are required to detail the extent of consultation they have undertaken and the views of community sectors relating to the ratification or not of that particular treaty.  Stakeholders may make representations at Departmental or Ministerial level.  Further information can be found at web-site address http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/jsct/ppgrole.htm

The Australian Government will often consider initiating bilateral or multilateral agreements where elements of the Australian community consider this would serve their interests.  This is often the case where exporters and businesses would like to increase their opportunities in other country markets, but also occurs where the national interest is likely to be affected more broadly.

All major groups have nationally organised representative bodies; most of these bodies/organisations cooperate with and participate in activities/programs with allied international or national organisations.  The Australian government provides limited funding towards some of these activities through its Grants programs.

Australia believes the private sector is critical to achieving sustainable development, and is actively encouraging involvement of the private sector in activities to improve its environmental performance. A range of partnerships have been developed to achieve this. For instance, the Australian Government has begun a program of developing voluntary agreements with industry associations to promote eco-efficiency to their members, and to monitor and report annually on progress in implementing eco-efficiency. Performance indicators include water, energy and key material use per unit of product.  For further information, see web-site address http://www.environment.gov.au/epg/environet/eecp/.   Further information on the role of the private sector in Australia’s international cooperation and development activities can be found at the Key Business Documents home page at http://www.ausaid.gov.au/business/publications/index.cfm

Trade liberalisation and globalisation impacts on the overall structure of the economy in a comprehensive and profound way.  An array of government policies exist at federal, state and local government level to assist sectors and individuals to benefit from economic change irrespective of the drivers of change.  It is difficult to actual identify the particular impacts of accelerated global economic development and change as Australia has large sectors of the economy subject to competition from external sources, and increased openness has had uneven effects even within these sectors.  The Textile, Clothing and Footwear sector is perhaps noteworthy in that declining employment has been observed overall but niche areas have benefited from export growth.

Programmes and Projects   

The Australian aid program supports a range of multilateral agencies for a number of diverse activities related to sustainable development.  Among others, contributions were made to the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the World Health Organisation, the Global Environment Facility and numerous United Nations Organisations such as the World Food Program, the United Nations Development Program, and the United Nations Development Fund for Women.

Activities conducted by these organisations in 1999-2000 included addressing climate change issues, treating persistent health problems such as HIV/AIDS, contributing to international relief efforts in East Timor, and attending to the protection and development of children and women.  For 2000-2001, Australian aid funding directed to multilateral agencies will continue to focus on a range of valuable humanitarian, technical, policy dialogue and coordination functions.  Further information on Australia's multilateral cooperation may be found in AusAID's 1999- 2000 Annual Report (p.54-65) and the 2000-2001 Budget Statement (p.53-65]. 

Australian official development assistance continues to focus on activities that reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development.  In 1999-2000 Australia provided an estimated AU$1.6 billion as official development assistance.  During 1999-2000 Australia provided AU$105.3 million to meet pressing demands for humanitarian and emergency assistance, responding in particular to the new challenges in East Timor.

Australia has committed AU$55 million to the multilateral component of the enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative.  In 1999-2000 Australia provided AU$12 million of this commitment to the World Bank – the implementing agency for the HIPC.  Australia has also agreed to provide bilateral debt forgiveness to countries that qualify for debt relief under the Initiative.

Australia’s bilateral aid program follows country program strategies developed in close consultation with partner countries.  Details on specific country programs can be found in AusAID's 1999 – 2000 Annual Report (p.28-53) and the 2000-2001 Budget Statement.  As a member of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the OECD, Australia reports regularly against DAC sector codes. 

Australian aid flows for 1999-2000 (as a percentage of total aid flow) by key sector are listed below:

Health                                      11%

Rural Development                13%

Governance                              15%

Infrastructure                            15%

Education                                 18%

Other                                       28%

Further information can be found in AusAID's 1999 - 2000 Annual Report and 2000-2001 Budget Statement.

Governance is one of the five priority sectors of the Australian aid program.  Australia sees good governance, which incorporates capacity building in the design and implementation of economic policies, public administration, the design of efficient tax and accounting systems, financial institutions and markets, as well as the promotion of entrepreneurship, as an essential precondition for sustainable development. 

In the Australian aid program governance is addressed in four sub-sectors.  These include: improving economic and financial management, strengthening public sector management, strengthening legal systems, and fostering the development of civil society.

Further information on governance in the Australian aid program can be found in AusAID's 1999 - 2000 Annual Report and 2000-2001 Budget Statement.  Particular examples of governance type projects are found on the Governance home page http://www.ausaid.gov.au/publications/keyaidpubs.cfm?Type=PubKAG as well as on the policy paper titled Good Governance: Guiding Principles for Implementation at web-site address http://www.ausaid.gov.au/publications/pdf/good_governance.pdf

Major bilateral capacity building programs are underway in most of Australia’s partner countries. Regional mechanisms have also been established in Asia, the Pacific and Africa.  Details on these capacity building programs can be found on the AusAID publications home page at http://www.ausaid.gov.au/publications/keyaidpubs.cfm?Type=PubKAE

The Australian aid program is committed to strong support for private sector development that addresses poverty concerns in developing countries.

Poverty Eradication

The overall single objective of the aid program is to advance Australia’s national interest by assisting developing countries to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development [AusAID Corporate Plan 98-00].  In order to meet this objective AusAID has developed a ‘four pillar’ poverty reduction framework based on enhanced growth; increased productivity; improved accountability and reduced vulnerability of the poor.

All programs/activities conducted under the Australian aid program are designed to address the objective of reducing poverty.  Levels of aid support are designed maximise sustainable poverty reduction and prioritised on the basis of country and sectoral knowledge of the underlying causes of poverty.   Information on the Australian aid program can be found in AusAID's 1999 - 2000 Annual Report and 2000-2001 Budget Statement.

Environmental research, management, conservation, etc.;

Australia's aid program prevents and rehabilitates environmental degradation in developing countries by ensuring that aid activities are environmentally assessed for maximum impact and that funding for environment is spread over a range of sectors. 

In 1999-2000 Australia's aid program spent approximately $65 million on activities with direct environmental objectives and $190 million on activities with significant indirect environmental benefit.  This funding includes support to regional and multilateral organisations like, for example, South Pacific Regional Environment Programme and Australian Centre International Agricultural Research.  Activities supported with direct environmental objectives included:

Further information on the environment in the Australian aid program can be found in AusAID's1999 – 2000 Annual Report (p.26-27, 56-57) and the 2000-2001 Budget Statement (p.5, 56-57).

Education for sustainable development;

Basic education for all citizens is essential for sustained social, political and economic development. Education helps reduce poverty in three ways:

The Australian aid program introduced an education and training policy in August 1996. The aid program aims to increase access to, and the quality of, education and training for the most vulnerable in the developing countries of our region. Basic education and technical and vocational education are priorities, with selective assistance also given for distance and higher education and institutional strengthening.

There has been a fivefold increase in funding for basic education and for technical-vocational interventions and a threefold increase in assistance for institutional strengthening since 1996. Direct expenditure on education and training was an estimated $295 million for 246 projects in 1999-2000. A further $265 million was devoted to projects in other sectors with an education component.

Further information on education in the Australian aid program can be found in AusAID's 1999 – 2000 Annual Report (p.22) and the 2000-2001 Budget Statement (p.13-14).

Others (Please specify.)

Australia regards the health sector as an important component in sustainable development.  Improved health standards lead to economic development and poverty reduction.  In 2000-01 Australia will provide an estimated $170 million of direct health assistance to developing countries.  The program targets those groups most at risk and focuses on improving basic health care and services through simple, cost effective methods of prevention and treatment. 

The Australian System of Tariff Preferences (ASTP) provides favourable market access to Least Developed Countries (LDCs). This provides duty free access to 93.2% of imports from LDCs, and a 5% tariff preference over the MFN rate on remaining products.  Australia also provides duty free access for exports from Forum Island Countries.

Status   

The following table illustrates the changing trends in Australia’s external aid financial expenditure.

Table: Aid expenditure by type and financial year1 ($A'000)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash Expenditure

 

Expenses

 

% change from

 

1996-97

1997-98

1998-99

1999-2000

 

96-97 to 99-00

Bilateral ODA

1,070,602 

1,048,116 

1,130,853 

1,381,103 

 

29.00

Multilateral ODA

361,443 

394,960 

397,752 

367,596 

 

1.70

Humanitarian & Emergency2

81,482 

104,969 

124,845 

105,263 

 

29.19

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 Break in series in 1999-2000 due to the introduction of accrual budgeting

 

 

2 Includes bilateral and multilateral ODA for emergency and refugee relief

 

 

Other statistical information regarding percentage growth in the financial resources for development can be found in AusAID's budget papers and annual reports at http://www.ausaid.gov.au/publications/default.cfm and in the Statistical Annex to AusAID’s 1999 - 2000 Budget Statement at http://www.ausaid.gov.au/publications/pdf/budget9900/Budget99_StatAnnex.pdf 

Challenges  

Australia maintains a broad range of relationships at every level for the purpose of promoting sustainable development.  These include regional forums (such as Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), ASEAN and the South Pacific Forum); bilateral relations with partner developing countries; and international networks within civil society, business and academia.

The Australian aid program focus is on the key sectors of health, education, agriculture and rural development, infrastructure, and governance.  There are a number of challenges in building effective partnerships for promoting cooperation in sustainable development.  Australia focuses on the priority needs of partner governments, maintaining dialogue that leads to enhanced shared objectives.

Australia recognises while trade liberalisation benefits many individuals and economies as a whole, some specific groups can be disadvantaged as trade barriers are removed on protected industries.  Firms can close as others open, and workers can be displaced. As trade liberalisation can pose adjustment difficulties for affected workers and the communities in which they live, dealing effectively with structural adjustment issues remains a challenge for Governments.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

Promoting public awareness on the need for sustainable development is a key aspect of the Australian aid program.  AusAID undertakes research into community attitudes towards overseas aid.  The results inform public affairs planning, both for AusAID and Australian NGOs.  AusAID also assists with training of teachers in development education and in the development of curriculum materials.

Information about Australia’s aid program is made available to the public, multilateral donors and Australian and international government and non-government organisations via the Internet and a range of publications.  Further information on the promotion of public awareness of the Australian aid is on the general AusAID Internet site http://www.ausaid.gov.au Expenditure for public information and development education for 1999-2000 totalled approximately AU$1.8 million.

The Australian Government engages in a range of educational and training programs targeting experts and professionals in international relations.  This includes diplomatic training programs, trade negotiation courses, funding and professional support for international seminars, and engagement with professional international organisations like the Centre for Democratic Institutions.  Further information on education in the Australian aid program can be found in AusAID's 1999 – 2000 Annual Report (p.22) and the 2000-2001 Budget Statement (p.13-14).

Priority setting, project identification and formulation, as well as project administration and management are all developed in consultation with partner countries, and as such forge strong international cooperation between Australia as the donor country and the respective partner country.

Additional information on the way in which Australia, through its overseas aid program, strengthens international cooperation in terms of priority setting, project identification and formulation, as well as project administration and management is referred to in AusGUIDE (http://www.ausaid.gov.au/ausguide/index.html). 

Information   

Australia’s Overseas Aid Program Statistical Summary', commonly known as the Green Book, and the 'Australia’s Overseas Aid Program Official Expenditure', the Blue Book, are published each year and both provide detailed information on aid expenditure.  The Blue Book provides a listing of all Australian Government aid projects, classified by recipient country, region and sector.  The Green Book provides a comprehensive summary of Australian government aid expenditure.

These reports, available via AusAID’s web-site at http://www.ausaid.gov.au/publications/pubs.cfm?Type=PubStatisticalData, provide governments, academics, researchers and the broader community access to detailed statistical information on Australia’s aid program.  These publications are supported by the bi-annual ‘Snapshot of Training’, which provides information on AusAID’s students sponsorship activities.

Additionally, a report and budget paper outlining Australia’s bilateral and global cooperation are produced each year.  Both of these documents are presented annually to the Australian Parliament.  For both these documents see website address http://www.ausaid.gov.au/about/annrep.cfm and http://www.ausaid.gov.au/about/budget.cfmSee also web-site address http://www.ausaid.gov.au/publications/pubs.cfm?Type=PubPolicyDocuments for a listing of key AusAID Policy Documents

Australia operates an open and accessible system in the dissemination of information. Key public documents such as the Government White Papers are available to the public on request and are widely disseminated to academic research, international bodies and other interested parties.  Publications of newsletters, bulletins regarding Australia’s commitment to sustainable development, along with other information are available through websites.  Through active public relations activities material and information are sent to schools, higher education and research institutions, media outlets and non- government organizations at both the national and international level.  A wide array of focus groups and interests are invited and welcomed at open forums.   

Research and Technologies   

Australia is well endowed with technical know-how and advanced technological systems.  The Australia aid program aims to utilise these resources to assist in sustainable development activities in partner countries.  For example, Australian technology on renewable energy and forestry and land management practices has been adapted in several areas of the Asia Pacific region.  For further information see website http://www.ausaid.gov.au/publications/pdf/global warming1997.pdf  Australia's aid program also assists in strengthening the economies, governments and social institutions in developing countries, which improves general capacity to address sustainable development.  By supporting measures to improve the enabling environment within developing countries Australia also helps encourage private sector technology transfer initiatives.

The Australian Government recognises that private sector involvement is critical in ensuring the incorporation of sustainable development principles into economic development plans.  The Government seeks to work in cooperation with industry to develop policies and programs tailored to the needs of specific industry groups that will improve the environmental performance of industry while contributing to continued economic growth in Australia and around the world.

To this end, the Government’s commitment to working with the private sector extends to Australia’s international activities.  The Government has a range of initiatives which facilitate the participation of the environment management and environment services industries in the international marketplace. 

Under the Kyoto Protocol, there is provision for countries to undertake collaborative projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In advance of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and Joint Implementation (JI) becoming operational, several countries including Australia are participating in the Activities Implemented Jointly (AIJ) pilot phase. The purpose of the CDM is to assist host countries in achieving sustainable development and collaborative projects accomplish this through technology transfer and capacity building. Through the International Greenhouse Partnerships (IGP) Program, the Australian Government assists private and public entities wishing to undertake overseas GHG emission abatement projects under AIJ / CDM / JI by seeking host country endorsement of the project and providing some funding for the transaction costs associated with meeting AIJ / CDM / JI criteria.

The APEC Energy Working Group (EWG) has established an Energy Business Network (EBN). The EBN allows dialogue between Senior Officials and the Private Sector at the CEO level. Issues discussed include investment in infrastructure, market reform, capacity building, introduction of new plant with advanced technologies, and the role new and renewable technologies can play in supplying power to remote areas.

While keen to integrate the adoption of environmentally sound technologies in the activities of the Australian business sector abroad, the Government is committed to upholding both the letter and the spirit of all relevant international trade agreements.  Therefore the facilitation and promotion activities of the Australian Government do not extend to offering export subsidies or production bounties for the environment industries.

A recent, prominent example of public/private sector cooperation in the environment field was the variety of environmental initiatives undertaken as part of the Sydney Olympic Games.  These involved the private sector in a range of measures to minimise the environmental impact of the Games.  The Government arranged for a range of business promotion activities to run concurrently with the Olympics, in order to encourage the uptake of environmentally sustainable technologies around the world.  Following on from the success of the Games, the Environment Industries Focus Unit, within the Commonwealth Department of Environment and Heritage, continues to work with the private sector to promote Australian environment technologies internationally (see web-site address http://www.environment.gov.au/epg/eifu).

The International Greenhouse Partnerships Office, as the Designated National Authority under the UNFCCC, facilitates collaborative emission reduction projects overseas. To ensure that the emission reductions are real and additional to that which would have occurred without the project, the IGP Office assesses the project design including the technology involved prior to its seeking endorsement of the host country for the project to proceed as AIJ / JI / CDM. Additionally the project, once endorsed by the host country, is reported to the UNFCCC secretariat. This report details the host country, the technology involved and the capacity building aspects associated with the project.

The Australian Government manages the APEC Energy Working Group/Secretariat.  The EWG has a number of Expert Groups that encourage international market penetration of new and renewable energy technologies.

Financing 

Australia will provide an estimated $1.6 billion in official development assistance in 2000-01. This is a nearly $100 million increase over 1999-2000 budget estimate, an increase of 4 per cent in real terms, and represents an ODA/GNP ratio of 0.25 per cent, which is above the latest average of all donors (1999) of 0.24 per cent. 

Australia has demonstrated its willingness to respond generously and quickly to emerging needs.  In 1999-2000, Australia provided additional funding for East Timor, the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative, and East Timorese and Kosovar evacuees in Australia.  This resulted in an expected ODA outcome of $1.65 billion, with an ODA/GNP ratio of 0.27 per cent. 

Australia endeavours to maintain our aid at the highest level, consistent with the needs of partner countries, our own economic circumstances and our capacity to assist.  Priority areas for Australian aid are Papua New Guinea, the Pacific, and East Asia, with selective concentration on development needs in South Asia, Africa and the Middle East.  Statistics on official development assistance (ODA) and some other aid flows to key bilateral partners are available in the 2000-01 Australia’s Overseas Aid Program Budget Statement through the website http://www.ausaid.gov.au/publications/pubs.cfm?Type=PubPolicyDocuments 

Promoting environmental sustainability is a key objective of Australia'soverseas aid programme. In 1998-99 the aid programme spent A$51 million on activities directly targeting environmental issues, focusing on environmental policy and management, water supply and sanitation, natural resource management, sustainable agriculture, rural and urban development, climate change and renewable energy. An additional A$88 million was spent on activities in the agriculture, forestry, fisheries and water supply & sanitation sectors with an indirect but significant environmental component. Major ongoing projects include: capacity building assistance for BAPEDAL, the Indonesian environment agency (A$23.3 million), the South Pacific Sea Level and Climate Monitoring Project (A$14.5m), assistance for the Solomon Islands Water Authority (A$13.8m), the Philippine Municipal Solar Infrastructure Project (A$13.7m), and an Agroforestry/Salinity Control project in Pakistan (A$11.5m).

 

Cooperation  

Australia is a signatory to a large number of international conventions and treaties related to environment and sustainable development, including, but not restricted to, the Convention on Biological Diversity, Framework Convention on Climate Change, Convention to Combat Desertification, Basel Convention, and Vienna Convention.  Australia's status in relation to each of these is available on the web-site of the relevant treaty.   A list of treaties can be also be found at the Australian Treaties Library website at http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/other/dfat/  

The Australia New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement (known as ANZERTA or the CER Agreement) is the main instrument governing economic relations between the two countries.  It entered into force in 1983 and its central provision is the creation of a Free Trade Area consisting of Australia and New Zealand.

The CER Agreement is one of the most comprehensive bilateral free trade agreements in existence.  Whilst the CER does not contain any specific provisions on environmental protection and sustainable development, Australia and New Zealand cooperate closely in this field bilaterally and at the multilateral level.  Preservation of a favourable regional environment (on land, in the atmosphere, in the oceans and with regard to plant and animal life) is recognised as important to the economic and trading future of both countries, including with regard to fisheries, as well as their social well being. 

Recognising the regional and global dimensions of LA21, the Federal Government has produced a new Local Agenda 21 manual with a focus on Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation economies.  The new manual is called: Localising Agenda 21: A Guide to Sustainable Development for the APEC region and is available on-line at: http://www.environment.gov.au/psg/igu/localagenda21/index.html.  The manual contains case studies from Australia, Malaysia and the Philippines.  Australia would hope to build on the case studies with other APEC partners.

As part of the Asia-Pacific region’s preparations for CSD9, a High Level Regional Meeting (which included a Ministerial policy dialogue) was convened in Bali, Indonesia from 21-24 November 2000.  The theme of the regional meeting was Energy for Sustainable Development with the focus on securing adequate energy services for the region along with sound environmental performance in keeping with ESD principles.  In conjunction with the High Level Meeting, a regional business forum and a regional NGO forum were also held and the outcomes of these forums were presented to Ministers at the high-level policy dialogue.  Australia and Indonesia co-sponsored the Regional Business Forum, which was attended by prominent, senior business executives with long-standing commitment to the region.  The Ministers issued the Bali Declaration on Asia Pacific Perspectives on Energy and Sustainable Development.

Sustainable development is at the forefront of the objective of the Australian aid program and this gives the opportunity for the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) to support a variety of research and professional networking activities.  AusAID operates an International Seminar Support Scheme and also initiates relevant studies through the Research Development Program.  In addition there is a close working relationship between the Australian Government and higher education institutions linked to sustainable development, for example the National Centre for Development Studies at the Australian National University. 

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This information was provided by the Government of Australia to the 5th, 6th, 8th, and 9th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: April 2001.

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TRADE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, especially the Environment Branch, and Environment Australia are responsible nationally for the issues under this Part. Australia'sNational Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development (NSESD) acknowledges the national and international dimensions of sustainable development, particularly the important nexus between international trade and its impact on the environment.

The objective of the Agriculture and Resource Management Council of Australia and New Zealand (ARMCANZ) is to develop integrated and sustainable agriculture, land and water management policies, strategies and practices for the benefit of the community. ARMCANZ was formed after the amalgamation of the Australian Water Resources Council, the Australian Soil Conservation Council and the Agricultural Council of Australia and New Zealand.

 

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations  

At the national level, the NSESD calls for the provision of a policy framework, which supports the efficient and environmentally responsible development of the nation'sresources. At the international level, the NSESD calls for the full incorporation of environmental costs associated with production and use for maximising the ecologically sustainable development benefit of trade liberalisation.

A wide range of institutional mechanisms exists in Australia to identify environmental problems, which may be related to economic activity, including trade. These mechanisms include comprehensive environmental assessment processes at the State and Federal Government levels, public environmental policies and strategies by governments, formal consultation processes with interest groups by governments, parliamentary procedures including parliamentary inquires, Freedom of Information Acts, and a free press. These institutions ensure a high level of public debate and knowledge about both environmental and trade issues, and their interrelationship.

In particular, the Commonwealth Government has promoted market based or economic instruments to assist environmental management, for instance in the areas of air, water and land degradation. These instruments often provide least cost solutions to environmental problems, provide greater flexibility, encourage innovation and have often improved environmental outcomes. The use of such instruments in combination with appropriate regulatory measures has helped to ensure consistency between environment and economic growth policy objectives.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans   

Australia's trade policies are consistent with sustainable development. The Foreign and Trade Policy White Paper, In the National Interest, makes clear the Government works for an outcome which makes trade and environment policies mutually supporting and which prevents environmental objectives from supporting protectionism (para. 115).

Domestically, the Commonwealth Government is committed to microeconomic reform in order to enhance Australia'sinternational competitiveness and to raise living standards and, through improved allocative efficiency, a more sustainable pattern of resource use. The unilateral tariff reductions of recent years have seen the nominal rate of assistance to both the manufacturing and commodities sector substantially reduced.

In the food sector the Commonwealth Government'sSupermarket to Asia Strategy is bringing together government and industry leaders to work on further improving the competitiveness of Australia'sfresh and processed food exports to Asia. The implementation of the Strategy will be overseen by the Prime Minister'sSupermarket to Asia Council. The Council comprises the Prime Minister and four other senior Government Ministers, and leaders from the farming, food processing, packaging, transport, research, trade union and retailing sectors. Initially, the Council is concentrating on five key issues: quality and sustainability; business competitiveness and productivity; trade and market development; communication; and transport and logistics. The Supermarket to Asia work will complement the Business Plan for Australian Agriculture, which the Government is developing, together with industry, as an outcome of the National Rural Finance Summit held in July 1996.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement 

An important consideration for Australia in developing its policies on trade/economic and environment interaction is consultation with non-government organisations (NGOs). A number of fora exist for this, involving broad NGO representation and involvement of officials and relevant Ministers. Often these bodies examine these issues in an integrated way. A good example was a one-off consultation prior to the WTO High-Level Symposia on Trade and Environment and Trade and Development. The consultation allowed NGOs to put views on, and discuss, the interaction of the environment with international trade policy, economic, investment, labour and human rights factors. The broad impact of change on developing countries and the desire for trade liberalisation, emerged as key concerns for different coalitions of NGOs.

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

 

Status   

Since the mid 1980s, Australia's exports (and imports) have risen from around 15 per cent of GDP to around 20 per cent. Much of this increase can be explained by lower tariff barriers and other economic reforms which have made many sectors of the economy more flexible and able to compete more effectively in export markets. 

The reforms, along with technological change, have led to fundamental changes in the way Australians do business. The economy has become more productive and outward looking, thanks to more efficient use of resources and greater opportunities to create wealth through trade. The industrial base is stronger, with manufacturing and services products more competitive in world markets.

The increased competitiveness and strength of the industrial base has flowed through to significant increases in the importance of manufacturing and services exports. Since 1988-89, manufactured exports have risen from less than 20 per cent of total exports to 25 per cent in 1998-99, with elaborately transformed manufactures rising from 10.5 per cent to 17.5 per cent of total exports. In the same period, services exports have risen from around 20 per cent to over 23 per cent of total exports. Within services, tourism has performed especially strongly, rising from 11 per cent to nearly 16 per cent of total exports. 

The reforms have also put more money in consumers' pockets and given them greater access to affordable, high quality products. Over the past decade, reductions in tariffs and barriers to trade have lifted the income of the average Australian family by over A$1,000 per year. Motor vehicles cost around 25 per cent less and clothing the average family costs around A$300 less because of lower tariffs.

Challenges

As in other countries, economic activity in Australia causes environmental problems, and export-induced increases in production are an important part of economic activity ? in Australia about 20% of GDP is exported. In a broad sense then, as in other countries, export-induced increases in production have contributed to environmental problems, especially historically. However, it is often hard in the modern economy to disentangle what is export-induced economic activity. More importantly, there are comprehensive environmental policies, programs and practices at the State, Territory and Commonwealth government levels in Australia, which are addressing environmental problems, and these measures make no distinction in administration as to whether the source of the environmental problem is export-induced or other forms of economic activity.

Like other countries, Australia is concerned with possible loss of national competitiveness, including in relation to environmental standards. However, it is debatable whether and in what circumstances lower environmental standards would actually contribute to higher national competitiveness. More importantly there are very strong domestic pressures within Australia on all governments to maintain high environmental standards. In these contexts, therefore, it could not be said that legislation or other environmental regulatory regimes have clearly been weakened simply in response to trade pressures.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

 

Australia recognises that policy reform and cooperation between developing countries and international organisations and donors is essential to address the structural weaknesses which continue to be so important in hampering the fuller participation of many developing countries in the trading system. The importance of capacity building has been recognised as an integral part of the World Trade Organisation's(WTO) work.

 

Information   

Australia ensures that environmental sustainability is maximised in all its aid activities by integrating environmental monitoring and assessment mechanisms into their design and implementation. Australian domestic environmental protection legislation applies to all overseas aid activities through the application of the Commonwealth Environment Protection (Impact of Proposals) Act 1974 and AusAID'sEnvironmental Assessment Guidelines. The Australian aid programme also draws upon the sector guidelines in the World Bank'sEnvironmental Assessment Sourcebook, and conducts evaluations and reviews of its environmental projects. During 1999 AusAID will complete a comprehensive review of its environmental systems. This will help maintain the quality of the aid program'senvironmental activities.

While designation enables the Commonwealth environment authorities to undertake their own examination to determine the appropriate level of environment assessment and management, in practice the assessment is usually carried out by State environment authorities with the Commonwealth Government maintaining an advisory role.

More detail on Australia'sreporting on issues related to trade, investment and economic growth can be found on the Internet sites of the three major government agencies who deal with such issues: the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (http://www.dfat.gov.au), the Department of the Treasury ( http://www.treasury.gov.au), and the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) ( http://www.ausaid.gov.au). Other useful information may also be found on the websites of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and its agencies ( http://www.affa.gov.au; http://www.abare.gov.au; http://www.brs.gov.au ).

 

Research and Technologies   

There has been a strong shift in the distribution of greenhouse gas emissions arising from the manufacture of goods produced to satisfy the growing consumption in major world markets. For example, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade estimates that Australia's greenhouse emissions in 1990 were higher than they otherwise would have been because of Australia's particular economic structure and trade patterns, due mainly to its strong comparative advantage in energy intensive industries. Many other countries - including the large OECD economies and many of our neighbouring trading partners in East Asia - have lower emissions as a result of this international trade. 

The Commonwealth Government is also supporting development of an emissions permits trading mechanism to abate greenhouse gas emissions as part of its response to the Kyoto Protocol. It is promoting the development of emissions trading mechanisms in Australia and abroad as an important way of avoiding inequitable distribution of the economic impacts of climate change and to promote innovation to meet the challenges posed by climate change.

 Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation  

Australia is involved in a variety of international policy activities related to interaction between economic and environment factors. The overarching goal being to achieve sustainable development on a global scale through mutually supporting reform. Much of this work goes on within key international organisations including the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), World Trade Organisation (WTO), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Economic and Social Conference (ECOSOC) and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). Other government activities including aid programs and co-operative programs with Australian based companies which have international operations, also reflect this work and policy making. The particular focus for Australia has been the advocacy of win-win-win reforms on trade and environment. Trade liberalisation is the focus of this, which is particularly relevant to developing countries given the importance of commodity sectors in many of these countries. Another focus for Australia has been policy development and implementation on freshwater.

Australia has actively pursued a program of trade liberalisation, both unilaterally, and through international fora such as the WTO and APEC. Australia has also pursued the integration of trade and environment issues in the CSD and other international fora including the WTO, APEC, OECD, UNEP, ECOSOC and UNCTAD. Activities have focused on the commodity trade sector, where Australia has argued for the removal of trade restrictive and distorting policies which lead directly to the over-exploitation and degradation of the environment and lower export income returns for commodity exporting developing countries. In the WTO Committee on Trade and Environment, Australia supported the view that, if the multilateral trading system is to deliver its promise of improvements in social welfare, then trade reform will have to be supported by appropriate environmental policies. Australia sees no conflict between WTO measures and environmental policies. Australia notes, however, that conditions facing southern hemisphere countries are frequently different from those faced by northern hemisphere countries.

A good example of Australia'sinvolvement in integrated international policy-making is the APEC FEEEP Project (Impact of Expanding Population and Economic Growth on Food, Energy and the Environment) which aims at long term integrated approaches to sustainable development in these fundamental areas. Australia has been particularly involved in the food element.  Australia also continues to support international institutions, such as the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, United Nations Development Programme and the Global Environment Facility, which fund a significant number of environmental activities.

 

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 This information was provided by the Government of Australia to the 5th, 6th, and 8th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: December 1999.

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CHANGING CONSUMPTION PATTERNS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

Decision-making at all levels of government has implications for sustainable consumption and production. Decisions are made on a whole of government basis as well as on an individual jurisdictional basis.

The whole of government approach is facilitated by organisations such as ministerial councils including the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), the Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council (ANZECC), the Agricultural and Resource Management Council of Australia and New Zealand (ARMCANZ). COAG's objectives include consultation on major whole-of-government issues arising from Ministerial Council deliberations and on major initiatives of one government which impact on other governments. ANZECC, made up of the environment Ministers from New Zealand and Australia's Federal and State/Territory governments, is the intergovernmental coordination body on a range of environmental issues.  

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations

These cooperative organisations are supported by the Intergovernment Agreement on the Environment (IGAE) and the National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development (NSESD). The IGAE sets out the roles for, and means of interaction between, the different levels of government on a range of matters. (Summary of IGAE, Text of IGAE The NSESD sets out the framework under which governments will cooperatively make decisions and take actions to pursue ESD in Australia. It provides industry, business and the broader community with an understanding of government approaches to policy). 

The IGAE provided for the establishment of the National Environment Protection Council (NEPC) with responsibility for making environment protection measures (NEPMs). The NEPC is a statutory body with law making powers and is made up of Ministers from Australian States/Territories and the Federal Government. NEPMs are statutory instruments which outline agreed national objectives, and their implementation assists in the move to sustainable consumption and production.

The Federal or State/Territory Cabinets create a range of policies in regard to industry, commerce, or the environment that may be relevant to their jurisdiction. 

Numerous industry codes of practice and guidelines exist, most of which have been developed by industry with input from the regulatory agencies, and in some cases from environment non-government organisations. Examples include the Environmental Code of Practice for Packaging, and the ANZECC National Waste Minimisation and Purchasing Guidelines, which assist Governments to develop and implement appropriate waste minimisation and purchasing strategies and policies in a consistent way. Direct regulation of activities which could affect the environment is primarily carried out under State/Territory legislation. 

 

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans

 

Australia is giving increasing emphasis to strategies to encourage more efficient use of resources and reducing waste (rather than addressing final symptoms). The Greenhouse Challenge is a voluntary, non-regulatory approach to reducing industrial energy usage. The Challenge aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by demonstrating that improved energy efficiency can have financial benefits for industry.  Cleaner production is a key program for achieving sustainable production by preventing pollution and waste. The Cleaner Production Program run by Environment Australia included:

Australia is now developing a national cleaner production strategy entitled "Towards Sustainability: Achieving Cleaner Production In Australia" through the auspices of the Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council (ANZECC). Some of the State environment agencies also run specific cleaner production programs.  The Federal Government has been active in demonstrating that product redesign can reduce a product's environmental impact. Products such as a recyclable kettle, a resource saving dishwasher, and an environmentally friendly office furniture system have shown that consumer items can be made using less toxic and less environmentally damaging raw resources. They have also shown how both manufacturing processes and products can be designed to waste less water, energy and materials, and to be dismantled and efficiently recycled.

 

Australia has embraced the concept of eco-efficiency as a useful objective for achieving sustainable consumption and production. Unlike cleaner production, eco-efficiency also incorporates government activity and consumer behaviour. A number of activities have been initiated to further eco-efficiency in Australia, including the development of national environmental reporting guidelines and life cycle assessment work. In March 1999 Australia hosted an OECD Eco-Efficiency Workshop in Sydney to further the work of the OECD in this area. This will be followed by an Eco-Efficiency Roundtable for Australian industry and other key stakeholders to promote the concept and actions aimed at implementing eco-efficiency.

 

Australia recognises the highly significant environmental and scientific value of our forests. The Federal and State/Territory governments have agreed to a National Forest Policy which has, as key goals, the development of internationally competitive and ecologically sustainable wood production and wood products industries and the development of a comprehensive, adequate and representative forest reserve system . 

The Federal Government has endorsed a Wood and Paper Industry Strategy to encourage international competitiveness, value-adding and investment in these industries. This Strategy recognises the continued reliance of Australia's wood and paper industries on resources from native forests, plantations and recycled fibre, and that future industry growth will be predominantly based on plantation and farm forestry resources. In this regard Federal and State/Territory Ministers have endorsed a goal of trebling the national plantation estate by the year 2020. A national plantation strategy is being developed in consultation with industry to achieve this goal. 

In 1994 the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed on a national framework for water reform which comprises a strategic package of interrelated economic and environmental reforms to bring about more efficient and sustainable consumption and management of the nation's water resources, through changes in both supply and demand management. It embraces elements such as pricing reform, the reduction or elimination of cross-subsidies and making subsidies transparent, clarification of property rights, allocation of water to the environment, and adoption of trading arrangements in water. National coordination of issues relevant to implementation is the responsibility of the Agriculture and Resource Management Council of Australia and New Zealand (ARMCANZ), the Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council (ANZECC) and where appropriate, the Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council and the Ministerial Council for Planning, Housing and Local Government. Full implementation of the framework by the year 2001 should lead to significant changes in pricing, allocation and management of water supplies for more efficient and ecologically sustainable water consumption. 

The compliance of the States and Territories with the Water Reform Framework has been linked with the National Competition Policy. Under this arrangement, implementation and continued observance of the COAG Water Reform Framework will be a requirement for State and Territories to receive their tranches of the Competition payments.

Australia's policy on waste management is guided by the National Waste Minimisation and Recycling Strategy which sets a national target to reduce waste going to landfill by fifty per cent by the year 2000, based on 1990 per capita figures. Other relevant strategies include the ANZECC Green and Organic Waste Management Strategy, which set targets of 60% for the reduction of green and organic waste and provides management guidelines; the ANZECC Industry Waste Reduction Agreements set material specific waste diversion targets for the packaging industries, including source reduction and recycling targets; and the ANZECC Wastestream Analysis and Reporting Protocol, which provides guidelines for collection and inputing of waste data to the Australian Waste Database. ANZECC is currently negotiating the National Packaging Covenant, which is based on the principle of shared responsibility, will encompass the entire consumer packaging chain and will be supported by nationally consistent legislation. 

Reduction of the use of chemicals is an important issue in moving to sustainable consumption and production. The Australian Government has adopted a National Strategy for the Management of Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals which identifies a priority of reducing reliance on chemicals. 

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement 

Representatives of the major groups are constantly involved in working with governments to develop policies and programs to address environmental issues, including those targeting sustainable consumption and production. For example, the draft national cleaner production strategy was developed by a Taskforce including representatives of all levels of government, trade unions, community groups, environment groups, academics and industry. Negotiation of the National Industry Waste Reduction Agreements and the National Packaging Covenant were undertaken with representatives from the Commonwealth, State, Territory and Local Governments, non-government organisations, and industry. Similar consultation processes have been undertaken during the development of forest, energy and water initiatives. 

Programmes and Projects 

Reform of energy markets is a key element in the Government's micro-economic reform and environmental agenda. The National Electricity Market is set to commence, while proposed gas market arrangements are near to agreement. The new arrangements will improve efficiency in the existing delivery of energy services, leading to environmental as well as economic gains. Prices increasingly will reflect the true costs of energy provision, and there will be no discrimination between any particular energy source or technology. This will allow efficient competition from the whole spectrum of new and innovative energy technologies. 

Australia has an energy labelling scheme for whitegoods which has had a large impact on purchasing patterns of these products. It is run by the Australian Greenhouse Office.   An Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Experts Workshop on Sustainable Water Consumption was hosted in 1997 by Australia in Sydney as part of their Programme on Sustainable Consumption and Production. Environment Australia sponsored seven non-OECD countries from within the region to participate in the Workshop.

 

Waste minimisation and recycling schemes are available to most of Australia's population. More recently, governments have gone beyond the focus of recycling and towards waste minimisation and product stewardship to improve current levels of consumption and resource use, and to share the cost of waste management across the entire production chain.

A Best Practice Environmental Management Program (BPEM) in mining promotes practices consistent with the principles of ecologically sustainable development and to ensure that mining can occur without compromising the quality of life for any community or damaging the health of the environment. The program also seeks to promote continual improvement in environmental management among all Australian companies and provide information internationally to help in the understanding and application of best practice environmental management in mining.

Status 

The efficiency of resource use differs in Australia depending on sector and type of activity. Australia has energy efficiency targets under the Kyoto Protocol. The National Waste Minimisation and Recycling Strategy targets the reduction of waste going to landfill by 50% of 1990 levels, by the year 2000. Recycling levels are high for a range of recyclables in Australia, particularly aluminium cans and paper. 

Industry has adopted a range of methods and processes to assist in achieving more sustainable production, such as life cycle assessment (being utilised by some of the larger corporations particularly in the building products sector), environmental reporting (again primarily the larger companies at this stage, particularly in the mining sector), cleaner production approaches, and environment management systems (currently approximately 100 sites in 40 organisations have been certified to ISO 14001, with a number of other companies having developed environment management systems without seeking certification). Many companies have undertaken environmental audits (for some years the Federal industry Department ran a program giving financial assistance to companies to undertake environmental audits). 

A robust and competitive energy services market is already appearing. On the demand side, energy retailers are gearing up to provide integrated packages, including energy efficiency and smart metering, to meet customers' energy service needs. On the supply side, there is renewed interest in establishing co-generation and remote area power systems projects. These new technologies have the potential to significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts from the energy sector. 

Challenges

The major constraint is competition for funding and other resources to put towards such activities. Nevertheless, there is substantial expenditure in Australia on activities to ensure more sustainable consumption and production.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

Governments, community and environment groups and industry associations have undertaken a range of activities aimed at educating industry and the community on the need for more sustainable consumption and production. These activities have included workshops, newsletters, information through the media including television advertising, and provision of case studies and other material on the Internet through websites such as EnviroNET Australia. 

An example of encouraging community involvement in the education and capacity building process is "Integrated Catchment Management"(ICM). This approach encourages local communities to become directly involved in the management of catchments by participating in the planning, decision making and implementation of management plans. The communities are encouraged to adopt a sustainable management approach to water conservation and agricultural production on the basis that if problems are not addressed they will affect economic growth and the state of the environment. 

A further example is the Waste Reduction Accreditation Program (WRAP), conducted by Clean Up Australia (a non-government organisation) with funding from the Commonwealth Government, which promotes waste minimisation in retail outlets; and the WasteWise Construction Program, initially undertaken by five key construction organisations, has identified ways to significantly reduce waste in the construction and demolition industry. 

Information 

EnviroNET Australia is a network of databases on the Internet which has information on industry expertise, environmental technologies, education, and research and development. Through EnviroNET Australia people in Australia and overseas can access information which will help them identify Australian solutions to environmental problems. EnviroNET Australia contains three databases and three directories. They are:

There is a vast array of information on the Internet, handbooks, brochures, manuals, workshops and seminars, conferences, fact sheets, kits and shopfronts for providing advice. 

The National Pollutant Inventory (NPI) will encourage community awareness of sustainable production and consumption by providing access to consistent and reliable information about pollutant emissions in Australia, and the relative environmental impact of local industry and everyday activities. The information on the NPI will also help governments with environmental planning and management. The NPI has been developed as a National Environment Protection Measure (NEPM) through the National Environment Protection Council (NEPC). It is expected that data from the first NPI reporting year will be publicly available in early 2000. ( National Pollutant Inventory. and National Pollutant Inventory and accompanying documents.

Environment Australia and the Australian mining industry have collaborated to identify best practice principles and practices in 27 key environmental issues facing the mining sector. Booklets are being prepared on each of these issues with 16 published to date. A system of databases has been prepared which provides information specific to environmental issues in mining.They are being developed and made available through an arrangement with an environmentally focused peak industry body, the Australian Minerals and Energy Environment Foundation. 

The study "More with Less - Initiatives to Promote Sustainable Consumption" was commissioned to review and investigate current and potential initiatives in Australia to change consumption patterns, categorise current initiatives and assess the relative success of each measure in affecting consumption in a manner which reduces its environmental impact. The report also identifies further areas of activity which offer significant potential for measures to reduce the environmental impact of consumption. 

 

Research and Technologies   

 

Environmentally sound technologies are promoted by all environment agencies at the Federal and State/Territory level.

Through the Renewable Energy Equity Fund (REEF), Federal funding will be made available specifically for the commercialisation and application of renewable energy technologies through the provision of equity finance. Government funding will be provided to one licensed fund manager and invested along with private capital on a 2:1 basis.

The Australian taxation system provides a concessional deduction for research and development (R&D) activities. One hundred twenty-five percent of eligible expenditure is deductible and items of R&D plant are deductible over three years. The concession is available to all companies, but eligible activities must be systematic, investigative and experimental, and must involve either innovation or technical risk. Innovative sustainable technologies are being developed, for example solar photovoltaic cells as an alternative energy source for residential use.

Financing 

Finance generally comes from government budgets, but industry associations and individual companies also contribute to specific projects. 

 

Cooperation

 

The Australian aid program provides funds for many activities with developing countries, which will assist in improving consumption and production patterns. For example in Indonesia and the Philippines, AusAID is contributing $A26.7 million for the installation of solar energy systems in rural areas. Australia also funds several activities aimed at improving water resource management, including the development in China of an action program for the water sector. This $A1.5 million activity will assist the Chinese government to address water resource problems such as pollution, environmental degradation, water shortages, and fragmented water management at provincial and national levels. 

Environment Australia has also undertaken bilateral activities in the Region. Recent activities have included workshops on cleaner production in China, Thailand and Indonesia and cleaner production demonstration projects in Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.

A Review Meeting of the OECD Sustainable Consumption and Production Programme was also hosted by Australia, in Sydney, in February 1997, to discuss progress to date on the Programme; provide future directions for the work; prepare a report to OECD Environment Ministers; and develop key messages for the UNCSD Fifth Session and UNGASS.

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Australia to the 5th and 7th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: February 1999.

Click here for the National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development

Click here for the the Australian Waste Database.

Click here for a draft national cleaner production strategy - 'Towards Sustainability: Achieving Cleaner Production in Australia'.

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FINANCING

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

The Commonwealth Government recognises the need to provide a secure funding base for initiatives addressing Australia's environmental and ecologically sustainable development challenges.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations  

Financing sustainable development involves both expenditure to prevent or ameliorate poverty and environmental degradation, and the use of fiscal instruments (such as taxes, charges, licence fees) to improve decision making by incorporating social and environmental costs into price signals. Australian jurisdictions have a number of specific environmental taxes and charges in operation, including load based licensing, and the Commonwealth Government is exploring issues associated with the use of emissions trading systems in the context of meeting our climate change commitments. A number of implicit historical subsidies to natural resource use have also been identified, and policies are now in place which have eliminated or are reducing these.

Environment Australia has identified a number of possible economic and environmental subsidies to the use of natural resources, some of which may contribute to unsustainable activities or practices. Forms of economic subsidies included public outlays, favourable tax treatment, concessional financing, under-recovery of the cost of resource management by public sector agencies and an absence of user charges. The significant financial subsidies identified relate to past decisions, however, and government polices are now in place which have eliminated or are reducing these subsidies.

More information is available in the 1996 report on Subsidies to the use of Natural Resources, Environmental Economics Paper No.2, Environment Australia, Canberra ( http://www.environment.gov.au/ ? see under publications, economics¡¯).

Significant direct foreign investment in Australia must be approved under the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975. Foreign investment proposals which may have environmental implications are forwarded to the relevant government agencies (such as Environment Australia) for advice and comment. If it is considered that the proposed investment may be environmentally significant it may be designated under the Environment Protection (Impact of Proposals) Act 1974. This results in the decision being deferred until an environmental assessment has been completed.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans   

The environmental aspects of sustainable development are addressed in the bilateral aid program on two levels: by ensuring that environmental impact is considered in the design and implementation of all activities undertaken by the Australian aid program; and by building a portfolio of projects with specific environmental objectives. The Australian aid program is also currently implementing a comprehensive review of its in-house environmental systems and practices.

Australia'ssocial security system is focused on poverty relief and income redistribution, and is funded through the general taxation system. Income support payments are determined with regard to a person'scircumstances and current capacity for self-support. Payments are uniform, with the same rate of pension or benefit being provided to everyone in like circumstances regardless of their previous earnings. (This contrasts with systems providing earnings-related entitlements, which are often funded through payroll taxes or other employment based levies.) Australia bases eligibility for social security payments on permanent residency rather than citizenship. Social security payments are not time-limited and are paid subject to the claimant satisfying eligibility requirements, such as specified income and assets tests.

The broad social protection framework is underpinned by an economic strategy which aims to ensure the present and future well-being of Australian people, including through substantial public sector involvement in health and education. The approach taken when developing social policy is one that aims to address challenges by drawing on values such as independence, tolerance, self-reliance, and upholding an obligation to other members of the community.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement   

No information is available

Programmes and Projects 

The Australian aid program supports a range of international environment organisations and programs that help address environmental concerns at cross-border, regional and global levels. This includes support for the Montreal Protocol Fund (A$28.2 million committed 1991-99); the Global Environment Facility (A$115 million 1991-99), UNEP (A$0.5 million FY 1999-2000), and the South Pacific Environment Program (A$1.2 million annually). Funding is also provided to the Multilateral Development Banks (A$226 million FY 1999-2000) and United Nations development organisations (A$59 million FY 1999-2000) which have an environment focus in many of their program activities.

Status 

There are a number of environment-related taxes or levies in operation in Australia. At the Commonwealth Government level these include the jet aircraft noise levy, and an excise differential favouring unleaded fuel. These instruments have resulted in the use of quieter aircraft at affected airports, and a significant reduction in the use of leaded fuel. A number of States have adopted or are considering emissions or effluent licensing regimes that link fees to environmental impacts. The New South Wales load based licensing regime came into force in July 1999, building on the general approach adopted by South Australian in setting license fees for discharges into tidal waters. South Australia has also operated a deposit refund system for beverage containers since 1977.

Numerous Australian jurisdictions make use of specific environmental charges, including the federal Great Barrier Reef tourist visitor charge (1998 onward) which funds research and park management costs, the Sydney Water Board Special Environmental Levy (1989-93) dedicated to the improvement of beaches, rivers and waterways, and a range of local government levies and charges used to fund activities including the protection of waterways, revegetation and other environmental improvements, and the purchase of remnant bushland. Many of these instruments are described in the paper on Environmental Incentives: Australian experience with economic instruments for environmental management (http://www.environment.gov.au/) cited above.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

Australian reporting to international or intergovernmental bodies on issues related to financing sustainable development occurs predominantly in the context of our contributions to the Global Environment Facility and other aid contributions to environmental organisations and programs. More detail on Australiacontribution to financing sustainable development through overseas development assistance is provided in Australia'sbackground summary, and on the AusAID Internet site (http://www.ausaid.gov.au/).

A number of official reports and papers touching on these issues have also been produced as part of domestic processes.

Research and Technologies 

No information is available

Financing  

Recognising the importance of the health of the environment to economic, social and conservation objectives, the Federal Government has established a A$1.5 billion Natural Heritage Trust. The Natural Heritage Trust is largely funded by the partial sale of a publicly owned telecommunications utility. Like many governments, the Commonwealth Government is under fiscal pressure, and in examining alternatives to taxation or borrowing, has decided that the short term financial gains derived from the sale of a public asset should be used to establish a long term investment in Australia's environment for current and future generations.

Cooperation

In the 1999-2000 fiscal year, Australia will provide A$1.5 billion in official overseas development assistance (ODA). This is expected to equate to an ODA/GDP ratio of 0.25 per cent. The 1999-2000 budget places a high priority on continuing to help the countries affected by the East Asian financial crisis restore their economies and address social concerns including the environment.

Considerable support is also provided for a range of environment-focused activities through bilateral program channels. Many country programs, including Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, the Philippines, Solomon Islands and Vietnam, include activities specifically targeted at environmental issues. In 1998-99 the aid program spent A$51 million on activities directly targeted at the environment in the institutional strengthening, water resources, land management and renewable energy sectors. An additional A$88 million was spent on water supply & sanitation, agriculture and forestry and fisheries projects with an indirect but significant environmental component.

* * * 

This information was provided by the Government of Australia to the 5th, 6th, and 8th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: December 1999.

For information about issues and projects in Asia and the Pacific from the World Bank, click here:

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TECHNOLOGY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

The Australian Industrial Property Organisation (AIPO) is responsible for the administration of patents, trade marks and designs rights in Australia. Other types of intellectual property rights are dealt with by other agencies. Copyright and circuit layouts are the responsibility of the Attorney General's Department whereas Plant Breeders rights are administered by the Department of Primary Industries and Energy.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations

The legislation administered by AIPO includes the Patents Act 1990, the Trademarks Act 1995, the Designs Act 1906, and all associated Regulations. This legislation does not specifically seek to promote investments related to the transfer of Environmentally Sound Technologies (ESTs). It does, however, provide protection in relation to technologies of all kinds including ESTs.

 

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans 

 

A National Strategy for Cleaner Production is currently being developed that will address the need for the development and promotion of Environmentally Sound Technologies (ESTs). There exist a number of programs that, although their main purpose is not to promote ESTs, either have funded projects or indirectly supported the development and promotion of ESTs or their transfer to developing countries.

There are various sectoral strategies for the promotion of ESTs. For example, the Prime Minister's November 1997 Statement, 'Safeguarding the Future: Australia's Response to Climate Change' includes a number of measures to address both the greenhouse and noxious emissions of new motor vehicles. Under the Strategy, motor vehicle companies will identify initiatives for improving the environmental performance of vehicles, such as the application of fuel efficiency technologies and the development of alternative fuel vehicles. The Strategy also provides for improved fuel efficiency targets and a tightening of noxious vehicle emission standards for new motor vehicles. These targets and standards should further encourage manufacturers to investigate and develop vehicles incorporating environmentally sound technologies.

 

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement   

 

The Private Sector Linkages Program (PSLP) was developed in response to the high priority placed on private sector development by many developing countries in the Asia-Pacific region. These countries recognise the importance of the private sector to sustainable economic and social development. The PSLP is funded under the Commonwealth Government's overseas aid program and is managed by AusAID. The PSLP promotes sustainable development by harnessing the expertise and capacity of Australian enterprise to work with counterpart organisations in developing countries. A recent review of the PSLP concluded that it has resulted in significant benefits to developing countries in areas including technology transfer. PSLP activities are short term (up to 12 months) and can involve pre-investment and feasibility studies, demonstration and adaptation of Australian technology, training and exchanges. Grants of between $25,000 and $250,000 may be provided on satisfactory completion of the activity on a cost-sharing, one-off basis. 

The private sector works with Government and other organisations such as the CRC for Waste Management and Pollution Control to develop opportunities for transfer of technologies and services. Environment Australia cooperates closely with Austemex, the export arm of the Environment Management Industry Association of Australia, in developing strategies to enhance the awareness of and the business of Australian environment management companies in the Asian region.

 

Programmes and Projects 

 

The Commonwealth Industry Department has a number of programs aimed at industry development that assist with the promotion of ESTs. A number of these are described below:

1.        Cooperative Research Centers (CRCs) are collaborative research ventures bringing together researchers from universities, the public sector and business. There are a number of CRC's with link to technology and sustainable development.

·         The principal objectives of the Center for Renewable Energy are to 1) undertake strategic research in generation, storage, power conditioning, energy efficiency and systems integration; 2) perform effective demonstrations, delivering systems to displace fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emission; 3) present a strategic policy framework to government and energy agencies which can help provide the basis of a viable renewable energy industry in Australia; and 4) provide a resource of trained energy technologists and serve as a prime point for the dissemination of research information.

·         The research focus of the CRC for Waste Management and Pollution Control covers all aspects of the waste management hierarchy, from waste minimization (reduction, recycle, reuse) through to treatment and disposal. All elements of waste are considered, including liquid waste, solid waste, gaseous emissions and site contamination; although the emphasis is on liquid waste as this is the niche of Australia's greatest ability. A particular emphasis is placed on waste management practices that could assist Australian industry. A good example is the program on management and disposal of wastes from intensive rural industries, such as abattoirs.

·         The Renewable Energy Industry Program aims to encourage the development of a viable, internationally competitive, Australian renewable energy industry by reducing barriers to commercialization and market development of leading edge Australian renewable energy technology. It also aims to encourage the uptake of renewable energy in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

2.        The R&D Start Program is a program of grants to industry to promote R&D in small to medium sized enterprises by supporting projects that: 1) aim to produce a clearly defined product, process or service; 2) clearly demonstrate a high degree of commercial potential; 3) provide national benefit; and 4) would not proceed satisfactorily without the financial assistance.

The objective of these grants is to foster collaborative research and development and related activities between industry and research institutions. The proposals must aim at establishing new links between a company and a research institution. Funding is available to support a graduate working on a specific company-based R&D, or an R&D related project. Although not specifically aimed at sustainable development technologies, there have been a number of relevant technologies funded under this program e.g.;

3.        The Ultra Clean Coal (UCC) R&D Program aims to produce an alternative, replacement fuel, based on a variety of black coals, for markets currently addressed by heavy fuel oil, such as for electricity generation in many parts of the world. It is intended that UCC will develop a fuel with similar characteristics to fuel oil, although with a lower sulphur content, low residual ash deposits, and with very low NOx and SOx emissions. Maximum grant offered $7,490,000.

4.        The Innovative Integral Power Conditioner for solar electricity applications is an attempt to enable low cost, high efficiency solar cells to be directly connected to urban electricity systems at a price competitive with all other forms of electricity generation. Maximum grant offered $2,995,000.

5.        The Technology Support Centers Program facilitates the establishment of a national network of technology support centers to improve industry's access to sources of technology and technical advice. In forming the network, a variety of existing centers will be encouraged to join together, across State and Territory boundaries, to respond to specific industry needs. 

6.        The purpose of the Forest and Wood Products Research and Development Corporation (FWPRDC) is to promote effective research and development which advances an internationally competitive, sustainable and environmentally responsible forest and wood products industry in Australia. 

7.        The Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) aims to manage research which will make for an innovative, efficient and profitable Australian rural sector, producing and marketing quality, differentiated products from ecologically sustainable production systems into world markets. Its goals include improving the capture of the benefits of its R&D investment and enhancing innovation in the rural and related sectors.

       Research organizations such as the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization (ANSTO) promote collaboration between Australia and developing countries. For example, CSIRO has formal agreements with counterparts in Asia and Pacific countries aimed at specific technical or environmental concerns. These include projects on coastal zone management, marine ecosystems and ocean current measurement.

 

The Federal Government has been active in demonstrating that product redesign can reduce a product's environmental impact. It has provided financial assistance to the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology's (RMIT) Centre for Design to assist with helping companies redesign their products to reduce environmental impact and improve international competitiveness. The "EcoReDesign" initiatives at RMIT are some of the first in the world and include a recyclable kettle, resource saving dishwashers, an environmentally friendly office furniture system, a water saving device, a packaging collection and recycling system, and a vending machine. All these products have been redesigned to lessen their environmental impacts.

Technology transfer programs are run by various industry associations to promote the use of environmentally friendly technologies within Australia. These programs can range from seminars to the publication and promotion of environmentally sound products and practices in industry publications. Last year the Australian Business Chamber ran a series of breakfast seminars aimed at small to medium industries, and this year it is planning a program aimed at the energy practices of the same sector.

Status 

Environmentally Sound Technologies (ESTs) and non-technological solutions are required in a range of economic sectors in Australia. Given the dry nature of the Australian continent, water treatment, supply and reuse technologies are a high priority. These are necessary in the manufacturing, mining and agricultural sectors. Australia has already developed or adapted many technologies that address environmental issues in these sectors and would be appropriate for transfer to other countries. In particular Australia has expertise in wastewater treatment, mining and industrial site rehabilitation, monitoring equipment and environment consulting services.

Through the development and implementation of environmental standards there is, in general, an incentive to encourage environmentally sound technologies. For example, the mandatory use of unleaded petrol in cars built post-1985 has been supported by the economic incentive of a price differential between leaded and unleaded fuel. This approach has hastened the turnover of the car fleet to unleaded vehicles.  

The Australian environment industry is working to increase exports of environmental technologies and services, including cleaner production processes. The main body representing the Australian environment private sector is the Environment Management Industry Association of Australia (EMIAA). They have an export group that identifies market opportunities and develops a strategic approach to developing exports. The main focus is on the Asia and Pacific region. The EMIAA estimates that the Australian environment industry earns around $500 million per year from exports much more than 70 countries.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

The Commonwealth Environment Department has sponsored a number of workshops in the Asia region that have presented information on environment management technologies. Workshops have been undertaken in Indonesia, China, Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia. These workshops have been presented by Australian industry representatives who are able to provide environment management technologies and services. Participants at the workshops from other countries have included Government representatives from environment and industrial Ministries as well as representatives from polluting and other industries requiring assistance with environmental management.

Most universities in Australia have institutions associated with them that are responsible for technology marketing and transfer. Examples include ANUTECH at the Australian National University and Insearch Ltd of the University of Technology, Sydney. In addition, Technology Parks associated with some universities provide a mechanism for bringing together stakeholders from industry and academia. An example is the Australian Technology Park (ATP) in Sydney, sponsored by the University of New South Wales, The University of Sydney, and the University of Technology, Sydney. The ATP will promote and assist the development of: 

Information 

The Commonwealth Government of Australia has developed a network of databases called EnviroNET Australia, which has information on Australian environment technologies as well as environment management expertise, education, and research and development. Through EnviroNET, people can access information which will help them identify Australian solutions to environment problems. The databases that make up the network include: 

EnviroNET Australia has many links to other useful environment and technology Internet sites. In addition, Australia has been involved in setting up a Database for Sustainable Development via the Federation of Engineering Institutions in South East Asia and the Pacific (FEISEAP). The Federation promotes the concepts of sustainable development and the need for the engineering community to incorporate sustainable development principles in all phases of engineering activities.

Environmental indicators are a relatively new field, and research is progressing in some areas. The Land and Water Resources R&D Corporation and the Grains and Meat R&D Corporation are respectively developing indicators of sustainable production systems. Individual agencies are also developing specialist electronic databases. To encourage research and further development of Australia's environmental industries, environmental technologies have been declared 'generic' by the Government under the generic technologies grants scheme for industrial research. 

Research and Technologies 

No information is available

 

Financing 

The Asia Program has provided around $2 million over the last three years for projects in the region that include trade missions, workshops, training, demonstration projects and feasibility studies for larger scale projects. Funding is to continue at $245,000 per year.

The Commonwealth Government of Australia contributes approximately $140 million per year, and State Governments also contribute significant financial and 'in-kind' resources, through the Cooperative Research Center (CRC) Program, to the Centers. Industry has already made commitments of more than $400 million for the period of the seven-year contracts.

Around $4.8 million has been provided under the Renewable Energy Industry Program. In November 1997 the Commonwealth Government of Australia announced a package of measures intended to address greenhouse gas emissions. This package included funding over five years for the following: 

·        A Renewable Energy Innovation Investment Fund (REIIF) to provide funding specifically for the facilitation of commercialization and application of renewable energy technologies. All initial investments will be required to be in the early stages of company development. Government funding will be provided through licenses to REIIF fund managers on a competitive basis and invested along with private sector funding on a 2:1 basis ($21.0 million provided);

·        A Renewable Energy Technology Commercialisation Loans and Grants Program to provide support and promotion of, strategically important renewable energy initiatives that have strong commercial potential. This will be integrated with the existing Renewable Energy Industry Program ($29 million provided); and

 

·        A Renewable Energy Showcase. A few leading edge "showcase" projects will be selected via competitive tender for seed funding and/or promotion. These could include projects, which are close to becoming commercial, such as tidal power projects, solar thermal projects and a central photovoltaic generation project in a technology park. ($10 million provided). 

The other approach to this issue in Australia has been through the provision of incentives for research and development. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) provides approximately $80 million per annum to environmental research. A proportion of these funds is directed towards the development of new and improved technologies to assist in environmental management.  The Commonwealth also provides a tax deduction of 125% for eligible research and development expenditure, including environment-related research. This funding is provided for a very broad range of environmental issues.

 

Cooperation

 

With regard to international agreements, Australia is Party to the following agreements and treaties: 

The Australian Government has assisted with promoting the transfer of environment technologies and services through the Environmental Co-operation with Asia Program. The objective of this program is to: 

Development assistance has a crucial role to play in achieving ecologically sustainable development objectives and therefore the transfer of ESTs. The Australian Agency for International Development, AusAID, funds many bilateral and multilateral programs which play an important role in these areas. Examples of activities include: Private Sector Linkages Program , Australia Economic Cooperation Program (ASEAN), AusAID Initiated Research Project in Water Resources Management, a Vietnam Provincial Water Supply and Sanitation Project and Hyderabad Hazardous Waste Management Project in India.

Recognizing the role of industry and business in ESD, the Australian aid program also provides a wide spectrum of support for the development of a vibrant private sector in developing countries. The Australian program's mix of policies, such as training programs and infrastructure improvement, and newer initiatives, including support for micro-enterprise development and assistance to adjust to the post-Uruguay Round trading environment, provide a strong basis for encouraging private sector growth.

 

* * * 

This information was provided by the Government of Australia to the5th and 6th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: 1 June 1998.

Click here for more information about the Australian Technology Park (ATP).

Click here for links to EnviroNET Australia.

For more information about activities of the Federation of Engineering Institutions in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, click here.

BIOTECHNOLOGY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

The overall responsibility for regulatory policy governing gene technology rests with the Department of Industry, Science and Tourism. However, the responsibility for biotechnology policy is widely dispersed among Federal and State Government portfolios, particularly those responsible for health, agriculture and the environment.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations  

The voluntary guidelines for notification and assessment of genetic manipulation work have been very up-to-date, but they have no legal force. Further options, including the possibility of new legislation for ensuring compliance, with research guidelines are being considered. Consideration is also being given to extension of the role of existing bodies in regulating the general release of genetically modified organisms.

The Genetic Manipulation Advisory Committee (GMAC) was established in 1987 to oversee the development and use of novel genetic manipulation techniques in Australia. GMAC assesses whether such work poses potential hazards to the community and the environment and, if so, recommends appropriate safety procedures and containment of organisms to researchers, commercial institutions and government regulatory bodies. Separate GMAC subcommittees consider proposals for contained work and for planned introduction of genetically modified organisms into the environment. Examples of planned releases of crop plants include subterranean clover with a sunflower albumin gene, virus resistant potato, lupins with herbicide resistance, and potato with decreased browning. GMAC also drafts and promulgates guidelines which specify procedures and containment levels. An integral part of the GMAC system is a network of Institutional Biosafety Committees (IBCs) in research institutes and companies throughout Australia. The IBCs monitor day-to-day genetic engineering work and ensure that GMAC's guidelines and specific advice are observed. GMAC participates in the development of biosafety concepts and principles undertaken internationally by the OECD.

Other bodies with an interest in biosafety include the Therapeutic Goods Administration, the National Registration Authority for Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals, the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS), the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission, Environment Australia and the Australia New Zealand Food Authority.

Regulatory bodies include public consultation phases within assessment procedures. The institutional Biosafety Committees include an independent member. NGOs have promoted a number of biotechnology issues, including: (1) the need for a biosafety protocol under the Convention on Biological Diversity; (2) the need to avoid restrictions on trade in biotechnology products, which are inconsistent with the non-discriminatory and other principles of the multilateral trading system; (3) the limitations, as well as the potential, of biotechnology to address agronomic, health or environmental problems in an integrated, safe and sustainable manner; (4) ethical issues surrounding the patenting of life forms; (5) the application of the precautionary principle to genetic engineering; (6) indigenous peoples' rights in relation to genetic resources; and (7) labelling of consumer products derived form genetically manipulated organisms.  

The Australian system of plant variety protection ensures breeders' intellectual property rights to new plant varieties. Australia's patent system is fully consistent with the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement. 

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans   

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement   

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

The Australian Government funds numerous research and development programs designed to increase the quality and efficiency of production of food, fodder, and renewable raw materials. Biotechnology projects include work on improving yields, quality, and post-harvest life; diagnosing and combatting plant and animal disease; reducing pesticide use; moving to more environmentally friendly herbicides; expanding plant capability to fix nitrogen, and improving food processing.

Most biotechnology projects for health and medical research are funded through the National Health and Medical Research Council (NH&MRC), the Cooperative Research Centre Program, or the Industry Research and Development Board and are focussed on molecular genetics, haematology, immunology, virology, parasitology, otology, microsurgery, diagnostics, and reproductive physiology. Biotechnology projects in agricultural industries are funded by rural industries research and development corporations as well as the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and State agricultural research institutes.

Status   

No information is available

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

Significant public information activities are undertaken by four major organisations. A Gene Technology Information Unit has been established to increase public awareness and understanding of gene technology. It develops and supplies high quality, objective and timely information on gene technology, both for schools and the general public and for "expert" communicators trained by the Unit. The CSIRO also runs workshops introducing biotechnology techniques to the public. The Australian Biotechnology Association publishes information pamphlets on various biotechnology topics. An important GMAC function is the publication of Public Information Sheets on planned release proposals, as well as general information presented through the Internet (Http://www.dist.gov.au/science/gmac/gmachome.htm), quarterly newsletter and annual reports.

The Australian National Genomic Information Service (ANGIS), established in 1991, assists research and development in molecular biology, genetic engineering and biotechnology through providing a databank of sequence data from nucleic acids and proteins. The Australian Proteome Analysis Facility is currently being set up to enhance research into the protein readout of the genome.

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation

Australia cooperates with FAO, WHO, CGIAR, the International Council for the Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders and the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease in biotechnology issues, e.g. through the Australian Centre for International Agriculture Research (ACIAR). Among the health initiatives by Australians in underdeveloped countries are important programs to combat blindness and chronic urinary infection in Africa.

CSL Limited has been designated as a key WHO Collaborating Centre for Influenza, and now operates as an international reference centre. A novel drug to combat influenza is being developed commercially by Biota Holdings Limited; this very promising drug has almost completed clinical trials and could receive regulatory approval in 1997.

A number of biotechnology related activities have been supported through ACIAR. These include: development of a vaccine to control screw worm, development of transformation and regeneration systems for peanut and papaya to provide disease resistance in Indonesia and Thailand, and training scientists from 14 countries in molecular biology techniques.

 

 * * *

This information was provided by the Government of Australia to the 5th session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: 1 April 1997.

Click here for the Genetic Manipulation Advisory Committee (GMAC)

Click here for information on a proposal for a Biotechnology Task Force has been proposed.

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INDUSTRY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

The Australian Government recognizes the central role played by business and industry in the economy and in efforts to move towards a more ecologically sustainable pattern of development. The Government has therefore involved industry closely in the development of strategies and initiatives aimed at promoting ecologically sustainable development.

There are a number of Ministerial Councils and associated fora, which are concerned with particular industry sectors. These fora include the Agriculture and Resources Management Council of Australia and New Zealand (ARMCANZ), the Australian and New Zealand Minerals and Energy Council (ANZMEC), the Industry, Technology and Regional Development Council, the Ministerial Council on Forestry, Fisheries and Aquaculture, the Australian Transport Council, the Housing Minsters' Conference, the Construction Industry Ministerial Council, the Australian Housing Council and the Australian Coal Industry Council. These Ministerial Councils and associated fora comprise relevant portfolio Ministers from the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments and, where appropriate, Ministers from New Zealand and industry representatives.  

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations

The Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council and the National Health and Medical Research Council have traditionally developed guidelines and standards for water quality, air quality and contaminated land, consulting other Ministerial Councils as appropriate. The National Environment Protection Council (NEPC) has released draft National Environment Protection Measures and the National Pollutant Inventory, Ambient Air Quality and Movement of Controlled Wastes across State Borders.

The National Strategy for Sustainable Development (NSESD), as a national framework agreement endorsed by all levels of Government in Australia, divests responsibility for the implementation of measures with governments and their agencies at the Commonwealth, State, Territory and local government levels, in partnership with the wider Australian community. This means that implementation of the Strategy is carried out by a wide range of agencies across all levels of Commonwealth government. All levels of government are required to report to the Council of Australian Governments on the progress of implementation of ESD-related measures in their particular spheres of responsibility and activity. 

Pollution discharge standards for industry are set in each Australian State or Territory jurisdiction. The National Quality Management Strategy Australian Water Quality Guidelines for Fresh and Marine Waters are used as the basis for negotiations for licensing of discharges from various enterprises, and can, in particular circumstances be used as the standard.

The Minerals Council of Australia has developed a Minerals Industry Code for Environmental Management . This Code is applicable to the minerals industry and provides a framework, which will lead to the continued improvement in environmental management and performance of signatory companies. To date 36 companies have signed up to the Code. This initiative has proven to be successful for achieving sustainable development of mineral resources while maintaining ecological values. The Electricity Supply Association of Australia has recently developed its own industry environmental code of practice. So far 34 companies have signed up.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans 

Industry growth strategies have been developed for a number of industries including dairy, horticulture and sugar industries. These strategies aim to improve farming systems and strengthen the linkages with the manufacturing sector through downstream value adding and export orientation.  With respect to agricultural industry, the Federal Government is pursuing the development of a comprehensive national Business Plan for Australian Agriculture, which will set out the vision for agriculture over the next ten years and identify the roles and responsibilities of all players. 

In the food sector the Government's new Supermarket to Asia Strategy is bringing together government and industry leaders to work on further improving the competitiveness of Australia's fresh and processed food exports to Asia. The implementation of the Strategy will be overseen by the Prime Minister's Supermarket to Asia Council. The Council comprises the Prime Minister and four other senior Government Ministers, and leaders from the farming, food processing, packaging, transport, research, trade union and retailing sectors. Initially, the Council is concentrating on five key issues: quality and sustainability; business competitiveness and productivity; trade and market development; communication; and transport and logistics. The Supermarket to Asia work will complement the Business Plan for Australian Agriculture, which the Government is developing, together with industry, as an outcome of the National Rural Finance Summit held in July 1996.

A Wood and Paper Industry Strategy was announced in 1995 and comprises a four year Federal Government initiative to encourage investment, value adding and jobs growth in the forest industries. The Strategy details actions to promote continued development of a diverse, internationally competitive industry based on ecologically sustainable management practices. It is a key element in integrating industry and conservation objectives for Australia's native forests and plantations.

 

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement   

 

Commonwealth and State governments assist Small to Medium enterprises to develop Environmental Management Systems for their enterprises through the AusIndustry Environmental Management System modules. These modules provide a framework for identifying opportunities for environment improvements and cost savings. Sub modules include Energy management and environmental accounting.

The transfer of environment technologies often occurs within the private sector. Environment Australia cooperates closely with Austemex, the export arm of the Environment Management Industry Association of Australia, in developing strategies to enhance the awareness of and the business of Australian environment management companies in the Asian region. Federal funding is assisting several companies to redesign individual products from an environmental as well as functional perspective.

 

Programmes and Projects   

 

A strong and growing environment industry serves to promote environment protection and has an underpinning role in supporting ecologically sustainable development. Environment Australia works collaboratively with the environment management industry and has a good working relationship with the peak industry body, the Environment Management Industry Association of Australia (EMIAA). There are a number of other programs aimed at facilitating the growth of the Australian environment industry. Industry has been encouraged to minimize environmental impacts through the Cleaner Production Program, the Best Practice Environmental Management Program, the National Water Quality Management Strategy and the Energy Audit Program. The Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council has also decided to develop a National Cleaner Production Strategy to help companies move from awareness of cleaner production to implementation and enable decisions with positive environmental benefits to receive high priority in normal business decision making processes.

 

The Commonwealth Coastal Action Program supports, among other actions, the development of industry codes of practice (with the initial focus on aquaculture, recreational fishing, planning and the tourism industry).   The Industry Innovation Program provides grants for research and development in environment technology. A government funded inquiry into urban air pollution is being conducted by the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences, and Engineering is investigating solutions involving environmental technology.  A Best Practice Environmental Management Program aims to encourage small and medium sized enterprises to use raw materials more efficiently, reduce solid and liquid waste discharges and increase recycling. 

Status 

There is a wide range of initiatives occurring within government and industry to encourage more sustainable practices. Industry has shown it can provide leadership in demonstrating best practice approaches, such as Alcoa's Rehabilitation Program at a Western Australian mine site, which was recognized by the United Nations Environment Program for its excellence and is now part of the Global 500. The Government has also provided assistance to industry to promote the adoption of environmentally sound practices

Industrial activities additionally contribute to global warming and thus the Government has set in motion some important and practical actions to further reduce the greenhouse effect. Key Government action includes, among others, a strong commitment to working with industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, particularly through the Greenhouse Challenge, a program of cooperative agreements with companies across the whole range of industry sectors.

Increasingly effective regulation of industrial waste discharges, and the adoption of effective environmental management systems and cleaner production principles have reduced the problems associated with industrial discharges.  In Australia, industrial activities are monitored through self-regulation by industry, and by State and Territory Environment Protection Authorities. Monitoring procedures are in place to ensure emissions into the environment are maintained within acceptable levels, and to ensure breaches to emission guidelines are minimized to reduce impacts on human health and the environment.

The most common emissions into the air from industrial and domestic sources are carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone precursors, sulfur dioxide, lead and particulates. The National Environment Protection Measure on Ambient Air Quality will establish national standards to monitor emissions of these six substances. Of the six, the emissions of greatest concern in urban areas are nitrogen dioxide, particulates, and, to a lesser extent, carbon monoxide. The most significant emissions from industrial sources are sulfur dioxide and particulates. The major source of sulfur dioxide emissions is industrial point sources with the largest source being metals smelting (i.e. smelting of mineral ores containing sulfur). Lead sources include the exhausts of vehicles fuelled by leaded petrol and particulate discharges from lead smelting. Less significant industrial sources are power generators (using sulfur containing fossil fuels) and oil refining.

Challenges

Significant issues in the longer term include disposal of wastes and associated rehabilitation of waste sites e.g., tailings from uranium mining, red muds from aluminium industry, zinc ferrites from zinc processing, final voids left by a variety of mining activities - especially coal, acid mine drainage from old rock dumps, tailings and mine sites. Current environmental management practices together with further research will assist industry in assessing and developing new methods for waste reduction associated with mining activities. Through its successful Best Practice Environmental Management in Mining Initiative, the Commonwealth, in partnership with Australian mining industry and the NGO community, encourages adoption of best environmental practice in the minerals industry.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

No information is available

Information 

The National Environment Industries Database aims to deliver, throughout Australia and its trading partners, information on technologies and skills currently available in Australia to solve environmental problems. The network is wide-ranging, including information on technologies, environmental education and training, legal services, research and development, government capability and consulting services. The network will be promoted to, and linked in where possible, with other international databases.

The National Pollutant Inventory (NPI) will be a database of pollutant emissions from local industry, and everyday activities that lead to diffuse emissions, such as use of motor vehicles. Through the NPI, the community will have access to consistent and reliable information about pollutant emissions in Australia. The information on the NPI will also help governments with environmental planning and management. When estimating emissions for the NPI, industry may become aware that certain manufacturing processes could be cleaner and/or more efficient.

Research and Technologies   

Apart from Government policies and programs that cover all agricultural sectors such as Landcare, the Government looks to promote sustainable growth within specific industries through agencies such as research and development corporations. Within the dairy industry, for example, the government supports the Dairy Research and Development Corporation (DRDC). The DRDC's objectives are to increase industry effectiveness, improve the social and environmental sustainability of dairying, and to achieve efficient use of R&D resources. 

The Australian primary industry R&D Corporation (RDC) model features a high level of industry involvement and priority setting, funding and management of research. This approach ensures effective and efficient R&D that is market driven and focused on areas with the highest returns for industry. It also provides for joint industry and government funding while separating funding from the performance of research. Its core is the proactive management of all aspects of R&D by expert management boards including strategic planning and priority setting, funding and facilitation, and commercialization and adoption of R&D outcomes. The development of sustainable rural industries is one of the key objectives in the legislation establishing the RDCs. Within the dairy industry, for example, the government supports the Dairy Research and Development Corporation (DRDC). The DRDC's objectives are to increase industry effectiveness, improve the social and environmental sustainability of dairying, and to achieve efficient use of R&D resources.

Financing 

No information is available

 

Cooperation

 

Recognizing the role of industry and business in ESD, the Australian aid program also provides a wide spectrum of support for the development of a vibrant private sector in developing countries. The Australian program's mix of policies, such as training programs and infrastructure improvement, and newer initiatives, including support for micro-enterprise development and assistance to adjust to the post-Uruguay Round trading environment, provide a strong basis for encouraging private sector growth. 

Australia also participates in the Cairns Group of agricultural exporting nations, with APEC and WTO. Australia also pursues agricultural trade issues on a bilateral basis.

 

* * * 

This information was provided by the Government of Australia to the 5th and 6th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: 1 June 1998.

Click here for more information on the National Strategy for Cleaner Production.

Click here for the Department of Primary Industries and Energy home page.

Click here for links to EnviroNET Australia.

Click here for Department of Industry Science and Tourism Homepage.

Click here for the Australian Seafood Industry Council homepage

Click here for the Bureau of Resources Sciences Homepage.

Click here for the Australian Fisheries Management Authority site.

Click here for the National Association of Forest Industry.

Click here for the Minerals Council of Australia Homepage.

For more information about minerals from the Australian Mineral and Energy Environmental Foundation, click here.

Click here for the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial research Organization.

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TRANSPORT

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

The Australian (sometimes referred to as Commonwealth or Federal) Government possesses significant constitutional powers relating to transport, particularly in terms of interstate and international trade and commerce. Its responsibilities for dealing with international transport matters are increasing as global approaches to international transport issues develop.

The Australian Government has increasingly withdrawn from direct ownership, provision and operation of transport infrastructure and services.  Current Australian Government responsibilities include:

 providing funding for relevant land transport infrastructure provision and maintenance (for example the National Highway System, the interstate rail network and Roads of National Importance);

The Australian Government also manages Australia’s contribution to, and participation in, international agreements and organisations, such as the transport-related groups of the Asia–Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO)

The States and Territories are responsible for all transport matters other than those for which the Australian Government has constitutional responsibility, or for which it has been ceded responsibility by the States. State/Territory responsibility includes integration of land use and transport plans, at the urban and regional levels within their respective jurisdictions.

The Commonwealth Department of Transport and Regional Services (DOTRS) has primary responsibility for Australian Government transport policy, programs and initiatives.  Other Australian Government agencies with specific transport-related functions include: the Civil Aviation Safety Authority; Airservices Australia; the International Air Services Commission; the Australian Maritime Safety Authority; and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.  Information on these bodies can be found at web-site address http://www.dotrs.gov.au/

Other Commonwealth Departments and agencies possess responsibilities which are relevant to transport-related issues (for example, Environment Australia and the Australian Greenhouse Office undertake work relating to the environmental impacts of transport). 

State and Territory Governments have established various departments of transport, planning, infrastructure and associated agencies, in accordance with the administrative and institutional arrangements within their specific jurisdictions. 

Federal, State and Territory Transport Ministers all participate in the Australian Transport Council (ATC), as does the New Zealand Transport Minister. The role of the ATC is to provide leadership on national and multi-jurisdictional transport issues. See web-site http://www.dotrs.gov.au/atc/index.htm for further information.  Australian, State and Territory Governments contribute funding to the National Road Transport Commission (NRTC).  The NRTC’s primary purpose is to advance and facilitate reform of the national road transport regulatory and operating environment, and to promote nationally consistent policies and practices. For further information, see web-site http://www.nrtc.org.au/. 

Transport Ministers recently endorsed the establishment of a National Transport Secretariat (NTS) to advise the ATC on the handling of cross-modal, cross-jurisdictional and strategic transport issues of national significance. The NTS’ work program includes consideration of the environmental performance of the transport system.

Road transport initiatives are also developed through Austroads, the association of Australian and New Zealand road transport and traffic authorities. Austroads is governed by a Council consisting of the Chief Executive of each member Department or agency.  It has responsibility for:

See web-site http:// www.austroads.com.au/ for further information.

All policies and regulations with the Australian Greenhouse Office’s ambit have been developed since the 1992 Rio Summit and reflect the aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 

Local governments are generally responsible for integration of land use and transport plans at the local level, as well as the maintenance and development of local roads and airports. Their land use planning role is important for investment decisions and management of transport-related environmental impacts in urban areas. The Australian Local Government Association participates in ATC and NRTC processes.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations  

The Australian Government maintains: an environmental management regime for Australian Government airports; a marine environmental control and pollution response program; and has prime responsibility for vehicle emission standards and fuel efficiency targets. It has also introduced a range of environmental measures associated with the introduction of the New Tax System.  These include the Diesel and Alternative Fuels Grants Scheme and the Alternative Fuels Conversion Program.  Also see web-site address http://www.greenhouse.gov.au/transport/alternative_fuel.html

Land transport

Much of the regulation and policy relating to land transport has been reviewed since 1992 to take account of, inter alia, technological change, efficiency and environmental impacts such air quality.

Australian Design Rules are established under Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989, and set out design standards for vehicle safety and emissions.

Information on Australia’s National Greenhouse Strategy (NGS) See also web-site address http://www.greenhouse.gov.au/

Module 5 of the NGS , ‘Efficient Transport and Sustainable Urban Planning’, targets emissions from passenger and freight transportation.  It encompasses a range of measures addressing vehicle and transport system technologies; urban planning to reduce reliance upon private motorised travel; and behaviour of transport users .

The Environmental Strategy for the Motor Vehicle Industry also employs a range of measures aimed at significantly enhancing the automotive industry’s environmental performance.  These include fuel consumption labelling, National Average Fuel Consumption targets, the Fuel Consumption Guide, and fuel consumption targets for the Australian Government vehicle fleet.  For further information on the Strategy and these related initiatives, see web-site address http://www.greenhouse.gov.au/transport/env_strategy.html

Maritime transport

Both the Australian and State/Territory Governments have regulatory and policy responsibilities for managing the impact of the shipping on the marine environment.  The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (http://www.amsa.gov.au/) administers many of these responsibilities on behalf of the Commonwealth (see web-site address http://www.amsa.gov.au/amsa/env.htm), particularly through measures to consistent with various International Maritime Organisation (http://www.imo.org/) treaties such as:

-  Annex I - oil

-  Annex II - noxious liquid substances

-  Annex III - harmful packaged substances

-  Annex IV - sewage

-  Annex V – garbage

-  Annex VI – air emissions

The National Plan to Combat Pollution of the Sea by Oil and other Noxious and Hazardous Substances (NATPLAN – see web-site address http://www.amsa.gov.au/me/natplan/natplan1.HTM) was established formally in 1973 and is managed by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) as a national strategy to respond to and combat marine pollution.  It maintains a national, integrated Government and industry organisational framework capable of effective response to marine pollution incidents in the marine environment. State and Northern Territory Governments and the shipping, oil, exploration and chemical industries work with AMSA to maximise marine pollution response capability.

Air transport

The Australian Government has responsibility for most aspects of aircraft operations, and the regulation of leased Federal Airports, under, inter alia, the following Acts and associated Regulations:

The Airports Act 1996 establishes a detailed cooperative regulatory regime for the environmental management of leased Federal airports, including protection of the atmosphere from airport operations. Australia is active within the International Civil Aviation Organisation in examining measures to reduce the environmental impact of aviation, concentrating on aircraft noise and protection of the atmosphere.  Regulations addressing aircraft engine emissions are consistent with internationally agreed standards, which were reviewed and amended in 1998.  The Air Navigation (Fuel Spillage) Regulations 1999 legislate against the spillage or unauthorised dumping of fuel by aircraft in flight. 

For more information see: http://www.dotrs.gov.au/airports/index.htm and

http://www.airservices.gov.au

Vehicle emission standards (known as the Australian Design Rules, (or ADRs) have been progressively tightened since their adoption during the 1970s (see web-site address http://www.dotrs.gov.au/land/vehicle/safety/adrs.htm).  ADRs set emission standards promoting realisation of the environmental benefits offered by new and evolving emission control and fuel efficiency technologies.  New vehicle emission standards are established as ADRs under the Motor Vehicles Standards Act 1989, and are subject to a complete review on a 10 year cycle (see web-site address http://www.dotrs.gov.au/land/vehicle/review/review.htm).  In the past, these standards have been largely based on US vehicle emission standards.  However, the 1997 Safeguarding the Future – Australia’s Response to Climate Change statement (http://www.greenhouse.gov.au/ago/safeguarding.html) identified harmonisation with international vehicle emission standards as the new Commonwealth goal.  New standards have been developed under the Australian Government’s Environmental Strategy for the Motor Vehicle Industry (1997).  These standards include a package of new emission ADRs that will require vehicles to meet European standards as follows:

·        Diesel vehicles

-  Euro 2 from 1 January 2002 for new light diesel vehicles and for all light vehicles from 1 January 2003

-  Euro 3 or US 98 from 1 January 2002 for all new medium and heavy duty diesel vehicles and from 1 January 2003 for all medium and heavy duty diesel vehicles

-  Euro 4 from 1 January 2006 for new diesel vehicles and for all diesel vehicles from 1 January 2007

·        Petrol vehicles

-  Euro 2 from 1 January 2003 for all new petrol vehicles and all vehicles from 1 January 2004

-  Euro 3 from 1 January 2005 for all new petrol vehicles and all vehicles from 1 January 2006

The Commonwealth Government is developing national fuel quality standards to facilitate the introduction of the new Australian vehicle emission standards mentioned in the previous paragraph. Under the Measures for a Better Environment Statement (http://www.greenhouse.gov.au/measures/index.html), Australia will investigate the effect of a low sulfur excise differential on diesel fuel of 1 cent from 2003 and 2 cents from 2004.  Further information can be found on the Internet at http://www.environment.gov.au/epg/fuel

Measures for a Better Environment

A number of initiatives with respect to the improved management of transport emissions and greenhouse gases were announced by the Commonwealth Government as part of the New Tax System for Australia.  These initiatives are described as the Measures for a Better Environment (see web-site address http://www.greenhouse.gov.au/measures/index.html). 

National Environment Protection Measure for Diesel and diesel vehicle emissions testing

In November 1996, work commenced on a proposal for a National Environment Protection Measure (NEPM), through the National Environment Protection Council to reduce the impact of diesel emissions on ambient air quality.  This Measure will specifically address the issue of emissions from the in-service diesel fleet.     

Emissions from the stock of existing diesel vehicles make up the bulk of particle pollution in urban areas. New vehicle standards only progressively improve performance as the stock is turned over. It is therefore important to minimise pollution from existing vehicles.

Under Measures for a Better Environment, the Government has provided resources to develop the Diesel NEPM over two years, and to establish:

Measures for a Better Environment allocated $10 million per year for 4 years from 2000/01 to support the development and implementation of in-service emissions testing capabilities for diesel and petrol vehicles, where diesel emissions testing is in connection with the development and/or implementation of a diesel NEPM.

Australian Design Rule 81/00 (Fuel Consumption Labelling for Light Vehicles) requires all new passenger and forward control vehicles, light commercial vehicles, and four wheel drives up to 2.7 tonnes gross vehicle mass, sold in Australia from 1 January 2001, to display a fuel consumption label.  The aim is to promote fuel consumption as a purchasing criterion for consumers.  Data on fuel consumption in litres per 100 kilometres will be displayed.  The AGO is developing a new Australian Design Rule that will raise the gross vehicle mass threshold to 3.5 tonnes from 1 January 2003.  See also web-site address http://www.greenhouse.gov.au/transport/comments.html

The Australian Government administers various programs providing incentives for the use of alternative transport fuels.  State and Territory governments exercise considerable responsibilities relating to the provision and use of public transport and infrastructure. 

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans   

The Australian Transport Council (ATC) has endorsed a Strategic Plan, which sets out the goal for the ATC "to maximize the contribution of transport to Australia's growth, productivity, quality of life and equity". On this basis the ATC seeks a transport system that will be effective and efficient, accessible, safe and sustainable. In relation to sustainability, the ATC seeks a seamless, integrated, cross-modal transport system which can be sustained in the long term, is sensitive to environmental issues, and achieves a positive impact in the interests of providers, stakeholders and the general community. The Commonwealth Department of Transport and Regional Development is in the process of preparing a draft policy for Australian Transport and Sustainable Development.

The Prime Minister's November 1997 Statement, 'Safeguarding the Future: Australia's Response to Climate Change' includes a number of measures to address both the greenhouse and noxious emissions of new motor vehicles. Under the Strategy, motor vehicle companies will identify initiatives for improving the environmental performance of vehicles, such as the application of fuel efficiency technologies and the development of alternative fuel vehicles. The Strategy also provides for improved fuel efficiency targets and a tightening of noxious vehicle emission standards for new motor vehicles. These targets and standards should further encourage manufacturers to investigate and develop vehicles incorporating environmentally sound technologies.

There is currently no national integrated strategy for urban planning, rural development, and transport infrastructure.  However, current initiatives administered through the Department of Transport and Regional Services are delivered within the context of a framework of objectives.  These objectives address strategic issues such as program balance and priority setting. The Department’s stated purpose is “A better transport system for Australia and greater recognition and opportunities for local, regional and territories communities.” A picture of the overall transport task, the outlook for transport, and priority issues as seen by the Department is the Commonwealth Transport Directions, published in 2000 (http://www.dotrs.gov.au/xmt/taskoutlook.htm )

Australian transport decision-making is, and will continue to be, influenced by population, technological, geographical and global economic factors.  These factors all figure in the design of solutions to Australian transport challenges, including addressing environmental impacts.  Land transport activity is particularly relevant, compared to other transport modes,  in contributing to environmental impacts due to the localised concentrations of land transport activity and infrastructure associated with Australia’s urban patterns.  As such, land transport impacts are particularly significant in relation to sustainable development. 

Module 5 of the National Greenhouse Strategy includes measures to achieve greenhouse gas emission reductions through integration of urban land use and transport planning. Measure 5.3 of the Strategy promotes best practice in transport and land use planning.  Eight projects are currently being implemented under this Measure.  These Measures concentrate on land transport, reflecting the dominance of the road transport sector in transport’s contribution to greenhouse gases. 

Australia is pursuing measures to ameliorate greenhouse emissions from aircraft and shipping through the International Civil Aviation Organisation (http://www.icao.org/) and International Maritime Organisation (http://www.imo.org/).  In general, approaches to address the environmental impact of both aviation and shipping are designed to be consistent with international obligations through these organisations.  

Expansion of transport infrastructure (road networks, railways, etc.)

Australia generally pursues development of national transport infrastructure in terms of defined strategies and priorities, rather than specific short and long term goals.  Nonetheless, an attempt has been made to identify the following data in these terms where possible. 

Rail

The Australian Government has separated provision of rail infrastructure from rail operations, and is in the process of privatising its rail carriers. The Government has established the commercially oriented Australian Rail Track Corporation, and is providing $250 million for investment in the interstate track network. (Short term goal)  The Australian Government is also working with the States to create a more uniform operating environment for the industry. (Long term goal)

The Government has also announced it will enter into negotiations with the states and the ACT to join it in a comprehensive scoping study to examine options for a Very High Speed Train network, linking Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, together with Canberra and major regional and coastal centres along the route. (Short term goal)

See web-site http://www.dotrs.gov.au/land/Rail/reform.htm for further information. 

Roads

The Australian Government is primarily responsible for maintenance of the National Highway System (NHS).  Recent assessments suggest that the National Highway will be generally able to cope with projected increases in road freight and light vehicle traffic.  There will be capacity implications, however, on limited sections of the National Highway, in and around the capital cities and major provincial centres.  While only about five per cent of the NHS is likely to experience capacity problems, the cost of addressing the problems is expected to be considerable.

The Roads 2020 study gives forecasts of expenditure required for investment and maintenance over the periods 1998 - 2005 and 2006 - 2020.  It estimates total expenditure required for the NHS over this 22-year period at $16.8 billion.  (Long term goal)

The Australian Government also provides funding for a number of declared Roads of National Importance, which complement the National Highway and have economic and social importance for Australians in regional areas. Funding of $148.7 million has been allocated for these roads for 2000-01. (Ongoing goal) .

Under the Federal Road Safety Black Spot Program, selected road crash Black Spot works are funded to $41 million in 2000-01.  The Federal Government also provides supplementary assistance to Local Government for spending on local roads through revenue-sharing grants. These grants supplement land taxes and rates funding used for roads. The Federal Government has no say in how this money is spent.  If a spending proposal is for a ‘local road’ (ie not a National Highway or a Road of National Importance), responsibility for funding it rests primarily with the relevant States/Territories and Local Governments. The Federal government is providing more than $406 million for local roads in 2000-01.  (Ongoing goal) .

The Federal Government recently announced an additional $1.6 billion dollar increase in investment for Australian roads.  Every dollar of this funding is over and above the existing budget allocations from the Federal Government for local roads, Roads of National Importance and National Highways.  (Short term goal).

Aviation

The Australian Government has recently conducted a comprehensive review of its international aviation policy, and is committed to further reforms. Long-term leases for Sydney Basin airports are to be offered for sale to the private sector.  (Short term goal)

 This follows long term leases on other Commonwealth airports being issued since 1996 as part of the Commonwealths strategy for private sector operation of airports within a regulated environment under the Airports Act 1996. (Short term goal) .

Sustainable fuel consumption

The Environmental Strategy for the Motor Vehicle Industry (see reply to question 4) requires negotiation of National Average Fuel Consumption (NAFC) targets for new passenger vehicles.  The Australian Government has set an expectation of a 15 per cent or better improvement in vehicle fuel efficiency over business-as-usual by 2010. (Long term goal)

 Reduction of vehicle emissions

The principal measures to reduce vehicle emissions are based on adoption of new vehicle emission standards and cleaner fuels.

Technical and assessment studies regarding the introduction of these new standards have been undertaken.  These studies identified a number of key constraints to introduction, including fuel quality.  National fuel quality standards, addressing these constraints, are currently being developed.  The Australian Government introduced national fuel quality legislation in 2000.  Under this legislation, harmonisation will occur for:

Table 1 gives the expected emissions reduction over time from the implementation of Euro 3 petrol in 2005 and Euro 4 diesel in 2006. (Short term goal)

 Table 1: Reductions in emissions – Euro 3 petrol in 2005, Euro 4 diesel in 2006

 

Pollutant

Emissions Reduction %

2000 – 2010

Emissions Reduction %

2000 - 2020

 

Hydrocarbons

20 – 25

29

 

Oxides of Nitrogen

34

69

 

Particulate Matter (PM10)

25

33

 

Benzene

51

72

 

Carbon Monoxide

45-51

66

Under the new standards, ultra low sulfur diesel (50ppm) will be mandatory from 2006.  Excise incentives are being considered for producers who supply the fuel ahead of 2006.

Australia is committed to harmonising its vehicle emission standards with those of the UN Economic Commission for Europe, wherever possible.  New Australian standards coming into effect over the 2002-2007 period reflect this commitment. Consideration of the future adoption of Euro 4 standards for petrol vehicles, and Euro 5 standards for diesel vehicles, will commence in 2001. (Short and long term goals).  

Upgrading of vehicle fleet

The Environmental Strategy for the Motor Vehicle Industry has called for a National Average Fuel Consumption target.  The AGO is currently preparing a strategy to achieve significant reductions in greenhouse emissions from the Australian fleet through fuel efficiency improvements and use of alternative fuels. (Ongoing goal).

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement   

Participation in decision-making processes is open to a range of non-government organisations, stakeholders, lobby groups and individuals, as appropriate.  The range of consultation methods includes:

Urban and rural Australia both have pressing needs for improved transport systems, as do groups with disabilities.

Urban areas

The efficiency, urban air quality and greenhouse costs of urban congestion are significantly high for Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.  BTE notes that even if urban public transport doubled its share of the urban transport task, private road vehicles would still carry 86 per cent of the task. Over the period 1995 - 2015:

Should these projections eventuate, the BTE considers that the resulting increases in volume to capacity ratios for urban roads (even allowing for a five per cent increase in network capacity) could see the future congestion costs rise as much as 3.5 times the current levels.

Regional/Rural areas

Regional and rural Australia is highly diverse and the provision of infrastructure is affected by a wide range of economic and social factors.  In some areas, falling population levels are affecting the viability of regional and rural communities. In locations with static or decreasing populations, it is difficult to maintain community services and attract new investment and new industries. Lack of adequate infrastructure can also hamper a region’s ability to attract industry. An efficient and effective transport system is integral to meeting the social and economic needs of regional, rural and remote communities, including Australia's external territories.

Groups with disabilities

Groups with disabilities require specific and specialised transport services. Endorsed draft standards for access to public transport have been developed under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.

Provision of transport services is now largely a private sector business activity. Governments are involved in aspects of infrastructure provision and some transport services are provided by government-owned operators. The private sector has significant ownership of aviation, maritime, road freight and some rail operations – for both passenger and freight movement. Private sector involvement in the provision and maintenance of infrastructure – including rail track, airport infrastructure, tollways and port infrastructure - is also increasing.  The private sector participates in decision-making processes related to matters of government responsibility.

Programmes and Projects   

Better meeting the commercial, private, and public needs for mobility in both urban and rural areas;

The following Australian Government policies, programs and initiatives are focussed towards the provision of adequate transport services for regional Australia:

However, primary responsibility for transport planning and infrastructure rests with State, Territory, and local governments.  Efforts to improve mobility in urban and rural areas include:

-  upgrades to regional and metropolitan arterial roads;

-         removal of bottlenecks and increased use of high occupancy vehicle transit lanes;

-         application of emerging Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) technologies such as the Drive Time and Dynamic Fairway systems;

See web-site address

http://www.doi.vic.gov.au/servlet/rwp-ps?/doi/internet/transport.nsf for further details on

Victoria’s transport initiatives. 

Promoting traffic efficiency, such as reduction of heavy traffic hours, provision of mass transport modes, etc.;

States have responsibility for managing the road system, and for regulating and in many cases owning urban mass transit operations (buses, trams and rails services).  There are many relevant programs in this area.

For instance, Queensland has in place a Traffic Management Strategy and an Intelligent Transport Systems Plan.  These documents will be integrated with the State Greenhouse Implementation Plan, the Road Use Management Strategy, and the next Road Network Strategy and Main Roads Corporate Plan.  Visit web-site address http://www.transport.qld.gov.au/home.nsf for further details. 

Victoria’s Metropolitan Strategy will, amongst other things, address the integration of land uses with transport infrastructure to maximise the use of public transport.  It will incorporate a Travel Demand Management Strategy promoting more efficient use of the existing transport system.  Measures to modify travel behaviour and encourage the use of alternatives to the motor vehicle will be investigated as part of the strategy development process. See web-site address http://www.doi.vic.gov.au/servlet/rwp-ps?/doi/internet/transport.nsf   for further details on Victoria’s transport initiatives. 

Improving efficiency in fuel consumption;

The Commonwealth Government’s Fleet First program assists fleet operators to improve business outcomes through practices that enhance fleet energy efficiency.  The Program provides member organisations with information and advice to promote best practice management in fleet efficiency, particularly reductions in fuel and vehicle maintenance costs.

Reducing emissions from transportation, such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter and volatile organic compounds;

For further information on Australian Government programs addressing carbon dioxide emissions refer to the following:

Reducing traffic-related accidents and damages;

The Australian Government retains a direct interest in road safety and regulates on vehicle safety and environmental matters. Some of the more significant initiatives are described below:

Speed, alcohol, fatigue, and use of seat belts are significant factors in road safety.  Road-user behaviour is being modified through coordinated programs combining public information, regulation, enforcement and appropriate penalties.  For example, seatbelt-wearing rates have increased to over 95 per cent.  This has been achieved through the introduction of ADRs requiring the fitting of seatbelts, mandatory wearing laws, public education, and enforcement,

Alcohol use has been targeted by: efforts to change public attitudes on the social acceptability of drink driving; vigorous application of law enforcement measures such as random breath testing; and low legal blood-alcohol limits.  Alcohol related road deaths have fallen significantly as a proportion of all road deaths.

The introduction of speed cameras has resulted in improved enforcement of, and compliance with, speed limits.  Public opinion is highly supportive of lower speed limits in residential areas and school zones.

Fatigue is a major cause of road fatalities and is being addressed by measures such as audio-tactile edge-lining, shoulder sealing, and public education on the need to take regular rest breaks on long trips.

See web-site address http://www.dotrs.gov.au/land/vehicle/safety/safehome.html for further information on safety issues. 

Promoting non-motorised modes of transport, such as cycle-ways, footways, etc.

The Department of Transport and Regional Services provides Secretariat services for the Australian Bicycle Council.  The Council was established in 1999 and comprises representatives from all spheres of government, road user groups and the bicycle industry. The Council is responsible for implementing Australia Cycling – The National Strategy 1999-2004. Australia Cycling provides a national framework to increase participation in cycling through pursuit of a number of objectives, such as promoting the building of cycle-ways.   See web-site http://www.dotrs.gov.au/atc/pubs/auscycling.pdf for further information. 

The Australian Transport Council has established a National Taskforce to coordinate the projects. Two of these eight projects have a research focus. These are: 

In addition to these projects, the Australian Greenhouse Office is jointly sponsoring two research projects with the Department of Transport and Regional Services:

The Bureau of Transport Economics (BTE) within DOTRS has a comprehensive research program on transport matters.  Current work program items include:

Austroads and the NRTC also undertake research and other activities to improve the design of the transport system. 

There are a number of other research organisations and institutes working on transport-related issues.  They include:

Status   

Through the development and implementation of environmental standards there is, in general, an incentive to encourage environmentally sound technologies. In Australia this is generally achieved through the identification of specific issues for which desired outcomes are sought and standards are developed. For example, the mandatory use of unleaded petrol in cars built post-1985 has been supported by the economic incentive of a price differential between leaded and unleaded fuel. This approach has hastened the turnover of the car fleet to unleaded vehicles. Considerable attention has been directed towards the improved understanding and management of urban airsheds with significant studies addressing regional air pollution in NSW, Western Australia, south-east Queensland and Tasmania. Lead emissions continue to fall in urban areas with the increased use of unleaded petrol and the reduction of lead levels within leaded petrol. Oil industry forecasts suggest that leaded petrol will cease to be available in Australia by between 2002 and 2007. 

 

Commonwealth's Transport Directions document (see http://www.dotrs.gov.au/xmt/taskoutlook.htm) for details.

Roads

The Australian, State and Local Governments all share responsibility for Australia’s 810 000 km roads network, which has an estimated capital value of more than $100 billion. Eighty per cent of this network consists of local roads, carrying less than 10 per cent of the traffic. The remaining 20 per cent of roads – comprising rural arterial roads, urban links and highways, including the National Highway – carry more than 90 per cent of the passenger and freight transport task. In turn, 20 per cent of the National Highway System (NHS) carries 72 per cent of NHS traffic. The National Highway is an 18,500km network of sealed interstate highways, linking Australia’s capital cities and many major towns. Figure 1 indicates where the National Highway and major State roads are most heavily trafficked.

Figure 1: Total traffic on the NHS, 1995–96 (units: Average Annual Daily Traffic)

 

Source: Bureau of Transport Economics estimates

Road Freight

In general, very little bulk freight is carried on the roads, particularly on the interstate network.  The roads network handled around 25 billion tonne–kilometres of non-bulk freight in 1994–95.

Rail

The interstate standard gauge rail network links all the mainland state capitals and the major ports.

Rail Freight 

The interstate rail network consists of 8 270 kilometres of standard gauge rail, which links all five mainland State capital cities and the major inter–modal ports. In 1997–98, interstate operators carried approximately 11 million tonnes of non–bulk freight.

Interstate rail freight accounts for approximately 40 per cent of the total non–urban road and public rail freight task (that is, excluding private railways transporting bulk products such as minerals to ports).

Rail currently dominates the freight market on the east–west corridor (Adelaide–Perth, Sydney–Perth and Melbourne–Perth), having 69 per cent of the market share (roads 31 per cent). However, rail handled only 29 per cent of the north–south (Melbourne–Sydney and Sydney–Brisbane) inter–capital non–bulk freight flows in 1996. Service levels, rail system congestion through Sydney, and quality of the infrastructure were factors in this situation.

The interstate rail network carried 2.5 million tonnes of bulk freight in 1994–95 (based on data obtained from rail operators in each State). Figure 2 and 3 show the location of freight movements on the interstate rail network, taken from FreightInfo 1995-96.

Figure 2: Inter–capital non–bulk rail freight movements, 1995–96 (‘000 tonnes)

 

Source: Bureau of Transport Economics estimates, FreightInfo96™.

Figure 3: Bulk and major commodity1 rail freight movements over interstate systems, 1995–96 (‘000 tonnes) 

   

Source: Bureau of Transport Economics estimates, FreightInfo96™

1.  Commodities included as bulk and major commodities are: Non–metallic minerals, Metallic minerals (except Iron Ore from the Kimberleys), Coal, Crude Oil, Petroleum, Natural Gas, Fertiliser, Steel, Grains, Livestock, Forest Products, Milk, Fruit & Vegetables, Other Bulk

Aviation

Airports: Sydney is the busiest airport in the country, with around 22 million annual Revenue Passenger Movements (RPM). Melbourne is the next largest with 14 million RPM, followed by Brisbane with nearly 10 million RPM. Airports with over a million RPM include all State/Territory capitals (except Hobart), Cairns and Coolangatta.

International passenger: Scheduled international passenger traffic to/from Australia grew by an average of 7.8 per cent per year over the ten years to December 1997.  It has slowed to 3.7 per cent per year over the past three years. Much of Australia’s growth in international air passenger movements over the past decade has been through increased numbers of passengers travelling to and from Asian countries. Traffic from this region has grown strongly since1998 (Figure 4).

Figure 4: International air passenger movements (1998), by region

Domestic passenger: Air traffic in Australia has grown significantly over the past decade, reflecting growth in tourism and business travel. A relatively high proportion of domestic air passenger traffic is concentrated on the east-coast and on east–west routes, as would be expected given Australia’s population distribution. However, passenger flows on other routes are quite significant. The number of RPKs (revenue passenger kilometres – a common industry measurement of aviation activity) in the domestic and regional sector has increased by an average annual rate of 7.4 per cent over the past decade.

International and domestic freight: Over the three years to 1999, total international airfreight to/from Australia (tonnes carried) has increased by 3.5 per cent per annum. On a dollar value basis over the last three years, airfreight imports have increased by 10.4 per cent per annum, to $32.4 billion, and airfreight exports have increased at 5.9 per cent per annum, to $20.9 billion. By contrast, domestic airfreight, shown in the top division of the graph below (Table 2), has remained at much the same level for most of the 1990s.

Table 2: Growth in air freight

Maritime Transport

Sea Ports: The five major container ports are Melbourne (1 201 710 twenty foot equivalent units or TEUs in 1999), Sydney (949 564), Brisbane (394 434), Fremantle (268 593) and Adelaide (117 841).

Maritime Trade: Maritime transport is critical to the Australian economy as over 99 per cent of imports and exports, in weight terms, are carried by sea. The total value of Australia’s international cargoes in 1998–99 was approximately $190.9 billion, $136.7 billion of which was carried by sea.  The total weight was 488.9 million tonnes, with 488.4 million tonnes carried by sea (Figures 5 and 6).

Figure 5: 1998–99 Total international trade by weight – 489 million tonnes. 

Source: Bureau of Transport Economics

Figure 6: 1998–99 Total international trade by value – $190.9 billion.

Source: Bureau of Transport Economics

 

A comparison of sea–borne trade on the major routes, to and from Australia, shows that value-based trade flows between Australia and Asia currently exceed those to all other parts of the world combined (Figure 7). 

Figure 7: Maritime trade by total value ($billion), 1998–99

Coastal shipping transported an estimated 48.4 million tonnes in 1998-99, three per cent of the domestic freight task on a tonnage carried basis. This represented a greater than 12 per cent increase in the volume of cargo carried since 1988-89. On a net tonne–kilometre basis, coastal shipping accounted for around 34 percent of the domestic freight task in 1998-99.

Maritime Industry

Internationally, Australian trade has a substantial impact on shipping as it has the fifth largest requirement for shipping services in the world. In contrast, the Australian trading fleet is small. As at 30 June 1999, it comprised 77 vessels over 150 gross tonnes.  In 1998-99, Australian flag vessels carried around two per cent of Australia’s international trade or about 9.7 million tonnes, but around 90 per cent of domestic coastal cargoes.

The Australian Government introduced an additional excise for leaded petrol in February 1994.  That additional excise is currently 2.3 cents per litre.  The Government has announced that leaded petrol will be phased out nationally by 1 January 2002.  Some State governments will phase out leaded petrol sooner.  Western Australia phased out leaded petrol on 1 January 2000, and Queensland will phase out leaded petrol by 1 March 2001.

Table 4 shows that efforts to reduce petrol vehicle emissions have been successful.  There has also been a reduction in diesel vehicle emissions, given the increase in diesel vehicle kilometres travelled over this period.

Table 4:  Comparative noxious emissions from road transport, 1988 and 1994.

Table 4:  Comparative noxious emissions from road transport, 1988 and 1994.

 

Vehicle Type

Fuel Type

NOx

K/tonnes

CO

K/tonnes

NMVOC

K/tonnes

1988

1994

1988

1994

1988

1994

Passenger Cars

Petrol

228

185

3628

2326

493

376

 

Diesel

2

4

2

5

1

2

 

LPG

6

15

62

166

5

13

 

NG

0

0

0

0

0

0

 

Total

236

204

3692

2496

500

391

Motorcycles

Total

0.4

0.3

36

30

10

8

Light Goods Vehicles

Petrol

43

29

587

317

69

47

 

Diesel

5

7

4

7

2

3

 

LPG

1

6

12

53

1

4

 

NG

0

0

0

0

0

0

 

Total

49

42

603

376

72

54

Medium Goods Vehicles

Petrol

8

0

188

0

16

0

 

Diesel

45

35

24

23

6

5

 

LPG

1

0.2

4

1

1

0.2

 

NG

0

0.2

0

0

0

0

 

Total

54

35.4

218

24

23

5

Heavy Goods Vehicles

Petrol

2

0.1

41

1

4

0.1

 

Diesel

24

26

549

306

28

17

 

LPG

0.3

0.1

7

1

0.3

0.1

 

NG

0

0.1

0

00

0

0

 

Total

26

26

596

308

32

17

Buses

Petrol

1

0.3

13

3

2

0.4

 

Diesel

6

7

3

4

2

2.3

 

LPG

0

0

0.1

0.7

0

0.1

 

NG

0

1

0

0.2

0

0

 

Total

7

8.3

16

8

4

3

Total

 

372

316

5125

3212

631

470

 Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Transport and the Environment 1997, Australian Government Publishing Service, 1997, pp 84-89

Figures in the table may not add due to rounding.

The Australian National Pollutant Inventory (http://www.environment.gov.au/epg/npi/index.html) estimates motor vehicle emissions in Australia to be 2,070 kilo-tonnes of carbon monoxide, 9.7 kilo-tonnes of PM10, 284 kilo-tonnes of nitrous oxides, 210 kilo-tonnes of total volatile organic compounds, 7.8 kilo-tonnes of benzene.  These estimates are from aggregate emission data from airsheds of many major population centres.  Emissions from smaller population centres are not included in these figures.  The estimates reflect levels for 1998/99. 

Table 5:  Greenhouse Gas Emissions from road transport, 1998

Vehicle Type

Fuel Type

1998

CO2

Mt

 

Passenger Cars

Petrol

33.428

 

Diesel

1.460

 

LPG

2.311

 

NG

0.023

 

Total

3.7222

Motorcycles

 

0.200

Light Duty Vehicles

Petrol

5.110

 

Diesel

2.458

 

LPG

1.354

 

NG

0.008

 

Total

8.930

Medium Duty Vehicles

Petrol

0.191

 

Diesel

2.483

 

LPG

0.051

 

NG

0.002

 

Total

2.727

Heavy Duty Vehicles

Petrol

0.085

 

Diesel

10.245

 

LPG

0.080

 

NG

0.002

 

Total

10.413

Buses

Petrol

0.047

 

Diesel

1.126

 

LPG

0.012

 

NG

0.076

 

Total

1.261

Total

 

60.753

Source: Australian Greenhouse Office, National Greenhouse Gas Inventory 1998, July 2000, p B-81

Road transport emissions contributed 89.3 per cent, or 64.8 Mt, of Australia’s transport emissions in 1998.  This represents 14.2 per cent of total national emissions in 1998.  Road transport emissions in 1998 were 1.8 per cent higher than in 1997 and 18.2 per cent higher than in 1990.

Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory estimates the greenhouse gases emitted by vehicles. Carbon dioxide is the major greenhouse gas, with 60.75 Mt emitted in 1998.  Small quantities of other greenhouse gases (eg. methane, nitrous oxide, oxides of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, and non-methane volatile organic compounds) are also emitted from vehicles (see http://www.greenhouse.gov.au/inventory/index.html for further detail on these emission levels).

Challenges  

Land transport activity is particularly relevant, compared to other transport modes,  in contributing to environmental impacts due to the localised concentrations of land transport activity and infrastructure associated with Australia’s urban patterns.  As such, land transport impacts are particularly significant in relation to sustainable development.

The main negative environmental impacts arise from vehicle noise and vehicle emissions. These constitute local level health risks and contribute to global warming. These are particular issues for road and air transport.  Transport also contributes to contamination of the natural environment (e.g. soil, ground water, fresh and salt water) with pollution from oil, rubber and the accidental discharge of substances being transported.

Other negative impacts include; disturbance to people; infra-structural damage from dust, vibration and land stability effects; loss of wildlife killed on roads; and loss of indigenous habitat, forest, coastal and land resources, particularly in cities.

In terms of improving transport efficiency, it is generally acknowledged that there is an ongoing need to improve interstate rail services, and to improve the level of service provided by urban mass transit systems.  Such improvements would also go some way to ameliorating negative environmental impacts of the road transport system.  There are many obstacles (including distance, limited resources, and competing demands) to our country quickly adopting more efficient transport and traffic systems but none so major that they are not being addressed within current policy development.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

Environment Australia mounted a major public awareness campaign involving mass media advertising and point of sale distribution of information designed to demonstrate that many pre-1986 cars could use unleaded petrol. It was highly successful and more than 500,000 drivers switched to unleaded petrol over a six months period.

All levels of Australian Government administer information programs addressing the environmental impacts of transport.  The Australian Government funds Smogbusters, a community education program jointly managed by Environment Australia and non-government conservation organisations.  Smogbusters aims to improve urban air quality and progress national greenhouse gas objectives, by increasing community awareness,  understanding and adoption of environmentally-friendly transport practices.  See web-site address http://www.environment.gov.au/epg/smogbusters/index.html for further details. 

January 2001 will see the introduction of fuel consumption labelling in Australia. An Information Program is currently being developed to coincide with the introduction of the label.  The Australian Greenhouse Office will publish a Fuel Consumption Guide providing comparative information on the fuel consumption of new passenger vehicles, four-wheel drives and light commercial vehicles.

Module 5 of the NGS includes a measure focusing on the development of information programs on efficient vehicle use.  The measure will facilitate provision of information to transport users on the financial, social and environmental impacts of transport use, and of alternative transport modes. The Department of Transport and Regional Services is currently developing possible information program activities.  The AGO produces a range of publications raising community awareness about activities contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.  These publications include reference to transport sector emissions and ways to reduce these.  A particularly popular publication is Global Warming, Cool it, which can be viewed at http://www.greenhouse.gov.au/pubs/cool.pdf

The National Pollutant Inventory (NPI) is a publicly available (Internet) database providing information on the types and amounts of certain chemicals being discharged into the environment.  Information on emissions from mobile sources such as motor vehicles, boating, aircraft and railways in major airsheds are reported through the inventory and can be viewed at http://www.npi.ea.gov.au.

State of the Environment Reporting is a legislative requirement at the Commonwealth level.  This reporting mechanism is a valuable source of information, for decision-makers and the general public, on environmental well-being and progress towards sustainable development. Preparation of the 2001 Australian State of the Environment Report has commenced. Transport indicators are included in national environment indicators, notably in the human settlements category.  See web-site http://www.environment.gov.au/soe/index.html

States have responsibility for encouraging the use of public transport, car-pooling, non-motorised transport, etc.  Information on selected State initiatives follows below. 

Transport South Australia administers travel demand initiatives designed to reduce reliance upon motor vehicle travel (eg ‘Travel Blending’ and ‘Living Neighbourhoods’ programs) and walking (eg ‘Safe Routes to School’ and ‘Walk With Care’ programs). These latter programs encourage greater pedestrian activity through engineering improvements and education/awareness activities.  South Australia’s Cycling Strategy encourages multi-mode travel.

In Western Australia, TravelSmart programs promote measured behaviour change to travel alternatives to the car, local plans for Travel Demand Management and the appointment of TravelSmart Officers as part of Local Government community development functions.  The TravelSmart Individualised Marketing program has achieved a 14% reduction in vehicle kilometres in a number of project areas.  Transport policies now encourage the integration of bicycle trips with public transport and a Pedestrian Advisory Council has been formed to implement Perth Walking: The Metropolitan Region Pedestrian Strategy.  Greater use of public transport has been promoted through improvements to the suburban passenger commuter rail system, new bus purchases and bus services extensions, and a vast range of improved public transport facilities.

Victoria maintains an extensive Bicycle Network and promotes cycling through a range of mechanisms.  These include the Bike Ed programs for primary school students, the Cycle On programs for secondary schools students and various brochures and information bulletins on cycling to encourage people to cycle safely and responsibly.

Over the past twenty years, Australians have become increasingly aware of the importance of road safety issues through sustained and, at times, vigorous public education efforts by State and Federal Governments.

A variety of media have been used, depending upon the message and target audience.  Road safety is now a part of every school’s curriculum and road safety stories for young children are available in book, audio tape and video formats. Publications on a variety of safety topics are available from all jurisdictions.  Web-sites giving needs-specific safety information have been developed.  Cinema advertising has been used to target specific audiences (for example, young males 18 to 25 years of age) and radio road-safety messages have the advantage of being heard in situ, as the driver is travelling. Powerful and targeted television advertising campaigns have been extensively used. Specific messages have been constructed to encourage appropriate safe road behaviours within groups that are over represented in serious injury and fatality statistics.  

The setting of primary and secondary education curricula is the responsibility of State and Territory governments.  Examples of educative initiatives promoting awareness of the relationship between transport and environment include:

South Australia - the national “Bike-Ed” program is delivered to around 40 primary schools annually. The Living Neighbourhoods program also has a primary school curriculum component;

Victoria - delivers Public Transport Education Programs aimed at schools and the wider community.  Programs include:

The Institute for Transport Studies, at Sydney University and Monash University, offers specialised transport and logistics management training courses, workshops, short courses and seminars.  In doing this, it collaborates with key players having an interest in transport and logistics studies and its applications. 

The Transport and Storage Industry Training Council provides vocational education and training in the Transport and Storage industries.  A number of educational and training institutions offer transport-focused tertiary study courses.  These include:

SWINBURNE UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY

-Bachelor of Technology (Air Transportation Management)

-Bachelor of Technology (Air Transportation Management) / Bachelor of Business

-Bachelor of Technology (Aviation)

-Bachelor of Technology (Aviation) / Bachelor of Business

-Master of Technology in Logistics

VICTORIA UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY

-Bachelor of Business (Transport and Logistics)

RMIT UNIVERSITY

-Bachelor of Business (Transport and Logistics Management)

AUSTRALIAN MARITIME COLLEGE

-Bachelor of Engineering (Naval Architecture)

BASAIR AUSTRALIA

-Diploma of Aviation (Airline Transport Pilot)           

NAVAIR INTERNATIONAL FLYING COLLEGE

-Air Transport Pilot Licence Theory (Advanced Diploma of Aviation)         

THE UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY

-Graduate Certificate in Logistics Management

-Graduate Diploma in Logistics Management

-<>Master of Commerce / Master of Logistics Management

-<>Master of International Business / Master of Logistics Management

-<>Master of Logistics Management

-<>Master of Logistics Management / Master of Transport Management

UNIVERSITY OF WOLLONGONG

-<>Master of Logistics and Operations Management

VICTORIA UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY

-<>Bachelor of Business (Transport and Logistics)

RMIT UNIVERSITY

-<>Bachelor of Business (Transport and Logistics Management)

- Master of Business (by Coursework) (Logistics Management)

-<>Master of Business (by Research) (Logistics)

-<>Doctor of Philosophy (Logistics)

AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY

-Bachelor of Asian Studies / Bachelor of Engineering

CURTIN UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY

-<>Bachelor of Arts (Asian Studies) / Bachelor of Commerce (All Streams)

-<>Bachelor of Commerce (Logistics Management)

-<>Master of Commerce (Logistics Management)

MONASH UNIVERSITY

-<>Master of Marketing (Logistics Management)

-<>Master of Marketing (Logistics Management)

THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN QUEENSLAND

-<>Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) and Bachelor of Business

-<>Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Business

Information   

There is currently no single, unified database for transport in Australia, however a number of sources do provide comprehensive information on transport and traffic systems.

National Greenhouse Gas Inventory

See web-site address http://www.greenhouse.gov.au/inventory/index.html

Roads

State/Territory road authorities maintain databases for those major arterial roads for which they are responsible. These databases include details of road characteristics, road condition and traffic levels at selected locations. Highly detailed data on traffic composition, speeds, hourly volumes and vehicle weights are available for a small number of sites in each State/Territory. Local authorities do not generally maintain databases for local roads.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is responsible for collecting and maintaining a national transport accident database.  Each police jurisdiction collects initial data on road vehicle accidents and accident sites.  The data, in most cases, is maintained by State/Territory transport and/or road agencies.  Copies of fatal and/or serious accident records are forwarded to the ATSB for the national database. The ATSB collects data on other transport modes via mandatory legislative requirements and self-reporting mechanisms.  See web-site address http://www.atsb.gov.au for further details. 

Railways

Rolling stock and track operators maintain their own databases for infrastructure and traffic.

Aviation

The Department of Transport and Regional Services (DOTRS - see http://www.dotrs.gov.au/) maintains databases on international and domestic passenger and aircraft movements, based on confidential airline returns.  Domestic data is compiled on a traffic-on-board basis only, and does not accurately measure the actual number of passenger journeys undertaken.  Freight data is maintained for both international and major domestic air routes.

The Bureau of Transport Economics (BTE – see web-site address http://www.dotrs.gov.au/bte/btehome.htm) maintains a domestic airfare database, which it uses to monitor trends in published fares on selected air routes.  It is currently building international airfare indices, based on published fares to and from Australia, for major air markets.  Air-freight rates are not monitored.

Shipping

Shipping data used by the DOTRS comes from four main sources.  The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS – see web-site address http://www.abs.gov.au), in cooperation with the Australian Customs Service (http://www.customs.gov.au), maintains international freight data.  The ABS also reconciles and consolidates information on domestic freight provided by port authorities.  DOTRS and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (see web-site address http://www.amsa.gov.au) maintain databases on Australian flag and trading vessels.  Data on final ship movement and ship characteristics is purchased from Lloyd’s Maritime Information Systems.  All four systems can be used both in isolation and in conjunction with each other.

Freight flows

Information on national freight transport is collected by a number of agencies. The ABS currently collects information on rail, sea and air-freight movements from the major operators. The BTE maintains databases of total international and domestic freight moved by sea. The DOTRS collects statistics on total domestic and international air-freight movements. The ABS includes some data on road freight vehicles in its Survey of Motor Vehicle Use and is currently undertaking a more comprehensive survey of inter-regional freight movements by road, rail, sea and air.

The State of the Environment Reporting System (see web-site address http://www.environment.gov.au/soe/index.html), and Environmental Resources Information Network (see web-site address http://www.environment.gov.au/psg/erin/index.html), maintain data measuring progress toward Ecologically Sustainable Development. National State of the Environment Reports provide useful information for transport policy development.

There is currently no integrated approach to the collection of data and information on vehicle emissions and traffic conditions. Example of individual State Government systems include:

Serving a different purpose, the National Pollutant Inventory publicly reports data on vehicle emissions for some of Australia’s major urban airsheds.

Research and Technologies   

The Australian Government has developed a range of programs promoting increased use of alternative transport fuels in Australia. These include the Alternative Fuels Conversion Program (AFCP), the Diesel and Alternative Fuels Grant Scheme (DAFGS ), the Energy Credits (Grant) Scheme and the CNG Infrastructure Program (CNGIP).  Also see web-site address http://www.greenhouse.gov.au/transport/alternative_fuel.html

The AFCP commenced in 2000.  The program facilitates greater use of alternative fuels by Australia’s conventionally fuelled heavier commercial vehicle and bus fleets.  A total of $75 million has been allocated to the program, up to July 2004, to assist the conversion of heavier, intensive use vehicles, including public transport buses, to alternative fuel use.  The Program focuses on compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), but does provide limited support for the use of other alternative fuels, such as ethanol.

The AFCP and DAFGS complement the Australian Government’s Compressed Natural Gas Infrastructure Program (CNGIP), which is a $7.6 million program funding the development of a limited number of publicly accessible refuelling outlets.  The Program aims to establish up to 20 additional publicly accessible refuelling sites around Australia by 2002. Many local government authorities around Australia are keenly interested in establishing refuelling depots to support their natural gas vehicle fleets.

The Renewable Fuels Working Group is tasked with assisting removal of impediments to renewable transport fuel market development.

Under National Greenhouse Strategy Measure 5.6, Federal, State and Territory governments will work to optimise greenhouse outcomes in traffic management, travel demand and vehicle emissions.  This will be done by introducing guidelines and management systems, and by incorporating greenhouse considerations into air quality and congestion management strategies.

In 1998, the Australian Transport Council (ATC) requested Austroads to develop a national strategy for Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS).  The ITS National Strategy – e-transport – was endorsed by the ATC in November 1999. e-transport provides a national framework to harness the potential of ITS technologies, and to promote nationally consistent standards and systems inter-operability.  For more information on the Strategy, see web-site address http://www.dotrs.gov.au/land/road/its.pdf

Financing   

Supply of fuel

The main source of funding for petroleum fuels is the private sector.

Research and development of alternative fuels and transport efficiency

The level of private sector investment in ethanol is in the hundreds of millions of dollars.  At least four commercial plants in Australia are valued between approximately $15 - $50 million.

Enforcement of regulations and standards

Primarily government funded (all levels of government), with some funding sourced from charges on users (eg vehicle registration charges). No estimate is available of the quantum of money directed to these activities.

The Infrastructure Borrowings Tax Offset Scheme encourages private sector investment in the provision of public land transport infrastructure and related facilities, by reducing finance costs.

The Scheme operates on a selection basis.  Borrowers apply for benefits flowing on from a tax offset extended to the provider of infrastructure project funds.  In return the infrastructure proponent (the borrower) receives a reduction in finance costs in the form of lower interest rates or other benefits, and foregoes tax deductibility on interest payments associated with the loan. 

Cooperation

Marine

Australia is an active member of the peak international maritime safety body, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO – http://www.imo.org/).  Australia participates in the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee which oversees IMO efforts to prevent and control pollution from ships.  Australia participates in regional fora regarding ship safety, navigation, ship operations and technology and participates in the development of international conventions such as:

Aviation

Australia is a member of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO – http://www.icao.org/) Facilitation Panel. The Panel focuses on improving movements of people and goods through airports, and harmonising international practice.  Australia is a member of the ICAO Council, the governing body of the Organisation. ICAO members address issues such as the establishment of a universal safety oversight audit program, environmental protection and implementation of the worldwide air navigation system.

The Australian Government will continue to participate in international regional bodies working to harmonise national approaches to transport and establish sensible international transport frameworks.  This includes the next round of World Trade Organisation deliberations and the APEC Forum.  Australia also participates in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) consideration of transport issues. 

Shipping lines have entered into strategic alliances to provide economies of scale in servicing trade routes, and to meet the demands of large global shippers.

Australia has liberalised market access provisions in Australia’s air services agreements (usually bilateral), including the negotiation of passenger and freight capacity well ahead of demand, and the expansion of network options for Australian and foreign carriers.

* * * 

This information was provided by the Government of Australia to the 5th, 6th and 9th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: 1 June 1998.

Click here for 'Safeguarding our Future: Australia's Response To Climate Change'.

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SUSTAINABLE TOURISM

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

The Department of Industry, Science and Resources (DISR) within the Federal Government has responsibility for the co-ordination of tourism policy and programs at the national level. The Australian Constitution does not grant the Federal Government power over tourism as such. Most natural areas are managed by State/Territory and Local governments except where the Federal Government has a direct role in management of environmentally significant areas or constitutional power to influence activity at a local level.  

In pursuing a viable tourism industry, which is environmentally sensitive, the Federal Government works closely with the tourism industry, research organisations, State/Territory governments, and other relevant Commonwealth agencies to promote sustainable tourism development. In some cases the Federal Government, in particular Environment Australia, is responsible for regulating activity in environmentally sensitive areas. For example, responsibility for activities within World Heritage areas, such as tourism, rests with the relevant Commonwealth, State or Territory government departments or agencies charged with the day to day management of these areas. However, in some cases, where multiple land tenure exists and multiple resource uses are pursued, special management authorities have been established such as the Wet Tropics Management Authority and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. 

All States/Territories have developed ecotourism or nature based tourism strategies. Tourism, land management and natural resources agencies often work co-operatively on the development and implementation of these strategies. Further details can be obtained from the following internet sites: Australian Capital Territory , New South Wales , Northern Territory, Queensland , South Australia , Tasmania , Victoria (first Site) and Victoria(second Site), Western Australia (first Site) andWestern Australia(secondSite)

 

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations  

 

Legislation or other regulatory machinery to ensure sustainable tourism, and that sets aside specific areas or preserves for eco-tourism and nature-based tourism.  The Commonwealth National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 1975, is the legislation under which all national parks and protected areas under Commonwealth control are managed. This legislation requires that plans of management are developed for these protected areas, including specification of the level of tourism and recreational development allowed. These specifications are developed in consultation with relevant parties (for example, traditional owners, local communities, tourism operators, government and non-government agencies) and are displayed for public comment within a draft plan of management. Similar legislation exists for the management of parks and protected areas under the jurisdiction of State/Territory governments.

 

Management plans for World Heritage areas may identify specific areas or zones within which nature-based tourism and eco-tourism may be permitted, consistent with the protection and conservation of World Heritage values. Within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park tourism is managed through broad scale zoning plans, which identify appropriate activities at a sub-regional level, and through permits.

 

Tourism activities within World Heritage areas are subject to management planning and associated regulatory mechanisms administered by World Heritage area management agencies.  State/Territory land management agencies also have the capacity to impose sanctions (e.g. fines, non-renewal of leases) for non-compliance with tourism activities within their jurisdiction. For example, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has legislated authority to impose fines for a number of offences ranging from drilling or mining in the Marine Park, to discharging waste or undertaking activities without a licence. 

 

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans 

 

The Federal Government has developed a National Action Plan for Tourism which identifies conservation and careful management of the environment as essential to the long term viability of the tourism industry. The National Action Plan builds on an earlier Strategy which was developed in consultation with stakeholders from the tourism industry. The National Action Plan was launched in 1998 and it makes a commitment to ecologically sustainable tourism development, recognising that environmental issues should be an integral part of economic decisions. The Government is committed to promoting best practice environmental management within the industry and encouraging the industry to develop voluntary codes of best environmental management. Click here for more information. 

Sustainable tourism is an identifiable part of other national strategies. For example, the Oceans Policy provides a strategic framework for the ecologically sustainable development of Australia's marine industries including fisheries, offshore petroleum and tourism.  Actions in the National Strategy for the Conservation of Australia's Biological Diversity seek to achieve the conservation of biological diversity through the adoption of ecologically sustainable management practices for tourism and recreation. 

The National Forest Policy Statement (NFPS) addresses forest issues within Australia, including tourism. A Forest Ecotourism Program was subsequently implemented as part of the NFPS.  Statutory management plans are in place or being prepared for all of Australia's World Heritage Areas. Tourism in these areas is generally encouraged provided it is ecologically sustainable and consistent with the protection and conservation of World Heritage values.  Sustainable Tourism issues covered by this Strategy or Policy.  The National Action Plan for Tourism identifies the following issues/activities: 

Federal, State and Territory Governments are working together to further develop a National Water Quality Management Strategy (NWQMS) for Australia which aims to deliver a nationally consistent approach to water quality management. The strategy has produced a set of guidelines on water quality requirements for key elements of the water cycle. These include guidelines on the treatment and reuse of fresh and marine water, stormwater and wastewater to assist industries such as service and tourism industries to achieve sustainable use of the nation's water resources by protecting and enhancing their quality while maintaining economic and social development.

 

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement   

 

All major strategic tourism policies and programs undertaken by the Federal Government involve extensive consultation with representatives of the nine major groups identified in Agenda 21.  Stakeholders can be involved in the decision-making for sustainable tourism at the local level by their participation in State and Local government tourism forums, community organisations and industry associations, and through applications for funding programs. Industry forums also provide an opportunity for stakeholders to input into decision making for sustainable tourism.

Programmes and Projects   

 

Environment Australia's Cleaner Production Program is a key Federal Government program which aims to achieve sustainable production through the prevention of pollution and waste. The initial demonstration project involved 10 companies, including some from the tourism sector. Educational material was produced and can be accessed through the National Cleaner Production Database website

The development of niche markets, including nature-based tourism, is also a key priority.  The Forest Ecotourism Program addressed funding of forest related tourism research, the provision of interpretation facilities for visitors, the training of tourism operators, and the planning and management of tourism activities. Promotion of National Park forests and World Heritage areas was conducted as an element of the international marketing campaign associated with the Australian Tourist Commission's 1994 Year of The Great Outdoors'. Research evaluating the current and potential economic value of forests for tourism and recreation is planned. The assessment of the impact of tourism on forest ecosystems will be considered in the development of forest conservation strategies. For more information click here.  

The Federal Government has provided funding for nature-based tourism projects under the National Ecotourism Program, the Forest Ecotourism Program, the Sites of National Tourism Significance Program and the National Tourism Development Program. A number of projects funded have been specifically for the purpose of monitoring the impacts of a tourism activity on the environment. In accordance with Government regulations, the programs are also evaluated upon their completion.

 

The Federal Government tourism portfolio assists with sustainable tourism in regional areas (outside major metropolitan centres) through the Regional Tourism Program (RTP). The Federal Government has allocated $AUS8 million over four years for the RTP. Between 1996 -1998 over $AUS2 million was provided specifically for sustainable tourism projects across Australia through the National Tourism Development Program.  All States/Territories in Australia have developed ecotourism or nature based tourism strategies or plans which promote sustainable tourism activities. Examples of the ways in which eco-tourism and nature-based tourism is being promoted:

 

The Ecotourism Association of Australia, a peak industry association representing ecotourism operators, in consultation with the Australian Tourism Operators Network and Tourism Council Australia, finalised the National Ecotourism Accreditation Program (NEAP) in 1996. There has been industry participation in the voluntary program. The assessment criteria are based on a commitment to best practice environmental management and to providing quality ecotourism experiences for consumers. Funding for the development of NEAP, including a feasibility study, development of criteria and a pilot project, was provided by the Federal Government tourism portfolio. However, since the establishment of the program, it has been entirely industry managed and funded. 

Tourism Council Australia (TCA), a peak industry body representing the interests of more than 30,000 tourism enterprises across Australia, developed a voluntary Code of Sustainable Practice, in 1998. The Code outlines key principles and provides guidelines on operating sustainably. TCA also received funding from the Federal Government tourism portfolio to undertake a Best Practice Environmental Management Project aimed at all sectors of the tourism industry.  The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has produced best practice guidelines and an interpretive manual to give marine tourism operators, staff and guides a better understanding of the Reef. It is not mandatory. The marine tourism industry has produced a Code of Conduct which covers issues ranging from anchoring, removal of rubbish, fish feeding and preservation of world heritage values.

 

Negotiations have commenced for the development of a National Accreditation Program for the tourism industry. The Federal Government has announced $AUS300,000 over two years for this initiative.  Under the National Forest Policy Statement (NFPS), State/Territory Governments have developed regulatory arrangements for the use of native forests which should minimise or avoid negative environmental effects of tourism.  The response to these initiatives by industry has been very positive. In its first two years of operation, nearly 120 tourism products were accredited under the National Ecotourism Accreditation Program (NEAP) scheme. These range from accommodation, to camping tours, to whale watching and sailing. There is growing interest by industry in the scheme as it becomes more widely recognised by consumers. NEAP accreditation is recognised on the ATLAS tourism reservation system, one of the state of Queensland's largest reservation systems. Special codes have been added to the database to assist reservation staff identify NEAP accredited ecotourism products, thereby providing a commercial advantage for accredited operators. 

There has also been a strong demand for Tourism Council Australia's document >Being Green Keeps You Out of the Red'. The response to the Codes of Practice has been less favourable than expected, with less than twenty signatories to date, however TCA is currently considering options to encourage greater industry participation.  It appears that consumers are receptive to the use of environmental codes and standards by business. Research undertaken in 1995 revealed that around five in ten people would be willing to pay more for their holiday or business trip to ensure the tour business or hotel were committed to environmental protection. A survey of British Airways customers in 1996 found that 53% of customers would prefer to do business with an airline or tour operator that took environmental issues into account over one that did not.

 

Adoption of environmental management systems is becoming increasingly popular with hotels and other tourist establishments. The Australian Government recently funded the Hotels Industry Greenhouse Challenge pilot project in which 30 four and five star hotels signed agreements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through improved environmental operating practices. Changes made range from complete building management systems through to water, waste and energy reduction measures and will result in cost savings to businesses. (More information is available for Case studies of Greenhouse Challenge projects and Cleaner Production in Accommodation, Cafes and Restaurants. Under the Best Practice Environmental Management project being undertaken by Tourism Council Australia, tourist establishments and attractions such as bed and breakfasts, backpacker hostels, motels, caravan parks, visitor information centres and parks have implemented more environmentally sustainable operating practices.

 

The following paragraphs contain a few illustrative activities, which are geared both to sustainable tourism and to eco-tourism and nature-based tourism:

 

South West Eco-Museum

The Federal Government tourism portfolio provided funding assistance to the South West Development Commission in Western Australia (on behalf of the South West Eco-Museum) to develop a series of interpretive modules to enhance sustainable tourism in various natural locations.  The modules which were developed are:

1.      The Perup Forest Ecology Centre which is situated in 52,000ha of Perup's jarrah and wandoo forest, and is home to at least six rare and endangered mammals. The centre's main objective was to develop walk trail markers and to raise public awareness on the value of the nature reserve through a video.

2.      The Regional Caves Interpretive Centre which is situated at Augusta, Margaret River's Lake Cave. The Centre has a strong emphasis on education and research and provides a forum to record and document cave and karst environments throughout Western Australia.

3.      Karri Forest Discovery Centre is situated in Pemberton and consists of a theatrette and forest walkways. The Theatrette provides an excellent audio visual presentation informing visitors of the unique Karri Forests in the South West. The walkways provide guided paths for visitors to experience the beauty of the forests leaving minimal impact.

4.      The Tuart Forest and Wetland Eco-Centre comprises three components; a visitor centre located in the forest; an educational centre; and a spotlight walk trail.

5.      The Dolphin Discovery Centre is situated at Bunbury's Koombana Bay beach and provides high quality information on the marine ecology of Koombana Bay using the dolphin population and the phenomena of human/dolphin interaction as the starting point. Volunteers have identified the dolphins individually and their behaviour is studied with emphasis on behavioural changes due to man-made changes to the local environment.

Repairing the Roof of Australia

The Federal tourism portfolio funded a project in Australia's highest alpine region, the Kosciusko National Park. This sensitive alpine area was being walked upon by up to 3000 visitors per day, resulting in soil erosion. This made the track hard to walk on and subsequently a new parallel track was formed, therefore magnifying the problem. Water movement, frost and wind also exacerbated erosion problems along the track.

These problems were greatly reduced by repairing the site using native plants and enhancing the drainage at the site. Some of the existing tracks were narrowed down and major work undertaken on the edges of the new tracks to promote revegetation. Top soil was imported and used along with any left over material from the track construction to provide a seed bed for native plants to rehabilitate the degraded and eroded edges of the old track. After planting, the areas were covered with Terra-mat which acts as a mulch and assists with stabilisation of the area until vegetative cover is achieved. Visitors are now confined to walking on the repaired, hardened areas.

An investigation into the impacts of ADolphin Swim@ ecotours in southern Port Phillip Bay

This project investigated how the operation of Dolphin-swim ecotours affects the dolphins in Southern Port Phillip Bay. The responses of the dolphins were observed in over 300 swim attempts and the results compared to a similar study from New Zealand.

The study found that the AAvoidance@ reaction of dolphins to humans participating in dolphin-swim ecotours, varied significantly in response to location, approach strategy and tour operation. Direct, deliberate approaches to dolphins from tour vessels or swimmers resulted in higher levels of avoidance responses. The parallel approach does not directly approach the dolphins, and provides the animals with the option of ignoring or interacting with swimmers. The parallel approach showed lower levels of avoidance responses and is the only approach type permitted in New Zealand.

The ultimate protection of the dolphins in Port Phillip Bay requires a holistic approach that addresses the wide range of issues that may threaten the dolphin population. Regulation and enforcement play an important role, particularly to deal with the tourism issues. Community education is perhaps the most powerful tool in controlling the behaviour of the public. Habitat protection is being addressed by resource management authorities.

This study has shown the value of quality research in protecting the bottlenose dolphins of Port Phillip Bay. This project was part of a long-term study that will over time, yield information on the population biology and ecology of these important mammals around the whole of Port Phillip Bay and may provide a model for other areas.

Impact of Tourist Infrastructure on environmental processes at Uluru

This project was developed in response to concerns expressed by traditional owners and staff of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park that activities related to tourism were significantly disrupting environmental processes. Problems included erosion, weed invasion, death of important tree populations and changes in the distribution and density of other plant species. The project was conducted jointly by CSIRO and Parks Australia North (formerly ANCA).

Tourism at Uluru began modestly during the 1940's and numbers increased greatly after 1958. Erosion damage to sensitive areas became so severe that, by 1968, rehabilitation had already been attempted. With the best of intentions, structures to hold back water flow were built and exotic perennials were introduced which were expected to stabilise the soil quickly. Unfortunately, some of these introductions were more successful than anticipated, and a few, particularly buffel grass now dominate the most popular and unique water-rich gorges at Uluru as well as road and track margins. The change to patterns of water flow at the gorges has also led to the death of dominant trees and almost certainly to changes in the distribution and density of trees and shrubs.

A series of photographs were presented which illustrated long term changes in the overstorey, from 1894 onwards. A suggested approach to monitoring the changes over coming years would be to use carefully appointed fixed photopoints to determine key features including current seasonal conditions.

The outcomes at the completion of the project were: the development of predictive relationships between environmental characteristics and both ground and over-storey perennial species; the identification of areas susceptible to weed invasion; the identification of areas susceptible to change in vegetation structure; and the identification of areas susceptible to erosion.

Park staff and traditional owners established monitoring sites on susceptible areas and were involved in consultation on recommendations for the rehabilitation of the site. Technical advice was provided to Park staff regarding weed invasion, rehabilitation and environmental processes and educational material was provided for visitors to learn how to help conserve the site.

Other examples of sustainable tourism activities can be found in the publications Projects in Profile and Projecting Success.  

Status 

Tourism is one of Australia's most important growth sectors, directly accounting for 7.4% of GDP in 1995-96. It is a key job-creating industry, directly employing 694,000 people or around 8.4 per cent of Australia's workforce in 1995-96. When indirect employment is included, this figure rises to over 1 million people or 12.4 per cent of the workforce. In 1997-98, tourism generated $AUS16.1 billion in export earnings, representing 12.6 per cent of the country's total export earnings and 63 per cent of service exports. (Source: Department of Industry, Science & Tourism). For more information click here

In 1993/94 tourism represented an estimated 6.6% of GDP. In 1997, this figure had risen to 7.4% (Source: Department of Industry, Science & Tourism). International visitor numbers to Australia are expected to increase by 5.9% each year from 1997-2007. Domestic tourism is expected to grow by 1.1% during the same period (Source: Tourism Forecasting Council, June 1998). For more information click here.  

Nature based and cultural tourism is growing in popularity. In 1995 approximately 50% of visitors to Australia undertook nature based activities (Bureau of Tourism Research Occasional Paper No. 25 - Profiles and Motivations of Nature-Based Tourists Visiting Australia).  Tourism, particularly nature based and cultural tourism, can provide economic and social benefits to rural and Indigenous communities. For example, cultural tourism is generating income for Indigenous communities, which provides an incentive to retain traditional cultural practices, as well as educating non-Indigenous people about Indigenous culture. (For more information click here and here.)

The Federal Government is conscious of the need to respect the wishes of traditional owners for indigenous owned properties such as Uluru-KataTjuta and Kakadu national parks in relation to visitor access.  Many Indigenous tourism products are developed on a sustainable basis. An example is the Desert Tracks tour company in central Australia which is owned and operated by the Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara communities. The company aims to provide tourism that is educational as well as ecologically and culturally sustainable.  Tourism is providing economic benefits for some rural communities which have been adversely affected by a downturn in traditional farming activities.  Tourism can have an impact on the preservation of Australia's natural, Indigenous and cultural heritage. The Australian Heritage Commission and Tourism Council Australia are currently working on a project to develop best practice heritage guidelines for tourism operators who utilise heritage sites. The guidelines will incorporate all three elements (natural, Indigenous and cultural) of Australia's heritage.

 

All sites in Australia listed as World Heritage Areas are considered models of sustainable tourism because they are comparably well funded (in an international context), have strict management regimes, monitor impacts, and use adequate forecasts. These include the Uluru-Kata Tjuta and Kakadu national parks in the Northern Territory, the Tasmanian Wilderness Area, the Great Barrier Reef and Fraser Island in Queensland, and Shark Bay in Western Australia.

These areas are some of Australia's most environmentally significant and unique natural attractions. Legislation requires that tourism and other types of activities proposed for these areas is subject to a planning and approvals process, (generally through the development of Park Plans of Management) and this ensures that tourism activities have a minimal environmental impact.

These model destinations are classified as national parks. Land managers within these areas may be asked to assist the Federal Government by providing information on tourism numbers and visitor impact in the region for use in relevant studies. Land managers areas have also assisted in the development of a sustainable tourism industry in Australia by piloting environmental best practice management models.  Direct funding is provided to some local authorities for the development and promotion of sustainable tourism. Funding is provided as part of a competitive grants program which aims to promote tourism in Australia's regional areas. In addition, consultation with relevant local authorities is undertaken as part of all major strategic programs developed by the Australian Government. 

 

Challenges  

 

A key constraint in the pursuit of sustainable tourism is the initial cost to industry of implementing new technology. As with most new technologies, cost per unit is usually high until widespread adoption occurs. A lack of awareness of the financial and other benefits from implementing these technologies can also be a barrier. However, numerous case studies from Australia and around the world demonstrate that initial upfront costs are recuperated from savings in reduced energy, water, waste disposal costs and improved morale and productivity of staff. Promotion of the financial benefits of implementing sustainable tourism is therefore an integral part of sustainable tourism programs. 

The relative recency of sustainable technologies and lack of awareness of their capabilities presents another constraint. Implementation of sustainable technologies, particularly those relating to sewage, wastewater treatment and waste disposal, must be approved by local government.  With the high reliance of Australia's tourism industry on its natural attractions and its biodiversity, a major constraint to sustainable tourism is the inadequate knowledge of the interactions between tourism and the environment. Considerable research is required to develop the knowledge base needed to underpin a sustainable tourism industry. Further work is also needed to ensure the industry has access to, and uses, the knowledge that is currently available. 

The ability to adequately assess the environmental impacts of proposed tourism developments is also constrained by the resources available, particularly in growth areas. A further constraints is the failure of the market to properly value the environment. There has been some progress in valuing the contribution of Australia's biodiversity to the tourism industry and this is helping to address this issue.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

Most States and Territories in Australia offer, mainly through the tertiary education systems, a variety of courses ranging from short courses of less than one week to three year university degrees. Some are specifically designed for ecotourism or nature based tourism, while others focus on related fields of study such as environmental science, or land and coastal management, which incorporate elements of nature based tourism. Most are offered on a part-time as well as a full time basis, providing students with the option to work in the industry while they study.  Ecotourism Education' is a directory of ecotourism education in Australia, including training courses and useful contacts, published in 1996 by the Australian Government (For further information, click here.) 

An example is the Heritage and Interpretive Tourism Course developed by the CRC Reef Research Centre, in conjunction with the north Queensland tourism industry, natural resource management agencies and educational institutions (TAFE Colleges), and partially funded by the Federal Government. The course is designed to train participants for a job in the ecotourism industry as well as increase professionalism with staff already employed as guides. The course has proven very popular with students and industry alike, and is now being implemented by other States/Territories of Australia.

Courses of study offered by universities and colleges provide policy makers with opportunities to be educated in the concept and policy design of sustainable tourism. In particular, many postgraduate programs offer opportunities for the analysis of policy issues and critical evaluation of tourism policy directions.

The Federal Government, in conjunction with Qantas airlines and the Australian Tourist Commission, developed a video of short advertisements and an accompanying print media campaign promoting care of the natural environment by tourists. The advertisements were screened on television across Australia on inbound Qantas flights, P & O cruises, in youth hostels and backpacker establishments and at industry conferences and seminars. The strong demand for the video by a broad cross section of the tourism industry indicates a positive response from consumers. 

The Federal Government supports the development and dissemination of information on best practice sustainable tourism. This is achieved through publications such as: Best Practice Ecotourism - A Guide to Energy and Waste Minimisation; Tourism Switched On: Sustainable Energy Technologies for the Australian Tourism Industry; Projecting Success - Visitor Management Projects for Sustainable Tourism Growth; Projects in Profile; and Being Green Keeps you Out of the Red - An Easy Guide to Environmental Action for Accommodation Providers and Tourist Attractions. 

Projects to Networks' is a monthly newsheet produced by the Federal tourism portfolio which contains details of successful regional eco-tourism projects around Australia. For more information click here. Coastal Tourism: A Manual for Sustainable Development', provides detailed information on the development of sustainable coastal tourism. Information is distributed to industry through mailing lists, industry conferences and seminars. Regional tourist centres have received funding under the Regional Tourism Program to develop literature and programs to promote sustainable tourism.

 

Marketing of tourism products specifically geared toward attracting environmentally-conscious tourists Australia's unique natural attractions, including Uluru (Ayers Rock), the Great Barrier Reef, and the tropical rainforests of far north Queensland, are often promoted as part of the Australian Tourist Commission's (ATC) marketing strategies. The ATC specifically targets visitors who want an eco-tourism experience. For example, promotional campaigns in the USA and Germany take these factors into account. 

Information 

Kinds of national information available to assist both decision-makers and the tourist industry in promoting sustainable tourism.  The Federal Government's tourism portfolio developed a comprehensive directory of information The Federal Government partly funded the development of an ecotourism web site for the Charles Sturt University in New South Wales.

Australia participates in the Montreal Process on Criteria and Indicator and has recently developed a framework of regional (sub-national) level criteria and indicators of sustainable forest management. Monitoring at a sub national scale will involve a degree of mapping and inventorying natural resources and ecosystem characteristics in tourist areas. 

Australia has been undertaking a comprehensive assessment of natural resources, ecosystems, heritage and cultural values contained in major forested regions as part of a Regional Forest Agreement process. These assessments include the mapping of natural resources and ecosystem types for the purposes of determining forest reserves and areas available for resource exploitation. Many of the forests are in areas where tourism is important.  Australia's National Forest Inventory (NFI) is developing a factual description of all of Australia's forests including forest attributes in the commercial, environmental and social spheres.  The Federal Government funded a study by CSIRO on regional tourism success factors and indicators. Case studies were conducted in 13 regional areas across Australia and identified five key factors which contribute to regional tourism success. Attractions, including natural attractions, was identified as the most important factor.

Ecotourism strategies developed by some States/Territories include measures to identify natural resources. For example, the Queensland Tourist and Travel Corporation is developing an Ecotourism Rapid Assessment Model (ECORAM) to assist in assessing the ecotourism potential of sites and resources across Queensland. State/Territory and local governments are also involved in the development of fact sheets, tourist guides, maps etc for nature based tourism areas.

Information is also made available through State/Territory conservation and natural resource management agencies, local tourism information centres and at the entrance to tourism areas.  Information obtained through the Regional Forest Agreement process is publicly available from Forests Division of Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, and through the Environment Australia website.  Environment Australia manages a website called EnviroNET Australia which is a network of databases on the internet. It is the major national and international gateway for information of Australia's environmental management industry. The site has information on industry expertise including ecotourism, environmental technologies, education, and research and development.  Activities to develop sustainable development indicators related to sustainable tourism, eco-tourism and nature-based tourism.

 

Australia has developed a framework of regional (sub-national) level criteria and indicators based on those of the Montreal Process. The framework includes a number of indicators focussing on recreation and tourism. The Federal and State/Territory governments have agreed to investigate some of the indicators relating to recreation and tourism in forests for more coordinated monitoring.  The Federal Government's tourism portfolio has funded a number of projects to develop indicators for sustainable tourism. The following are a selection of these projects:

Research and Technologies 

Technology-related issues that need to be or are being addressed: Sustainable technologies have been implemented in tourism enterprises across Australia. These include: sun and wind generated energy, co-generation, wastewater and sewage treatment plants and design of buildings for recycling. There are a number of publications available which provide information on sustainable technologies for the tourism industry (see Efforts underway to use established tourist centres or literature to promote sustainable tourism). Further research in sustainable technologies is being undertaken by research organisations such as the Cooperative Research Centre for Sustainable Tourism and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) . Examples of sustainable technologies that could be applied to tourism can be viewed on EnviroNET Australia

In the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, ongoing research is undertaken by the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) Reef Research Centre into the environmental impacts of tourism operations. The CRC for Sustainable Tourism and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) are also conducting research programs which are developing techniques to monitor the impact of tourism activities.  Deterrents in the Strategies to check, control or penalise damaging environmental practices on the part of businesses and visitors.   In the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, improvements in boat building technology are providing greater access to remote areas of the reef. This necessitates the revision of management strategies which previously relied on remoteness to protect wilderness qualities in some areas of the park. 

 

Financing   

 

The Federal Government's tourism portfolio is funded as part of the national budget. This enables the co-ordination and promotion of eco-tourism and nature based tourism at the national level.  The Regional Tourism Program (RTP) administered by the Federal tourism portfolio, provides for the funding of sustainable tourism projects. All successful applicants under the RTP must provide matching funds or an in-kind contribution for the project. Funds may come from the applicants themselves or other sources, for example, State/Territory governments, industry associations, regional development organisations or private enterprise.  State/Territory tourism and land management agencies, local governments, industry associations, tourism operators also fund their own sustainable tourism projects. 

Cooperation  

Australia is a member of the APEC Tourism Working Group which addresses sustainable tourism issues as a major priority. The Working Group meets twice yearly to report on its work and has produced publications on environmentally sustainable and environmental best practice tourism. 

Australia is a signatory to the UNESCO World Heritage Convention. Thirteen sites in Australia are listed as World Heritage areas. Tourism activities within these areas are generally encouraged, providing they are consistent with the principles of ecological sustainability and conservation of World Heritage values.   Australia has a cooperative arrangement with the Republic of Korea on forestry matters under which ecotourism is being addressed. 

Through its aid program Australia provides assistance in sustainable tourism to partner developing countries. For example the $AUS3 million Tourism Development Project in Tonga aims to ensure that the tour industry makes a growing and substantial economic contribution to the Kingdom of Tonga through a sustainable approach to tourism. The project will focus on building the capacity of the Tonga Tourism Board, eco-tourism, and increasing the number of tourists in higher yielding target market segments.

 

* * * 

This information was provided by the Government of Australia to the 5th, 6th and 7th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: February 1999.

Click here for the Department of Industry, Science and Resources.

Click here for the National Action Plan for Tourism.

Regional Tourism Program.

Click here for the Cooperative Research Centre for Sustainable Tourism.

 



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