4.7 Environment Portfolio

The Environment Portfolio has responsibility for environment, climate change, water and heritage matters with a national focus or that are the direct responsibility of the Commonwealth Government. The portfolio also has responsibility for Australia’s interests in the Antarctic.

The Minister administers 53 pieces of legislation, ranging from the high profile Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 to the more specialised Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976.

The Environment Portfolio receives total resourcing of $3.5 billion, of which $1.2 billion is departmental resourcing and $2.4 billion administered.

Table 4.7.1: Portfolio resourcing: Environment

Funding ($'000)

Staffing

Entity

Departmental

Administered

Total

ASL

Department of the Environment

               547,197

               966,492

            1,513,689

         2,439

Director of National Parks

                 56,709

                            -

                  56,709

             275

Sydney Harbour Federation Trust

                 15,152

                            -

                  15,152

               57

Bureau of Meteorology

               346,344

                            -

               346,344

         1,536

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

                 35,890

                   9,286

                  45,176

             205

Murray-Darling Basin Authority

                 47,913

               108,070

               155,983

             295

National Water Commission

                    9,552

                            -

                    9,552

               40

Clean Energy Regulator

                 87,546

           1,268,021

            1,355,567

             360

Climate Change Authority

                    8,707

                            -

                    8,707

               35

PORTFOLIO (1)

1,155,010

2,351,869

3,506,879

5,242

Source: Department of Finance. 201314 Budget updated for machinery of government changes.
(1) As individual entity resourcing includes inter-agency transfers and payments, total resourcing for the portfolio may be overstated by this amount.

The Department of the Environment will receive total resourcing of $1.5 billion. Of this, around $790 million relates to managing and protecting Australia’s biodiversity and ecosystems. Key initiatives include the National Landcare Programme (formerly Caring for our Country) and management of marine and terrestrial reserves, delivered by over 500 staff.

The Department has responsibility for the Commonwealth’s role in water policy and resources. This includes supporting implementation of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan via water buybacks and infrastructure works, and improving the health of the Murray-Darling system by managing the Commonwealth’s holdings of environmental water. Over $370 million will be provided in this area in 2013-14, supported by around 400 staff.

The Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) within the Department leads Australia’s Antarctic programme. It manages Australia’s three Antarctic bases, one sub-Antarctic base and transport capability, including the Aurora Australis, conducts scientific research in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean, participates in international forums on Antarctica and facilitates research and logistics by other agencies and research institutions. Around $130 million is provided to the AAD each year.

The Clean Energy Regulator monitors and implements climate change initiatives, including the carbon pricing mechanism, the Renewable Energy Target and the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting System.

The Bureau of Meteorology provides information, forecasts, warnings, services and research relating to weather, climate, oceans, water and space.

The Murray-Darling Basin Authority is responsible for planning the integrated management of water resources of the Murray-Darling Basin, including through the implementation and enforcement of the Basin Plan.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority manages the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park by protecting and restoring biodiversity, safeguarding World Heritage values and ensuring the use of the region is ecologically sustainable. It works closely with the Queensland Government on day-to-day management of the Marine Park and surrounding areas.

The Director of National Parks manages the Commonwealth’s national parks, botanic gardens and terrestrial and marine reserves, including Kakadu and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Parks.

The Sydney Harbour Federation Trust manages a number of former military bases and other Commonwealth land around Sydney Harbour.

The National Water Commission provides independent advice on governments’ progress on water reform and improvement of water management across Australia through the National Water Initiative.

Chart 4.7.1 is a graphical representation of the relative size of bodies within the Environment Portfolio.

 

Chart 4.7.1: Environment

 

This chart shows the Department and Portfolio agencies, as described above, diagrammatically.This chart shows the Department and Portfolio agencies, as described above, diagrammatically.