State of the Environment report 2021

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Public consultation on the scoping papers is closed. Thank you to all those who participated.

We sought feedback on the scoping papers for the 2021 State of the Environment report.

How you had your say

The consultation ran from 13 October to 1 November 2020.

The 2021 State of the Environment report is being prepared by independent expert authors appointed to write each of the report's 12 themes.

The authors' first steps were to prepare outlines of:

  • how they will structure and present their information and findings in the final report
  • what they propose to include in their respective themes (theme scope).

These outlines are the authors' draft scoping documents. There is one for each theme.

We sought feedback on these scoping documents. This helps ensure each theme is relevant and useful to our targeted user groups. Especially those with influence and strong interest in environmental outcomes.

Consultation participants

We invited a diverse range of participants to take part.

Four stakeholder groups were invited to participate:

  • Government stakeholders identified
  • External stakeholders identified
  • Indigenous stakeholders identified by the Indigenous Author committee
  • Business and industry representatives identified by the Chair of the User Reference Group

You gave feedback through:

  • an online survey
  • written submissions.

Visitor data:

  • 2612 visits to the webpage
  • 68 online responses
  • 5 written submissions

Survey

We received 73 submissions. Most respondents were from environmental organisations (19%) and the general public (19%).

Image shows source of responses as identified by respondents. 19% were from an environmental organisation. 19% were from the general public. 18% were from an education or research organisation. 12% were from a non-government organisation. 7% were from the Australian government. 7% were from a finance, banking or insurance organisation. 5% were from an Indigenous organisation. 5% were from a private industry or business. 4% were from state or territory governments. 4% were from a peak industry body.

Responses

We received over 160 responses across the report's 12 themes. The biodiversity theme received the most responses.

Image shows number of responses across the report’s 12 themes. Air quality theme received 5 responses. Antarctica theme received 6 responses. Biodiversity theme received 27 responses. Climate theme received 22 responses. Coasts theme received 11 responses. Extreme events theme received 11 responses. Heritage theme received 13 responses. Indigenous theme received 17 responses. Inland Water theme received 16 responses. Land theme received 15 responses. Marine theme received 12 responses. Urban theme received 9 responses. There were 164 total responses

What you told us

You provided key comments on each scoping paper theme. Read a snapshot of comments that show your top priorities under each theme. All responses will be considered by our authors. Not all responses are included in the summary.

Air quality

  • Direct and indirect impacts of COVID-19: such as improved air quality as a result of reduced emissions from lockdowns and the effect of reduced tourism on the environment.
  • Air quality impacts of:
  • a ‘gas fired’ recovery
  • mega dust storms from increased legal and illegal land clearing
  • water extraction.
  • Health impacts from increasing incidence and size of bushfires.

Antarctica

  • Impacts caused by:
  • infrastructure development
  • increased tourism
  • associated issues of invasive species and emissions.
  • Include the co-benefits of environmental protection. For example, scientific cooperation, resilience to climate change and global peace.

Biodiversity

  • Outcome statements would be stronger if they expressed a desired state rather than improved condition.
  • Include the key achievements, advances and adaptive responses made since the 2016 report - key factors contributing positively towards, and key factors limiting or threatening state of environment.
  • Identify key learnings and opportunities for improvement. Frame SoE reporting within an evidence-based adaptive management process.
  • Loss of indigenous ecological knowledge is a key threat, and hampers efforts to conserve biodiversity. Retention of Traditional Ecological Knowledge and its application should be a priority.

Climate

  • Include discussion on community education and awareness of climate related issues.
  • Impacts of climate change on indigenous communities, species decline, loss of capacity to manage landscapes.
  • Vulnerability to climate change has three aspects: adaptive capacity, exposure and sensitivity and policy needs to account for their spatial variability.
  • Depletion of the ozone layer is a climate issue as well Antarctic.

Coasts

  • Apply a broader suite of social, environment, cultural and economic considerations to human well-being
  • Include increasing severity of extreme events and the impact on social, environmental, cultural and economic considerations.
  • Cumulative impacts, damage, declining resilience and adaptive capacity of coastal habitats and the interplay between national and local level management.

Extreme events

  • Highlight the difficulty of assessing extremes and how they are changing into the future.
  • Economic impacts of insurance losses and premiums. Hail rivalling bushfires.
  • Hazard-exposed regions are expanding into large population centres.
  • Include links between extreme events. For example, links between cyclone, drought and fire.
  • Pandemics (Covid-19) as an extreme event.

Heritage

  • Under representation of historic landscapes, parks and gardens on heritage lists adds to over-emphasis on built heritage.
  • The 2019-20 bushfire impacts on natural and cultural heritage are a significant current issue.
  • Loss of Indigenous Ecological Knowledge. The opportunities for intergenerational transfer are limited except through indigenous ranger groups.
  • Resource extraction is a key threat to cultural landscapes and cultural heritage sites. Both those that are living and those that are archaeological.

Indigenous

  • Include the consequences of failure to fully and properly involve indigenous Australians in environmental management.
  • implications for indigenous management of biodiversity and agricultural production including the marine environment.
  • Role of Indigenous Land use Agreements (ILUA) in environmental and social outcomes associated with resource development projects.
  • Include a focus on desert peoples and their initiatives, e.g. where culture is strong, cultural burning is used.
  • The impacts of the SDG target to double agricultural production and implications for indigenous management of biodiversity and agricultural production.

Inland water

  • Address how the responses to climate change impact on freshwater ecosystems.
  • Resource company extraction of groundwater, it’s impact on availability and quality of water. Especially culturally significant water sources and indigenous values.
  • Stronger focus on large scale deterioration of water quality, major algal blooms, fish kills, long-term health and socio-economic consequences and liveability in rural regions.

Land

  • Social dimensions of land management (the connection of people to land).
  • Importance of production landscapes for biodiversity conservation.
  • the effects of agricultural and forestry industries on the natural environment, species, habitats and indigenous sites of significance.

Marine

  • Include the work of indigenous rangers, traditional owners, custodians in conserving the marine estate.
  • Evidence on pressures and overlap between pressures in this environment. For example, noise, renewable energy generation, minerals, oil and gas extraction and production.
  • Changing shorelines and the implications for marine ecosystems including coral reefs and seagrass communities, and coastal marine fisheries.

Urban

  • Analysis of the benefits of urban greenspace and green infrastructure and use of remote sensing to evaluate and quantify benefits such as carbon sequestration.
  • Consider using circular economy indicators from the National Waste Report 2020.
  • Content for Sustainable Development Goal No. 3 should include:
    • Asbestos waste-phase and end-of-life
    • non-occupational exposure
    • disease impact.

What happens next

The authors will consider your feedback to develop their theme papers.

You can subscribe to this page to receive future updates. This includes how the work on the 2021 State of the Environment report is progressing and its final release.

We will provide the final 2021 State of the Environment report to the Minister for the Environment by 31 December 2021. It will then be tabled in the Australian Parliament.

Public consultation on the scoping papers is closed. Thank you to all those who participated.

We sought feedback on the scoping papers for the 2021 State of the Environment report.

How you had your say

The consultation ran from 13 October to 1 November 2020.

The 2021 State of the Environment report is being prepared by independent expert authors appointed to write each of the report's 12 themes.

The authors' first steps were to prepare outlines of:

  • how they will structure and present their information and findings in the final report
  • what they propose to include in their respective themes (theme scope).

These outlines are the authors' draft scoping documents. There is one for each theme.

We sought feedback on these scoping documents. This helps ensure each theme is relevant and useful to our targeted user groups. Especially those with influence and strong interest in environmental outcomes.

Consultation participants

We invited a diverse range of participants to take part.

Four stakeholder groups were invited to participate:

  • Government stakeholders identified
  • External stakeholders identified
  • Indigenous stakeholders identified by the Indigenous Author committee
  • Business and industry representatives identified by the Chair of the User Reference Group

You gave feedback through:

  • an online survey
  • written submissions.

Visitor data:

  • 2612 visits to the webpage
  • 68 online responses
  • 5 written submissions

Survey

We received 73 submissions. Most respondents were from environmental organisations (19%) and the general public (19%).

Image shows source of responses as identified by respondents. 19% were from an environmental organisation. 19% were from the general public. 18% were from an education or research organisation. 12% were from a non-government organisation. 7% were from the Australian government. 7% were from a finance, banking or insurance organisation. 5% were from an Indigenous organisation. 5% were from a private industry or business. 4% were from state or territory governments. 4% were from a peak industry body.

Responses

We received over 160 responses across the report's 12 themes. The biodiversity theme received the most responses.

Image shows number of responses across the report’s 12 themes. Air quality theme received 5 responses. Antarctica theme received 6 responses. Biodiversity theme received 27 responses. Climate theme received 22 responses. Coasts theme received 11 responses. Extreme events theme received 11 responses. Heritage theme received 13 responses. Indigenous theme received 17 responses. Inland Water theme received 16 responses. Land theme received 15 responses. Marine theme received 12 responses. Urban theme received 9 responses. There were 164 total responses

What you told us

You provided key comments on each scoping paper theme. Read a snapshot of comments that show your top priorities under each theme. All responses will be considered by our authors. Not all responses are included in the summary.

Air quality

  • Direct and indirect impacts of COVID-19: such as improved air quality as a result of reduced emissions from lockdowns and the effect of reduced tourism on the environment.
  • Air quality impacts of:
  • a ‘gas fired’ recovery
  • mega dust storms from increased legal and illegal land clearing
  • water extraction.
  • Health impacts from increasing incidence and size of bushfires.

Antarctica

  • Impacts caused by:
  • infrastructure development
  • increased tourism
  • associated issues of invasive species and emissions.
  • Include the co-benefits of environmental protection. For example, scientific cooperation, resilience to climate change and global peace.

Biodiversity

  • Outcome statements would be stronger if they expressed a desired state rather than improved condition.
  • Include the key achievements, advances and adaptive responses made since the 2016 report - key factors contributing positively towards, and key factors limiting or threatening state of environment.
  • Identify key learnings and opportunities for improvement. Frame SoE reporting within an evidence-based adaptive management process.
  • Loss of indigenous ecological knowledge is a key threat, and hampers efforts to conserve biodiversity. Retention of Traditional Ecological Knowledge and its application should be a priority.

Climate

  • Include discussion on community education and awareness of climate related issues.
  • Impacts of climate change on indigenous communities, species decline, loss of capacity to manage landscapes.
  • Vulnerability to climate change has three aspects: adaptive capacity, exposure and sensitivity and policy needs to account for their spatial variability.
  • Depletion of the ozone layer is a climate issue as well Antarctic.

Coasts

  • Apply a broader suite of social, environment, cultural and economic considerations to human well-being
  • Include increasing severity of extreme events and the impact on social, environmental, cultural and economic considerations.
  • Cumulative impacts, damage, declining resilience and adaptive capacity of coastal habitats and the interplay between national and local level management.

Extreme events

  • Highlight the difficulty of assessing extremes and how they are changing into the future.
  • Economic impacts of insurance losses and premiums. Hail rivalling bushfires.
  • Hazard-exposed regions are expanding into large population centres.
  • Include links between extreme events. For example, links between cyclone, drought and fire.
  • Pandemics (Covid-19) as an extreme event.

Heritage

  • Under representation of historic landscapes, parks and gardens on heritage lists adds to over-emphasis on built heritage.
  • The 2019-20 bushfire impacts on natural and cultural heritage are a significant current issue.
  • Loss of Indigenous Ecological Knowledge. The opportunities for intergenerational transfer are limited except through indigenous ranger groups.
  • Resource extraction is a key threat to cultural landscapes and cultural heritage sites. Both those that are living and those that are archaeological.

Indigenous

  • Include the consequences of failure to fully and properly involve indigenous Australians in environmental management.
  • implications for indigenous management of biodiversity and agricultural production including the marine environment.
  • Role of Indigenous Land use Agreements (ILUA) in environmental and social outcomes associated with resource development projects.
  • Include a focus on desert peoples and their initiatives, e.g. where culture is strong, cultural burning is used.
  • The impacts of the SDG target to double agricultural production and implications for indigenous management of biodiversity and agricultural production.

Inland water

  • Address how the responses to climate change impact on freshwater ecosystems.
  • Resource company extraction of groundwater, it’s impact on availability and quality of water. Especially culturally significant water sources and indigenous values.
  • Stronger focus on large scale deterioration of water quality, major algal blooms, fish kills, long-term health and socio-economic consequences and liveability in rural regions.

Land

  • Social dimensions of land management (the connection of people to land).
  • Importance of production landscapes for biodiversity conservation.
  • the effects of agricultural and forestry industries on the natural environment, species, habitats and indigenous sites of significance.

Marine

  • Include the work of indigenous rangers, traditional owners, custodians in conserving the marine estate.
  • Evidence on pressures and overlap between pressures in this environment. For example, noise, renewable energy generation, minerals, oil and gas extraction and production.
  • Changing shorelines and the implications for marine ecosystems including coral reefs and seagrass communities, and coastal marine fisheries.

Urban

  • Analysis of the benefits of urban greenspace and green infrastructure and use of remote sensing to evaluate and quantify benefits such as carbon sequestration.
  • Consider using circular economy indicators from the National Waste Report 2020.
  • Content for Sustainable Development Goal No. 3 should include:
    • Asbestos waste-phase and end-of-life
    • non-occupational exposure
    • disease impact.

What happens next

The authors will consider your feedback to develop their theme papers.

You can subscribe to this page to receive future updates. This includes how the work on the 2021 State of the Environment report is progressing and its final release.

We will provide the final 2021 State of the Environment report to the Minister for the Environment by 31 December 2021. It will then be tabled in the Australian Parliament.