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Appendix G: Ecologically sustainable development and environmental performance

The following summary of DVA's environmental management activities and performance is provided in accordance with section 516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Environmental commitment statement

DVA is committed to integrating environmental sustainability into its business. The Department's key commitments are to:

  • comply with relevant legislation and policies
  • minimise its carbon footprint
  • use resources effectively
  • continue to look for ways to minimise waste and reduce energy and resource consumption
  • create a culture where environmental considerations are integrated into business activities
  • consider the environmental aspects of purchases of products and services
  • report on its environmental performance and progress towards environmental sustainability
  • promote the use of its environmental policies, practices and initiatives to its staff and
    business partners
  • strive for continuous improvement in its environmental performance.

Outcomes for ecologically sustainable development

DVA's outcomes contribute to the principles of ecologically sustainable development as set out in section 3A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. The Department's contribution is in the effective delivery of Australian Government services with as little environmental impact as possible.

In 2016–17, the Department continued to demonstrate environmental responsibility by minimising its negative impacts on the environment through efficient use of resources, effective waste management and pollution prevention.

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Environmental impact of operations

DVA has taken measures to minimise the impact of its operations on the environment, as set out in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

Energy consumption

The Energy Efficiency in Government Operations policy set an energy consumption target of 7,500 megajoules per person per year for office tenant light and power by 2011–12.

Table G1 shows data from 2013–14 to 2015–16. Due to energy consumption reporting processes, information relating to energy performance for 2016–17 will not be available until
the end of October 2017.

Table G1: Tenant light and power 2013–14 to 2015–16
  2013–14 2014–15 2015–16 EEGO target
Electricity (kilowatt hours) 4,063,129 4,038,959 4,229,411 Not available
Megajoules per occupied work point per year 1,916 1,937 2,028 7,500

EEGO = Energy Efficiency in Government Operations

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Fleet and fuel usage

At the start of 2016–17, DVA had 41 vehicles. They comprised 16 vehicles used by the Office of Australian War Graves (OAWG) in maintaining commemorative sites and 25 other vehicles used by the Department.

The Department maintained its environmental management initiatives to minimise carbon dioxide emissions by replacing its fleet vehicles at lease end with smaller and more fuel-efficient vehicles. In 2016–17, 12 vehicles were renewed for DVA and nine were renewed for the OAWG. Two cost-effective hybrid replacement vehicles were introduced into the DVA fleet. The Department continued to encourage the use of E10 fuel in its fleet vehicles.

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DVA reduces the requirement for air travel and other types of travel by using videoconferencing and teleconferencing facilities in each main office location.

Waste and recycling

DVA collects data on the amount of waste and recycled material generated by its office operations. In the Canberra location, 3,554 kilograms of organic waste were collected in 2016–17 (equivalent to
20.1 cubic metres).

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Water consumption at commemorative sites

The OAWG maintains official commemorations for First World War and Second World War dead in 75 war cemeteries and plots in Australia and Papua New Guinea. The OAWG also maintains 10 gardens of remembrance that provide official commemoration for veterans whose deaths are accepted as war caused.

The aim of the horticultural design of a war cemetery is to give the effect of a garden—a place where the harmonious combination of the various elements may help the visitor to achieve a sense of peace in a beautiful and serene setting.

The location of war cemeteries and gardens of remembrance often means that supplementary water is required to achieve active plant growth. Various types of irrigation systems, including automatic systems, and various water sources are used. At many sites, water has become progressively less available. In response, the OAWG has sourced non-potable water at some sites and reduced its water consumption while striving to maintain the longstanding features and standards of presentation.

Improvements in the reliability of water sources and the performance of irrigation systems have been achieved at a number of sites, in particular at Perth War Cemetery, Centennial Park War Cemetery (Adelaide) and Bomana War Cemetery (Port Moresby). Water efficiencies have been achieved by upgrading water features at the New South Wales and Queensland gardens of remembrance.

Water management plans are in place for each site to enable the reduction, reuse or recycling of water.

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Environmentally friendly purchasing

Through its procurement processes, DVA promotes environmental measures that lead to the reduction of waste and emissions and the better use of resources. All procurement requests include consideration of environmental issues.

The Secretary's Instructions for the procurement of property and services encourage the procurement of ‘property or services that have less impact on the environment and human health than otherwise comparable property or services'.

DVA promotes the procurement of a large variety of quality products made from recycled material and manufactured with environmental considerations in mind.

The Department reduced its purchasing of photocopy paper to 30,474 reams in 2016–17, from 31,720 in 2015–16. The Department's veteran-centric reforms and the transition to a whole-of-government shared services arrangement in some business areas will lead to further reductions in the use of paper.

DVA continued to increase the proportion of recycled paper used.

Monitoring performance

Progress in meeting environmental objectives is reported internally to management. The Department also reports annually to the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science on energy usage, and to the Department of the Environment and Energy on waste management.

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