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Department of the Environment (Australia, 2013–2016)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Department of the Environment
Logo of the Australian Government Department of the Environment.png
Department overview
Formed18 September 2013 (2013-09-18)[1]
Preceding Department
Dissolved19 July 2016
Superseding agency
JurisdictionCommonwealth of Australia
HeadquartersJohn Gorton Building, King Edward Terrace, Parkes ACT 2600, Canberra, Australia
Motto"to protect and conserve Australia's environment and heritage"
Annual budget$460 million in 2013–14[2]
Minister responsible
Department executive

The Australian Department of the Environment was a department of the Government of Australia that existed between September 2013 and July 2016. The department was charged with responsibility for developing and implementing national policy, programs and legislation to protect and conserve Australia's environment and heritage.[4]


The department was an Australian Public Service Department of State in the environment portfolio, under the Public Service Act 1999.[5]

The head of the department was its Secretary, Dr Gordon de Brouwer PSM,[3] responsible to the Minister for the Environment, the Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP.


The department was formed by way of an Administrative Arrangements Order issued on 18 September 2013.[6] It absorbed the responsibilities of the former Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSWEPaC)[7] and climate change from the former Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education.[8][9][10][11]

The department was dissolved in July 2016 and its functions, along with energy policy functions, were moved to the newly established Department of the Environment and Energy.[12][13][14]

From when it was established in September 2013 to when it was dissolved in July 2016 the department faced significant cuts (25 per cent cut from the organisation's budget over four years), in line with the Coalition Government's environmental deregulation policies.[15]


The stated aims of the department were to achieve the protection and conservation of the environment; to ensure that Australia benefits from meteorological and related sciences and services; and to see that Australia's interests in Antarctica are advanced. The department developed and implemented national policy, programs and legislation to protect and conserve Australia's environment and heritage.

Operational activities

The functions of the department were broadly classified into the following matters:[6]

  • The Great Barrier Reef
  • Environment protection and conservation of biodiversity
  • Air quality
  • National fuel quality standards
  • Land contamination
  • Meteorology
  • Administration of the Australian Antarctic Territory, and the Territory of the Heard Island and McDonald Islands
  • Natural, built and cultural heritage
  • Environmental information and research
  • Ionospheric prediction
  • Co-ordination of sustainable communities policy
  • Population policy
  • Urban environment
  • Development and co-ordination of domestic climate change policy
  • Renewable energy target policy, regulation and co-ordination
  • Greenhouse emissions and energy consumption reporting
  • Climate change adaptation strategy and co-ordination
  • Co-ordination of climate change science activities
  • Renewable energy
  • Greenhouse gas abatement programs
  • Community and household climate action
  • Water policy and resources


The department managed a number of major programs. The most significant of those dealing with natural resource management came under the umbrella of the Natural Heritage Trust and the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality. Both the Trust and National Action Plan were administered jointly with the Department of Agriculture.


Divisions of the department included the Australian Antarctic Division, Supervising Scientist Division, Heritage Division, Parks Australia, Policy and Communications, Australian Wildlife, Sydney Harbour Federation Trust, Australian Land and Coasts plus a number of executive agencies and statutory authorities.

Environmental protection

The Department of the Environment administered environmental laws, including the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and a range of other Acts.[6] It was also responsible for Australia's participation in a number of international environmental agreements.

Islands administration

The department administered areas of the Coral Sea Islands,[16] Heard Island and the McDonald Islands,[17] and oversees certain policy areas in Norfolk Island[18] and Christmas Island.[19]


  1. ^ "CA 9438: Department of the Environment [III], Central Office", National Archives of Australia, retrieved 9 February 2021
  2. ^ Towell, Noel (8 April 2014). "Environment Department: Parks to pay their way, says review". The Canberra Times. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 9 April 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Departmental structure". Retrieved 12 October 2013.
  4. ^ "Home Page". Department of the Environment. Government of Australia. Retrieved 12 October 2013.
  5. ^ Chart of 109 Agencies under the FMA Act (PDF), Department of Finance, 1 January 2014, archived (PDF) from the original on 4 March 2014
  6. ^ a b c "Administrative Arrangements Order" (PDF). Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Commonwealth of Australia. 18 September 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 September 2013. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
  7. ^ "Department of the Environment". Retrieved 12 October 2013.
  8. ^ "Department of Industry". Retrieved 12 October 2013.
  9. ^ Packham, Ben (18 September 2013). "Tony Abbott puts broom through bureaucracy". The Australian. Retrieved 24 September 2013.
  10. ^ Abbott, Tony (18 September 2013). "The Coalition will restore strong, stable and accountable government". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (Press release). Canberra, Australia: Commonwealth of Australia. Archived from the original on 20 September 2013. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
  11. ^ Wilson, Lauren (19 September 2013). "Coalition carves up the public service". The Australian. Retrieved 24 September 2013.
  12. ^ Administrative Arrangements Order – amendment made 19 July 2016, Australian Government, archived from the original on 30 August 2016
  13. ^ Chalmers, Max (18 July 2016). "Malcolm Turnbull Just Made 'Mr Coal' His Environment Minister". New Matilda. Archived from the original on 19 July 2016.
  14. ^ Anderson, Stephanie (20 July 2016). "Election 2016: Malcolm Turnbull unveils ministry with Christopher Pyne, Greg Hunt on the move". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 24 August 2016.
  15. ^ Towell, Noel (5 March 2013). "Up to 200 public servants to lose jobs in Environment Department". The Canberra Times. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 4 March 2014.
  16. ^ "Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve - Management". Retrieved 12 October 2013.
  17. ^ "Heard and McDonald Islands (HIMI) - World Heritage". Retrieved 12 October 2013.
  18. ^ "Norfolk Island National Park - Park Management". Retrieved 12 October 2013.
  19. ^ "Christmas Island National Park - Park Management". Retrieved 12 October 2013.

External links

This page was last edited on 21 May 2021, at 08:41
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