A9 - Analysis of agency performance

PLANNING

  • Output 1.2: Planning Delivery
  • Output 1.3: Planning Policy

City planning

The City Planning Division has responsibility for the development of city-wide urban land policies that underpin planning for future urban growth, land supply, major infrastructure for future urban areas and for the character and structure of our city. This work is consistent with the ACT Government’s key policies, the ACT Planning Strategy and Transport for Canberra 2012. These documents and other high level policies, AP2 and the draft Nature Conservation Strategy, provide long-term planning policy and goals to promote orderly and sustainable development consistent with the social, environmental and economic aspirations of Canberra’s community.

Where relevant, the Planning Division undertakes extensive community consultation. For more details on consultation, see Section B1.

In 2012–13 the Division comprised the following sections.

Strategic city planning and design

Strategic City Planning and Policy is responsible for a wide range of activities that provide the broad strategic, city-wide planning policies for the ACT. These responsibilities include the ongoing implementation of the ACT Planning Strategy, delivering master plans that incorporate extensive community engagement, preparing planning and design studies, social infrastructure planning and identifying strategic initiatives for urban renewal. The section also provides input to the land supply strategy, major projects and capital works, advice about quality urban design outcomes and the public realm, and conducts urban research and monitoring. This work is also continued in a collaborative regional framework with NSW state and local governments.

Planning strategy

With the ACT Planning Strategy becoming effective from 1 September 2012 as a Notifiable Instrument, the section delivered one of the ACT Government’s priorities. The strategy replaces The Canberra Spatial Plan 2004 as the key strategic plan guiding spatial planning, development and management of the ACT to help achieve the economic, cultural and environmental aspirations of its people. The production of the Strategy involved research and extensive community consultation.

Implementing this whole-of-government policy to achieve the five outcomes involves several directorates. The Strategy commits to monitoring and annual reporting on the trends at the end of each calendar year, with the first report due in late 2013.

Regional planning

Under the auspices of the ACT and NSW Memorandum of Understanding for Regional Collaboration, signed in December 2011, work on a regional strategic planning framework for land use and infrastructure progressed.

A food scoping study examining the nature and characteristics of food production in the ACT was completed, and identifies opportunities and implications for the region.

Master plan program

Master plans are non-statutory documents that set a direction for local areas while considering the needs of the local and wider community, the strategic land uses, opportunities and implications for development and redevelopment and the safety and character of the public realm. Each plan involves substantial community consultation to ensure it reflects community aspirations.

Master planning activities for 2012–13 included:

  • completion of master plans for Tuggeranong Town Centre and Erindale and Kambah group centres
  • continuation of Pialligo, Oaks Estate and Weston Creek master plans
  • commencement of background studies for Woden Town Centre, Athllon Drive (Mawson) and Mawson group centre master plans
  • scoping for a master plan for Tharwa and
  • commencement of a strategic plan for City (The City Plan) under an Australian Government ‘Liveable Cities’ grant.
Community gardens

The issue of local food production within the context of sustainable development of the city, climate change and food security was a focus in 2012–13, and included:

  • the release of a discussion paper on the future location of community gardens for community consultation
  • the release of a report providing a summary of issues raised during consultation and
  • the completion and release of a study with the University of Canberra to examine demand for community gardens and their benefits to the wider Canberra community.
Tune Up Canberra grants program

The Tune Up Canberra grants program assisted in the retrofitting of office buildings to achieve reductions in energy use and emissions. Implementation of the program and management of the staged grants payments continued throughout 2012–13.

Accelerated land release program

Site investigation and planning studies were completed on three sites in Watson and one site in Greenway to support the accelerated land release program.

Active Living grant to Heart Foundation (ACT)

A three year grant to the Heart Foundation (ACT) commenced in 2012 to fund the Active Living program. City Planning established an internal steering committee with the CEO of the Heart Foundation to oversee the work of the Active Living coordinator, who was appointed by the Heart Foundation. The program established a suite of research, reporting and outreach projects to influence work across a number of directorates and build upon the previous work of the Active Living project administered by the Health Directorate.

Community facility demand assessments

Through the master planning program, research continued to assess future demand for community facilities in existing areas and precincts that may be subject to urban intensification. The areas being considered include the city centre, East Lake, Weston, Woden Town Centre and Mawson. There is ongoing strategic assessment and monitoring of the supply and demand and need to increase the supply of community facility land.

Advice and assistance to other directorates

Significant advice and assistance was provided across a range of subject areas and activities including:

  • to the Community Services Directorate, which led work examining needs and development opportunities for community services in the City centre and Northbourne Avenue
  • to the LDA on land release sites
  • convening and chairing the Land Requests Advisory Committee, including coordination of inter-agency advice
  • representation at forums and meetings covering crime prevention and community safety, Active Living, Walk 21, Land Release Advisory Committee, Direct Sales Panel, Design Review Panel, residential and commercial advisory committees, Supermarket Competition Committee, Age-Friendly Cities Network, ACT Strategic Plan for Positive Ageing 2011–2014, and the ACT Children’s Services Forum.

Land and infrastructure planning

Land and Infrastructure Planning comprises three streams of work: land planning, infrastructure planning and Canberra integrated urban waterways.

Land planning

Land planning activities include urban structure planning and investigation and feasibility assessments for new metropolitan areas. Activities are based on the government’s Indicative Land Release Program, which sets out the sequencing and programming of land releases in the ACT. The Land Planning team works closely with other ACT Government directorates and agencies to ensure an adequate supply of land across the Territory.

While work focuses primarily on residential land, it also supports the release of commercial and industrial land and undertakes planning work for redevelopment areas and in broadacre areas.

Beyond the broad range of general policy advice provided on matters such as water sensitive urban design, flood planning and management, airport planning and development, and ACT/NSW cross-border development, a wide range of planning studies were undertaken and completed in 2012–13 to support the release of new urban areas across the Territory.

Molonglo Valley
  • Facilitated discussions were held with key industry, community and government stakeholders including meetings with a community and industry reference group, ACT Government agencies, National Capital Authority (NCA) and Australian National University. Community forums were held.
  • A design-led sustainable development strategy was completed in November 2012 for the principal centre in the Molonglo Valley district, located in the suburb of Molonglo in stage 2 and including a group centre and surrounding higher density residential environs. The project included public and agency consultation.
  • Preparation commenced of a concept plan and implementation strategy for the Molonglo Stage 2 Group Centre and Environs Project. An inter-directorate Molonglo working group was established in December 2012 to work collaboratively on the preparation of the concept plan and implementation strategy.
  • An advisory panel comprising experts in the fields of urban planning, urban design and architecture provided advice at key points about the Molonglo Stage 2 Group Centre and Environs Project.
  • An urban comfort assessment of the town core of the group centre was completed.
  • A technical amendment to change the Territory Plan map to incorporate a broad zoning pattern and arterial road alignment, consistent with the approved planning and design framework (PDF) for Molonglo Valley stage 2, was completed.
  • A draft Molonglo Adaptive Management Strategy was prepared and submitted to the Australian Government Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (SEWPaC) for endorsement. The strategy is a commitment arising from the approval of the Molonglo Valley Plan for the Protection of Matters of National Environmental Significance. ESDD is funding the project, which is managed by the Territory and Municipal Services Directorate (TAMS).
  • The Molonglo River Park Concept Plan was endorsed in August 2012. The plan aims to balance ecological conservation, bushfire mitigation and recreational activities in the river corridor adjacent to the urban area. It provides an overarching strategy for a detailed plan of management for the corridor. It is based on consultation with community stakeholders, including recreation and environmental groups, through community forums and meetings and field trips with specialist interest groups.
  • In accordance with s. 211 of the Planning and Development Act 2007, the Minister determined in August 2012 that stage 2 (part), the Link Bridge over the Molonglo River and Sewer 3 Central development, will not require further environmental assessment.
  • ESDD worked collaboratively with the Economic Development Directorate (EDD) on an urban edge master plan and concept design that commenced in May 2013 for land between the Molonglo River corridor and stage 2 urban area. ESDD provides planning advice and a coordination role on this project, which is being managed by EDD.
  • ESDD worked collaboratively with EDD and other directorates in the planning and design of major infrastructure projects, and in providing planning policy advice to support land releases in the Molonglo Valley. This included advice on sales documents for the first land release in the suburb of Denman Prospect.
  • Comments were provided to EDD and ACTEW on a sewer odour study that provides options for controlling and managing odour in the Molonglo Valley.
  • Preliminary studies commenced for cultural heritage, site contamination and community needs assessment for Molonglo Valley stage 3.
  • A heritage assessment for stage 3 identified a number of Aboriginal cultural heritage sites and that the Kallenia Woolshed meets criteria for heritage listing.
Eastern Broadacre
  • ESDD provided input on studies and investigations relevant to the Eastern Broadacre area, to the east of the city, including airport planning and safeguarding, cross-border and regional planning, and draft local environmental plans for Palerang and Queanbeyan councils.
  • The Directorate worked with other directorates and the NSW Government on cross-border planning arrangements.
  • Environmental, ecological, transport, bushfire and market assessments were completed for Symonston.
  • Preparation of a structure plan for Symonston commenced, including analysis of any gaps for further investigation and consideration of measures for the protection of endangered species.
  • ESDD liaised with the National Capital Authority (NCA) on a proposed amendment to the National Capital Plan for Symonston to change the non-urban zone to urban zone.
  • Proposed commercial sites in Fyshwick east that have been identified for release were handed over to the Land Development Agency (LDA) for further investigation.
East Lake
  • A revised planning option for the development of East Lake was prepared in response to the findings of a range of planning and infrastructure studies.
  • A draft final East Lake Planning and Development Framework was completed.
  • A draft final East Lake Strategic Environmental Assessment was completed.
  • Further traffic modelling on the revised development proposals for East Lake was undertaken.
  • A demographic analysis and community, sport and recreation facilities study for East Lake was undertaken.
  • A bushfire risk assessment for the East Lake area was undertaken.
  • ESDD participated in the development of the Jerrabomberra Wetlands Nature Reserve Master Plan.
  • Further assessment and analysis of the options for the configuration of heavy rail and passenger facilities in the East Lake area was undertaken.
  • Liaison continued with ACT Government directorates on the East Lake project, including TAMS, EDD, Community Services Directorate (CSD), Chief Minister and Treasury Directorate (CMTD) and Education and Training Directorate (ETD).
  • Discussions continued with adjoining lessees to the East Lake development area and key stakeholder groups, including the Jerrabomberra Wetlands Board of Management.
  • A feasibility study confirmed that the existing trunk natural gas main adjacent to East Lake does not require upgrading or relocation for the urban development of East Lake to occur.
  • A site preparation feasibility study determined the most viable delivery option in regard to the treatment of unsuitable fill material, contamination and trunk infrastructure requirements.
  • An investigation into the stormwater outfall from Fyshwick was completed and provided options on the most appropriate method to treat and improve water quality in conjunction with the overall preparation of the site and earthworks required. This project will support future design and construction work on a water quality control pond, which will have a direct and beneficial effect on the Jerrabomberra Wetlands and Lake Burley Griffin.
  • An investigation on the stormwater entering Jerrabomberra Wetlands and the interface with the future urban development of East Lake was completed.
Gungahlin
  • A draft PDF for the future Gungahlin suburb of Kenny was prepared. It considered a range of matters including heritage, environmental values, contamination, stormwater management and an aquifer associated with Sullivan’s Creek. The PDF process was on hold pending the approval decision on the Gungahlin Strategic Assessment by the Australian Government Department of SEWPaC, and will now be updated and finalised to reflect the approval. The PDF will establish the important planning requirements for the new suburb.
  • An odour and noise assessment for the gas pressure reduction and gas distribution facility adjacent to Kenny was undertaken; the outcomes will inform planning for the suburb.
  • Following an ESDD application to the Heritage Council concerning the significance of a stone ruin site in Kenny, the Council is considering whether to provisionally register the site.
Infrastructure planning

The Infrastructure Planning team is responsible for the strategic engineering planning of new development and major redevelopment areas, as well as engineering investigations and feasibility studies. The main areas of focus in 2012–13 were East Lake and infill infrastructure studies for Weston, Mawson, Tuggeranong, Erindale, Curtin and Griffith (Manuka) group centres and the suburb of Pialligo. A wide range of program and planning activities were also undertaken.

The responsibility for project specific feasibility studies and design transferred from ESDD to EDD in May 2012. Infrastructure Planning completed the detailed design and draft environmental impact statement (EIS) of the 132kV undergrounding in Lawson South. The team also provided input and conditions on land release, direct sales, estate developments and technical advice on development applications.

Integrated urban waterways

The implementation of the Canberra Integrated Urban Waterways program continued. This program focuses on integrating urban water management by substituting high quality drinking water used for irrigation with fit-for-purpose stormwater captured in urban ponds. The program has invested in feasibility and design studies, water pollution control ponds, stormwater harvesting reticulation infrastructure and equipment to demonstrate aquifer storage and recovery.

Projects included:

  • construction of a pilot storm water harvesting project in the inner north of Canberra
  • construction of the Inner North Reticulation Network, which is due for completion in 2013–14
  • continuation of landscaping of the Lyneham wetland
  • community engagement with local schools, universities, community groups and the broader community through numerous public events including presentations, site visits and community planting days
  • continued construction of The Valley Ponds in Gungahlin, including community engagement
  • commencement of the identification of high priority potential wetland sites that would deliver significant water quality improvements to the Tuggeranong, Ginninderra and Weston Creek catchments
  • continuation of field investigations into the extent and capacity of the inner north aquifer.

Transport Planning

The Transport Planning section has responsibility for transport policy, planning and design, with a key focus being the integration of land use and transport planning across all transport modes (walking, cycling, public transport, community transport, driving and freight).

The section carries out network planning for all transport modes and transport modelling. This planning informs the setting of transport targets that are monitored and reported on by the section, as well as transport infrastructure and services planning. The section conducts transport impact assessments for new developments and has a key role in promoting active travel such as walking and cycling, including travel demand management programs. The section also provides transport input on strategic planning within ESDD and in collaboration with other directorates.

In 2012–13, the section completed a number of feasibility studies, strategic investigations and travel management activities. Work focussed mainly on Capital Metro and implementation of the Transport for Canberra 2012 policy. Transport for Canberra and the ACT Planning Strategy work together to respond to and guide Canberra's multi-centred structure to create a more compact city with transit orientation that generates fewer, shorter vehicle trips and is more economically efficient, socially inclusive, healthy and sustainable.

The initiatives in Transport for Canberra continued to move towards the government's 2026 target of 30% of all ‘journey to work’ trips being by walking, cycling and public transport. Development started on a monitoring and reporting system to measure and report progress.

Feasibility studies

The Gungahlin to City Transit Corridor Study was completed. The following feasibility studies on major transit corridors were substantially progressed:

  • Park and ride and Bike and ride feasibility studies
  • Adelaide Avenue (Woden to City) Bus Stops Feasibility Study and
  • City Bus Layover and Interchange Feasibility Study.
Strategic transport investigations

The following investigations were completed or substantially progressed:

  • A walkability study to map the walking distances between bus stops and homes to inform public transport planning was completed.
  • The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Transport Service Study, which examines options to deliver culturally appropriate transport services, was completed.
  • Work progressed on the Strategic Cycle Network Plan, which will identify a strategic plan for a cycle network that integrates with short, medium and long term land use planning and makes cycling a more viable alternative to driving.
  • The Community Transport Study, which looks at community transport policies, operations, planning processes and regulations, will be completed in 2014.
  • The draft ACT Freight Strategy will be released in 2014 and align with the National Freight Strategy.
  • A transport pricing study will be completed in 2014.
Travel demand management

The following demand management activities were completed or commenced.

  • ESDD supported the Ride or Walk to School project, which is coordinated by the Health Directorate and aims to increase walking, cycling and use of public transport by school students. Participating schools received a range of support including bikes, helmets, maintenance support, personal safety sessions, road safety education and BMX skills development workshops.
  • Development commenced on a low vehicle emission strategy (LEVS) to reduce transport emissions via a suite of initiatives to influence driver and consumer behaviour to reduce emissions of private and public vehicles. Car sharing and car pooling is one such initiative and a review is being conducted of the effectiveness of the ACT Government's carpool pilot (June 2012 – June 2013); the results will inform future carpooling activity as part of the LEVS initiatives.
  • An updated version of the Canberra and Queanbeyan Cycle Map was produced and published, with excellent uptake.

Further information may be obtained from:

Dr Erin Brady
Executive Director, City Planning
Telephone: 02 6207 7226
Email: erin.brady@act.gov.au

Planning delivery

The Planning Delivery Division is responsible for reviewing the Territory Plan, the development assessment processes in the Territory, including environmental impact assessment, and the administration of the leasehold system.

In 2012–13 the division comprised four sections: Territory Plan Review; Merit Assessment; Impact, Code and Estate Assessment; and Lease Administration.

Impact, code and estates assessment

The Impact and Estates Assessment Section is responsible for the environmental impact assessment process under Chapter 8 of the Planning and Development Act 2007. This includes:

  • preparing scoping documents
  • assessing EIS and preparing advice to the Minister
  • assessing and preparing advice on requests for exemptions from the preparation of an EIS under s. 211 of the Planning and Development Act 2007
  • preparing responses to referrals under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act)
  • administering the Commonwealth/ACT bilateral assessment agreement under the EPBC Act
  • assessing impact track development applications (DA)
  • assessing merit track applications where an environmental significance opinion has previously been provided under s. 138AA of the Planning and Development Act 2007.

The section also assesses DAs for estate development plans, primarily for new residential estates but also for industrial and commercial subdivision proposals.

Key impact and estate development proposals approved during the year included:

  • Majura Parkway
  • John Gorton Drive Stage 1D-2A connection
  • John Gorton Drive 2A forward works
  • Tharwa Fish Habitat project
  • John Gorton Drive/Uriarra Rd (link Road).

Exemptions were granted under s. 211 of the Planning and Development Act 2007 from the requirement to prepare an environmental impact statement for the following proposals:

  • Williamsdale Solar Farm
  • Royalla Solar Farm (FRV)
  • Holt 132kV line relocation for residential development
  • Theodore to Gilmore 132kV power line upgrade.

An EIS assessment report for the Minister’s consideration was completed for:

  • Throsby District Playing Fields and Multisport Complex
  • Hume Clinical Waste Facility.

The section also:

  • prepared responses to 11 referrals under the EPBC Act from the Australian Government for potential controlled action projects and
  • assisted EDD coordinate the strategic assessment of Gungahlin under the EPBC Act.

Using the ‘call-in’ powers of the Planning and Development Act 2007, the Minister approved the Majura Parkway impact track development application. The approval included the construction of 11.5km of dual carriageway road between the Federal Highway and Monaro Highway.

The section approved estate development plans (EDP) providing for the release of 918 single dwelling blocks and 37 multi-unit blocks providing for the release of 2805 dwellings. This is a 677 dwelling decrease over the 3482 dwellings approved the previous year. EDPs approved in 2012–13 included:

  • Flemington Road Stage 2B: 669 dwellings (8 multi-unit blocks)
  • North Weston 2 Estate: 120 dwellings (73 single dwelling blocks, 3 multi-unit blocks)
  • Casey Group Centre: 500 dwellings (241 single dwellings, 3 multi-unit, 4 mixed use and 5 commercial blocks)
  • Macgregor West Stage 5: 58 single dwellings
  • Ngunnawal 2C stages 2–6: 339 single dwellings
  • Lawson South: 1111 dwellings (199 single dwellings, 19 multi-unit blocks)
  • Casey Local Centre: 8 single dwellings and 3 commercial blocks (one facilitating the release the Ochre Health, Casey GP super clinic, subject to Australian Government funding)
  • Greenway Lakeside Estate: 8 commercial blocks.

Merit assessment

The Merit Assessment section is divided into three separate units based on geographic areas – north, south and Weston Creek/rural. Each unit assesses merit track applications under Chapter 7 of the Planning and Development Act 2007 for that area.

The section determines exemption declaration applications under s. 1.100A of the Planning and Development Regulation 2008. Staff attend tribunals and courts on DA related matters.

In 2012–13, the section assessed 1153 merit track DAs. Determinations were made within statutory timeframes for 76.4% of merit track DAs, a slight increase on 72.4% in 2011–12.

The section also managed 576 exemption declaration applications, with an average determination time of 7.6 working days. Exemption declaration applications enable single house developments with a minor non-compliance with the setback, building envelope and/or area of private open space to be assessed efficiently and, in many cases, be declared exempt work and therefore not requiring development approval. This process provides a simpler process for proponents of single house developments and enables more staff to consider more complex development proposals.

The section also assessed a wide range of complex and mixed use DAs, most notable of which were:

  • Block 32 Section 52 Belconnen: construction of a mixed use development, ranging in height from 16 to 24 storeys containing 319 residential units and 710m2 of commercial space with a podium car park
  • Block 1 Section 3 Bruce: construction of a four storey general practice clinic within the University of Canberra premises with associated surface car parking
  • Block 5 Section 32 Bruce: construction of a residential development, ranging in height from three to five storeys and containing 182 residential units over a basement car park
  • Blocks 8, 15, 16, 17 and 18 Section 97 Charnwood: construction of an emergency services facility
  • Blocks 4 and 5 Section 18 Crace: construction of a mixed use development, ranging in height from one to four storeys and containing 135 residential units and a community facility club house of 477m2
  • Block 2 Section 32 Franklin: construction of a mixed use development, ranging in height from five to six storeys and containing 93 residential units and 2,257m2 of commercial space over a basement car park
  • Block 2 Section 235 Gungahlin: construction of a one and two storey place of worship (mosque)
  • Block 1 Section 138 Harrison: construction of a mixed use development, ranging in height from four to six storeys and containing 75 residential units and 2,064m2 of commercial space over a basement car park
  • Block 8 Section 856 Isabella Plains: construction of 122 single storey independent living units and a community facility club house of 894m2
  • Blocks 8 and 9 Section 85 Kaleen: construction of two and four storey buildings containing a 150 bed aged care facility
  • Block 90 Section 24 Stirling: construction of two storey buildings containing a 144 bed aged care facility.

Using the ‘call-in’ powers of the Planning and Development Act 2007, the Minister approved four merit track development applications:

  • Manuka Oval lighting at blocks 4, 14 and 15 Section 15 Griffith: construction of six lighting towers for television broadcasting, two sub-stations and 400 temporary seats
  • Flynn Community Centre at Block 7 Section 18 Flynn: conversion of part of the former Flynn Primary School into a community hub
  • Brumbies Griffith redevelopment at Block 15 Section 42 Griffith: demolition of existing buildings and construction of two and three storey buildings comprising 131 adaptable residential units with basement car parking
  • Thynne Street Bruce, Block 5 Section 32 Bruce: demolition of existing buildings and construction of a four storey building for commercial offices with undercroft car parking.

Lease administration

Lease administration is responsible for management of the leasehold system under Chapters 7 and 9 of the Planning and Development Act 2007. The section comprises three subunits: Leasing DA, General Leasing and Deed Management.

Data on statutory approvals and processes for the lease administration section are set out below.

General leasing

Further leases

Executive leases

Rent re-appraisals

Section 2981 transfers

Land rent payouts

Other subleases and transfers

Received 39

Offers 2

Processed 46

Processed 1200

Received 115

Received 23

Executed 39

Granted 1

   

Executed 88

Approved 22

           

Section 3032 Licences

Section 303 licences (telecommunications)

Motor vehicle licence advice

Liquor licence advice

Purpose clause interpretation

Received 40

Received 9

Processed 17

Processed 62

Processed 35

Executed 35

Executed 4

     

Community title and unit title

Community title applications

Unit title applications

Received 3

Received 71

Approved 3

Approved 82

Registered 3

Registered 95

Rural Leasing

Land withdrawal

Grazing licences

Further leases offers

Acquisitions

1

7

Offers 16 and Granted 7

1

                       

Deed management

LDA Leases3

Private development leases3

404

915

Notes:

  1. S298 - Transfers of undeveloped land where development covenants are include in the Crown lease.
  2. S303 - Licences over unleased Territory land, including encroachment licences.
  3. Consequent leases issued from a holding lease.

Leasing DA – lease variation

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

2011-12

2012-13

202

203

204

189 + 83
Combined with design and siting

171 + 65
Combined with design and siting

80 + 59

Combined with design and siting

Leasing checks

912

999

842

693

749

Concessional leases (ss. 257 and 258)

Determined

Pending

Appeals

   

10

2

0

   

Lease variation/Change of use charge

Determined

Paid

No. remissions

Waivers

Section 276E1

69

45

2 remissions, one at 75%, one at 65%

 

Section 2772

54

47

All attract a remission of 25%

2

Section 276E/S2773

3

2

Section 277 component attract 25% remission

 

Change of use charge4

20

14

All attract a remission of 25%

 
                   

Notes:

  1. S276E chargeable variation – lease variation charge (LVC) is calculated in accordance with the codified schedules (Disallowable Instrument DI2011-198)
  2. S277 chargeable variation – LVC is assessed by a land valuation process taking into account the before and after values of the lease to determine the added value.
  3. S277E/S277 – the approved lease variation includes both codified and valuation components.
  4. The DA was determined prior to 1 July 2011 and the LVC is assessed under the provisions of the unamended Planning and Development Act 2007 as Change of Use Charge.
Leasing DA

Leasing DA is responsible for:

  • assessing merit and impact track applications to vary a Crown lease
  • Lease Variation Charge (LVC) assessments and determinations
  • applications to deconcessionalise leases and concessional lease determinations
  • all pre and post DA leasing advice and processes
  • leasing input into, and leasing checks on, all DAs (excluding existing dwellings)
  • attendance at tribunals and courts on lease variation and LVC appeals.

Under delegation from the Commissioner for Revenue, Lease Administration administers the LVC, which came into effect on 1 July 2011. Sections 278 to 278E of the Planning and Development Act 2007 (the Act) permit determinations to authorise remission of LVC in specified circumstances. These sections are heads of power available to be used should government policy require remissions. The following remission determinations are on the legislation register:

  • Remission of LVCs Determination – General Remissions (DI2011-197)
  • Remission for Community Purposes – Housing Assistance (DI2011-318)
  • Remission for Community Purposes – Child Care Centres (DI2011-319)
  • Remission for Community Purposes – Health Services (DI2011-320)
  • Remission for Adaptive Reuse – Environmental Performance (DI2012 - 78)
  • Remission for Adaptive Reuse – Public Art (DI2012-79)
  • Remission for Environmental Remediation – Former Service Stations (DI2012-125).

No new remissions were made in 2012–13, although remissions for affordable housing and sustainable development are being considered. During 2010–11, the government’s policy change in relation to the Change of Use Charge (CUC) resulted in the lodgement of 21 appeals to the Administrative and Civil Appeals Tribunal (ACAT). This compared with 2004–09 when 13 appeals were lodged, four of which were withdrawn. While most have been finalised, three appeals against the CUC continued in the Supreme Court this year and one decision is reserved. In the remaining two cases, leave to appeal was refused by the Supreme Court; however, both have proceeded to the Court of Appeal and one application for leave has been set down for hearing. Five new ACAT appeals were lodged this financial year; two were CUC related and settled by consent order, one decision was upheld, one was settled by consent and the other is yet to be heard. There were no appeals in relation to LVC.

Under the Act an application for reconsideration of an LVC determination, supported by an independent valuation, must be determined before appeal rights to the ACAT may be exercised. No applications for reconsideration of LVC were received.

During the year, seven new DAs to remove concessional lease status were lodged, bringing to 11 the total number of applications lodged under the Act. The relevant leases are:

  • Block 28 Section 34 Dickson – Dickson Tradesmen’s Club
  • Block 10 Section 64 Lyneham – ACT Tennis
  • Block 12 Section 64 Lyneham – ACT Tennis
  • Block 68 Section 35 Deakin – National Association of Forest Products
  • Block 5 Section 30 Braddon – Canberra Raiders
  • Block 7 Section 23 City – Hellenic Club
  • Block 48 Section 37 Deakin – Australian Institute of International Affairs
  • Block 13 Section 3 Phillip – Woden Tradesmen’s Club
  • Block 14 Section 56 Lyneham – Vietnamese Buddhist Congregation
  • Block 15 Section 45 Griffith – Brumbies Rugby
  • Block 5 Section 25 Stirling – Canberra Labor Club.

The application to remove the concessional status of Block 15 Section 45 Griffith has been finalised. All other applications are progressing.

During the year 165 lease variations were lodged and 139 were approved (including combined applications).

Development Application's lodged and approved between 2007 and 2013

DAs

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

2011-12

2012-13

Average

Lodged

196

224

279

271

111

165

207

Approved

202

203

204

272

236

139

209

Notes:

  1. The above figures include all DAs with a lease variation component
  2. 2010–11 (50% stimulus) and 2011–12 (introduction of LVC)

The post DA approval leasing process is a significant body of work for the Leasing DA team. Ensuring compliance with conditions of development approval, payment of lease variation charge, submission of survey plans, checking of Instruments and draft Crown leases are all part of this process. In 2102–13, 140 Crown leases and Instruments of Variation were registered at the Office of Regulatory Services.

General leasing

General Leasing provides a range of services to government, industry and the general community, including:

  • granting and administering Crown leases and licences over unleased Territory land
  • granting further leases and making lease determinations
  • processing unit and community title applications and registrations
  • determining applications for consent to transfer and other dealings in Crown leases
  • managing rural leases, including processing land withdrawals and acquisitions
  • advising on liquor licence and motor dealers’ licence applications and providing lease advice
  • processing applications for land rent payouts and surrender of land rent leases
  • rent re-appraisals and compensation for lessee-owned improvements
  • attending tribunals and courts on matters pertaining to leases
  • negotiating and liaising with external agencies and evaluating leasing proposals
  • representing Lease Administration on policy forums and peak bodies.

The number of land rent settlements represented an increase of 151% on the previous year. In February 2013 a $10,000 land rent security payment was introduced. Further, as of 1 October 2013, the acquisition of a new land rent block will be restricted to low to moderate income households eligible for the discount 2% rate. Potentially, these changes to the scheme may reduce the number of applications for settlement in the coming year to more acceptable levels.

During 2012–13, 95 units plans were registered compared with 123 in 2011–12, representing a 23% decrease, which is consistent with registrations in 2008–09 and 19% below the 10-year average of 118.

General Leasing has continued the practice of 100% audit of applications for unit title in the best interests of investors. However, indications are that it may be appropriate to reduce the level of audit in the coming year, subject to an assessment of compliance issues.

A trial of a two-stage submission process for approval of a units plan was conducted, with the outcome of the trial under review.

In 2011–12 ESDD was holding approximately $0.5 million in the form of cash bonds and bank guarantees for the completion of outstanding landscape works. These bonds were lodged between 1990 and 2007 (when the practice of taking landscape bonds ended). As no requests for refund/release of any bonds have been received, a process for review and release of the bonds and guarantees (where the company or individual can be located) has been implemented. To date, six landscape bonds to the value of $11,600 have been released and $444,490 remains outstanding.

In the area of rural policy, Lease Administration has commenced a review of all rural leases with a 20 year term identified in Disallowable Instrument Planning and Development (Amount payable for, and period of, further rural lease) Determination 2012 (No 1) (DI2012-115).

Deed management

Deed Management’s key responsibilities relate to the management of holding leases and deeds of agreement for both greenfield and brownfield land development projects where the delivery of public infrastructure is required. As part of this work, the section ensures that public infrastructure handed back to the Territory meets Territory design and construction standards as a condition of lease issue; assesses and certifies compliance with affordable housing requirements under deeds; and issues consequential leases for new estates and commercial land releases.

Deed Management continues to foster a holistic approach to the delivery of development projects and affordable housing in private enterprise land development in the ACT through cooperation with the relevant areas of the Directorate, EDD (including LDA), TAMS and relevant service agencies.

During 2012–13 the work program included:

  • 37 deeds of agreement under management – two estates have been finalised and two new ones added.
  • 915 consequential leases issued, including multi-unit leases issued to private enterprise land developers (not dwellings) – a reduction of 38% on the previous year.
  • 4042 consequential leases including multi-unit leases issued to the LDA (not dwellings) – a reduction of 70% on the previous year. This figure does not include the re-issue of approximately 290 land rent leases handed back to the LDA for re-sale.

The total number of consequential leases issued (1319) represents an approximate 54% reduction in the number of leases issued in 2011–12. The principal reason for this reduction is a softening in the market. Further, government policy requires the LDA to equally balance land releases and infill development. Therefore, in comparison with previous years, the LDA had a stronger focus on the sale of land for multi-unit development. A single multi-unit lease may provide for any number of dwellings consistent with the Territory Plan.

Territory Plan review and implementation

The Territory Plan Review and Implementation section is responsible for reviewing and varying the Territory Plan and for preparing advice to the NCA on proposed amendments to the National Capital Plan and development control plans.

The following actions were undertaken:

  • As part of the ongoing review of the Territory Plan, Draft Variation 304 – Commercial zones development code was prepared following the assessment of public consultation about the commercial zones review discussion paper.
  • Territory Plan Variation 306, which makes changes to the residential and subdivision codes, was approved by the Minister and commenced on 5 July 2013.
  • Draft Variation 308 – Cooyong Street Urban Renewal Area was submitted to the Minister for consideration following public consultation. The Minister referred the draft variation to the Legislative Assembly Standing Committee on Planning, Environment and Territory and Municipal Services for an inquiry and to report to the Legislative Assembly.
  • Four draft variations were released for public comment:    
    • 304 – Commercial zones
    • 305 – Mugga Lane landfill expansion
    • 314 – Kingston Group Centre
    • 317 – Kambah Group Centre
  • Five variations to the Territory Plan were finalised and commenced:    
    • 311 – Dickson Group Centre
    • 312 – Hume West mixed use industrial area
    • 313 – Calvary Hospital car park
    • 315 – Aranda ambulance and fire station
    • 316 – Calwell/Conder fire station
  • Twenty-five technical amendments were made:    
    • three code and clarification technical amendments requiring limited consultation
    • fourteen future urban area uplifts, some of which included on-going provisions
    • six miscellaneous corrections and other amendments not requiring consultation
    • four rezoning–boundary realignments
    • one future urban area rezoning
  • One assessment was made of a planning report to support a proposed variation to the Territory Plan:    
    • Mugga Lane landfill expansion
  • Comments were provided on proposals by the NCA:    
    • six draft amendments to the National Capital Plan
    • five development control plans.

Further information may be obtained from:

Mr Jim Corrigan
Executive Director, Planning Delivery
Telephone: 02 6207 3520
Email: jim.corrigan@act.gov.au

ENVIRONMENT POLICY

Output 1.4: Heritage

Output 1.5: Policy

The Environment Policy Division has responsibility for the development and implementation of climate change, energy and sustainability policy, water policy, nature conservation policy, conservation planning and research and heritage.

In 2012–13 the division comprised the following sections.

Water policy

Water Policy manages water planning and water management issues and activities. Policy issues considered during 2012–13 included the following:

  • A review was made of the Think water, act water strategy.
  • A draft long-term water strategy to replace Think water, act water was developed, and will be released for public consultation during the second half of 2013.
  • Under the Commonwealth’s Basin Priority Project funding, a business case to deal with catchment management of the ACT’s lakes and waterways to address water quality was completed and provided to the Commonwealth for assessment in June 2013.

Advice was provided on the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment’s report ‘Investigation into the state of watercourses and catchments for Lake Burley Griffin’.

  • Advice was provided on the Independent Competition and Regulation Commission report on its inquiry into secondary water use.
  • Monitoring continued of ACTEW Water’s water security projects (including involvement in the Tantangara Dam transfer project) and related negotiations on a bilateral basis with NSW on water trading and multilateral water trading policy.
  • ESDD participated in a range of national water reform policy developments and actions through the National Water Initiative (NWI), Council of Australian Governments (COAG) water reform agenda, and the ACT’s participation in the Murray–Darling Basin Agreement and related requirements under the Water Act 2007 (Cwth).
  • Catchment management responsibilities arising from consideration of Professor Gary Jones’ Report into ACT Catchment Management and recent reports on the management of the ACT’s lakes and waterways were considered.

Local water projects

Construction on the Enlarged Cotter Dam is now due to be completed in 2013 and the Murrumbidgee to Googong Dam project was completed in August 2012. ESDD continued to be directly involved with ACTEW Water in the development of the Tantangara to Googong Dam project, which entails water trading, water storage and release from Tantangara Dam via Angle Crossing. Ongoing discussions were held with the NSW Government on terms and conditions.

ESDD finalised the review of the ACT’s 2004 water strategy, Think water, act water, with input from agencies across government and the improved certainty provided by the release of the Murray–Darling Basin Plan. The review examined Think water, act water targets and objectives, including the demand management program and the performance in achieving reclaimed water-use targets.

The recommendations of the Independent Competition and Regulation Commission’s report, ‘Inquiry into secondary water uses in the ACT’ (May 2012), were reviewed. The report identified a number of issues regarding moving ACT water management beyond the successful implementation of Think water, act water. These issues will be addressed in the draft new water strategy, Water for the Future – Striking the Balance. Another report recommendation led to the commencement of a review of water sensitive urban design (WSUD).

ESDD is considering appropriate administrative models for a proposed catchment management body. This body would have clear lines of responsibility for catchment management within the ACT. It would also address the water quality issues that have been identified in the 2012 Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment’s report, ‘The state of the watercourses and catchments for Lake Burley Griffin’ and the report by the Chief Minister’s Taskforce, the Lake Burley Griffin Action Plan.

National water commitments

ESDD manages the ACT’s commitments under the NWI, COAG water reform program and participation in the Murray–Darling Basin Initiative and the Living Murray Initiative.

In November 2012 the Australian Government released the Murray–Darling Basin Plan, which will impact on water planning and management in the ACT. The ACT has particular obligations under the Basin Plan such as the development of a water resource plan.

With all other jurisdictions in Australia, the ACT is a member of the Water Thematic Oversight Group (formerly the Water Reform Committee), which deals with and progresses the national water reform agenda. This group reports to the Standing Council on Environment and Water.

ESDD manages activities and commitments under the Murray–Darling Basin Authority and manages the ACT’s participation in the development of the Basin Plan and, from 2013, the implementation of the Basin Plan. In particular, the Directorate was involved in the development of the Intergovernmental Agreement for the Implementation of the Basin Plan and related funding arrangements from the Australian Government.

The Directorate attended meetings of the Legislative and Governance Forum on the Murray–Darling Basin (the former Murray–Darling Basin Ministerial Council) and the Basin Officials Committee.

The ACT was also part of a special ministerial forum established by the Australian Government following the release of the Basin Guide in October 2010 and a supporting inter-jurisdictional senior officials group to progress the draft Basin Plan and develop an inter-governmental framework to implement the Basin Plan. This group negotiated with SEWPaC for funding under the Basin Priority Projects agreement.

The ACT is assessing water rights purchases to secure future water supply security and to develop and implement a comprehensive integrated catchment management regime to improve water quality in the ACT, region and the water returned to the Murrumbidgee River and downstream users. The successful implementation of a catchment regime would significantly improve the ACT’s management of water issues in its own water courses and lakes, as identified by the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment, and would ensure integrated planning and management of water resources for future supply options.

The section negotiates with NSW local government bodies to ensure an appropriate regime is implemented in light of increasing development in lands managed by the Queanbeyan City Council and further afield in NSW, all components of the ACT’s broader catchments.

Water resources policy

ESDD is responsible for the policy under the Water Resources Act 2007, such as environmental flows and the application of the water abstraction charge. A review into the Environmental Flow Guidelines, with a scientific assessment of the effectiveness of the guidelines in meeting their objective, was concluded. This included their effectiveness during the prolonged drought 2001–10. The review found the ecological objectives of the guidelines were being achieved. The review also recommended that consideration be given to greater use of urban stormwater resources. A draft of the revised Environmental Flow Guidelines was circulated for public consultation in 2011 and, following further assessment, the Guidelines were enacted in April 2013.

Further information may be obtained from:

Mr Alan Traves
Executive Director, Policy
Telephone: 02 6207 5589
Email: alan.traves@act.gov.au

Climate change, energy and sustainability policy

Climate change

Weathering the Change Action Plan 2

In October 2012, the ACT Government released AP2: A new climate change strategy and action plan for the Australian Capital Territory. AP2’s primary focus is to set the Territory on the path to meet its 2020 greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction target (reduction to 40% of 1990 GHG emission level) and establish a strong foundation for the achievement of the overall target of being carbon neutral, or having zero-net emissions, by 2060.

The development of AP2 was informed by the most up to date climate science at the time as well as professional economic and energy modelling. AP2 contains 18 actions to achieve four primary outcomes:

  • minimising the ACT’s contribution to global warming by achieving the ACT’s legislated GHG reduction targets
  • ensuring a fair society in a low-carbon economy
  • strengthening the ACT’s capacity to respond to a changing climate and
  • creating a more sustainable future.

Greenhouse gas inventory

ESDD is responsible for monitoring the GHG emissions from the ACT community as a whole. The emissions are calculated and published in an annual ACT Greenhouse Gas Inventory (GGI), using methodologies consistent with national requirements but specific to the unique energy requirements of the ACT. The ACT GGI series includes both Scope 1 emissions produced within the Territory and indirect Scope 2 emissions which relate to the production of electricity used in ACT.

The ACT GGI is not intended as a strict carbon accounting report but as a source of information for the ACT Government, businesses and the community about the major sources of emissions we can influence through our policies and actions. The major sources of GHG emissions in the ACT are electricity, transport fuels and natural gas. The inventory was prepared on behalf of the government by the ICRC.

The Directorate released the 2010 ACT GGI Report, which indicates that ACT GHG emissions were 4,402 kilotonnes CO2-e. This is 2,482 kilotonnes above the level required to meet ACT’s emissions reduction target of 40% below 1990 levels. Per capita emissions peaked in 2006 at 12.7 tonnes, and were 12.3 tonnes in 2010. Renewable energy use increased from 11.0% in 2009 to 12.9% in 2010.

The Directorate also collected ACT fuel sales data under the Environment Protection Act 1997 to improve the accuracy of transport emissions data available for the ACT GGI.

Pursuing carbon neutrality in ACT Government

The ACT Government is working to achieve carbon neutrality in its own operations by 2020 through the implementation of the Carbon Neutral ACT Government Framework (the Framework). Endorsed in August 2012, the Framework enables and coordinates a whole-of-government approach to achieving carbon neutrality in a cost-effective manner. The Framework focussed on embedding sustainability into core business and investing in cost effective energy efficiency to 2020.

A steering committee chaired by ESDD is being established to coordinate effort across government, monitor progress of the implementation of the Framework and drive the engagement of agencies and staff in the policy. A whole-of-government energy efficiency service being established in the ACT Property Group will support the delivery of energy savings projects at government sites.

Implementing the Framework will involve both financial costs and savings opportunities. Investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy presents a financial cost that over time provides ongoing financial and greenhouse gas emissions savings to the government.

The government established the Carbon Neutral Government Fund in the 2012–13 Budget with a boost of $5 million to the previous $1.9 million loan facility (the Resource Management Fund). The fund assists directorates transition to a low carbon economy by making loans available to implement energy efficiency initiatives. Savings generated through these initiatives are used to pay back the loan. The fund supports projects that can demonstrate both cost and greenhouse gas savings to the government within an appropriate time frame.

In two rounds of funding during 2012–13, round 1 (November 2012) received three applications and round 2 (April 2013) received four applications. An assessment panel of ACT Government officers considered the applications and recommended four projects, to a value of $3.6 million. These projects are in the implementation stage:

  • $1,764,758 to the Territory and Municipal Services Directorate – ACT Property Group to upgrade 28 government sites, including libraries and offices, to LED lighting (four year loan)
  • $1,528,168 to the Education and Training Directorate to upgrade to LED lighting at 10 of the highest energy using schools (six year loan)
  • $250,000 to the Exhibition Park Corporation (Economic Development Directorate) to upgrade to LED lighting at priority exhibition pavilions; most of this is high bay lighting that demonstrates this technology to halls and warehouses (five year loan)
  • $72,704 to the Education and Training Directorate to upgrade to a solar hot water system at Erindale College and Leisure Centre (seven year loan).

The above projects expect to make significant annual cost and greenhouse gas savings for government; for example, LED lighting projects have demonstrated an average 30% reduction in electricity use at sites such as Dame Pattie Menzies House (DPMH) and the Woden and Dickson libraries.

The Directorate hosted capacity building activities to assist agencies develop project applications. These workshops were fully subscribed and the Directorate will continue to support the demand for these activities through a program of workshops developed with the ACTSmart Government Program. Workshops in 2012–13 included:

  • How to apply for funding
  • How to work out the cost and energy savings of a project
  • Solar hot water technology installations.

More applications are anticipated in round 3 of the fund, which is expected to be open August – October 2013. Round 3 will include the following initiatives:

  • The ACTSmart Government Energy and Water Program commenced in August 2012, delivering onsite inspections and advice on energy and water saving opportunities in government facilities. Directorates can use the reports generated through this program to develop applications to the fund. At June 2013, 40 onsite assessments had occurred (which will provide up to 40 reports) and 40,800 square metres of floorspace had been assessed. Investment measures of $678,300, which could achieve annual cost savings of $136,750, were identified and demonstrate real long term behaviour change within the ACT Government. (Can we include: More detail can be found at Sustainability Programs, Section A9)
  • The ACT Property Group has recruited two new energy project officers to provide a whole-of-government energy efficiency service that will increase the number of energy savings projects implemented by government, many of which are likely to seek support through the fund.
  • A whole-of-government sustainability data management system (SDMS) is being developed to allow government agencies to establish utility cost and resource consumption baselines and identify opportunities to reduce costs and emissions. Access to reliable and relevant data for sites will enhance the ability of site managers to make energy efficiency investment decisions and prioritise projects.

The government had been purchasing GreenPower, the majority of which was generated outside the ACT. However, from June 2013, the government temporarily redirected the majority of its GreenPower budget to energy efficiency projects in government through the fund. Together with annual project repayments, this forms the income stream for the revolving loan facility. The reallocation also supported two new energy project officers in ACT Property Group who will provide a whole-of-government energy efficiency service.

A 5% GreenPower purchase will be maintained to 2018–19, and can ensure the electricity consumed by electric vehicles in the fleet, for example, is zero emissions.

Loan repayments of $0.527 million were made in 2012–13. Income from the temporary reallocations of GreenPower in 2012–13 was $1.5 million. The expected pool of funds available under the fund at December 2013 to support projects in round 3 is $5 million.

Sustainable data management system

Accurate data is critical in informing decisions and monitoring progress towards carbon neutrality. The project to implement a sustainability data management system (SDMS) commenced in July 2012 and will provide the ACT Government with continuously updated, accurate and auditable water, energy (electricity and gas) and GHG emissions data and utility billing cost information for its assets and agencies.

The SDMS will enhance transparency and accountability of agencies for GHG emissions by providing accurate utilities data that can be used to identify performance indicators, resource use and greenhouse gas targets for facilities. It is also expected to generate cost savings for the ACT Government through:

  • identification and resolution of billing errors
  • purchase of electricity from the market at optimal prices and
  • improved resource management, including reduction, of energy and water usage.

Phase 1 implementation, for electricity, water and non-transport gas usage, is expected to be completed in 2013–14.

GreenPower

Since April 2009, all electricity retailers in the ACT have been required to offer a GreenPower product as the first choice to potential new or re-connecting customers. This initiative has resulted in the number of GreenPower customers in the ACT growing to 18,396 in December 2012, the most recent period for which statistics are available. This represents around 17% of all ACT electricity customers. While the number of GreenPower customers was 0.4% less than in December 2011, the volume of GreenPower purchased in the ACT increased by 20% between 2011 and 2012. The ACT continues to have one of the highest proportions of households purchasing GreenPower of any state or territory and GreenPower accounts for a larger proportion of overall electricity consumption in the Territory than in all other jurisdictions.

Interagency and inter-government liaison

The Climate Change, Energy and Sustainability Policy unit continues to adopt a whole-of-government approach to addressing climate change through the Climate Change Interdepartmental Committee. The Directorate participates in the Property Sustainability Working Group to facilitate progress of the Carbon Neutral ACT Government Framework.

Energy

Sustainable energy policy

The Climate Change, Energy and Sustainability Policy unit continued to implement the Sustainable Energy Policy 2011–2020, released in 2011. ESDD has made significant progress on a number of the policy’s 27 targeted measures, including:

  • adopting the National Energy Customer Framework
  • reviewing the ACT renewable energy target to ensure consistency with the ACT’s legislated greenhouse gas reduction targets
  • establishing and broadening a retailer obligated energy efficiency scheme
  • seeking expressions of interest that could include the use of waste to generate electricity
  • progressing the allocation of the large-scale solar feed-in tariff
  • investigating the possible use of distributed energy generation in new ACT developments, such as those proposed for Molonglo and Braddon
  • progressing the establishment of a second ACT transmission connection point
  • investigating potential smart meter use in the ACT
  • progressing carbon neutrality within the ACT Government through the establishment of a carbon neutral government loan fund and a government energy efficiency advisory service
  • replacing the state-based Minimum Energy Performance Standards scheme with the nationally consistent Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards scheme
  • progressing the development of a low emissions vehicle strategy.

Renewable energy targets

The largest emission reductions under AP2 and the greatest contribution towards achieving the 40% GHG reduction target will be met with the new 90% renewable energy target (RET) for 2020. The target will be set as an Instrument under the Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act 2010 after finalising the methodology for accounting against the target, which must give a clear understanding of what the target constitutes and how measurements will be made against it over the long term. It is intended the new target tabled in the Legislative Assembly in 2013.

The government’s data on renewable energy consumption for 2012 indicates the ACT will meet the 15% target for that year. Early indications are that the ACT will achieve greater than 15% renewable energy when counting GreenPower purchases, rooftop solar generation and the ACT’s share of national generation under the large-scale RET scheme.

Feed-in tariff scheme

The ACT Electricity Feed-in Tariff Scheme opened in March 2009 and closed on 13 July 2011, 12 months earlier than originally expected as the result of extraordinary demand in the first six months of 2011.

Despite the scheme’s closure, ACT residents and businesses have continued to install solar panels at an average rate of 115 per month since June 2012, recognising the rising cost of electricity and the ongoing downward trend in the cost of solar panels. At 30 June 2013, 33 megawatts of small-scale solar generating capacity was installed, an increase of 22% from the 27 megawatts installed in June 2012.

Large-scale solar auction

The Electricity Feed-in (Large-scale Renewable Energy Generation) Act 2011 provides for up to 210MW of large-scale renewable energy generation in the Capital Region, with a minimum generator capacity of 200kW. In January 2012 the government announced the first capacity release of 40MW of solar renewable energy, to be located in the ACT and made available for the grant of feed-in tariff entitlements by way of a competitive process (referred to as the ACT Solar Auction).

On 5 September 2012 the Minister announced FRV Royalla Solar Farm Pty Limited as the sole successful proponent for their 20MW solar generator to be located in the south of the ACT. The generator is expected to be completed in the first half of 2014. Proponents who were unsuccessful in the fast-track stream were eligible to resubmit a regular stream proposal.

Fifteen proposals from eight proponents were received in the regular stream and have undergone assessment by the independent Solar Auction Advisory Panel. The Minister is due to announce the outcome of this stream in 2013–14.

A mandatory review of the Solar Auction will be undertaken once the auction process is completed and is expected to be tabled in the Legislative Assembly by the end of 2013. The review will inform future large-scale renewable energy capacity releases under the supporting legislation.

The Solar Auction has generated strong interest from local and international proponents. This should result in ESDD being well-placed to deliver reduced GHG emissions and a reduced reliance on non-renewable energy sources, achieve 2020 renewable energy targets and minimise the cost to ACT electricity consumers.

Energy efficiency improvement scheme (EEIS)

The Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement Act 2012 provides for an ambitious new energy savings initiative developed by the Directorate. The EEIS, running initially from 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2015, requires electricity retailers in the ACT to achieve energy savings in ACT households and businesses by undertaking ‘eligible activities’ over this period.

EEIS is a non-certificate based scheme, similar to the Residential Energy Efficiency Scheme in South Australia, but draws on the comprehensive energy efficiency activities available under the successful Victorian Energy Efficiency Target Scheme. EEIS is expected to reduce residential sector greenhouse gas emissions in the Territory by 6.2% while reducing household energy costs by over $2,000 per household over the lifetime of implemented measures. EEIS also specifically targets members of the ACT community most vulnerable to rising energy prices (e.g. low-income households), with electricity retailers required to achieve 25% of energy savings in those households.

National energy customer framework (NECF)

NECF represents one of the final steps in the national energy reform process agreed to by COAG to create a nationally efficient and integrated energy market. NECF provides a nationally consistent framework for the regulation of the retail supply of energy for both electricity and gas.

ESDD undertook the process to implement NECF in the ACT from 2010 to 2012. NECF legislation was implemented from 1 July 2012, making the ACT one of the first jurisdictions to implement the NECF. The Directorate is currently implementing the small claims compensation regime provided for in the NECF legislation. This is expected to be finalised in 2013 and will conclude the NECF implementation process.

Waste

Waste management strategy

The ACT Waste Management Strategy 2011–25 aims to achieve full resource recovery and a carbon neutral waste sector with over 90% of resources recovered by 2025.

Modelling for the waste strategy and AP2 suggests that energy from biomass and waste can contribute 5–15% of the ACT’s 2020 energy requirements. In 2012 ESDD collaborated with the Australian Government’s Clean Energy Innovation Centre to map the biomass supply chain for the Capital Region.

In 2013 ESDD called for expressions of interest from industry to provide waste processing systems to recover resources from urban forest materials and residual waste streams. After commercial waste, residual household waste and wood waste are the largest contributors to landfill in the ACT.

This combination of new resource recovery infrastructure and targeted programs will enable the government to achieve its goal.

Plastic shopping bag ban

The waste strategy’s first objective is to reduce waste generation. A 2012 interim review of the ban on lightweight plastic shopping bags, which came into effect on 1 November 2011, was released in January 2013 and found a high level of consumer support and retailer compliance.

Survey results indicate the ban has changed consumer behaviour, with 84% of primary shoppers now taking re-usable bags always or most of the time when they go to the supermarket. Data collected for the review indicates that plastic bags material to landfill has been reduced and that plastic bag litter has also fallen; however, more time will be required to confirm these trends.

The full review of the ban will be conducted after two years of operation, in accordance with the Plastic Bags Ban Act 2010.

Interagency and inter-government liaison

The unit provided input into national waste initiatives to reduce the amount of waste for disposal, manage waste as a resource and contribute to broader environmental benefits through COAG’s Standing Council on Environment and Water.

As a signatory to the Australian Packaging Covenant, the ACT continues to implement its five year action plan to meet its obligations and the Covenant’s goals.

Further information may be obtained from:

Mr Alan Traves
Executive Director, Policy
Telephone: 02 6207 5589
Email: alan.traves@act.gov.au

Nature conservation policy

Conservation planning and research

The Conservation Planning and Research (CPR) Unit continued its program with a focus on providing high quality science advice for planning and management.

Planning

Highlights from the Planning Section of CPR for 2012–13 were:

  • The Tidbinbilla Plan of Management 2012, prepared under the Planning and Development Act 2007, was tabled as a Disallowable Instrument in the Legislative Assembly by the Minister in August 2012 along with the government’s response to the recommendations made by the Standing Committee on Planning, Public Works and Territory and Municipal Services in their inquiry into the revised draft plan. The Tidbinbilla Plan of Management 2012 came into effect on 30 November 2012.
  • The final Googong Foreshores Plan of Management was provided to TAMS.
  • A draft management plan is in preparation for the ACT’s sphagnum bogs and fens, including the Ginini Flat Ramsar listed wetland.
  • Work commenced on plans of management for the Canberra Nature Park and the Lower Cotter Catchment.

Research

Highlights from the Research Section of CPR for 2012–13 in relation to research, survey, monitoring and management of threatened species and communities included:

  • Surveys were undertaken for the native broad-toothed rat and the spotted tail quoll.
  • Monitoring was on-going of threatened reptiles (grassland earless dragon, striped legless lizard).
  • Genetic analysis of pink-tailed worm lizard populations in the ACT identified rivers and roads as major barriers to lizard movement.
  • Abundance, threats and population trends were monitored for threatened plant species (Tarengo leek orchid, Brindabella midge orchid, ACT spider orchid, button wrinklewort, small purple pea and Tuggeranong lignum).
  • Abundance, distribution and threats were monitored for rare and uncommon species of spinning gum and mountain cress.
  • Successful joint partnerships with the Australian National Botanic Gardens and Greening Australia resulted in seed collection, ex-situ storage, establishment of germination protocols and research into mycorrhizal associations of three threatened orchids (Canberra spider orchid, Tarengo leek orchid and Brindabella midge orchid).
  • A new population, and only the second extant population, of the critically endangered Ginninderra peppercress was discovered on land managed by TAMS. Monitoring of this population has commenced and seed has been banked with the Australian National Botanic Gardens.
  • Genetic analysis has been completed to identify all wild individuals of Tuggeranong lignum and to establish the parentage of all surviving translocated clones.
  • A population of eastern bettongs was successfully re-introduced into the Mulligans Flat sanctuary in 2011. The numbers are steadily increasing due to good feeding conditions and the feral cat and fox free environment in the sanctuary. This project has been undertaken with many partners, including the Fenner School in the Australian National University, TAMS Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, the Tasmanian Government and CSIRO.
  • Ongoing monitoring of the two-spined blackfish populations in the Cotter River detected successful recruitment; the first detection of successful recruitment for two years.
  • Monitoring of the fish community of the Murrumbidgee River detected unusually high numbers of rare and threatened species, in particular nine Macquarie perch, eleven Murray cod, and one trout cod.
  • Assessment commenced of current sampling methodology and testing of alternative sampling methods for threatened Murray crayfish, which are difficult to catch making it hard to monitor the population. This project is due for completion in August 2013.

Highlights from the Research Section of CPR for 2012–13 in relation to potential and current threatening processes – research, survey, monitoring and management included:

  • A ‘second time’ series of floristic data was collected from 16 nature reserves and public land sites to explore relationships with grazing and vegetation indicators; this research is ongoing.
  • Ongoing monitoring of the impacts of prescribed burning on selected ecological assets was pursued. This work includes monitoring of changes in the composition and structure of native vegetation communities and changes in landscape function at some prescribed burn sites in Namadgi National Park and Canberra Nature Park.
  • The ‘Kangaroo population monitoring and research’ budget initiative began its first year of data collection. Measurements are being taken on kangaroo populations, biomass off-take, vegetation indicators and reptiles at sites with a low to high grazing pressure.

Highlights from the Research section of CPR for 2012–13 in relation to ecological restoration included:

  • Successful joint partnerships with the Australian National Botanic Gardens and Greening Australia resulted in the establishment of germination trials for 26 native forbs and shrubs associated with grasslands and woodlands; ex-situ storage of germplasm has been established for 40 plant species associated with alpine bogs and fens; and trials to assess methods for enhancing forbs diversity in native grasslands have been attempted in three nature reserves.
  • Many sections of the upper Murrumbidgee are affected by ‘sand slugs’, which reduce water depth and structural habitat, reduce the ability of fish to pass through a river section and reduce habitat available for resting, feeding or breeding. The Tharwa Fish Habitat Project implemented actions recommended by a consultant to manage the unnaturally high sand load in the Murrumbidgee for fish. Two trial engineered log jams to cause sand scour producing channel deepening and to provide rock and woody habitat were constructed along with the significant augmentation of adjacent rock groynes, which were present from a previous project. Since completion, channel deepening around the log jams has already been observed.
  • Fifty cod caves were placed into five river reaches in the ACT. The cod caves are 500 kilogram cement balls with holes and caves in them that enhance fish habitat by providing small places for fish to hide, live and breed.
  • Stocking of urban lakes with native fish species continued, as did monitoring of the recreational fisheries at Lake Tuggeranong, Gungahlin Pond and Googong Reservoir.
  • Plantings of drooping sheoak (Allocasuarina verticillata) to enhance habitat for glossy black-cockatoos have achieved excellent survival and growth rates for tubestock: Isaacs Ridge – 98% survival, average height 1.27 metres; Tuggeranong Hill – 83% survival. Maintenance completed by Greening Australia and Isaacs Ridge Mount Mugga Mugga ParkCare Group focused on adding a second stake to provide extra stability for the tubestock. Protection from kangaroo grazing has been the main challenge for this project.

Highlights from the Research section of CPR for 2012–13 in relation to partnerships and foundations included:

  • Development is underway of vegetation classification for the ACT including type descriptions of terrestrial and aquatic plant communities. Communities were matched to those described in a NSW Office of Environment and Heritage report for the surrounding region and verified or modified based on field surveys.
  • A vegetation map covering over 20,000 hectares has been completed for the Kowen, Majura and Jerrabomberra districts. This mapping is suitable for paddock-scale planning and is consistent with the vegetation classification produced for the upper Murrumbidgee catchment.
  • Vegetation mapping of an area of over 20,000 hectares along the Murrumbidgee River from Angle Crossing to Kambah Pool is in progress and a contract has been issued for the mapping of 106,000 hectares in Namadgi National Park.

Natural environment and natural resource management

The Natural Environment and Natural Resource Management Programs team focuses on policy development through local and national processes, program delivery and providing support to ACT advisory committees.

Policy development

Following the review of the Nature Conservation Act 1980, ESDD focused on developing draft legislative amendments. A key objective was to incorporate the Draft Framework of Standards and Statement of Environmental and Assurance Outcomes released by the Australian Government as part of the COAG reform processes.

Work on a new ACT Nature Conservation Strategy continued, with the Conservator for Flora and Fauna releasing the draft strategy for public comment on 3 September 2012. Twenty-four formal submissions were received, and a public consultation event was held on 27 November 2012. The Directorate also met with key stakeholder groups such as the Catchment and Landcare Association. The Strategy will be finalised in 2013–14.

The ACT Pest Animal Management Strategy 2012–2022 was released by the Minister on 26 July 2012. The strategy sets the framework and approach for:

  • preventing new pest animals from entering the ACT
  • implementing effective measures to reduce pest animal damage
  • managing native animals for damage reduction and conservation
  • building public awareness and understanding of pest animal issues and
  • improving land managers’ capacity to undertake control programs.

Biodiversity and climate change funding projects

The Natural Environment team is progressing work related to biodiversity and climate change adaptation and mitigation that will assist in the implementation of the final ACT Nature Conservation Strategy and the ACT Government’s climate change policy, AP2.

A 2011–12 Budget initiative (three years funding, $598,000) enabled the Directorate to commit funding to develop baseline information on soils across the ACT, which will assist in identifying risks from climate change and potential areas of species refugia in a changing climate. With the impact of weeds likely to become worse with climate change, the section also commissioned development of the Atlas of Living Australia ‘ACT and Southern Tablelands Weedspotters’ website and weed mapping application. This community science project will allow new and emerging weed problems to be reported as soon as they are detected, allowing for a quick response.

ESDD secured an Australian Government grant of $2.155m over six years through the Biodiversity Fund, part of the Australian Government’s Clean Energy Future Fund, for ‘Building restored resilient landscapes in the ACT and greater Goorooyarroo’. The ACT Biodiversity Fund Project will run from 2011 until mid 2017 and was launched in December 2012. The project is being delivered in partnership with Greening Australia and TAMS. This year the project developed a strategic plan for the cross-border landscape of Goorooyarroo, conducted consultations on Aboriginal involvement in woodland restoration, developed a restoration plan, commenced plantings in the Majura Valley and supported additional restoration works in West Belconnen Hills. The grant aims to deliver at least 1500 hectares of woodland restoration and 10,000 hectares of invasive species control. This project will consolidate and connect the largest remaining box-gum grassy woodland landscape in Australia (60,000 hectares), enhancing a biodiverse and carbon storing landscape, resilient to climate change.

The Directorate received $250,001 from the Australian Government’s Clean Energy Future, Regional Natural Resource Management Planning for Climate Change Fund. The funding will improve the ACT region's capacity to identify climate change mitigation and adaptation opportunities, and risks. The funding will also contribute to enhancement of the region's ability to prioritise future natural resource management (NRM) activities and investments in a changing climate. The project will:

  • fill critical data gaps in assessing climate change opportunities and risks
  • enhance spatial decision support tools to better analyse multiple data layers under different climate change scenarios
  • strengthen community and stakeholder engagement in understanding NRM in a changing climate, and promote long term partnerships in future NRM activities and investments.

The team manages ACT input into a joint project with NSW on the NSW and ACT Regional Climate Modelling (NARCliM) project. NARCliM will generate detailed climate projections for NSW and the ACT. NARCliM will improve our ability to understand possible changes in temperature, wind and rainfall which, in turn, will provide critical information to manage the impacts of climate change on health, settlements, agriculture, weather extremes and services, such as water and energy supplies.

Support for Ministerial councils and advisory committees

The team coordinates input and provides policy support to the ACT Government membership of the COAG Standing Council on Primary Industries and the Primary Industries Standing Committee.

The team also provides secretariat support for the work of the ACT Flora and Fauna Committee (a statutory committee established under the Nature Conservation Act 1980) and the non-statutory NRM Advisory Committee.

The NRM Programs team provides secretariat support to the NRM Council, a non-statutory body that provides advice on strategic investments in projects that maintain, protect and enhance natural resources in the ACT.

ESDD and the NRM Council promote and broker the development of partnerships between government, community, research, education and business to deliver NRM projects that bring together the strengths of individual organisations to achieve integrated outcomes at larger scales.

Caring for our Country initiative

The NRM team manages the delivery of the Australian Government’s Caring for our Country (CFOC) program in the ACT. In 2012–13 the ACT received $1.35 million to implement the ACT region’s Regional Investment Strategy, complemented by $0.49 million in ACT Government funding. This funding supported the operation of the ACT NRM Council and the NRM team within ESDD and a range of activities delivered by community partners, ESDD and TAMS.

The Regional Investment Strategy supported activities of the Ginninderra Catchment Group, Molonglo Catchment Group, Southern ACT Catchment Group, Upper Murrumbidgee Catchment Coordinating Committee, Waterwatch and Greening Australia. Projects supported included the Upper Murrumbidgee Demonstration Reach Project, Ngunnawal Warriors, Sphagnum Bogs Restoration and Ginninderra Creek Restoration. The ACT Government has continued funding a captive husbandry program for the northern corroboree frog at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, previously funded through CFOC. The ACT’s Regional Investment Strategy proposal for the second phase of CFOC (2013–14 to 2017–18) was submitted to the Australian Government.

The Directorate finalised delivery of the two-year $937,000 Caring for the Cotter Catchment project, which employed four Aboriginal trainees and a supervisor to undertake environmental restoration in the Cotter Catchment. The trainees received training in conservation and land management at the Canberra Institute of Technology and worked with Ngunnawal Elders and other local Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge Holders to document their knowledge of the use of the catchment and biodiversity conservation. The team was employed by ESDD and hosted within TAMS. The project was primarily funded under CFOC, with additional support coming from the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) and ACTEW Water. The project has fostered numerous partnerships between agencies and the community including the CFOC program, ESDD, Ngunnawal people, ACT Parks and Conservation Service, Greening Australia, ACTEW Water, DEEWR, ACT Waterwatch and ACT ParkCarers.

In September 2011, the Directorate was successful in a CFOC open call bid of $300,000 to deliver the ACT Weeds of National Significance (WONS) Devolved Grants Program. This program provided grants through a competitive process to rural lessees and urban ParkCare groups to undertake weed control work. It also provided training opportunities in herbicide handling and use, with the intent of limiting both environmental and economic impacts. The program was finalised in December 2012 and significantly over-achieved on the contracted hectares of WONS control, participation in herbicide training and the non-contracted achievement of addressing regionally significant weeds that are not declared WONS, particularly African love grass.

The Australian Government has committed more than $2 billion across Australia to continue CFOC from 2013–14 to 2017–18. As part of implementing the second phase of CFOC, the Directorate sought expressions of interest for members of the ACT NRM Council from 2013–14, under a revised charter available from the website. The NRM Council provides advice to the ACT Government on Australian Government investments in natural resource management in the Territory.

ACT Environment Grants

The 2012–13 ACT Environment Grants provided $166,412 for 14 projects across the ACT. This program again invested in ‘on-ground’ projects.

2012–13 ACT Environment Grants projects

Project

Applicant

Purpose

Catchment-wide pest species mapping and coordinated control program

Ginninderra Catchment Group(GCG)

This project will increase the ability of volunteers working with the GCG to control weeds, in particular through use of modern technology to gather accurate and up-to-date field information. The project will also assist the ACT Government to map weed and pest species.

Catchment-wide pest species mapping and coordinated control program

Southern ACT Catchment Group (SACTCG)

This project will increase the ability of volunteers working with the SACTCG to control weeds, in particular through use of modern technology to gather accurate and up-to-date field information. The project will also assist the ACT Government to map weed and pest species.

Catchment-wide pest species mapping and coordinated control program

Molonglo Catchment Group (MCG)

This project will increase the ability of volunteers working with the MCG to control weeds, in particular through use of modern technology to gather accurate and up-to-date field information. The project will also assist the ACT Government to map weed and pest species.

Erosion control in the Aranda Snow Gums Reserve Phase 2

Friends of Aranda Bushlands Inc.

This project continues work of a previous environment grant to reduce erosion by enhancing vegetation and slowing water flow to reduce stress on the snow gums along banks within the Aranda Snow Gums Reserve.

Trial rehabilitation of selected areas of Namadgi National Park ,having regard to traditional land management practices

National Parks Association of ACT Inc. with Gudgenby Bush Regeneration Group Inc.

This project rehabilitates and restores part of the Gudgenby Valley in Namadgi National Park, by planting, creating landscape wicks for restoration, removing excess dead matter/litter, weeding, and generally supporting tree and understorey health.

Indian myna public education project

Canberra Indian Myna Action Group

This project provides practical knowledge to reduce the number of Indian mynas in the ACT. Education materials will be developed with various actions that the community can take to reduce feeding, breeding and roosting opportunities supporting a humane trapping program.

Living with the Jerrabomberra Wetlands

SEE-Change

This project aims to recruit new volunteers by providing for ten monthly working party visits in collaboration with several community groups. Two workshops about the wetlands, including management of weeds and animal pests will be convened to support the on-ground work.

Spotted dove public education project

Canberra Indian Myna Action Group

This project supports early action including community awareness raising about recent spotted dove incursions into ACT and their potential to become a significant feral pest.

Seeding community spirit

Greening Australia Capital Region

This project will collect, process and propagate seed for grassy understorey plants. Intensive seed production systems will be used to grow selected understorey species. Volunteers will assist in the establishment, maintenance and collection of seed from these systems.

This project will enhance revegetation of understorey plant species and cover a knowledge gap in the ACT around seed production methods for these plants.

Camp Cottermouth weed Control and rehabilitation

Scout Association of Australia ACT Branch Inc.

This project will control St John’s Wort, African love grass and sweet briar in the woodland areas of the camp as well as rehabilitate one hectare. Pest plant species control work on open grasslands will be continued by mowing to prevent flowering and seeding of weed species.

STEP master plan stage 2 – outdoor education space

Southern Tablelands Ecosystems Park Inc.

This project will actively contribute to the National Arboretum Canberra education experience by delivering programs about local species conservation and restoration, including the construction of an outdoor education space.

The project provides an opportunity to engage young people in practical restoration efforts in the ACT through a constructed education space and associated support materials.

African love grass containment and control in ‘Booroomba’ and upper reaches of the Paddy’s River

Paddy’s River Landcare Group Inc.

This project will spray herbicide on African love grass and serrated tussock using specialised machinery and skilled labour in areas of close proximity to the Namadgi National Park.

Wildlife corridor restoration, Gundaroo Drive, Gungahlin

Ginninderra Catchment Group Inc.

This project will decrease levels of highly invasive Cootamundra wattle in the Ginninderra Creek catchment by removal from the Gundaroo River corridor and adjoining native grassland.

Further information may be obtained from:

Mr Alan Traves
Executive Director, Policy
Telephone: 02 62075589
Email: alan.traves@act.gov.au

Heritage

The ACT Heritage unit administers the heritage provisions of the Heritage Act 2004 (the Act). The unit assists in the conservation of the ACT’s heritage assets to ensure their identification, preservation, protection, maintenance and conservation for present and future generations.

The unit provides administrative and operational support to the ACT Heritage Council and to their projects including:

  • assessment of nominations to the ACT Heritage Register against the heritage significance criteria as defined under the Act
  • reviewing and endorsing conservation management plans
  • providing advice to the planning and land authority on DAs for heritage places and objects
  • educating the community about heritage registration and how it may affect individuals’ property
  • providing advice to the Conservator of Flora and Fauna on greenfield development particularly in relation to Aboriginal heritage
  • coordinating appeals on Heritage Council decisions in ACAT
  • undertaking ACT Government Agency Heritage Assets Audit as required under the Act
  • developing guidelines which determine how development is to take place to a heritage place or object and
  • coordinating enforcements of the Act for offences to heritage places and objects.

The unit administers the annual funding of the ACT Heritage Grants Program and coordinates a range of activities, events and projects aimed at promoting and celebrating the ACT’s heritage, including the annual 15 day Canberra and Region Heritage Festival and the ongoing Canberra Tracks self-drive heritage interpretation signage project.

Review of the Heritage Act

The Heritage Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 was tabled in the Legislative Assembly in May 2013. A four week period of public consultation on the draft Bill closed on 14 June 2013 with comments being considered by the government prior to the Bill’s finalisation.

Heritage registration strategy

Work continued on assessing the backlog of approximately 190 nominations to the ACT Heritage Register:

  • 5 nominations were made to the ACT Heritage Register
  • 51 decisions were made on provisional registration (including decisions not to provisionally register)
  • 10 decisions were made on full registration.

Appeals in the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT)

ESDD provided support to the ACT Heritage Council on appeals in ACAT.

In 2012–13, a registration decision for St Patrick’s Church in Braddon was appealed. The matter was heard 6-10 May 2013 and 15-16 July 2013. A decision is yet to be handed down by the Tribunal.

An application to review the Heritage Council’s decision to register the ‘Expansion’ Mosaic Mural Wall in Braddon as a ‘place’ was submitted by the proprietor of the property, who argued the mural should be listed as an ‘object’. It was common ground that the mural has heritage significance. ACAT heard the matter 13-14 June 2013 and, on 5 July 2013, found the decision to register the Mural was a ‘place’ should be set aside and replaced with a decision to register it as an ‘object’.

A registration decision for the Yarralumla Brickworks Railway Remnants in Yarralumla was appealed.

Appeals in the Supreme Court

No ACT Heritage Council decisions were appealed to the Supreme Court in 2012–13.

Canberra Tracks

Ten Canberra Tracks signs were erected around the Territory. The heritage signage program has increased private and community partnerships and built a reputation for service delivery as it responds to requests for acknowledgement of heritage sites.

A series of new panels advertising Canberra Tracks was installed at the Canberra Region Visitors Centre. The Canberra Tracks brochure, which was revised and reprinted to include the six self-drive heritage trails, continues to be placed at 110 tourism outlets including hotels, visitor centres, railway stations, attractions and car hire depots. The Canberra Tracks branding is recognised as enhancing the experience of visitors and locals while celebrating the Territory’s built, Aboriginal and natural heritage.

Heritage Festival

The annual Canberra and Region Heritage Festival was held 13–28 April 2013. The program included over 120 events, activities and exhibitions and involved over 75 groups and individuals from the government, community and private sector. The theme of the festival was Milestones.

ACT Heritage Grants program

The 2012–13 ACT Heritage Grants Program funded 19 projects totalling $324,600. The program is the primary source of funding for individuals and community organisations involved in heritage conservation in the ACT (See Section C16).

ACT Government agency audit

The audit requires ACT Government agencies to identify and manage heritage places and objects for which they are responsible. A database with links to mapping systems was prepared to facilitate the audit and sent to ACT Government agencies. The database will be completed when the Heritage Unit receives the required data.

Heritage capital works upgrade program

2012–13 Capital Works funding was allocated towards conservation works at the De Salis Cemetery. The funding was provided to TAMS to project manage these works, which included stabilisation of the cemetery’s dry stone wall. Heritage archaeologists oversaw the works, which were completed in early 2013. The site has reopened to the public.

Advice

The unit continued its high success in providing advice within mandatory timeframes including:

  • 150 DAs relating to registered places assessed (to 11 June 2013)
  • 43 DAs regarding Aboriginal heritage sites assessed (included in the above total)
  • one EIS replies for either draft EIS or final EIS
  • six requests for EIS exemptions
  • 16 pieces of advice to the Conservator for Flora and Fauna regarding tree protection
  • 11 conservation management plans for historic sites assessed; nine approved
  • 55 conservation management plans relating to Aboriginal sites assessed
  • 38 pieces of advice provided, covering internal customers i.e. ACT Government agencies, but also including comments to developers on projects where the Heritage Council had already made decisions and
  • 49 pieces of advice provided in relation to Aboriginal heritage sites, covering internal customers i.e. ACT Government agencies, but also including comments to developers on projects where the Heritage Council had already made decisions.

Compliance

ESDD ensures compliance with the Heritage Act 2004 and associated regulations to provide for the recognition, registration and conservation of places and objects of national and cultural significance. Two compliance issues under the Heritage Act 2004 were investigated in 2012–13.

Further information may be obtained from:

Mr Alan Traves
Executive Director, Policy
Telephone: 02 6207 5589
Email: alan.traves@act.gov.au

REGULATION AND SERVICES

  • Output 1.1: Regulation and Services
  • Output 1.6: Environment Protection and Water Regulation

Regulation and Services is responsible for a range of regulatory and customer support services and manages land information to help the organisation achieve its strategic business outcomes and contribute to the city’s sustainable development.

In 2012–13 the division comprised Construction Services, Customer Services, Office of the Surveyor General, Sustainability Programs and Environment Protection and Water Regulation.

Customer Services

The Customer Services team provides general advice to ESDD’s external clients and assistance to the Directorate’s operational areas. It deals with enquiries about a range of application, procedural and process matters via the public counter, over the phone and by email.

The Dickson Customer Service Centre deals specifically with the administrative processes associated with the development application process; enquiries and processes associated with construction occupations licensing; coordinates all processes associated with appeals to ACAT; handles counter sales of land information products and provides lease conveyancing advice.

The Mitchell Customer Service Centre deals specifically with the administrative support associated with the building approval process, enquiries and processes related to building, electrical, gas and plumbing work, processing building conveyancing requests; preparing tax depreciation packages and processing building file search requests.

In 2012–2013, Customer Services achieved the following:

  • 1196 development applications (DA) were lodged
  • 4894 building approvals (BA) were received
  • 100% of DAs and BAs were lodged online
  • 4438 certificates of occupancy and use were issued
  • 1899 certificate of compliance were issued
  • 21,638 electrical inspections and 16,602 plumbing inspections were booked
  • 8731 lease conveyancing enquiries were processed
  • 5504 building conveyancing enquiries were processed
  • 2683 building file searches were undertaken
  • 3905 energy efficiency ration (EER) submissions were lodged
  • 53,302 calls were received on the Customer Services public telephone line
  • Documentation for 32 appeals was prepared for ACAT
  • 34 applications for reconsideration were processed
  • The back scanning of building files project finished on 30 June 2013. 10627 building files were scanned in 2012–2013. The total number of files scanned as part of this project is 58,413 building files, 5311 licensing files and 13,716 survey field books.

Further information may be obtained from:

Mr John Meyer
Executive Director, Regulation and Services
Telephone: 02 6207 2644
Email: john.meyer@act.gov.au

Construction services

Executive and policy

The work of this section includes the coordination of administration matters across the branch, quality assurance, and strategic, regulatory and operational policy for construction services.

Branch and executive administration

The small executive administration team is responsible for the efficient management of the workflow of the governance and internal government interactions. The team ensures responses to Ministerial and government correspondence and enquiries are appropriately managed and manages the executive of the branch and the wider Regulation and Services Division.

Construction services policy

Four specialist officers advise on policy, regulation and technical matters and give effect to government policy. The section develops and maintains legislation administered by the Branch and prepares legislative instruments, including determinations and codes of practice for construction occupations and the EEIS.

The policy team manages the Building Act Review and continues to consult with the Building Act Review Reference Group, which includes representatives of the ACT construction industry, building owners' representative groups and associated government authorities.

The team represents the ACT in national forums on building and construction standards, policy for the built environment and regulatory reforms for the sector, including the Building Codes Committee and the National Strategy on Energy Efficiency as it relates to building, construction and regulated equipment.

The team oversaw the development of the Construction and Energy Efficiency Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 and new documentation requirements for building certifiers lodging building approvals for class 1 buildings (single residences, townhouses etc.). The team also conducted information and consultation sessions for industry and the public on regulation, new standards and policy proposals.

Energy efficiency improvement

This small team provides support to the Administrator appointed under the Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement Act 2012. The team manages the administration of the Act and its regulatory instruments, conducts training for electricity retailers and installers under the Energy Efficiency Improvement Scheme, responds to enquiries and complaints about the scheme and conducts audits of eligible activities.

The Administrator’s annual report is Annexed Report 5.

Quality Assurance

This team develops and audits statutory processes for construction legislation. The team assists with operational policy, reporting and quality assurance in administering and enforcing legislation for building, electrical, plumbing and gasfitting work.

Utilities, land and lease regulation

Utilities, Land and Lease Regulation has carriage for compliance and enforcement of building industry laws, land use laws and technical regulation of the Territory’s utilities. The section investigates formal complaints made under the Construction Occupations (Licensing) Act 2004 or the Planning and Development Act 2007. It also audits and regulates the technical performance of licensed utilities.

The Investigation team comprised seven inspectors for the first six months of the financial year and eight inspectors for the second six months. The team investigates breaches of building laws, planning laws and leases. The Utilities Technical Regulation team regulates utilities licensed under the Utilities Act 2000 for compliance with technical requirements. The team works closely with the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission (ICRC) to regulate and audit utilities. The ICRC has carriage of licensing and pricing regulation of utilities. Another team of five enforces fees and manages communication with complainants.

The majority of investigations started through the formal complaint process set out in the relevant legislation. The section completed 668 investigations into building, planning and Crown lease breaches in the financial year, equating to a case load of approximately 105 investigations per inspector. The section provided advice in response to 85 letters to the Minister.

Breach management

The number of matters litigated increased in complexity this year, particularly in the multi-unit category. However, the case tracking process to manage the most complex cases requiring prosecution, litigation or complex orders is seeing a steady number of cases being dealt with in an effective and more timely way.

Breach Management is the lead unit for case tracking, which brings together key personnel to discuss the best strategy for difficult and long-term cases. Cases are put forward by compliance and enforcement staff for discussion by the case tracking team, which decides the strategy for the case, if required, and allocates the case to the Breach Management team or directs specific tasks to relevant staff. Case tracking also follows enforcement action.

In 2012–13 the team prepared one prosecution brief, with that matter proceeding to court. Two matters referred to the Australian Federal Police were under investigation at the end of the financial year.

In conjunction with the Investigations team, in 2012–13 Breach Management issued fewer rectification orders against builders to rectify building work not compliant with the Building Code of Australia; this was due to an increase in compliant undertakings by the relevant licensees.

The team took steps to address poor performance by a structural engineer operating in the Territory by seeking to impose conditions on the licences of private building surveyors, requiring the individual’s work be peer reviewed. The matter is the subject of an ACT Supreme Court challenge by the engineer.

At the end of the financial year, the team was managing 84 complex cases, including 13 matters being litigated.

Investigation

The Investigation team investigates all formal complaints under planning and construction laws.

The team completed 668 investigations and received 787 new complaints. Of the total complaints received, 484 related to planning laws and 303 related to construction laws.

The team also receives ‘section 50’ notices from building certifiers which inform the Construction Occupations Registrar of work that is not compliant with building approvals or planning approvals. The notices are ‘approved forms’ under the Construction Occupations (Licensing) Act 2004.

Building certifiers lodged 51 ‘section 50’ notices. The team issued 27 stop work notices, nine show cause notices, made three controlled activity orders, issued 13 intention to issue rectification notices, made one rectification order and issued four notices requiring entities to undertake building work. The majority were resolved through means such as warning letters or by drawing the party’s attention to their legal responsibilities.

Fee compliance

The Fee Compliance team audits and enforces fees for non-compliance with commencement and completion covenants of leases (known as extension of time). The team also manages complaints lodged for investigation, liaises with complainants and manages the flow of ministerial letters in and out of the section.

As part of its enforcement role, the team audits greenfield leaseholds for compliance with commencement and completion times for development. Commencement times are matched against certificates of occupancy and use; leaseholders without an occupancy and use certificate are then notified of their obligations to comply with the commencement and completion provisions of their lease.

In 2012–13, 787 complaints were lodged and 51 non-compliance notices were logged (see Investigation team above). The team made 610 decisions relating to extension of time provisions under the Planning and Development Act 2007.

As part of its auditing role, 283 leaseholds were identified and advised of a suspected breach. In response to a failure to pay fees, 49 invoices were raised to commence the debt collection process.

Utilities technical regulation

The Utilities Technical Regulation team undertakes specialised technical regulation of the ACT’s utilities, in particular the water, gas and electrical utilities. The team’s function is to ensure utilities comply with the components of the Utilities Act 2000 that ensure system safety, integrity and quality of supply.

As part of the regulation of the water utility, the team has a role in reviewing the design and construction process of Enlarged Cotter Dam. The process of endorsing the dam’s construction and commissioning is still in progress. Once that process is complete, the Territory will have the whole design and construction documentation and the operational and maintenance documentation for the Technical Regulator’s role in regulating the safe operation of the dam.

The team also conducted audits consistent with its four year plan for auditing (2011–15). The areas audited within the team, by categories, were:

  • electrical distribution networks: audit undertaken on voltage testing of 100-200 dwellings selected from network extremities and/or adjacent to substations
  • gas distribution networks: audit conducted on high pressure meter sets
  • water supply and sewerage: audits conducted on dam safety annual reporting requirements and on the accuracy of reported data on sewerage network planned maintenance.

Construction occupations

The Construction Occupations section comprises four teams: construction occupations licensing; the electrical inspectorate; the plumbing/gas-fitting inspectorate; and the building audit team. Responsibilities rely on effective carriage and operation under a range of construction industry laws including the Architects Act 2004, the Building and Construction Industry (Security of Payment) Act 2009, Building Act 2004, Construction Occupations (Licensing) Act 2004, Electricity Safety Act 1971, Gas Safety Act 2000, Planning and Development Act 2007, Water and Sewerage Act 2000, the Dangerous Substances Act 2004 and various regulations and instruments.

Construction occupations licensing

The licensing team is responsible for issuing a range of licences and accreditations associated with the construction industry under the Construction Occupations (Licensing) Act 2004 and the Architects Act 2004. These laws regulate architects, asbestos assessors, asbestos removalists, builders, building assessors, building certifiers, electricians, gas appliance workers, plumbers, gas-fitters, drainers, plumbing plan certifiers and works assessors. As of 30 June 2013, the ACT had over 11,500 current occupational licence holders.

The licensing team processes new applications and renews licences in the various construction occupations for one or three year periods. During the year, 1867 new applications and 3658 renewals were processed.

Construction audit

The Construction Audit team is responsible for auditing the performance of licensed builders, building surveyors, building assessors and works assessors against the provisions of the Construction Occupations (Licensing) Act 2004 and the relevant operational laws including the Building Act 2004. This is achieved by undertaking random and targeted audits of building work and associated documentation. The audits have two main purposes; firstly, to identify deficiencies in the operations of individual licensees, and secondly to identify trends within industry. The results of audits provide an evidence base for the review of operational and strategic policy within the construction industry. The team reports directly to the Registrar of Construction Occupations and works closely with other areas of the Construction Services Branch in progressing matters of non-compliance and providing input to future policy development.

The team conducts audits on a range of residential energy ratings issued by licensed building assessors on new building work and on energy efficiency rating statements for sale and lease of residential premises. The Civil Law (Sale of Residential Property) Act 2003 and Residential Tenancies Act 1997 require that an energy efficiency rating statement be provided by owners of certain residential premises.

Number of audits of residential energy ratings 1 July 2012–30 June 2013

New approved building work (BA)

  • Audit by report or software assessment – new house/apartment1 – 237
  • Audit by physical inspection – new house/apartment – 3

Total BA energy rating audits: 240

Sale or lease of premises

  • Audit by report or software assessment2 – 164
  • Audit by physical inspection – 3

Total sale of premises energy rating audits: 167

Total audits of residential energy ratings 1 July 2012 – 30 June 2013: 407

Proportion of audits of residential energy ratings 1 July 2012 – 30 June 2013

  • New house/apartment energy rating audits as a percentage of BCA building class 1, and sole occupancy units in class 2 and 4 building approval submissions3 : 9.0%
  • Sale or lease of premises audits as a percentage of energy efficiency rating statements submitted: 4.9%

  1. Audits involve a comparison of the energy efficiency rating against approved building plans and submitted documentation.
  2. Audits involved a comparison of the energy efficiency rating statement against available building information.
  3. A single building approval may include multiple dwellings.
Electrical inspectorate

The Electrical Inspectorate team inspects electrical wiring work undertaken by licensed electricians, investigates complaints and where necessary imposes disciplinary actions or sanctions against license holders. The team also investigates fire and shock incidents and monitors product safety.

Inspections: The electrical inspectorate undertook 7663 inspections of new electrical work and 2029 inspections of photovoltaic (PV) arrays. More than 7000 inspections of alterations and additions to existing electrical installations were also undertaken on a random basis.

Photovoltaic (PV) systems: There was a decrease in PV inspections in the 2012–2013 financial year from the previous year’s 6265 to 2029. The Directorate continues to see peaks in inspection requests whenever there are changes in the value of Small Scale Technology Certificates and in electricity generation input tariffs. The current rate of inspections would be considered to represent a baseline of installations in the absence of changes in Commonwealth or Territory policy on small scale PV systems.

Cable trays: In early 2012, the electrical inspectorate determined that commercial electrical contractors were not ensuring that fire-rated cables installed for lifts and other air handling and fire safety services essential to structural fire engineering for life safety were supported by certified cable tray support systems. Industry consultation over the year saw compliance levels and understanding of the requirements increase among the larger electrical contractors. There are still some non-compliance issues with smaller contractors and the team have actively engaged in consultation with industry representative bodies in 2013 to improve the awareness and the knowledge base of small contractors.

Supervision of apprentices: The electrical inspectorate and Worksafe ACT will focus on supervision of apprentices in 2013–2014. In 2011–12, industry consultation with industry representative bodies and the vocational education providers saw the publication of new advisory notes on supervision with a view for increase enforcement of the supervision guidelines.

Plumbing and gasfitting inspectorate

The Plumbing and Gasfitting inspectorate inspects plumbing, drainage and gas-fitting work undertaken by licensed plumbers, drainers and gas-fitters. The team also investigates complaints and undertakes disciplinary actions where necessary.

The inspectorate validates Type B gas submissions for the installation of Type B gas appliances in domestic and commercial applications. Type B gas appliances are described as gas appliances with gas consumption over 10 megajoules per hour for which a certification scheme does not exist. Due to the increased demand from industry for Type B equipment (e.g. gas fired boilers and generators) the inspectorate has completed training of three inspectors in Type B gas-fitting accreditation, enabling them to validate Type B submissions. One of the team’s senior inspectors is now a member of the national Gas Technical Regulators Committee.

During 2012–13 the plumbing and gas-fitting inspectorate inspected 5566 new plumbing installations and 2443 new gas installations. It also updated plumbing notes available on the ESDD website including supervision guidelines for plumbers, drainers and gasfitters.

The inspectorate’s management has been pro-active in working with The Canberra Institute of Technology on a successful validation of assessment project. Management also attended several meetings of the Master Plumbers Association to keep industry informed of any regulatory changes.

National forums

The Construction Services Branch supports the Director-General, Executive Director Regulation and Services Division and the Construction Occupations Registrar in various national forums, most particularly the Australian Building Codes Board.

The branch is engaged in reforms initiated by COAG on occupational licensing, the national construction code and the work of the National Strategy on Energy Efficiency as it relates to building, construction and regulated equipment. Officers from the branch provide valuable input to standards and policy reforms.

The level of activity and call for officers to participate in national discussions continues to be high, particularly for the national licensing reforms and safety and environmental standards. Officers represent the ACT and its interests in the following national forums:

  • National Plumbing Regulators Forum
  • Plumbing Code Committee
  • Electrical Regulatory Authorities Council
  • Builders Licensing Australasia
  • Australasian Building Certifiers Forum
  • Gas Technical Regulators Committee
  • Energy Supply Industry Safety Committee
  • relevant Australian Standards committees
  • relevant industry skills councils.

Further information may be obtained from:

Mr Craig Simmons
Director, Construction Services
Telephone: 02 6207 6322
Email: craig.simmons@act.gov.au

Environment protection and water regulation

This branch is responsible for administration, regulation and enforcement of ACT laws related to water resource management and environment protection. The branch provides ACT secretariat support to the COAG Standing Council on Environment and Water.

The Director of Environment Protection and Water Regulation also holds the statutory positions of the Environment Protection Authority and the Clinical Waste Controller. The Senior Manager of Environment Protection and Water Regulation holds the statutory position of Delegate for Lakes.

The EPA Annual Report is an annexed report to this annual report.

Environment protection

During 2012-13, Environment Protection undertook activities to reduce adverse impacts on human health and the environment including:

  • ongoing monitoring and assessment of the demolition and disposal of the fire damaged building at Energy Services Invironmental site in Mitchell
  • continued monitoring of the historic petrol plume located in the City area
  • administration of the Wood Heater Replacement Program
  • authorisation and monitoring of significant development and infrastructure projects including:    
    • the ACTEW water security initiatives – Enlarged Cotter Dam, Cotter Pump Station and Murrumbidgee to Cotter pipeline
    • Gungahlin, Dunlop and Molonglo land developments including the North Weston Pond
    • construction of the Majura Parkway
    • the Kingston Foreshore redevelopment
  • education of developers and builders on responsibilities during construction works and controls associated with sediment and erosion controls on development sites
  • investigating amendments to the Lakes Act 1976 to facilitate the operation of the Kingston Foreshore harbour
  • assisting government agencies, business and the community in managing contaminated site incidents and property redevelopments
  • monitoring ACT lakes for algal conditions, pollution incidents and providing technical advice to ACT Health Protection Services recreational suitability of the lakes and rivers
  • issuing approvals for development proposals associated with the ACT’s lakes as Delegate for Lakes under the Lakes Act 1976
  • reviewing and updating residential, business and industry information sheets
  • programming industry mail-outs of the following Environment Protection information sheets:    
    • 'Mobile Carpet Cleaners’ to all businesses associated with carpet cleaning
    • 'Mobile Pet Grooming’ to all businesses associated with pet grooming
    • ‘Recreational fishing in the ACT’ to all fishing shops and fishing clubs
    • ‘Auto Wreckers and Dismantlers’ to all businesses associated with the dismantling of vehicles (new information sheet)
    • ‘Your guide to using wood heaters’ to all firewood merchants
    • ‘Burn right tonight’ brochures to wood heater shops.
  • continuing the review of the Environment Protection Act 1997 to ensure that the regulatory framework remains effective and contemporary in the face of growth in the ACT and change that has occurred to the environmental attitudes and practices
  • commencing a review of ACT Noise Zone Standards in local, group and town centres
  • reviewing sediment basin sizing for construction sites in the new Molonglo development.

ESDD has implemented a review program of all environment protection policies made under the Environment Protection Act 1997 (the Act). These policies help explain and apply provisions of the Act and regulations. The review of these policies, which includes consultation with the community, industry and relevant representative organisations, will ensure the ACT continues to have policies that are up-to-date and reflect community expectations.

The review of the following policies was ongoing in 2012–13:

  • Air Environment Protection Policy
  • Waste Water Reuse Environment Protection Policy.

Noise complaints account for nearly 80% of total complaints received by Environment Protection. A 2009 noise campaign to educate the public about their responsibilities under the legislation was considered a success due to an 8% reduction in noise complaints received by Environment Protection. Based on this success, Environment Protection ran the campaign again in 2012 using print, radio and cinema advertising.

The Environment Protection Authority entered into a cross-border protocol with the NSW Environment Protection Agency. The protocol formalises the working relationships between environment protection officers and will facilitate regional collaborative work between NSW and ACT EPAs, improve service delivery and response to environmental incidents, strengthen environmental enforcement, and facilitate resources sharing. An initiative of the protocol is the establishment of the Cross-Border Illegal Waste Dumping Project. The project will implement a coordinated set of actions to prevent, detect and clean-up illegal dumping in the NSW/ACT border region.

Environment Protection participates in the development, review and implementation of the National Environment Protection Measures under the National Environment Protection Council Act 1994. These measures outline national objectives for protecting and managing particular aspects of the environment including air quality, water, site contamination and hazardous waste.

The ACT’s population has now reached a size that requires a third performance monitoring station under the Ambient Air Quality National Environment Protection Measure. ESDD worked with ACT Health to progress a successful budget bid for the 2012–13 financial year. The Health Directorate has consulted within government and, based on a preliminary analysis of site requirements/constraints, short listed a site in the central Belconnen area.

The EPA is responsible for the production of a calendar year Air Quality Report to be released by 30 June the following year. The 2012 report shows the major impact on Canberra’s air quality, as in previous years, came from the accumulation of combustion particles from wood heaters in cold, highly stable air. All measured parameters are below the National Environment Protection Ambient Air Quality Measure (AAQ NEPM) standards, with the exception of particulate matter less than 2.5 microns (PM2.5) which is directly affected by wood heater emissions.

Environment Protection continued to address wood heater emissions through public education campaigns, enforcement activities under the environment protection legislation, and continued administration of the ActewAGL funded Wood Heater Replacement Program. To raise community awareness, Environment Protection ran the ‘Burn right tonight’ campaign to make people aware that wood smoke is the largest source of pollution in Canberra and can be reduced by correct wood heater operation. The campaign was publicised though print and cinema advertising.

In-service heaters are the major source of emissions and Environment Protection supports the ongoing operation of the Wood Heater Replacement Program. Since 2001 over 1000 wood heaters have been removed from service and replaced with cleaner alternative heating sources, which has resulted in an improvement in our air quality.

Environment Protection is also working with the Australian Government and other jurisdictions at a national level through the Standing Council on Environment and Water (SCEW) to progress actions to improve air quality as a part of the National Plan for Clean Air. On 11 April 2013, SCEW agreed to release a Consultation Regulation Impact for reducing emissions from wood heaters.

Environment Protection played a key role in the designation of the Kingston Harbour as a lake under the Lakes Act 1976. Environment Protection collaborated with LDA, TAMS and the ACT Government Solicitor to establish a licensing system for commercial boat operators to use Kingston Harbour. The commercial boat licences are consistent with the work that Environment Protection is undertaking in participating in a COAG initiative and introduction of the Commonwealth Government’s Marine Safety (Domestic Commercial Vessel) National Law 2012.

Water regulation

The ACT Water Resources Act 2007 sets the framework for the administration and regulation of the ACT’s water resources. It is also a platform for the migration of water resource administration to a NWI compliant management regime. The Water Regulation unit also managed the ACT’s participation in the Commonwealth-sponsored Water Resource Compliance and Enforcement project. This project now supports one full time position in the unit.

The unit continued its routine regulatory activities of monitoring compliance with the ACT’s environmental flow requirements, setting abstraction limits on the ACT’s water resources and reviewing or issuing licences and environmental authorisations to people undertaking activities that have the potential to cause environmental harm to the aquatic environment (i.e. sewage treatment plants). The administration of water resource assets and collection of data by the unit provides the basis for the ACT to provide information to national projects such as the Bureau of Meteorology’s National Water Account and comply with facets of Commonwealth water legislation.

Further information may be obtained from:

Mr Daniel Walters
A/g Director, Environment Protection and Water Regulation, Environment Protection Authority
Telephone: 02 6207 2644
Email: daniel.walters@act.gov.au

Office of the Surveyor-General

The Surveyor-General has statutory responsibility under the Surveyors Act 2007 to regulate surveying and register land surveyors within the ACT. In accordance with the Districts Act 2002, the section maintains the integrity of the cadastre and certifies all deposited plans to be registered with the Land Titles Office. This role extends to the maintenance of the digital cadastral database and the street address database. The number of land parcels (blocks) registered via this process has been increasing steadily since 2006 (just under 1000) to 1950 in 2010 and 2600 in 2012. However, early figures suggest a significant reduction in registrations is likely in 2013.

The office also ensures the Territory's land administration system is supported by reliable spatial data and provides access to a wide range of core datasets including road centrelines, topographic information and cadastral data (land boundaries).

The section is also responsible for whole-of-government mapping services and ACTMAPi, the ACT Government’s on-line mapping service. ACTMAPi is becoming increasingly popular and integral to government business as a result of recent and on-going upgrades and the realisation of its potential.

With Dr Jay Arthur, the Surveyor-General co-chairs the ACT Public Place Names Committee. He also represents the Territory on a number of national bodies including the Intergovernmental Committee on Surveying and Mapping, Council of Reciprocating Surveyors Boards of Australia and New Zealand and Spatial Education Advisory Committee, and is a director on the Board of the Public Sector Mapping Authority Australia Limited.

The office has a long standing arrangement by way of a memorandum of understanding with the NSW Board of Surveying and Spatial Information to advance the development of the profession. The majority of the 83 surveyors registered in the ACT hold a dual licence to practise in both jurisdictions.

Further information may be obtained from:

Mr John Meyer
Executive Director, Regulation and Services
Telephone: 02 6207 2644
Email: john.meyer@act.gov.au

Sustainability programs

The Sustainability Programs Section delivered a range of incentive and educational programs to homes, business and the community focusing on water and energy efficiency, waste reduction and sustainable schools.

In 2012–13, there were continued efforts to improve the quality of the data and method of calculation of the impacts of the sustainability programs in energy, water, waste and greenhouse gas emissions. A major review of methodology was completed and some improvements implemented. Specific notes describing these changes are included under programs where there are differences from the methods used in the 2011–12 ESDD Annual Report.

Energy efficiency programs

Home energy advice program

The HEAT Energy Audit offered owners of homes built in or before 2006 an energy audit by the Home Energy Advice Team (HEAT). Audit participants were eligible to apply for a $500 rebate when they spent at least $2,000 on priority energy efficiency improvements identified during the audit, plus a refund of the $30 audit fee.

HEAT also provided free advice to residents on energy efficiency by telephone, email and face to face consultations.

The HEAT audit and rebate closed on 20 April 2013. This followed a government decision that other government initiatives, including the Energy Efficiency Improvement Scheme and the Outreach program, provided more cost-effective energy efficiency improvements for households. The HEAT free advisory service also closed on 20 April.

 

Program commenced

2012–13 participation

Total program participation

Audits

2005

1,008

7,297

Rebates

2005

682

3652

HEAT inquiries/advice

2003

4,023

41,812

Estimated savings per year from wall, ceiling and floor insulation double glazing and curtains, efficient water heating and space heating installed under the HEAT audit and rebate program in 2012–13 were:

  • energy – 485 mWh (from both electricity and gas)
  • greenhouse gas emissions – 302 t CO2 -e1.

An independent evaluation of the HEAT audit and rebate was carried out in 2012–13 using electricity and gas consumption data for participating households. This enabled estimation of savings from all energy efficiency improvements installed under the HEAT program. The evaluation found that, compared to trends in consumption for a sample of Canberra households generally, HEAT participants accessing both the audit and rebate saved, on average, an additional 2.9% per year of their electricity consumption and 9.6% per year of their gas consumption. This resulted in an average savings of $71 per year electricity bills and $97 on gas bills.

A broader study of Canberra’s water and energy consumption completed by the Australian National University at the end of 2012–13, using a sample of 25,000 households, concluded that the energy saving s from the HEAT program were somewhat larger. This study showed that HEAT participants reduced daily electricity consumption by 10.5% and daily gas consumption by 5.9% compared to consumption by a matched control group. The study also showed that Canberra households generally have been reducing electricity consumption by 0.8% per year over the seven years to the June quarter 2012 and increasing gas consumption by 4.5% per year over the three years to the June quarter 2012.

Low income energy and water efficiency program

Following a successful trial program, an expanded Outreach program to assist low income households was implemented in June 2011. With new funding announced in the 2011–12 Budget, this program will continue until the end of 2014–15.

Outreach helps low income residents improve energy and water efficiency of their homes, reduce their energy and water consumption bills, and contribute to reducing greenhouse emissions. Working through community welfare organisations, Outreach provides energy-efficient essential home appliances, assessments, education and retrofits to eligible households. Outreach provides eligible low income households with some or all of the following assistance, depending on their needs:

  • new energy and water-efficient appliances to replace old, inefficient appliances
  • energy and water efficiency assessments of their homes
  • retrofits of energy and water efficient products and repairs in their homes, such as draught proofing and window treatments
  • energy efficiency advice and information.

The program was delivered through the following community welfare organisations for their eligible low income clients experiencing financial hardship, and clients referred from a wider network of community organisations in the ACT:

  • Belconnen Community Service
  • Communities@Work
  • Northside Community Service
  • St Vincent de Paul Society
  • Canberra YWCA.

A panel of providers of energy efficiency services was engaged to perform the assessments, education and retrofits in clients' homes, and provide training for energy efficiency officers, other staff and volunteers of community welfare organisations implementing the program. Outreach also works with Housing ACT to ensure the most efficient delivery of improvements for its tenants.

The Outreach Program linked with the following stakeholders, government policies and programs in 2012–13 to ensure complementary assistance and referral processes:

  • Energy Efficiency Improvement Scheme (EEIS)
  • Housing ACT Energy Efficiency Program
  • FACHSIA Home Energy Saver Scheme
  • ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal
  • ACTEW AGL Staying Connected Program
  • Targeted Assistance Strategy

The program assisted approximately 1075 low income households in 2012–13. Cost effective reductions in household energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions are expected to be achieved over the life of the energy efficiency improvements implemented with these households.

Estimated savings per year from the energy-efficient appliances and retrofits (refrigerators, freezers, washing machines draught sealing and window treatments) installed in 2012–13 are:

  • energy – 1049 mWh2 (from both electricity and gas)
  • greenhouse gas emissions – 456 tCO2 -e1.

These savings do not include all appliances and energy efficient products installed such as retrofitting not specified above and savings achieved by behaviour change. Total program savings will be calculated in a mid-program evaluation in 2013, using consumption data provided by ActewAGL.

A case study project was conducted in 2012 which demonstrated a 22% average reduction in energy and an average net dollar saving per household of $270.60 across 11 households participating in the project. Draught sealing was consistently the most effective retrofit measure in these case studies. A mid-program evaluation of all participating households is planned to commence later in 2013 to further measure progress towards achieving program outcomes.

The Water and Energy Savings in the Territory (WEST) program was incorporated into the Outreach program.

Outreach Program participation including the Outreach trial and 2012–13 WEST program

OUTREACH Program

Program commenced

2012–13 participation

Total program participation

Low income households assisted

2010

1075

3357

Energy efficient refrigerators and freezers installed to replace old inefficient appliances

2010

472

1546

Energy and water efficient washing machines installed to replace old inefficient appliances

2010

302

1139

Energy saving kits, heated throw rugs and other energy and water efficient items provided

2011

1870

2402

Number of households receiving in-home energy and water assessments and education

2011

918

2124

Home energy and water retrofits

2011

376

702

ACTSmart Business Energy and Water Program

The ACTSmart Business Energy and Water Program provides advice and financial assistance for efficiency upgrades to small businesses in the ACT to assist in reducing energy and water consumption. The program commenced on 1 July 2012, replacing the CitySwitch Green Office program and Commercial Bathroom Retrofit program.

The program is open to businesses in the ACT with electricity bills up to $20,000 per annum and/or up to 10 full time equivalent staff members. Businesses receive a subsidised energy and water assessment of their business premises conducted by an ACTSmart assessor, resulting in a tailored energy and water action report. The report recommends energy and water upgrade opportunities as well as no-cost and behaviour change recommendations. Businesses are eligible to claim 50% of costs of approved upgrades up to $5,000, resulting in reduced energy and water consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2012–13 the program assessed 112 small businesses. Estimated energy savings from the 32 businesses that have completed upgrades and claimed a rebate in 2012-13:

  • annual energy savings – 275 mWh
  • annual greenhouse gas savings – 259 tCO2 -e4
  • annual savings from business energy bills – $59,858.

At the ACTSmart Sustainable Business Annual Awards Breakfast in June 2013, the following business received an award for its special achievements in this area:

  • Outstanding Leadership Award – Winners: Xchange on London and Shop Basics.
 

Program commenced

2012–13 participation

Total program participation

Business Energy and Water Assessments

July 2012

112

112

Business Energy and Water Rebates

July 2012

32

32

ACTSmart Government Energy and Water Program

The ACTSmart Government Energy and Water Program provides tailored assistance and advice to ACT Government agencies in energy and water efficiencies. The program commenced in September 2012.

The program provides a site assessment to participating sites which results in a comprehensive report prepared by a Government Energy and Water Assessor. This comprehensive report can be used to support applications to loan funding through the Carbon Neutral Government Fund to perform efficiency upgrades to reduce costs and carbon emissions.

Identified potential savings from the 21 sites that have received assessment reports in 2012-13:

  • Annual savings from ACT Government energy bills: $162,573
  • Annual energy savings: 908 mWh
  • Annual greenhouse gas savings: 854 t CO2 -e5
 

Program commenced

2012-13 Participation

Total program participation

ACTSmart Government Energy and Water Program

September 2012

21 sites from 8 Directorates

21 sites from 8 irectorates

Water efficiency programs

GardenSmart

The GardenSmart program provided advice and assistance to participants to implement long-term, water-efficient and sustainable gardening practices by providing a free garden advisory service and a $50 water-efficient garden product rebate. The service included an analysis of the garden and advice on how it could be made more sustainable and water efficient through plant choice, garden design, garden maintenance and improved watering practices.

The eligibility criteria were broadened in 2011–12 to include ACT schools and community groups and the emphasis of the program changed from water-efficient gardening alone to include sustainable and productive gardening practices.

As part of a review of programs the government decided to close GardenSmart program on 30 June 2013. This decision refocused funding to areas of greater priority. The need for the residential programs reduced with the breaking of the drought and the improvement in Canberra’s water security due to investment in projects such as the expanded Cotter Dam and the Murrumbidgee to Googong pipeline.

 

Program commenced

2012–13participation

Total program participation

GardenSmart service

January 2005

784

7641

GardenSmart rebate

January 2005

228

2564

ToiletSmart and ToiletSmart Plus

The ToiletSmart and ToiletSmart Plus programs assist ACT homeowners to replace their single and older dual flush toilets with 4-star water-efficient dual flush toilet suites. ToiletSmart Plus options include a free home water audit and some additional low-cost water saving fixtures and repairs. Pensioner Concession Card holders are eligible to receive one free toilet suite and one free water-efficient showerhead.

ToiletSmart

Program commenced

2012–13 participation

Total program participation

$100 rebate

May 2008

608

5427

Free toilets provided to Pensioner Concession Card holders

May 2008

385

2614

ToiletSmart Plus

Program commenced

2012–13 participation

Total program participation

Free home water audit

August 2010

446

1476

Free Pensioner Showerheads

August 2010

116

393

Water savings in 2012–13 from all toilets installed since the start the program are estimated to be 298 ML. The cumulative water saving from 2008 to 2012–13 is estimated to be 1107 ML, greenhouse gas savings (from reduced water treatment) are estimated at 354 tonnes of CO2-e in 2012–13, with cumulative savings of 1317 tonnes of CO2-e from 2008 to 2012–13.

As of 1 July 2013 this program will only be available to holders of Pensioner Concession Cards as the Directorate has refocused the ToiletSmart program to providing the service to holders of Pensioner Concession Cards only. The government is targeting assistance to those who are less able to make changes for themselves.

IrrigationSmart

The IrrigationSmart program helped Canberra residents improve the performance of their automated (programmable) irrigation system. The program included a home visit by an IrrigationSmart assessor and access to a $100 rebate for improvements to the irrigation system. During the service, the irrigation specialist assessed the condition and effectiveness of the household's programmable irrigation system and provided advice about how to operate and program the system efficiently. Participants received a report which included the recommended watering schedule for each season, advice on improvements for their system, a maintenance checklist, fact sheets and a free rain gauge.

The government decided to close IrrigationSmart on 30 June 2013 as part of a review of programs to refocuses funding to areas of greater priority. The need for the residential programs has also been reduced with the improvement in Canberra’s water supply security and the breaking of the drought.

 

Program commenced

2012–13 participation

Total program participation

IrrigationSmart service

February 2012

257

440

IrrigationSmart rebate

February 2012

82

93

The estimated water saving potential of the program is up to 33 kL per participant per year6, equating to an estimated saving of 6,039 kL per year for the households participating in the program in 2012–13.

Waste reduction

ACTSmart Business and Office and programs

ESDD launched the ACT Government’s commercial recycling programs, ACTSmart Business and ACTSmart Office, in 2009. These programs provide assistance and accreditation to businesses and offices in the ACT to encourage and support the adoption of efficient waste management and recycling.

The programs focus on encouraging participants to improve the way they deal with their waste, to redirect waste away from landfill and strive to improve sustainability and reduce the Territory’s carbon footprint.

To date, 653 sites across the Territory are participating in these programs, including major shopping centres, fast food outlets, Canberra Stadium, Manuka Oval, Calvary Health Care and the Tuggeranong Hyperdome, with 104 of its tenants. Including the Directorate, 203 sites were accredited, meeting the recycling standard set by the programs; this is an increase of 85 accredited sites since last year.

In June 2013, ESDD held the ACTSmart Sustainable Business Annual Awards Breakfast, where the following organisations received awards for their special achievements in this area:

  • Outstanding results in waste minimisation – Winner: Scooters Australia, Canberra
  • Biggest recycler – Winner: Calvary John James Hospital
  • Innovation excellence – Winner: Queanbeyan City Council; and Highly Commended: Magnetite Canberra Pty Ltd
  • Motivation excellence – Winner: IP Australia
  • Corporate award – Winners: US Embassy Canberra and Bremer Group Pty Ltd
  • Small business/office award – Winner: Shop Basics Pty Ltd
  • Minister’s award for leadership – Phil Buchanan, SERCO Immigration Services.

Over 35,376 staff have access to the programs. A total of 7,205 cubic metres of waste was diverted from landfill by the 203 accredited ACTSmart sites in 2012–13. This represents a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 1,042 tonnes of CO2-e. In 2012–13 these accredited organisations also recycled approximately 15,275 cubic metres of mixed recyclables, representing 1,232 tonnes of CO2-e avoided and 1,838 cubic metres of organic material equivalent to 1,009 tonnes of CO2-e avoided.

In addition to these results:

  • many businesses now have waste streams collected that are not tracked in the program, such as excess food going to charity (e.g. The Yellow Van) or metals going to metal recyclers
  • the program helps businesses and offices avoid over-servicing caused when bins are collected when not full
  • the programs have a smart purchasing component that requires businesses and offices to look at greener purchasing arrangements and producing less packaging
  • many organisations, particularly offices, now have reuse areas for stationery which further reduces waste to landfill
  • the ACTSmart Business and Office programs will continue to be delivered to Queanbeyan businesses for a second year through a one year extension of the contract with Queanbeyan City Council for the delivery by ACTSmart staff of the program to a further 25 sites in 2013. Given all the waste and recycling generated in Queanbeyan is diverted to ACT landfills, encouraging Queanbeyan businesses and offices to improve recycling will result in less waste to landfill in the ACT.
Public events

The Directorate continued delivery of the ACTSmart Public Event program, which helps event organisers implement recycling facilities within a public event. Any community-based event is eligible including school fetes, festivals, fairs, shows or sporting events.

As at June 2013, 49 events had participated in the program, including Floriade, the Multicultural Festival, the Catholic Schools Interschool Netball Carnival and several fetes and fairs. Diversion of waste into recycling streams included 25,473 kg of mixed recycling equivalent to 32.6 CO2-e tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions avoided and 9,332 kg of organic waste equivalent to 14.93 CO2-e tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions avoided. Over 905,000 visitors had the opportunity to recycle at these events.

The public event program covers all events under the ACT Centenary of Canberra celebrations.

At the ACTSmart Sustainable Business Annual Awards Breakfast held in June 2013, the following events received awards for their special achievements in this area:

  • Best recycler – small event: St John’s Care Canberra Community Christmas Day Lunch
  • Best recycler – large event: Corinbank Festival.

Sustainable schools

The Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative (AuSSI) ACT became available to all government and non-government ACT schools in 2007. AuSSI ACT is an education action program that supports schools to introduce sustainable management practices into every day school operations and educates school communities to change their behaviour.

All ACT schools have registered with the initiative, covering over 68,000 students. The program provides schools with the following assistance:

  • resources to reduce energy and water consumption and waste going to landfill (includes best practice guides for energy, waste and water and accompanying curriculum units)
  • teacher workshops on energy and water efficiency, establishing and maintaining environment centres/areas, student leadership, sustainable purchasing, the Australian Curriculum Sustainability Priority, and school photovoltaic systems as a tool for teaching and learning
  • comprehensive water audits and reports with recommendations on how to reduce water consumption
  • assistance to schools to establish and maintain a waste and recycling system.

The AuSSI team works collaboratively with the ACT Education and Training Directorate in the delivery of an energy efficiency program. All government schools (with the exception of four new schools – Gungahlin College, Namadgi School, Franklin Early Childhood School and Neville Bonner Primary School) have received a comprehensive energy audit. AuSSI staff delivered the energy audit reports and AuSSI ACT Energy Best Practice Guide and discussed recommendations. AuSSI ACT accredits schools that, over a twelve month period, have implemented recommendations from the audit report and best practice guide and achieved a reduction in energy consumption.

Since the program commenced in 2007, 123 schools have received a comprehensive water audit. All government and non-government schools have now received water audits and are engaged in the AuSSI ACT Water Program (except the new schools and several who declined the offer).

Schools are currently being assessed for accreditation in the sustainable management of energy, water and waste. Accreditation standards include:

  • Each school must have a reduction in water and energy consumption (unless prohibited by infrastructure) and waste to landfill measured from initial audit data.
  • Recycling streams must be in place and recommendations from water and energy audits and best practice guides must be implemented.
  • Schools must demonstrate plans for continuous improvement and actions taken towards raising student and staff awareness through various activities and specific curriculum focus.

AuSSI ACT has a comprehensive database for monitoring and reporting progress. The comparison of consumption levels for 2012–13 between accredited and non-accredited schools is illustrated below. Note that water and energy results are based on data for government schools only.7

Waste and recycling

Waste sent to landfill 2012–13 (m3/student/annum)

All schools

0.54

AuSSI ACT accredited schools

0.44

Non-accredited schools

0.58

Data for 2012–13 shows that schools with AuSSI ACT waste accreditation send 22% less waste to landfill (on a per student basis) than schools that are not accredited. In 2012-13 this equates to approximately 1788 cubic metres less waste being sent to landfill from these 37 accredited schools when compared to non-accredited schools. This represents a reduction of 259 tonnes of CO2-e.

Water

Water use per student 2012–13 (kL/student/annum)

All schools

8.79

AuSSI ACT accredited schools

8.06

Non-accredited schools

9.22

Energy

Energy use per square metre 2012–13 (MJ/m2)

All schools

401

AuSSI ACT accredited schools

355

Non-accredited schools

429

AuSSI ACT has forged links with other programs that support government sustainability objectives such as the ACT Health Directorate’s Fresh Tastes-healthy food@school initiative and Ride or Walk to School Program. AuSSI ACT is monitoring greenhouse gas emissions of three of the schools participating in the pilot Ride or Walk to School Program.

AuSSI ACT encourages schools to participate in national and international environment events. In 2012–13 schools were:

  • encouraged to take part in School Earth Hour
  • offered AuSSI waste education packs to celebrate National Recycling Week and
  • given a composting poster and fact sheet in recognition of International Composting Week.

In 2011, the residential GardenSmart program expanded into schools, delivered through the AuSSI ACT School Grounds and Biodiversity Program. Eighteen schools received advice through the GardenSmart program.

Waterwatch

Upper Murrumbidgee Waterwatch (Waterwatch) is a volunteer community network funded through the Australian Government’s Caring for Our County initiative in 2012–13 and in previous years, with some project-specific funding from ACTEW Water. The Sustainability Programs section provided office accommodation and facilities for the Upper Murrumbidgee Waterwatch Convenor in 2011–12 and 2012–13.

Waterwatch continued to grow in strength with over 150 volunteers monitoring more than 200 sites across the region. Waterwatch participation began to grow in the Yass region; in partnership with the Yass Valley Council, Waterwatch began training volunteers in water quality monitoring, which will complement some council and Murrumbidgee Catchment Management Authority riparian works. Plans are also being progressed to host an awareness-raising day with the three Yass primary schools in Spring 2013.

Waterwatch data on water quality extends back as far as 1995 in the cases of some water bodies. Over the past year, Waterwatch worked at ways to improve the quality, accessibility and use of its data. Preliminary results from a recent study by the University of Canberra that compared Waterwatch data with other ‘professionally collected data’ such as ACTEW Water and the ACT Government found a high correlation between both data types – a credit to all its hard-working volunteers. In addition, Waterwatch is working on a new database with the Atlas of Living Australia that will host all data in one place. It is hoped this site will soon host and display the new and improved Catchment Health Indicator Program (CHIP) which provides stakeholders with an excellent tool to gauge the health of our local river systems.

Waterwatch data is used by a wide range of organisations such as local councils, state government agencies, private consultants, schools and non-government organisations. Some of the ways Waterwatch data is used by the ACT Government include the following:

  • The recent expansion of the Mugga Tip relied directly on Waterwatch data and advice on potential impacts on the local waterway.
  • Tidbinbilla Rangers regularly refer to the data as part of the management of their wetlands.
  • The log jam project being implemented near Tharwa by ESDD is using Waterwatch data as part of its monitoring and evaluation.
  • All the urban wetlands implemented by ESDD are monitored by Waterwatch.

The Actions for Clean Water Plan (ACWA Plan), launched in October 2012, aims to address the extensive erosion issues in the upper Murrumbidgee catchment. Waterwatch is part of the ACWA committee which also includes the Murrumbidgee CMA, Upper Murrumbidgee Catchment Coordination Committee, ActewAGL, ACTEW Water, Water Policy and the ACT NRM Council and has committed to implementing the Plan. Immediate on-ground works will be complemented by a range of management strategies and activities that are currently being developed.

Waterwatch continues to support and promote of the popular Frogwatch program in the ACT and surrounding region. In cooperation with the ACT Frogwatch Coordinator, Waterwatch encouraged public participation in the October Frogwatch census and in on-going frog monitoring throughout the year. Over 130 sites were monitoring by volunteers in the region in 2012, providing valuable data for many catchment managers including Waterwatch.

Wood heater replacement

This program aims to reduce the level of air pollution that results from the use of wood heaters in winter by assisting residents replace their wood heater with a ducted gas heater or fixed flue gas heater. In January 2013, Sustainability Programs took over the administration of this program, which has been operating for nine years. Approximately 1024 wood heaters have been removed from service and replaced with cleaner, mains supplied natural gas heating options. The program provides a subsidy of $800.00 when replacing a wood heater with a ducted gas installation and $600.00 when replacing with a fixed flue gas installation. Funding for the subsidies is provided by ActewAGL Pty Ltd.

Communication and awareness

A communication and education program to increase awareness of water and energy efficiency issues and sustainable waste management was provided through a range of public events and presentations. The ACTSmart website provides households, businesses, schools and community groups with one-stop-shop access to information about ACT Government sustainability rebates and assistance programs as well as providing additional information and resources.

In addition to the ACTSmart website, the ESDD, sustainable schools and Think water, act water websites were also key elements of the Directorate’s community education campaigns about sustainability programs and issues.

Energy and greenhouse gas savings from ACTSmart programs

The previous two ESDD annual reports provided estimates of energy, water and greenhouse gas savings from the ACTSmart suite of programs as a step towards more comprehensive reporting. This responded to a recommendation by the Select Committee on Estimates 2009–10 that the ACTSmart program suite develop and report against accountability indicators for energy, water and greenhouse gas savings. In its response, the government agreed that, subject to availability of data, program indicators would be developed and reported against.

In 2011–12, ESDD commenced an external review of the methodology used to calculate the estimates of savings. This was completed in late 2012–13, and found the measurement and reporting approaches of Sustainability Programs can be considered to be on a par with good practices for similar programs elsewhere. The review also showed that, within the limitations of the programs’ scale and data collection capabilities, program measurement methods are robust and appropriate.

As part of the process of improving these measurement methods, data agreements were made with ActewAGL in 2012–13 to provide consumption data for key energy efficiency programs. This reflects the need to collect a number of years of consumption data for program participants in order to produce accurate data on the effect of programs on energy and water consumption, and hence greenhouse gas emissions.

This data was used in 2012–13 for the evaluation of the HEAT audit and rebate program referred to above under HEAT Energy Audit and Advisory Service which showed that HEAT participants accessing both the audit and rebate saved, on average, an additional 2.9% per year of their electricity consumption and 9.6% of their gas consumption per year. As noted in the discussion of the HEAT program above, an ANU study using data from a sample of 25,000 households indicated that the energy savings from the HEAT program were greater than those shown by the HEAT program evaluation.

It is intended to use electricity and gas consumption data for an evaluation of the Outreach program and it is expected that the results of this will be reported in the 2014–15 ESDD Annual Report.

Further information may be obtained from:

Mr John Meyer
Executive Director, Regulation and Services
Telephone: 02 6207 2644
Email: john.meyer@act.gov.au

CORPORATE

The Corporate branch provides a comprehensive range of services designed to support the Directorate in its fundamental business activities. It facilitates interfaces with the Minister’s office, the Cabinet office, the ACT Legislative Assembly and other ACT Government agencies.

The branch comprises the following sections.

Communications

The Communications section liaises with the media, prepares internal and external publications, manages the website and intranet, provides public relations advice and support to line areas, and coordinates advertising and marketing. The team also provides communications support to the Minister’s office.

The section supported community engagement activities by the planning, policy and programs areas, particularly with consultation on master plans, transport initiatives, draft variations to the Territory Plan and major policy documents such as the Nature Conservation Strategy. The City Plan consultation was undertaken with the Chief Minister and Treasury and Economic Development directorates. Numerous fact sheets, brochures, posters, reports, strategies and other documents were prepared for online and/or print publication.

Online media continued to be a focus for the team to inform the public. The website, www.environment.act.gov.au, was moved to a WCAG 2.0 accessible template in line with ACT Government guidelines. The Directorate’s monthly electronic newsletter, the Zone, and Twitter account is published monthly to update industry, community and the general public about ESDD activities.

The Communications team coordinates advertising for the Directorate and was able to consolidate and refine advertising to reduce costs. A range of advertising methods, including print, radio, cineama and online advertising were used to reach target audiences.

The team contributed to the whole-of-government Coordinated Communications Network (CCN), which shares media monitoring, information, strategies and issues across government directorates.

Governance

The Governance Team undertakes a range of activities to ensure that the Directorate meets its various government responsibilities.

Key responsibilities include managing and directly reporting to the Director-General for the Directorate’s internal audit program and processes. The team also develops, manages and oversights all aspects of the Directorate’s Corporate, Risk Management, Fraud and Corruption Prevention and Business Continuity Plans and other strategic plans and governance frameworks, including training and other awareness raising activities.

Oversight of the Directorate’s official records, ensuring compliance with the Territory Records Act 2002 and responding to Freedom of Information and archives requests are other important responsibilities.

Relevant plans, policies and procedures have been established and regularly reviewed to ensure that the Directorate’s complies with its legislative and operational roles and responsibilities.

Legislation services

The section is responsible for providing advice to the Executive, line area managers and external clients on the operational requirements of the Directorate’s legislation, emerging issues in relation to the implementation of legislation or conflicts between legislative proposals.

It assists in the development, coordination and implementation of the government’s legislation program as it relates to the role of the Directorate. It manages the Planning, Building and Environment Legislation Amendment Bill process, a periodic, omnibus bill for making minor changes to multiple Acts and regulations within the Directorate portfolio. The section manages the development of regulations and other subordinate legislation as required by the Executive. The section also assists in the review of significant draft instruments on appointments, delegations and other matters.

The section monitors the Directorate’s existing legislation to ensure it remains relevant and contemporary and facilitates the achievement of Government policy objectives.

The role of the section is also to assist in the legislative implementation of government policy; it is not directly involved in policy development. The section does not provide legal advice, but manages the referral of questions of legal interpretation to the ACT Government Solicitor. This service includes the assessment of questions to determine whether legal advice is warranted and the review of questions to ensure that the question is clear and consistent with the standard operating procedure for obtaining legal advice. The section maintains a legal advice register.

During the year the section provided assistance to a range of specific legislative projects consistent with the principles set down by the Scrutiny of Bills and Subordinate Legislation Committee.

Government services

The Government Services Section manages the Directorate’s relationship with the Minister’s office and the ACT Legislative Assembly and coordinates a range of business matters with other ACT Government agencies. It also coordinates the preparation of ministerial correspondence, briefs and government submissions. The Section is also responsible for advising on Cabinet processes and managing the Directorate’s Cabinet program.

The section coordinates support for the Directorate’s internal executive and management committees and forums and provides secretariat support for the Planning and Development Forum and the Industry Monitoring Group.

Strategic finance

The Strategic Finance section is responsible for the Directorate’s financial and budgetary activities. It manages the formal relationship with ACT Shared Services in relation to finance and procurement services, and delivers some activities in partnership with Shared Services.

The section coordinates the Directorate’s interface with the Chief Minister and Treasury Directorate and manages the budget development process annually. It facilitates financial reporting on a periodic basis in accordance with Directorate and legal obligations, including the preparation and finalisation of annual accounts.

In addition to these responsibilities, in 2012-13, the section successfully managed the transition to a new banking provider and provided strategic options on delivering savings.

Strategic human services

Strategic Human Services responsibilities encompass human resources, accommodation facilities and fleets. It manages the formal relationship with ACT Shared Services in terms of human resources and delivers a number of programs in partnership with Shared Services. Work in support of the development and refinement of the Directorate’s senior organisational structure and consequential effects was a priority and continued to be a significant issue throughout the year. Obligations arising from the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 have been the subject of significant focus for the team. The arrangement and delivery of comprehensive training and work involving standard operating procedures and safe work methods have remained a key priority.

The section continued the active management of accommodation changes consequent on the earlier creation of ESDD, in association with the Government Accommodation Strategy Team. These changes were successfully resolved in early 2013 with most elements of ESDD collocated at Dame Pattie Menzies House (DPMH) in Dickson, other than staff at the Customer Service Centre at Mitchell and the Nature Conservation Policy team which remains in facilities leased from CSIRO at Crace.

Further information may be obtained from:

Mr Adrian Walsh
Director, Corporate
Telephone: 02 6207 1914
Email: adrian.walsh@act.gov.au


1Greenhouse gas emissions for electricity have been calculated using the Scope 2 and 3 emissions factors for the ACT provided by the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission and Greenhouse gas emissions for gas have been calculated using National Greenhouse Accounts Factors, July 2012

2 This differs from the 2011-12 Annual Report by including savings from a broader range of energy efficiency improvements such as window treatments and draught sealing; savings from gas as well as electricity consumption; and uses calculations based on the deemed abatement factors used in the ACT Government’s new Energy Efficiency Improvement Scheme (EEIS).

3Greenhouse gas emissions for electricity have been calculated using the Scope 2 and 3 emissions factors for the ACT provided by the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission and Greenhouse gas emissions for gas have been calculated using National Greenhouse Accounts Factors, July 2012

4Greenhouse gas emissions for electricity have been calculated using the Scope 2 and 3 emissions factors for the ACT provided by the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission and Greenhouse gas emissions for gas have been calculated using National Greenhouse Accounts Factors, July 2012

5Greenhouse gas emissions for electricity have been calculated using the Scope 2 and 3 emissions factors for the ACT provided by the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission and Greenhouse gas emissions for gas have been calculated using National Greenhouse Accounts Factors, July 2012

6Based on evaluation of the 2009-10 IrrigationSmart pilot.

7Greenhouse gas emissions for electricity have been calculated using the Scope 2 and 3 emissions factors for the ACT provided by the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission and Greenhouse gas emissions for gas have been calculated using National Greenhouse Accounts Factors, July 2012