Environment and heritage management

Defence is committed to the environment and acknowledges its important role in Defence activities and the long-term sustainability of Defence capability.

The Defence Environmental Strategy 2016-2036 outlines Defence's strategic aims and actions related to sustainable environmental management. The Defence Estate Heritage Strategy 2017 outlines Defence's objectives and responsibility for the management of heritage within the estate.

Additionally, the following activities are being implemented via the management and improvement of the Defence estate, to improve environmental outcomes.

Heritage management

Defence maintains a register of all owned or controlled places that are included in the Australian Heritage Database. All places in the register, plus additional locations on the Defence estate assessed as having heritage value, have heritage management plans in place to provide recommendations and standards for managing heritage values.

Defence recognises Indigenous people as the primary source of information on the significance of their heritage.

Domestic biosecurity

Defence operations can provide unusual pathways for transfer of biosecurity risks. Defence's border protection measures strive to prevent the establishment of new pests, weeds and pathogens on Defence properties, and to minimise the risks associated with those already present.

Native species and ecological communities

The Defence estate contains nationally and internationally significant biodiversity including rare and endangered species, wetlands and other ecological communities.

Defence protects and improves native vegetation, habitat and the survival prospects of native species through minimising access to sensitive areas, as well as active management of threats such as pests, weeds, pathogens and bushfire.

Soil management

Defence conserves soils to support current and future land uses and minimise impacts to the environment.

Through management and monitoring of key issues such as acid sulphate soils, compaction, erosion, mass movement and salinity, Defence is able to facilitate the sustainable use of the estate and minimise environmental harm.

Bushfire management

Bushfires on the Defence estate have the potential to adversely impact people, assets, capability and the environment. Bushfire management planning is integral to Defence’s approach for managing bushfire risk and is required for all locations that contain bushfire prone areas.

Defence's bushfire management objectives are to protect human life, protect property and assets, support ADF training, and promote environmentally sustainable management of bushfire.

Pollution prevention

Defence undertakes a wide range of activities which require the use of potentially polluting and hazardous materials. Effective management of pollution and its sources enable's Defence to improve health and safety, environmental quality and reputation.

Defence will take into consideration the whole-of-life pollution risks of materials, and seek to procure more environmentally friendly products. Defence also seeks to minimise potentially polluting activities and handle, store and dispose of substances appropriately.

Site contamination management

Defence investigates, remediates and manages the risks to the environment and human health from any legacy contamination sites. Defence accounts for the cost of contamination remediation as liabilities in the Defence financial statements.

Management activities are planned and implemented via consultation with the community. All investigations and findings are disclosed to the public.

Water management

Defence's water management policy is to improve the efficiency of existing assets and equipment, provide efficient new infrastructure and equipment, use resources from renewable and alternative sources and drive water-saving behaviour.

Energy management

Defence’s energy requirements are significant and come with a responsibility to manage, procure and use energy so that it delivers value for money and lessens impacts on the environment.

Defence drives efficiency in energy management in order to maintain capability, reduce costs and increase energy security. The transition to cleaner and more sustainable energy sources adds security and resilience to the Defence estate.

Waste and recycled material

Defence has developed a waste and sustainable procurement approach to support the Government’s National Waste Policy.

The approach aims to avoid the generation of waste, improve resource recovery, increase the use of recycled material and build demand for recycled products, support industry innovation, evidence based change and continuous improvement to implement waste and sustainable material management policy objectives.

Climate adaptation and mitigation

Defence will ensure that its estate planning accounts for climate and natural disaster risks. Military operations must be able to continue effectively in projected extremes of environmental conditions within Australia and the region.

Defence will progressively lower its greenhouse gas emissions in ways that maintain or enhance operations capability and resilience.

Impact assessment and approval

Defence uses a comprehensive environmental impact assessment process to understand and manage the impacts of its activities and projects on environment and heritage values. The specific requirements of the process for each activity or project varies depending upon the degree of predicted, actual and perceived environmental risk.

Incident reporting

Effective incident management is required to successfully determine the need for corrective actions, identify trends and improve environmental performance in order to support long term sustainability.