Environmental Planning

Environmental planning and assessment is undertaken by Defence throughout the exercise planning cycle for TS21, ensuring potential risks to the environment are identified early and appropriate measures put in place to avoid or minimise impacts. Key components to the TS21 environmental planning process include:

  • Preparation of baseline environmental surveys for locations where Defence does not regularly train and locations that are not-Defence owned [these are termed non-Defence Training Areas (NDTA)].
  • Preparation of an Environment Report (ER). View the ER Report Summary. 
  • Preparation of environmental management tools. A suite of documentation will be produced that informs:
    • exercise planners of key sensitivities to avoid in each location TS21 will occur; and
    • exercise participants of their requirements in meeting legislative obligations under state and Commonwealth legislation.
  • Conduct of the exercise in accordance with the 'Australia-United States Joint Statement of Environmental and Heritage Principles for Combined Activities' signed in November 2005. View the 'Joint Statement' (PDF, 0.4MB)
  • Preparation of a “Post Exercise Environmental Report” following conclusion of the exercise.

What environmental legislation is Defence subject to?

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) came into effect in 2000. It has strict compliance provisions which have implications for Defence. The EPBC Act requires all Commonwealth agencies, including Defence, to manage their activities in ways that do not significantly impact the environment, regardless of operational location in the world.

Defence also aims to comply with state, territory and local government environmental legislation and requirements to the extent these do not conflict with Commonwealth legislative obligations.

There are a substantial number of additional pieces of Commonwealth legislation to which Defence is bound, particularly in relation to maritime activities. These will be considered as appropriate by the exercise environmental planners.

What is the environmental footprint of a typical Talisman Sabre exercise?

A comprehensive framework of environmental control measures are implemented by the exercise, ensuring environmental impacts are minimised to achieve the training outcome.

Since commencing the Talisman Sabre series of exercises in 2005, impacts have typically been associated with vehicle movement on land (e.g. vehicle rutting on tracks, dust), maritime traffic and low-altitude aircraft noise. Any physical impacts are remediated by engineers and contractors, whilst matters like noise or light are addressed more immediately.

The potential for environmental impacts is continuously monitored through the exercise planning cycle and is achieved by maintaining a risk register specific to TS21. The risk register captures lessons learned from not only previous Talisman Sabre exercises but also other major exercises conducted by Defence and is applied to the planning for TS21 to ensure the exercise minimises its environmental impacts in all areas where it operates.

Comments and queries on the environmental planning for the exercise can be addressed to hqjoc.exenvmgt@defence.gov.au