The AEC strives to use natural resources efficiently, manage waste and reduce energy consumption. The AEC provides an annual report on its environmental performance in accordance with s.516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
The AEC's business activities are not directly linked to the principles of environmentally sustainable development (ESD), as they have no impact on matters of national environmental significance as outlined under the EPBC Act. No legislation is administered by the AEC in relation to the EPBC Act.
The AEC's outcomes do not have a relationship with ESD objectives.
The AEC's activities have no impact on matters of national environmental significance.
The AEC's strategies comply with the recommendations of the Australian National Audit Office's Performance Audit Report No. 47 of 1998–99; the Energy Efficiency in Government Operations policy issued by the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities; and the Fleet Monitoring Body guidelines in relation to the use of ethanol.
The AEC minimises the effect of its office operations on the environment by contracting service providers to collect and recycle paper, cardboard, plastics, aluminium and glass from the National Office, and spent toner cartridges from all AEC offices. The AEC's National Electoral Education Centre recently achieved certification in the ACTSmart Business recycling program, and significantly reduced waste sent to landfill, as described in a case study.
The AEC endeavours to use at least partly recyclable products wherever possible: the cardboard products used for polling places are one example. To reduce office paper consumption, all AEC printers have a default setting of double-sided printing.
The AEC promotes the use of E10 petrol in its vehicles. Staff are made aware of this policy through the agency intranet and reminded by signs placed in the vehicles. Throughout the year, 73 per cent of the AEC's business vehicle fleet met or exceeded the recommended Green Vehicle Guide rating of 10.5 or better. The vehicles that did not meet the Green Vehicle Guide target were specific goods-carrying vehicles.
The AEC's energy usage for tenant light and power in 2010–11 was 11 720 megajoules per person. This was above the target of less than 7 500 megajoules per person per annum for tenant light and power set for 2011–12 in the Energy Efficiency in Government Operations policy, and was expected because AEC staff worked extended hours during the 2010 election period.
Environmental impacts are also considered in the design and layout of all new or upgraded accommodation. The AEC is working with the Department of Finance and Deregulation to plan the future of the building that houses the AEC's National Office. The plan will address the capacity of the building to achieve current building and energy efficiency standards. The AEC also works with the its contracted property services provider to identify strategies for reducing energy consumption in the tenancies it holds for use by state and divisional offices.