Throughout 2011–12, we strove to use natural resources efficiently, manage waste and reduce energy consumption.

We report on our environmental performance in AEC annual reports in accordance with s.516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

Ecologically sustainable development

Our business activities and environmental outcomes do not have a relationship with the principles and objectives of environmentally sustainable development; nor do we have an impact on matters of national environmental significance. We do not administer legislation in relation to the EPBC Act.

Measures to minimise the effect of activities on the environment

Our strategies comply with:

  • the recommendations of the Australian National Audit Office’s Performance Audit Report No. 47 of 1998–99,
  • the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities’ Energy Efficiency in Government Operations policy, and
  • the Fleet Monitoring Body guidelines in relation to the use of ethanol.

We minimised the effect of our office operations on the environment by contracting service providers to collect and recycle paper, cardboard, plastics, aluminium and glass from our National Office, and removed spent toner cartridges from all offices.

In 2011, our National Electoral Education Centre joined the ACTSmart Business accreditation program. This is an ACT Government program designed to assist private and public sector businesses to reduce the amount of waste they send to landfill. The program includes a step-by-step guide, templates, assistance with training, promotional materials and other resources. It builds on the centre’s existing paper recycling practices to cover other materials, such as the many plastic bottles that students bring to education sessions. The statistics are as follows:

  • the centre was found to generate 21.79 cubic metres of waste per annum, and of this waste, only 13.4 per cent now goes to landfill,
  • 57.3 per cent is paper, which is reused, recycled or sent for secure destruction,
  • 28.6 per cent of waste is recycled mixed, non-paper material, and
  • 0.7 per cent is organic matter that is used for composting.

As a point of comparison, before the centre received its ACTSmart Business accreditation, 58.3 per cent of all waste went to landfill (over 17 cubic metres per annum).

We continued to use partly recyclable products wherever possible – for example, cardboard products at polling places in an election. To reduce office paper consumption, all our printers have a default setting of double-sided printing.

We promoted the use of E10 petrol in our vehicles. Staff were made aware of this policy through the AEC intranet and reminded by signs placed in vehicles. Throughout the year, 79 per cent of our 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.

Our energy usage for tenant light and power in 2011–12 was 11 242 megajoules per person, which represented a four per cent decrease compared to the previous year. However, it remains above the target of 7 500 megajoules per person per annum for tenant light and power, set for 2011–12 by the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency in its Energy Efficiency in Government Operations policy.

We considered environmental impacts in the design and layout of all our new or upgraded accommodation. We continued to work with the Department of Finance and Deregulation to plan the future of the AEC’s National Office. The plan addresses the capacity of the building to achieve current building and energy efficiency standards. We also worked with our contracted property services provider to identify strategies for reducing energy consumption in state and divisional offices.