In 2012–13, the AEC used natural resources efficiently, managed waste and reduced energy consumption. Highlights include:
- a total 75 per centa of the AEC business vehicle fleet met or exceeded the recommended Green Vehicle Guide rating of 10.5 or better
- energy usage for tenant light and power was 9820 mega joules per person, a 14.5 per cent decrease on the previous yearb.
In the lead up to the federal election, planning to reduce the environmental impact of election day includes:
- providing cardboard recycling bins in polling places to encourage recycling of such things as how-to-vote cards
- using cardboard and paper equipment manufactured from recycled materials, where possible, for election materials
- encouraging re-use of cardboard polling equipment by providing it to schools or community groups for educational purposes
- manufacturing unbranded AEC polling equipment to encourage re-use by other electoral bodies and community groups
- recycling unwanted polling equipment where possible.
In accordance with s.516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) the AEC reports on environmental performance and measures to minimise the effect on the environment including:
- recommendations of the Australian National Audit Office’s Performance Audit Report No. 47 of 1998–99
- Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities’ Energy Efficiency in Government Operations policy
- Fleet Monitoring Body guidelines for use of ethanol.
The AEC does not report on environmentally sustainable development, as the AEC’s business activities and environmental outcomes do not have a relationship with the principles and objectives of environmentally sustainable development. Additionally, activities do not have an impact on matters of national environmental significance, and the AEC does not administer legislation in relation to the EPBC Act.
Measures to minimise the effect of AEC office operations on the environment are:
- contracting service providers to collect and recycle paper, cardboard, plastics, aluminium and glass from national office, and remove spent toner cartridges from all offices
- using partly recyclable products wherever possible
- applying double-sided default printer settings to reduce office paper consumption
- promoting E10 petrol for AEC vehicles
- considering environmental impacts in the design and layout of new and upgraded accommodation
- continuing to work with the Department of Finance and Deregulation to plan the future of the AEC’s national office building, in particular the buildings capacity to meet energy efficiency standards
- working with contracted property services providers to reduce energy consumption in state and divisional offices.
The National Electoral Education Centre participates in the ACTSmart Business Program, and won its third ACTSmart Business trophy in February. The aim is to reduce waste sent to landfill, and builds on the NEEC’s paper recycling to cover other materials such as plastic bottles.
Since joining in 2010, the NEEC has reduced yearly waste to landfill by 83 per cent from 17.5 m3 per annum to 2.9 m3, while maintaining annual visitor numbers of 90 000.