Managing resources and assets
In accordance with section 516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), the AEC implements measures to minimise the effect of its operations on the environment and support sustainable practices.
Measures implemented in 2013–14 included:
- contracting service providers to collect and recycle paper, cardboard, plastics, aluminium and glass from the AEC’s national office and safely remove and dispose of spent toner cartridges from all offices
- using recyclable products wherever possible
- applying double-sided default printer settings to reduce office paper consumption
- promoting the use of 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 to plan the future of the AEC’s national office building – in particular, the building’s capacity to meet energy efficiency standards
- working with contracted property services providers to reduce energy consumption in state and divisional offices.
The AEC selects the AEC business vehicle fleet in accordance with Australian Government fleet policies, supporting Australian manufacturers as the primary consideration. Available models are also assessed on the basis of environmental impact using the Green Vehicle Guide (GVG) as a reference. Currently 75 per cent of vehicles in the AEC fleet meet or exceed a GVG rating of 13, with remaining vehicles being fit-for-purpose commercial vehicles for transporting goods.
The AEC also manages energy usage for tenant light and power to minimise impacts and maximise efficiencies. In 2013–14, light and power energy use across all AEC premises was 4 968.07 megajoules per person.1 Energy use for tenant light and power for the AEC’s national office was 7 434.22 megajoules per person – a reduction from 9 820 megajoules per person in 2012–13.
Minimising the environmental impact of the 2013 federal election
The AEC works to minimise the environmental impacts of election day. Measures implemented for the 2013 federal election included:
- reducing paper consumption by providing providing online forms and products
- wherever possible, using cardboard and paper equipment manufactured from recycled materials for election products
- providing cardboard recycling bins in polling places to encourage recycling of how-to-vote cards and other paper products
- re-using 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.
The AEC uses the Department of the Environment Sustainable procurement guide and checklists, and takes into account relevant energy and environmental issues when making government procurement decisions.
During 2013–14, all AEC approaches to the open market for services complied with the Sustainable procurement guide and checklists. The procurements were for:
- building maintenance services
- printing and distribution of certified lists.
ACTSmart business accreditation
The National Electoral Education Centre (NEEC) participates in the ACTSmart Business Programme, and was awarded its fourth ACTSmart accreditation in December. The aim of the programme is to reduce waste sent to landfill. The NEEC has extended its paper recycling efforts to include other materials such as plastic bottles.
Since joining the programme in 2010, the NEEC has reduced yearly waste to landfill by 83 per cent – from 17.5 to 2.9 cubic metres per annum – while maintaining annual visitor numbers of 90 000.
- This is below the target of 7 500 megajoules per person per annum for tenant light and power set by the former Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency in its Energy Efficiency in Government Operations policy.