Appendix 1: Ecologically Sustainable Development

The Department of Employment is committed to ecologically sustainable development and reports on its activities under section 516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

The major focus for 2016–17 was completing adjustments of the Department’s property portfolio to minimise cost and wasted energy. National headquarters tenancies have now been settled in 10, 12 and 14 Mort Street and 140–180 City Walk, Canberra, and occupation rates above 80 per cent achieved throughout. Tenancies in state capitals and regional cities continue to be reviewed as leases near expiration to achieve the most cost and energy efficient arrangements available. In some cases, this will mean moving to a hosted arrangement with other Commonwealth entities.

Work on upgrades of the lighting and lighting control systems at 14 Mort Street has begun and will be completed in 2017–18.

Environmental performance

Environmental management in the Department is focused on reducing negative impacts from energy consumption, waste, water consumption, vehicle fleet, air travel and paper consumption. In line with government policy, the Department is also examining the environmental impacts and opportunities of its procurement policies and practices. The Department’s progress is summarised in Tables 23 to 26.

Office and building energy use

The Department monitors and works to improve its performance in energy and resource efficiency. Although energy intensity has increased per person (1.29 per cent) and more so per square metre of occupied space (11.72 per cent), greater use of green power has reduced the impact of these changes on actual greenhouse gas emissions to an increase of only 0.33 per cent. Energy intensity per person and per square meter will improve with the upgrades at 14 Mort Street, as noted.

Table 23. Office and building energy use, 2016–17
Indicator 2015‑16 2016‑17 % change
Office tenant light and power energy use per full-time equivalent (MJ/FTE) 7,894.95 7,997.93 +1.29
Office tenant light and power energy use per square metre (MJ/m2) 291.96 326.17 +11.72
Greenhouse emissions attributed to office tenant light and power energy use (tonnes/CO2-e) 3,129.09 3,139.27 +0.33
Green power purchased, as a percentage of total electricity consumption 7.94% 8.57% +7.93

CO2-e = carbon dioxide equivalent; kWh = kilowatt hour; MJ = megajoule.

Information and communications technology

The efficient deployment of information and communication technology equipment to staff numbers and the ratio of printers to desktop computers both improved by more than 16 per cent in 2016–17.

Table 24. ICT sustainability, 2016–17
Indicator 2015‑16 2016‑17 % change
Desktop computers to printer ratio 18:1 15:1 –16.67
Desktop devices per end user 1.88 1.57 –16.49

Vehicle fleet and air travel

The size of the Department’s vehicle fleet has increased by 27.27 per cent since 2015–16, following machinery of government changes which transferred most of the Shared Services Centre, previously shared with the Department of Education and Training, to Employment. The Department continues to provide a range of ICT and property services to the Department of Education and Training and the vehicle fleet is involved in many of these services.

The average Green Vehicle rating of the fleet remains high at 13.4. Overall fuel efficiency in practice has improved and therefore direct greenhouse emissions from fleet operations have risen less than the size of the fleet.

While total flight numbers were higher than in 2015–16, total distance travelled was slightly lower.

Table 25. Vehicle fleet and air travel, 2016–17
Indicator 2015‑16 2016‑17 % change
Total number of fleet vehicles 33 42 +27.27
Average Green Vehicle rating of fleet 13.6 13.4 –0.2
Average fuel consumption of vehicle fleet (litres/100 km) 8.78 8.28 –5.69
Total direct greenhouse emissions of fleet (tonnes/CO2-e) 39.94 43.68 +9.36
Total number of flights 6,581 7,281 +10.64
Total distance of flights (km) 7,517,270 7,289,278 –3.03

Resource efficiency and waste

Total paper use was reduced by 12.59 per cent in 2016–17 to 7.08 reams per person.

During the year, 49.69 per cent of paper purchased was 100 per cent post-consumer recycled stock. A further 35.93 per cent had significant recycled content and 0.80 per cent was either carbon neutral or had other environmental credentials, such as Forest Stewardship Council certification, leaving only 13.58 per cent coming from virgin stock without environmental standards.

The waste management system in Canberra achieved very good results. In 2016–17, 14.40 tonnes of organic material was diverted from landfill to vermiculture—reducing emissions and producing beneficial worm castings and compost. This is a significant improvement on the 9.98 tonnes recorded in 2015–16.

Table 26. Resource efficiency and waste, 2016–17
Indicator 2015‑16 2016‑17 % change
Office paper purchased by full-time equivalent (A4 reams/FTE) 8.10 7.08 –12.59
Percentage of paper purchased with recycled content 84.98% 85.62% +0.64
Office paper recycled (kilograms per FTE)a 82.61 83.51 +1.09
Total landfill waste produced (kilograms per FTE)a 16.73 18.99 +13.51
Total commingled recycling (kilograms) per FTEa 10.53 11.90 +11.51
Total organic recycling (kilograms) per FTEa 6.67 7.44 +11.54

Waste and recycling data available for the ACT only.

Looking ahead

The lighting upgrade at 14 Mort Street has now commenced and will be completed in 2017–18. This initiative will replace inefficient T8 fluorescent tube lighting with LED panels, which will require 50 per cent less energy to produce the same lighting effectiveness and also eliminate significant expense and waste resulting from the ongoing need to replace fluorescent tubes every few years.