Ecologically sustainable development
Under subsection 516A(3) of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, CASA must report on its actions and operations during the financial year in accordance with subsection 516A(6) of that Act.
Under subsection 9A(1) of the Civil Aviation Act, CASA must regard the safety of air navigation as the most important consideration when exercising its powers and performing its functions. However, subject to this overriding safety obligation, CASA is also required by subsection 9A(2) to exercise its powers and perform its functions in a manner that ensures, as far as is practicable, that the environment is protected from:
- effects of the operation and use of aircraft
- effects associated with the operation and use of aircraft.
CASA has regard to section 9A in regulatory standards development and other activities. CASA activities accorded with the principles of ecologically sustainable development. For example, CASA has sole responsibility under the Airspace Act 2007 for the declaration, designation and classification of all Australian-administered airspace. The object of the Airspace Act is to ensure that Australian administered airspace is administered and used safely, taking into account:
- efficient use of airspace
- equitable access to that airspace for all users
- national security
- the protection of the environment—meaning, as far as practicable, that airspace should be administered in a manner that contributes to the protection of the environment, including the reduction of noise, gaseous emissions and other environmental issues.
Accordingly, in relation to any airspace change proposal, CASA assesses the environmental impact of the change, including whether the change will have a significant impact on the environment. If it will have a significant impact, CASA will consider the application of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
Section 160 of this Act provides that if CASA adopts or implements a plan for aviation airspace management involving aircraft operations that will have or are likely to have a significant impact on the environment, CASA must obtain and consider advice from the Minister. It was not required to do this in the 2009-10 financial year.
CASA has developed an environmental management system (EMS) consistent with Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS ISO 14001:2004. The EMS is a tool designed to improve CASA’s environmental performance and reduce the environmental impact of CASA’s operations.
CASA’s environmental policy is a key element of the EMS. The policy formalises CASA’s commitment to environmental protection and provides a framework for achieving continuous improvement in environmental performance.
During 2009-10, CASA reviewed both its environmental policy and the EMS. The policy was adjusted to more clearly identify key strategies for improving CASA’s environmental performance. In addition, the new policy more clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of all CASA staff in relation to environmental management. The revised EMS sets out a list of key actions for 2009-10, including establishing benchmarks, setting new targets and creating of environmental management committees in key CASA offices.
Measures taken to minimise the impact of activities on the environment
CASA is committed to achieving best practice environmental standards in office management and general operations. CASA has drafted an energy management plan covering all its operations, which sets targets consistent with the Australian Government’s Energy Efficiency in government operations policy. The key target is to reduce energy consumption on tenant light and power to 7,500 megajoules per person per annum and 400 megajoules per square metre per annum for central building services. During 2009-10, CASA worked with the lessors of its Canberra and Brisbane offices to develop site-specific energy management plans in line with Green Lease Schedule requirements for government agencies as set out by the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts and the Australian Government Solicitor.
In 2009-10, CASA achieved a 4.5 star National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) rating on its tenancy at Aviation House in Woden, ACT.
CASA continued to improve its waste management practices, and its Aviation House tenancy achieved certification to the ACT Government’s Accredited Recycling Program. A waste audit of CASA’s Brisbane headquarters revealed that the waste management system in use was diverting 93 per cent of waste to recycling instead of landfill. CASA hopes to roll out similar programs to its regional offices in 2010-11.
During 2009-10, CASA reviewed its motor vehicle manual to provide an emphasis on the selection of smaller fuel-efficient and hybrid motor vehicles. CASA took delivery of its first hybrid vehicle in June 2010.
In 2009-10, CASA was not involved in any actions likely to have a significant impact on matters of national environmental significance on Commonwealth land.