Every 5 years, the Australian Government commissions an independent review of the state of the environment.
This is called the State Of The Environment Report. The current report was generated in 2016 and another will be released in 2021.
The purpose of national state of the environment reporting is to provide all Australians with authoritative information on the state of the environment that sustains our economy and wellbeing as well as provide the Australian public, the Australian Government and other decision-makers responsible for managing our environment with an assessment of how effectively the Australian environment is being managed and what the key national environmental issues are.
The below points are taken from the Headline Summary section of the report..
- Climate change is an increasingly important and pervasive pressure on all aspects of the Australian environment. It is altering the structure and function of natural ecosystems, and affecting heritage, economic activity and human wellbeing. Evidence shows that the impacts of climate change are increasing, and some of these impacts may be irreversible.
- Australian’s rainfall has been variable during the past 100 years, particularly the past 40 years, with declining long-term rainfall observed across much of southern Australia
- A legacy of extensive land clearing and the current clearing policies in some jurisdictions continue to cause loss of biodiversity (including the loss and fragmentation of native vegetation). These factors also impact on soils, waterways and coastal regions
- A new and emerging pressure in the coastal and marine zones is the increasing amount of human litter, which affects coastal and marine ecosystems and food webs. Approximately three-quarters of the debris found along the Australian coast is plastic.
- Effective management of the Australian environment in the future also requires efficient, collaborative and complementary planning and decision-making processes, with clear lines of accountability; improved support for decision-making; a more strategic focus on planning for a sustainable future; and new, reliable sources of funding
- Despite continued improvement, a number of key constraints on management effectiveness in Australia remain, including a lack of an overarching national policy that establishes a clear vision for the protection and sustainable management of Australia’s environment to the year 2050.
All text has been taken from the ‘Australia. State Of The Environment Report. 2016