11.3.1 Progress against 2011 recommendations
The 2011 State of the Environment Report1 recommended that three important strategies that were under development at the time be finalised and implemented. The OCSE considered that these would lead to improved and ongoing sustainable approaches to meeting human needs. The key strategies were the ACT Planning Strategy,4 the Sustainable Transport Action Plan (subsequently called Transport for Canberra) and the ACT Waste Management Strategy.6 It was also recommended that the ACT develop adaptable housing strategies to address the needs of a changing population.
The 2011 report also recognised the need for a regional approach to planning and risk management to address future challenges of population growth and climate change.
The three key strategies were completed and are now being implemented:
- ACT Planning Strategy, June 20124
- Master Plans are to be prepared for centres to provide direction for future change and growth, including sustainable design outcomes. Master Plans for the Tuggeranong Town Centre, five group centres, including Weston, and the Pialligo rural village have been completed; and Master Plans for the Weston group centre and Oaks Estate have been endorsed. The EPD is currently working on plans for Tharwa rural village, Kippax, Belconnen, Woden, Mawson, Curtin and Calwell centres.
- The Land Development Agency (LDA) has developed both greenfield and infill developments, and is seeking to increase density in intensification localities such as Constitution Avenue, while also maintaining high-quality public open spaces and delivering water-sensitive urban design infrastructure.
- There is, as yet, no public reporting on implementation of its nine strategies to deliver five outcomes.
- ACT Waste Management Strategy, March 20126
- The ban on single-use shopping bags was implemented in November 2011 and, in 2014, this was reported to be successful in reducing waste to landfill.
- Actsmart and Territory and Municipal Services (TAMS) are providing Canberrans with education and assistance to recycle more through the extensive network of public and private facilities.
- The resource recovery rate has stabilised at around 70–75% since 2005–06. This is short of the target of the ACT Waste Management Strategy for resource recovery of more than 80% by 2015. Meeting this target and making progress towards a carbon-neutral waste sector will be difficult.
- The ACT Government has recently taken steps towards a review of the Waste Minimisation Act 2001 and committed more than $2.8 million in the 2015–16 Budget for a feasibility study to determine how the ACT can facilitate the delivery of expanded resource recovery services and the generation of electricity from waste.
- Transport for Canberra, December 2011. The September 2014 report card results were:
- increase the population living within a 10-minute walk of a rapid public transport corridor – achieved
- efficient and reliable movement of people and goods – achieved
- by 2017, achieve 80% compliance with Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002 for buses and bus stops – on track to be achieved
- annual ACT fatalities below the national average – achieved
- by 2016, increase journey-to-work trips for walking to 6.5%, cycling to 6% and public transport to 10.5% – needs improvement
- by 2020, reduce ACT transport emissions by 138 000 tonnes – on track to be achieved
- increase cycle and walking trips – on track to be achieved.
The September 2015 update will highlight initiatives and progress that the Government has made to reduce ACT transport emissions.
Two other important strategy documents were released:
- ACT Infrastructure Plan 2011–20217
- ACT Affordable Housing Plan.
In addition, two significant regional developments have occurred:
- The ACT and NSW MOU for Regional Collaboration was signed in December 2011. Priority actions include developing a Strategic Regional Direction Statement that highlights opportunities for maximising economic development and sustainable development of the region and identifies a mechanism for delivering collaborative strategic land use and growth-related infrastructure planning across the region. Currently, work is under way to support growth-related development and to improve infrastructure connectivity and transport links between the ACT and NSW, particularly at South Jerrabomberra in Queanbeyan and at West Belconnen.
- The ACT Government became a formal member of the Canberra Region Joint Organisation in May 2012, having previously held observer status.
11.3.1 Justification for the 2015 recommendations
The 2012 ACT Planning Strategy,4 along with other key strategies, forms an excellent framework for guiding sustainable development in the ACT. The other key strategies are AP2,3 the ACT Water Strategy,8 the ACT Waste Management Strategy,6 Transport for Canberra and the ACT Nature Conservation Strategy.9
The OCSE notes that all these strategies have monitoring, reporting and evaluation commitments. The AP2 reporting and evaluation framework provides a good model that has been effectively implemented. This includes regular, published six-monthly implementation status reporting as well as scheduled reviews every three years. The Transport for Canberra report cards are also a useful method of reporting. However, monitoring and reporting on several other strategies remains somewhat inconsistent. There have been some challenges with the reporting and monitoring of the ACT Waste Management Strategy. Public reporting and monitoring on the ACT Planning Strategy has been delayed and is now scheduled for late 2015. The ACT Nature Conservation Strategy stated that monitoring and reporting would occur through the State of the Environment Report; however, it is yet to be determined how the indicators, when developed, will relate to the existing state of the environment indicator set. The OCSE considers that consistent and effective monitoring, reporting and evaluation frameworks for these key strategies should be implemented.
To further guide sustainable development for the ACT, the Government should consider developing integrated monitoring, reporting and evaluation for all these strategies. The benefits of this integration would be to:
- streamline processes across Government
- assist in effective and efficient implementation
- recognise and take advantage of synergies
- avoid duplication and overlap
- provide public accountability
- provide feedback into other government policies and programs.
Integrated reporting would also present an opportunity for ACT Government directorates to agree on a set of sustainability indicators relevant to the ACT, based on currently available datasets that are routinely collected, and that can be implemented within current reporting requirements. This would build on the OCSE’s work with the directorates and the universities on a robust set of ecologically sustainable development indicators that can closely align with indicators against which the directorates routinely collect data. Insights from a series of workshops held by the OCSE in 2014, the findings from commissioned research by Dr Jerry Bates10 and the significant international research on genuine progress indicators will add to this process.
This process could also encompass the need for more integrated sustainability reporting across the Canberra region and could fit well into the cross-jurisdictional work that is now progressing on regional cooperative relationships. The OCSE is currently developing collaborative partnerships across the region to encourage strategic action and regional reporting. There is opportunity to highlight this in the (proposed) regional 2016 State of the Environment Report.
That the ACT Government implements the monitoring, reporting and evaluation commitments in the ACT Planning Strategy and the ACT Waste Management Strategy, and details those for the ACT Nature Conservation Strategy.
That the ACT Government considers integrated monitoring, reporting and evaluation of all the key strategies to guide achievement of improved sustainability outcomes for the ACT, including the ACT Planning Strategy, AP2, Transport for Canberra, the ACT Water Strategy, the ACT Nature Conservation Strategy and the ACT Waste Management Strategy.
Mulligans Flat in floodPhoto: Mark Jekabsons