The fourth Australia State of the Environment has been released, providing an overview of the current condition of the environment and its outlook, and calling for a strong leadership role from the Federal Government.


The report is one of a series of independent assessments produced and presented to Parliament every five years on Australia’s environmental health.


Australia State of the Environment 2011 covers the state of our atmosphere, land, biodiversity, inland waters, coast and marine environment, the Antarctic, heritage and built environment.


It highlights the major drivers of environmental pressures - climate change and a growing economy and population - and calls for improved environmental information systems across jurisdictions, industries and communities.


"The inadequacies of environmental data in Australia are, in part, a symptom of a lack of national coordination. ..... The responsibility for environmental governance is shared among the three levels of government, and with the community and private sector. Furthermore, jurisdictional divisions establish precise spatial boundaries of control, each with their own focus and purposes. Developing and implementing integrated approaches to address common objectives can therefore be challenging because the Australian environment crosses jurisdictional boundaries and its management needs rarely reflect our organisational and administrative structures," the report concludes.


The report called on the Federal Government to play a leadership role, including priority setting, funding and handling of policy on national issues; information gathering and sharing; and coordination of programs, guidelines and standards. It concluded that "The prognosis for the environment at a national level is highly dependent on how seriously the Australian Government takes its leadership role."


Australia State of the Environment 2011 is available online at: