Ms TIERNEY (Western Victoria) — I rise to make a contribution with respect to the commissioner for environmental sustainability’s report Strategic Audit of Victorian Government Agencies Environmental Management Systems of January 2007. Environmental management systems (EMS) that are reported are in respect of office-based environments. It is a system that has measurements and benchmarks. It is obvious that through the environmental management systems there are clear environmental benefits as well as benefits in terms of cost savings.
The system was an initiative of the Bracks government and was introduced in 2002. I applaud the people who have gone into this system and driven it. That can be highlighted in the report with the description and explanation of the EMS coordinators network and also the EMS inter-agency committee that operates.
It is these people who take on those roles who need to be applauded for their commitment and determination to drive a system that will deliver environmental benefits in office-based environments as well as the obvious cost savings that will be achieved through this process.
The report also highlights that there has been significant progress made across various government departments and agencies, in particular our use of energy and the levels of waste. But it is also a report that tells us where we need to be much more conscious of our efforts and to drive the EMS system much harder, and that is in the area of paper and indeed water, both of which remain significant challenges for government departments and government agencies.
As a result of this report’s highlighting the need for us to be more vigilant about water wastage in government departments and government agencies, the government has responded in a positive way and has resourced that by providing a water watchdog who will work directly with the commissioner. That is a significant and positive step in the right direction.
I also think that with these issues it provides great scope for interdepartmental action and coordination; it is a living, breathing exercise that can encourage a whole-of-government approach in tackling these important issues.
One of the things that I was particularly impressed with was that the EMS now has been expanded into regional Victoria. Indeed all regional offices are now involved in developing their own action plans. They have not only been developed by local people in regional Victoria but they are working hard to deliver.
It is not only a matter of regional employees coming together and having a discussion about these issues, it is about intense workshops where they commit and provide vigilance and tests upon themselves. They have developed where they are reporting on a regular basis not only to central business district central officers here in Melbourne but to each other, and not even to their local supervisors and managers. They have made a commitment to each other to ensure that there are substantial improvements with respect to the use of a vehicle fleet, use of paper, use of water, and indeed use of electricity.
That in some way will be a significant benchmark that we can look forward to see and track through the further reports as they come to hand over the years. We are in very good hands with Dr Ian McPhail, the commissioner for environmental sustainability, because he creates an honest, open and frank way forward — —
The PRESIDENT — Order! The member’s time has expired.