Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

State of the environment reporting

New South Wales State of the Environment 2012 (SoE 2012) reports on the status of the main environmental issues facing NSW. The report has been prepared by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and in accordance with the requirements of section 10 of the Protection of the Environment Administration Act 1991 (the Act).

In November 2011, the NSW Government passed legislation to strengthen and reinvigorate the EPA. SoE reports are prepared every three years in accordance with the Act.

SoE 2012 is the first SoE report to be prepared by the EPA since the recent reforms providing valuable time-series information about the environment.

SoE 2012 aims to provide credible, scientifically based, statewide environmental information to assist those involved in environmental policy- and decision-making and managing the state’s natural resources.

NSW SoE reports are prepared following the Pressure - State (or condition) - Response (PSR) framework originally developed by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development for state of the environment reporting. 'Pressure' refers to activities that can affect the environment and are not limited to those that result from human influences. 'State' (or condition) refers to the quality of the environment and the functioning of important environmental processes. 'Responses' are actions or initiatives that have been implemented to address the environmental condition or pressure that is having an impact on an environmental issue.

SoE 2012 is structured differently from previous SoE reports. The first chapter, People and the Environment, considers the key drivers and pressures that can have an impact on the environment. This chapter incorporates sections on Urban Water, Energy, Transport, Waste and Noise that formerly appeared in an SoE chapter called Human Settlement. The remaining chapters of Atmosphere, Land, Water and Biodiversity are thematic and largely unchanged. An exception is that this year’s Biodiversity chapter no longer reports on fisheries resources. This is because the Status of Fisheries Resources in NSW 2008/09 (K. Rowling, A. Hegarty & M. Ives (eds) 2010, NSW Industry & Investment, Cronulla) provides a general overview of the state of marine and estuarine fish populations harvested by commercial and recreational fishers in NSW.

Although SoE 2012 has been prepared by the EPA, much of the material it contains results from extensive input by a wide range of government agencies, other organisations and individual specialists, who provided data, information, analysis and interpretation, and reviewed the assembled content of the report. The EPA relies heavily on receiving this support from contributing agencies.

The specialist input also includes reviews and advice from independent experts as well as members of the SoE Executive Committee from the EPA and NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.

SoE 2012 assesses each environmental indicator’s current status, its trend since SoE 2009, and the availability of information used to make an assessment against the indicator. The status and trend ratings depend on the extent and appropriateness of available information, both qualitative and quantitative, and the information availability rating signifies the level of information used to make the assessment.

Page last updated: 13 May 2013