Ecologically sustainable development (ESD)
As required under s 516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) (EPBC Act), the ALRC is required to report the environmental performance of the organisation and the organisation’s contribution to Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD).
The ALRC has considered whether any of its activities have significant ESD implications in accordance with the ESD Reporting Guidelines (June 2003) and has determined that in 2010–11, none of the ALRC’s activities or appropriations were relevant to ESD.
Environmental management system (EMS)
The ALRC is committed to environmental best practice in office management and general operations. Through a process of continual improvement the ALRC will develop and maintain efficient and effective environmental office practices and will comply with relevant government policy and environmental legislation.
The ALRC’s EMS commits the organisation to minimise its ecological footprint by:
- incorporating environmental management considerations into the ALRC’s core business and management practices;
- considering environmental impacts of all purchases made and ensuring that, wherever possible, options chosen include recyclable products, minimum packaging and minimum toxic chemicals;
- creating a culture where sustainable environmental management is considered an integral element of all ALRC activities and providing information to staff as to the recycling system and to maximising energy efficiency;
- regularly monitoring environmental performance and providing reports to the ALRC Board of Management and to Government, as required; and
- reviewing this Policy to ensure it remains relevant and delivers desired outcomes.
In minimising our environmental impact, the ALRC will consider the following:
- options for travel during the consultation process, using telephone conferencing when appropriate instead of air travel, using public transport when appropriate, and sharing vehicles as far as possible;
- encouraging filing electronically, rather than in hard copy, to reduce the amount of paper used;
- printing double-sided copies for internal documents, whenever possible;
- using paper that is recycled and/or has an environmental sustainability rating;
- encouraging the use of e-payments;
- encouraging online submitting to ALRC inquiries to reduce paper usage and photocopying;
- purchasing ‘fair trade’ consumables, if available;
- ensuring all office lights are switched off overnight;
- ensuring printers, fax machines and computers are turned off on weekends and holidays;
- encouraging all staff to use the building recycling system for waste and mixed recyclables;
- asking ALRC Commissioners and staff, who are eligible for a vehicle as part of their remuneration, to treat fuel efficiency and carbon emissions as significant factors when choosing a vehicle;
- ensuring that the air conditioning is only on during business hours; and
- encouraging staff to use window blinds to regulate the temperature of their offices to reduce the use of the air conditioning system, particularly during summer months.
The ALRC’s Executive Director is the EMS officer, whose role is to ensure ongoing monitoring and continuous improvement of environmental performance. The EMS officer is responsible for developing and implementing the EMS, including the review of the established objectives and targets.
The ALRC monitors energy use and takes steps to reduce consumption where possible. In 2010–11 electricity consumption decreased by 14.07%.
Freedom of information statement
The ALRC follows a policy of openness with the information it holds (set out in the ALRC Access to Reference Material Policy), subject to necessary qualifications where, for example, material is supplied in confidence or its disclosure might breach the privileges of Parliament. A large number of requests for information are satisfied by material provided on the ALRC’s website.
In 2010–11, the ALRC received no applications for information under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) (FOI Act).
From 1 May 2011 agencies subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) (FOI Act) are required to publish an Information Publication Plan as part of the Information Publication Scheme (IPS). This requirement is in Part II of the FOI Act and has replaced the former requirement to publish a statement in an annual report. The ALRC’s Information Publication Plan is published on the ALRC website. The other information required by the FOI Act is set out below.
Section 8 of the FOI Act requires the ALRC to publish certain information in its Annual Report. Information about the ALRC’s organisation, functions, decision-making processes and about public participation in the work of the ALRC is contained in this Annual Report.
The ALRC holds the following categories of documents:
- correspondence and working papers, including formal submissions, notes of meetings and transcripts of public hearings relating to ALRC inquiries and relating to the reform of the law in general;
- databases used by staff for the purposes of communicating with persons and organisations connected with the ALRC and the conduct of its inquiries or general operations; and
- correspondence and working papers relating to the administration of the ALRC, including personnel and financial papers.
The following categories of documents are available from the ALRC website.
- ALRC Reports, including Final Reports and Annual Reports;
- Issues Papers, Discussion Papers and Summary Papers relating to past inquiries; and
- past issues of Reform, the ALRC’s law reform journal (no longer in publication).
The following categories of documents are available upon request (without the need for a formal application under the FOI Act):
- consultation documents relating to current references, including, Issues Papers, Discussion Papers, Summary Documents and Final Reports; and
- submissions to ALRC inquiries that have not been marked confidential by the submitter.
The ALRC has a broad commitment to the inclusion of, and participation by, people with disabilities. The ALRC has a Reasonable Adjustment Policy that allows for people with a disability to compete for vacancies and pursue careers at the ALRC as effectively as people who do not have a disability. Reasonable adjustment is the modification of some feature of the workplace or work situation to fit the individual needs of a person with a disability. The principles of reasonable adjustment are to be applied in relation to all areas of ALRC employment including recruitment and selection, promotion, training, career development, and performance management.
Reasonable adjustment aims to remove physical and organisational barriers which prevent the employment, limit the performance or curtail advancement of people with a disability. Reasonable adjustments might include one or more of the following:
- adjustments to the workplace, equipment or facilities, including provision of additional equipment or facilities;
- adjustments to work related communications or information provision, including the format in which information is available;
- adjustments to work methods;
- provision of interpreters, readers, attendants or other work related assistance;
- job redesign, with re-allocation of some duties not suitable for a person with a disability and inclusion of other duties previously the responsibility of another employee; or
- providing training to co-workers or supervisors.
The ALRC also encourages online engagement with people with disabilities. The new website, launched in August 2010, was designed to comply with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0.