Our natural environment makes human life possible, and our cultural environment helps define who we are. It is therefore essential that our population and economic growth are environmentally sustainable. The most positive outlook for our environment is one in which we get the balance right between:

  • continuing to support and implement effective policies, programs and resources (e.g. community engagement and volunteering programs, IMOS, Australia’s Biodiversity Conservation Strategy 2010–2030, the Great Barrier Reef Science Strategy, the Reef 2050 Sustainability Plan, NESP, the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network, the Australian Heritage Strategy, the National Reserve System, the National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas, Indigenous Protected Area programs)
  • further developing, testing and, as appropriate, implementing innovative approaches and initiatives that are currently being developed (e.g. policies, technologies and management that are decoupling the economy from environmental harm, environmental–economic accounting and valuation, initiatives to reduce plastic pollution in coastal and marine environments, initiatives to reduce air pollutants in urban areas)
  • developing and implementing new policies, processes, programs and tools in the medium to longer term, including the further integration of policies and management approaches across jurisdictions and sectors (e.g. green or blue economy approaches, development of a sophisticated impact investment market, regulatory reform to provide for rapid response to new incursions of potentially harmful invasive species and disease).
Jackson WJ, Argent RM, Bax NJ, Bui E, Clark GF, Coleman S, Cresswell ID, Emmerson KM, Evans K, Hibberd MF, Johnston EL, Keywood MD, Klekociuk A, Mackay R, Metcalfe D, Murphy H, Rankin A, Smith DC, Wienecke B (2016). Overview: Conclusion. In: Australia state of the environment 2016, Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy, Canberra,, DOI 10.4226/94/58b65510c633b