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Appendix 9 - Environmental performance and ecologically sustainable development

Paragraph/Item

Requirement

Activity/Contribution

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516A(6)(a)
How the activities of the organisation accord with the principles of Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD)

The Museum has in place an Environmental Management System (EMS) that meets or exceeds the requirements of ISO14001 to assist all staff to undertake their work in a manner that minimises the risk to the environment.

A key element of the EMS is the Environmental Management Policy, which highlights the Museum's commitment to operate within the principles of ESD wherever possible.

The promotion of ecologically sustainable development is woven through the content of the Museum's permanent and temporary exhibitions, as well as its programs designed for students, its public programs, and its administrative and decision-making processes.

Examples include the Old New Land gallery, which emphasises the interrelationship between humans and the environment, particularly in 'Australians Living Inland', which explores the relationship of three communities, Kalgoorlie, Wagga Wagga and Alice Springs, to their environment and water sustainability.

The Museum continues to contribute both funding and expertise, wherever possible, to the protection and improvement of the Canberra environment via its partnerships with The Australian National University, Australian National Botanic Gardens, CSIRO Black Mountain, Environment ACT, Lower Sullivans Creek Catchment Group and the National Capital Authority.

An example of this is the Museum's ongoing contribution of resources to the Lower Sullivans Creek Catchment ecological survey, a nationally significant project that aims to develop a biodiversity management plan for the Lower Sullivans Creek Catchment area.

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516A(6)(b)
How the administration of legislation by the organisation accorded with the principles of ESD

The Museum's functions, as set out in the National Museum of Australia Act 1980 , continue to remain consistent with the spirit of ESD principles. These include programs that 'improve the total quality of life, both now and in the future, in a way that maintains the ecological processes on which life depends'.

Fundamentally, the Museum's functions are to:

  • develop and maintain a national collection of historical material
  • exhibit historical material from the National Historical Collection or historical material that is otherwise in the possession of the Museum
  • exhibit material that relates to Australia's past, present and future
  • conduct research relating to Australian history
  • disseminate information relating to Australian history.

Also, see (a) above.

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516A(6)(c)
How the outcomes specified for the organisation in an Appropriations Act contribute to ESD The outcome specified for the National Museum in the government's 2006–07 PBS is that:

'Australians have access to the National Museum's collections and public programs to encourage awareness and understanding of Australia's history and culture.'

While not directly contributing to ESD, an increased awareness and understanding of Australia's history and culture by the public is still relevant to ESD principles.
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516A(6)(d)
The effect of the organisation's activities on the environment

The Museum's activities have the potential to affect the environment through consumption of energy, waste production, and the impact on local waterways, flora and fauna.

See (e) below.

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516A(6)(e)
The measures (if any) taken by the organisation to minimise this impact Various strategies have been put in place to reduce the Museum's environmental impact.

These strategies, along with relevant targets and objectives, have been developed as part the Museum's EMS.

These include the reduction of energy consumption, increase in waste recycling, decrease in water use, and the use of environmentally friendly cleaning chemicals. The EMS includes procedures aimed at assisting all staff and volunteers to minimise the impact to the environment from their work. These have also been incorporated, where relevant, into the Museum's Contractor Site Book to make contractors aware of their requirements in relation to environmental management.

The Museum has joined Greenfleet, a not-for-profit organisation that plants trees in nearby forests to offset carbon emissions from our vehicle fleet.

The greenMuseum group was formed during the year. This group aims to raise staff awareness of environmental issues to enable them to play a part in reducing the Museum's impact on the environment.

Reduction of energy consumption: The Museum's energy monitoring system allows independent monitoring of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system to enable accurate tracking of energy usage across the Acton site. Ongoing monitoring will provide quantifiable historical data that will assist in the revision of system operation and in the development of energy management strategies.

The Museum is purchasing 8 per cent of its electricity from renewable energy sources.

A review was commenced of chiller operations to ensure they match building load and demand.

There is an ongoing program to change lighting in the exhibition and administration areas, by replacing 50 watt dichroic lighting with 35 watt lighting that provides a broader light output at a reduced lux level.

Lighting products are continually reviewed to seek more efficient alternatives. The Museum's energy monitoring system allows tracking of changes in energy usage.

Photoelectric cells were installed on all external lights to reduce their use.

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516A(6)(e)

(continued)

The measures (if any) taken by the organisation to minimise this impact Recycling: The Museum continues to recycle paper, cardboard, toner cartridges and glass/plastic bottles in the administration areas.

Recycling bins were designed, fabricated and installed in the Hall. They will be provided in outdoor areas during 2007–08.

Water use: The Museum is currently investigating the use of waterless and hybrid urinals.

Watering was reduced in all outdoor areas.

Environmentally friendly cleaning chemicals: All cleaning chemicals used by the Museum's cleaning contractors meet the specifications set out in AS/ANZ ISO 14001:1996 'Environmental Management Systems — Specification with guidance for use' and AS/ANZ ISO 14004:1996 'Environmental Management Systems — General guidelines of principles, systems, and supporting techniques'.

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516A(6)(f)
The mechanisms (if any) for reviewing and increasing the effectiveness of those measures The Museum's EMS incorporates guidelines for all Museum activities to reduce their impact on the environment. It also promotes the management of energy, waste and water at the Acton and Mitchell sites. A mechanism to monitor and review performance is an integral part of this system. An extensive review of the targets and objectives was carried out during the year to ensure that the EMS remains relevant to Museum operations and continues to meet changing government requirements.