The Commissioner is an independent statutory position established by the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment Act 1993. The Commissioner undertakes the following functions and activities:
- Investigating complaints about the management of the environment by the Territory or a territory authority; and issues relating to ecologically sustainable development in the ACT;
- Conduct investigations as directed by the Minister;
- Conduct on the Commissioner’s own initiative, investigations into actions of an agency where those actions would have a substantial impact on the environment of the ACT; and
- Deliver state of the environment reports (SoER).
State of the environment reporting has been one of the main roles of the Commissioner. SoERs have been prepared every four years since 1993.
The Commissioner must take in to account the objects of the Act, these are to:
- ensure regular and consistent reporting on matters relating to the condition and management of the environment in the Territory; and
- ensure regular reporting on progress towards ecologically sustainable development by the Territory and Territory authorities; and
- encourage decision making that facilitates ecologically sustainable development; and
- enhance knowledge and understanding of issues relating to ecologically sustainable development and the environment; and
- encourage sound environmental practices and procedures to be adopted by the Territory and Territory authorities as a basis for ecologically sustainable development.
Who supports the Commissioner?
Alongside our full time Commissioner, there is a small team of professional and dedicated staff (employed by the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate).