This report is the second document of its kind prepared by the Hobart City Council (HCC), to reflect on the state of the environment in the City of Hobart. The first was the State of the Environment Report (SoE Report) 1998.
SoE reporting is a process that provides an indication of the status of, and trends in, environmental and other relevant conditions resulting from either natural variability or human-induced (anthropogenic) pressures.
This report is not a mandatory requirement for Tasmanian councils, as it is for the State and Australian Governments. Notwithstanding this, the HCC has prepared the report to contribute to a better understanding of environmental conditions.
Throughout Australia, organisations are using a variety of frameworks to monitor environmental change and track their progress towards ecologically sustainable outcomes and goals. SoE reporting provides one such framework. The themes used in this report are similar to ones used in the past, i.e. Atmosphere, Biodiversity, Land, Inland Waters and Wetlands, Coastal, Estuarine and Marine.
These reflect past Australian and Tasmanian SoE Reports (but not the recently published State of the Environment Tasmania 2009].
This report does not follow the structure or themes of the Council’s 1998 report or structure. For example, there is no part devoted to “Context” that included the “Social Environment” in 1998, and there is no chapter on the “Built Environment”.
The changes since 1998 in the Council’s own corporate structure and functions (such as its activities in the sphere of community development)
Council’s greater range of communication and consultation mechanisms including an expanded annual report, a very active web site and the quarterly “Capital City News”
The availability and cost of gathering data
Water and Sewage reform
This may be the last of such a formal report given the underlying questions as to the need for a municipal area base SoE Report (given the one produced for the State) and the recognition of the greater complexity of both governance and the assessment of performance.
In addition there will be indicators that may be added or deleted over time in response to changed understanding and awareness.
In this context and having regard to some of the intrinsic issues involved in the preparation of a State of the Environment Report, a review of environmental data collection is recommended as part of the report (see 1.4 Future Direction of State of the Environment Reporting).
Council welcomes feedback on this issue and the document itself.