Environment

Australia is a country rich in natural resources, with unique ecosystems and heritage sites. Managing our environmental assets well is important to sustainability.

Governments have an important role in protecting and preserving our heritage; promoting innovations in environmental science, research and learning; and encouraging individuals, communities and industry to use resources more efficiently. Governments consult with communities to understand the impact of changes in land use on local amenity and cultural heritage. They also establish environmental safeguards. Agencies administer and enforce a system of permits and licences to manage waste, pollution, and hunting and fishing.

Strategies to improve energy efficiency are an important component of current environmental policies. This requires working across government and with households and businesses to encourage behaviour change through education, material and financial incentives. Grants to non-government organisations can support action on environmental issues. There are also recycling schemes at household and industry levels.

 


Project examples

Click on any of the following projects for more information.

NSW Local Government Climate Change adaptation survey

(Office of Environment and Heritage, 2015)

NSW Local Government Climate Change adaptation survey

(Office of Environment and Heritage, 2015)

In May 2015, the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) in collaboration with Local Government NSW (LGNSW) contracted ARTD Consultants to design and implement an online survey of NSW Local Government, building on two previous surveys. The survey focused on councils’ needs in relation to climate adaptation and opportunities to assist them with minimising the impacts of climate change on NSW communities.

The online survey was implemented in June 2015, collecting 186 responses, which covered 74 per cent of all NSW councils. Compared to previous surveys, the 2015 survey achieved a significantly higher number of responses, ensuring a good response rate from a broad range of councils, across all State Planning Regions.

Results from the survey will help OEH and LGNSW refine the support and resources provided to councils about climate adaptation. The final report will get published on their website

Essential Environmental Measures for Australia programme

(Department of the Environment, 2015)

Essential Environmental Measures for Australia programme

(Department of the Environment, 2015)

This national program is using a partnership approach to develop agreed national performance indicators for environmental measures, including specifications and a plan to collect these and report regularly. ARTD prepared an evaluation and monitoring plan for the program, working with the internal team and other stakeholders in the Department to conceptualise the program theory of change and develop the evaluation plan. The iterative process involved firstly scoping interviews, reviewing documents and developing a program logic. Next we facilitated a workshop with the program team to refine the program logic and came to a shared understanding of the program and evaluation needs. A second workshop refined the final evaluation strategy, which is being used by the Department to guide evaluation and monitoring activities.

Australian Packaging Covenant monitoring and reporting

(Australian Packaging Covenant, 2011-16)

Australian Packaging Covenant monitoring and reporting

(Australian Packaging Covenant, 2011-16)

The Australian Packaging Covenant is the voluntary component of a co-regulatory model designed to reduce the environmental effects of consumer packaging, encourage improved design, increase recycling, and promote better stewardship of packaging. All signatories are required to report annually on progress towards Covenant targets. In 2011, ARTD was engaged to design a data collection framework and online system to support this requirement and have since supported annual reporting. The reporting system has allowed the Australian Packaging Covenant to monitor signatories' progress in meeting targets, and in developing resources to help them better plan and report on their initiatives.

Litter Prevention Strategy Monitoring and Evaluation Framework

(NSW Environmental Protection Authority, 2015)

Litter Prevention Strategy Monitoring and Evaluation Framework

(NSW Environmental Protection Authority, 2015)

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has engaged ARTD to design a monitoring and evaluation framework for the $20 million NSW Litter Prevention Strategy. ARTD consulted with key stakeholders to design an outcomes hierarchy and identify appropriate performance indicators and evaluation methods for the Strategy. The project will also build capacity for evaluation in two ways: through a one-day training session for EPA staff once the Framework is designed; and by ensuring the Framework is user-friendly to support adoption of monitoring and evaluation among EPA partners, in particular local councils.

Murray Darling Basin Environmental Water Knowledge and Research Project Evaluation Strategy

(Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre, 2015)

Murray Darling Basin Environmental Water Knowledge and Research Project Evaluation Strategy

(Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre, 2015)

The Murray-Darling Basin Environmental Water Knowledge and Research project is a five-year collaborative research project to improve the knowledge base for managing environmental water in the Basin. ARTD is currently designing the evaluation strategy for the project on behalf of the Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre, which is coordinating the whole project for the Australian Department of Environment. The project involved two rounds of stakeholder consultation to develop the evaluation strategy, including a program logic and detailed evaluation work plan for the two phases of the project.

Evaluation of the behaviour change trials of the Home Power Savings Program

(Office of Environment and Heritage, 2014)

Evaluation of the behaviour change trials of the Home Power Savings Program

(Office of Environment and Heritage, 2014)

The Home Power Savings Program, established in 2010, supported 225,214 low-income households in NSW to reduce their power usage and save on energy bills by providing participants with a home power assessment, a tailored action plan, and a kit of energy-saving items. Based on the recommendations of ARTD’s interim evaluation, the Office of Environment and Heritage introduced a behaviour change trial to the program in June 2013 to test methods that could support greater outcomes for participants. The trial, designed with BehaviourWorks at Monash University and the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet’s  Behavioural Insights Team (seconded from the UK Cabinet Office), used three key triggers identified in the behaviour change literature—commitment, social norms and loss aversion—to try to improve participants’ implementation of tips in their power saving action plans. New participants were randomly allocated to one of three types of follow-up—second home visit, phone call or SMS—or no follow-up.

ARTD’s evaluation of the trial drew on ratings of assessors’ use of behaviour change techniques, an after-treatment survey (administered through computer-assisted telephone interviewing) of 2,207 participants, 8 focus groups, 8 case studies, participant data analysis and costing analysis. The evaluation provided a robust assessment of the impact of different types of follow-up compared with no follow-up and the use of behaviour change techniques. The findings inform the design of similar programs with a behaviour change component.

Review of Renewable Energy Precinct Program

(NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, 2013)

Review of Renewable Energy Precinct Program

(NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, 2013)

The Renewable Energy Precinct Program was a community partnership initiative in six precincts across NSW. A Renewable Energy Coordinator was allocated to each precinct to engage with local communities, facilitate stakeholder engagement, and help to drive regional initiatives to ‘enhance knowledge, understanding, and uptake’ of renewable energy sources. ARTD reviewed appropriateness, effectiveness and efficiency of the Program. The review used a mixed-methods approach, which maximised the use of existing data (program documentation, web analytics, cost data). Other methods were interviews with Program staff and stakeholders across the state, and an online survey of stakeholders from the six precincts. The positive findings informed decision-making about future directions for the Program. It was retained as part of the NSW Renewable Energy Action Plan released by the NSW Government in September 2013.

Evaluation of NSW Natural Resources Management Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting Strategy's Program Performance Priority

(NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, 2013)

Evaluation of NSW Natural Resources Management Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting Strategy's Program Performance Priority

(NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, 2013)

The NSW Natural Resources Management Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting Strategy 2010–15 guides the monitoring, evaluation and reporting of natural resources in NSW. The strategy focuses on developing a seamless link between local, regional, state and national data on natural resource management that will inform the community about how the natural resources of NSW are cared for. ARTD was commissioned to conduct an independent evaluation to review progress in implementing the Strategy’s Program Performance Priority and its effectiveness in a two-month timeframe. We used a desktop review and consultation with key informants from partner agencies. The final report identified progress made and areas for improvement. The evaluation informed the future of Natural Resources Management Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting.

Evaluation of program to improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in NSW

(NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, 2011)

Evaluation of program to improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in NSW

(NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, 2011)

The Clean Air, Healthy Communities Program aimed to identify and progress a number of initiatives, largely in the transport sector, which had the potential to improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the four years from 2007 to 2011. ARTD was engaged to evaluate the overall program and the eight individual but related projects funded under it. We prepared an evaluation framework and plan for the overall program and worked with teams to develop evaluation frameworks and plans for their projects. We produced a final report drawing together the findings across the eight individual projects funded under the program. It assessed the extent to which the goals and objectives of the overall program were achieved. It also made recommendations for building on the achievements of the program and achieving measurable changes in knowledge, attitudes, intentions and behaviours for improving air quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Evaluation of the Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative

(Department of the Environment Water Heritage and the Arts, 2010)

Evaluation of the Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative

(Department of the Environment Water Heritage and the Arts, 2010)

The Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative is a partnership of the Commonwealth Government and state and territory governments to provide an integrated approach to Education for Sustainability (otherwise known as environmental education) activities in Australian schools. ARTD was engaged to evaluate the operational effectiveness of the initiative, with the focus on assessing how well schools engaged with the initiative and achieved intended outcomes, and the effectiveness of government investment in supporting these outcomes. We reviewed key documents, analysed available data, consulted with state coordinators and conducted in-depth interviews with stakeholders around the country. Our report detailed the findings on operational effectiveness, highlighted issues, and provided recommendations about the future directions of the initiative.

Stakeholder satisfaction research for Water by Design

(SEQ Healthy Waterways Partnership, 2009)

Stakeholder satisfaction research for Water by Design

(SEQ Healthy Waterways Partnership, 2009)

Water by Design is a capacity-building program, launched in 2005 to promote water-sensitive urban design in South East Queensland. In 2009, ARTD was engaged to assess stakeholder satisfaction with the program. We did this through an online survey of all the individuals on the program’s contact list, focus groups with industry professionals, and telephone interviews with steering committee members (from Queensland Government agencies, local councils and industry). Our report captured stakeholders’ views on the program’s progress towards its objectives and provided suggestions for improving the program’s reach and influence. It helped to inform the future directions.