About the State of the Environment report

N.B. you are viewing the archived 2015 report.

Return to the current 2017 report.

‘State of the Environment’ reporting is the internationally accepted method for assessing environmental performance. Like many other countries, Australia adopts the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) pressure-state-response approach to state of the environment reporting. Queensland also adopts this approach.

A State of the Environment report is produced every four years for Queensland. This is the sixth report and the first to be prepared in a web-based format. The new format allows users to interact within a web-based environment, interrogating spatial data and maps with regionally-specific interpretive text, tables, graphs and charts. The data is harvested from a range of thematic sources, and compiled, interpreted and published through the Queensland Government open data portal.

This report covers the period 2012-2015 and meets the legislative requirements of both the Environmental Protection Act 1994 and the Coastal Protection and Management Act 1995. The new web-based format will enable Queensland to move to more frequent biennial State of the Environment updates.

This report is structured around four themes—biodiversity, heritage, pollution and climate. Each theme is divided into sub-themes, against which indicators mainly relating to extent and condition (state), and pressures, are reported on.

Queensland State of the Environment 2015 In Brief (PDF, 8.8M) provides a summary and includes an assessment of the actions or initiatives undertaken to protect, maintain and restore environmental assets, as well as those that prevent, mitigate or adapt to changes in the environment.

The structure of this report is as follows:


The variety of life—its biological diversity—is commonly referred to as biodiversity. The number of species of plants and animals, and the different ecosystems such as deserts, rainforests and coral reefs, are all part of a biologically diverse Queensland.

Queensland’s landscape is vast, covering an estimated area of 172.8 million hectares. The mainland coastline is about 6,900km in length and features 1,165 offshore islands and cays.

The biodiversity theme is separated into the following sub-themes and topics:


Queensland’s historic heritage places, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural heritage, and World Heritage properties, contribute to our sense of place, reinforce our identity, and help define what it means to be a Queenslander. We owe it both to our forebears and future generations to conserve the heritage places, areas and objects that define Queensland’s story.

The heritage theme is separated into the following sub-themes and topics:


Pollution can affect human health, impact the environment and result in economic costs.

The pollution theme is separated into the following sub-themes:

Air quality is a measure of the purity of the atmosphere.

Water quality is commonly defined by its physical, chemical, biological and aesthetic characteristics.

Greenhouse gas emissions cause global warming.

All forms of pollution can cause harm to our native species and their habitat, and impact on the scenic amenity of Queensland’s natural areas.


Climate is the synthesis of day-to-day atmospheric conditions for a locality over a long period of time (often summarised in terms of months, seasons, years or longer), while weather refers to the state of the atmosphere at or for a brief period of time.

The climate theme is separated into the following sub-themes:

Climate and oceans are interconnected. Changes in the coupling of the global ocean and climate systems are already having substantial and important ramifications on the world’s coasts and oceans.

Seasonal variations, such as the location and intensity of the summer monsoon and year-to-year fluctuations in the global climate system related to the El Niño Southern Oscillation phenomenon, strongly influence Queensland’s climate.

Previous reports

The State of the Environment Queensland 2015 report is the sixth report prepared for Queensland. The following reports have also been published: