Sate of the Environment video

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

Return to the current 2017 report.


About the State of the Environment report

Video transcript

Queensland’s State of the Environment report, or SoE, presents a comprehensive picture measuring the extent and condition of Queensland’s environmental assets, and pressures facing these assets.

The report is produced every four years as a legislative requirement under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 and the Coastal Protection and Management Act 1995.

This is the 6th report for Queensland and the first to be published in a web-based format.

It’s a snapshot of the current state of Queensland’s environment. It’s been compiled as an interactive, web-based product based around four major themes; Biodiversity, Heritage, Pollution and Climate.

To provide the comprehensive level of reporting required, each of these themes is divided into sub-themes.

Biodiversity has four sub-themes, heritage has three, pollution has four, and climate has two.

Each of these sub-themes reports on the extent and condition of that particular environmental asset, and the key pressures it faces.

Just a reminder that the actions taken to protect, maintain and restore environmental assets are not reported on in the SoE report, but are discussed in a separate report.

Let’s take a closer look at the four themes, you can navigate through the website at your own speed to find the theme or themes you’re most interested in.

Queensland’s biodiversity is reported on under four sub-themes: Terrestrial ecosystems, freshwater wetland ecosystems, estuarine and marine ecosystems, and species and habitat.

Biodiversity simply means the variety of life—the plants, animals, microorganisms, the enormous diversity of genes in these species, and the different ecosystems­ found here in our state.

So why do we report on biodiversity?

A healthy biodiversity is essential for the provision of ecosystem services—that is the benefits provided by ecosystems that contribute to making human life both possible and worth living.

Equally, we protect nature simply because of its intrinsic value; we all have a responsibility to protect it now and for future generations.

The three Heritage sub themes discussed in the report are: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, historic and world.

It’s important that Queensland’s unique heritage places, its rich Indigenous history, and five World Heritage properties are protected and recorded for future generations.  

These buildings, objects and sites of cultural and environmental significance represent important places and experiences of the people who came before us.

Pollution affects us all. It impacts the environment, our health and results in economic costs. The pollution theme is separated into the following sub-themes: air quality; water quality; waste; and greenhouse gas emissions.

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

Air quality is considered a measure of the purity of the atmosphere, and an indicator of a community’s well-being.

Water quality is defined by its physical, chemical, biological and aesthetic characteristics. A healthy environment is one in which water quality supports a rich and varied community of organisms and protects public health.

Water quality in a body of water influences the way in which communities use water for activities such as drinking, swimming or commercial purposes.

The waste sub-theme discusses five waste-types: household; construction and demolition; commercial and industrial; litter and illegal dumping; and trackable waste.

The volume of waste landfilled, recovered or recycled, is further analysed. The economic, environmental and social costs associated with waste generation and disposal are also discussed here as a sub theme.

Because greenhouse gas emissions cause global warming, it’s important too, that it be reported on. It becomes the fourth sub theme under pollution. Queenslanders are concerned about climate change and there is strong public interest in taking action.

This sub-theme is separated into 7 sectors: stationary energy; transport; agriculture; land use, land use change and forestry; industrial processes; fugitive emissions; and waste.

Climate is the fourth major theme of the State of the Environment Report and has two sub-themes: climate observations, and coasts and oceans.  

Queensland’s climate is strongly influenced by 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.

Climate is linked to the oceans—and it should be remembered that much of the weather experienced on land, has its origins over the oceans.

Monitoring sea surface temperatures around Queensland is important in terms of extreme events, such as the number, formation and development of tropical cyclones and east coast lows. Warmer than average sea surface temperatures increase the risk of these events.

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

Information in the report will help the community, industry and government work towards improving environmental management and the sustainable use of our environmental assets.

Queensland’s web-based State of the Environment report has been compiled around four major themes. It’s easier to navigate than previous reports, and more targeted in scope.

Please enjoy this snapshot in time.