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1338.1 - NSW State and Regional Indicators, Jun 2010  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/07/2010   
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Data cubes with detailed statistics are available on the Downloads page.


Measuring environmental change is required to determine whether the quality and quantity of Australia's natural resources and environmental assets are improving or declining. It is also vital to assess whether actions undertaken to safeguard the environment are working effectively. Environmental progress equates to a reduction of threats to the environment and improvements in the health of our ecosystems. This includes the quality of the natural landscape (land, water, biodiversity), air and atmosphere, oceans and estuaries.


In recent years rainfall has been variable and many parts of NSW have experienced prolonged periods of drought.

In 2008, despite La Niña conditions early in the year and neutral El Niño conditions for the remainder, NSW as a whole recorded its eighth consecutive year of below average rainfall for the year. The statewide average for the year was 519 mm which is below the Bureau of Meteorology's historical average of 566 mm.

RAINFALL, Sydney and NSW - 2001-2008
RAINFALL, Sydney and NSW—2001–2008

The annual average maximum daytime temperature for the NSW in 2008 was 24.3°C. This is above the Bureau of Meteorology's historical average for the state of 23.9°C.


Net greenhouse emissions in NSW in 2007 totalled 162.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, a slight increase (1.3%) on 1990 levels. The NSW State Plan stated target is to achieve a 60% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The Stationary Energy sector (mainly electricity generation) is a major contributor to greenhouse gases and accounted for almost half (48.8%) of the total net emissions in 2007. This sector also recorded the largest increase in greenhouse gas emissions over time, increasing 33% on 1990 levels.

Some sectors recorded declines in net greenhouse gas emissions, in particular the Land use, land use change and forestry and the Waste sectors, down 54% and 27%, respectively.

CHANGE IN GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS, By sector, NSW - 1990 to 2007(a)(b)(c)(d)
CHANGE IN GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS, By sector, NSW—1990 to 2007(a)(b)(c)(d)


Energy significantly contributes to all sectors of the economy, including supplying power to households and industry.

Between 2002-03 and 2007-08, total energy consumption in NSW and the ACT increased by 6%. The overall increase was due to increased energy consumption by several industries including Mining (up 37%), Transport (up 14%) and Electricity generation (up 13%). Residential consumption also increased (up 5%). Conversely, industries such as Agriculture and Manufacturing recorded decreases in energy consumption during the period (down 14% and 10% respectively).

CHANGE IN ENERGY CONSUMPTION, By industry, NSW and ACT - 2003 to 2008
CHANGE IN ENERGY CONSUMPTION, By industry, NSW and ACT—2003 to 2008

Most energy consumed in NSW in 2007-08 comes from non-renewable fossil fuels, the main sources being black coal (55%) and petroleum products (38%).

ENERGY CONSUMPTION, By fuel type, NSW and ACT - 2003 and 2008
ENERGY CONSUMPTION, By fuel type, NSW and ACT—2003 and 2008


The generation of electricity accounted for nearly a third (32%) of all energy consumed in NSW in 2007-08. According to Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE), of the total NSW electricity generated in 2008-09, 89% was generated from black coal while 7% was generated by renewable energy sources such as hydro, wind, biomass or biogas.

There has been little change in the relative shares of electricity generated from fossil fuels and renewables over the period 2004-05 to 2008-09. In 2004-05, 94% of electricity was generated from fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas), and 6% from renewables such as hydro, wind, biomass and biogas. In 2008-09, 93% of electricity was generated from fossil fuels, and 7% from renewables.


Household energy and water use has been the subject of several ABS household surveys in recent years. The ABS Energy Use and Conservation Survey 2008 found that electricity was the primary energy source throughout NSW, used by nearly every household (99.8%). Electricity was also the most commonly used energy source for hot water systems (58%). The use of electricity for hot water systems was greater outside Sydney (68% of households) than in Sydney (51%). Gas (mains gas and LPG/bottled gas) was the second most common source of energy, used by 25% of NSW households in 2008. Solar energy was used by 5% of NSW households for heating water in 2008.

The ABS Environmental Behaviour and Practices of Australian Households Survey 2007 revealed that mains water is the most common source of water for NSW households; some 95% of NSW households reported sourcing their water from the mains/town water supplies. Nearly all households in Sydney (99.6%) were connected to mains/town water, compared with 88.0% of households outside Sydney. Of the 2.7 million households in NSW, 16% reported that their dwelling had a rainwater tank compared with 64% of households that did not have a rainwater tank installed. The remaining 19% of NSW households reported that their dwellings were not suitable for the installation of a rainwater tank. A greater proportion of dwellings in areas outside Sydney had a rainwater tank (30%) compared to those in Sydney (7.6%).


The 2008 National Forest Inventory showed that NSW has approximately 26.6 million hectares of forests, 98.6% of which were native forest. The remaining 1.4% or 370,000 hectares is plantation forest made up of 67% publicly owned plantations, 32% privately owned plantations, and 1% jointly owned plantations.

Over 1,617 hectares of native vegetation were approved to be cleared in 2008, 53% less than in 2007. The largest area of land approved to be cleared in NSW in 2008 was reported in the Lachlan region (1,245 hectares).

The ABS Natural Resource Management Survey 2006-07 found that the most common natural resource management problem reported by agricultural businesses in NSW was presence of pests (86%), followed by pest related problems (71%), weed related problems (68%) and land and soil related problems (59%).

Data cubes with detailed statistics are available on the Downloads page.


Agricultural Commodities, Australia (cat. no. 7121.0)

Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE), Australian Energy Consumption and Production, 1973-74 to 2007-08

Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE), Australian Energy National and State Projections to 2029-30

Australian Bureau of Meteorology <>

Australian Government Department of Climate Change, Australian Greenhouse Emissions Information System <>

Australian Greenhouse Office, Department of Climate Change, State and Territory Greenhouse Gas Inventories 2007

Environmental Issues: Energy Use and Conservation (cat. no. 4602.0.55.001)

Environmental Issues: People's Views and Practices, Mar 2006 (cat. no. 4602.0)

Environmental Issues: People's Views and Practices, Mar 2007 (cat. no. 4602.0)

Environmental Views and Behaviour (cat. no. 4626.0.55.001)

Land Management and Farming in Australia (cat. no. 4627.0)

National Forest Inventory, Australia's State of the Forests Report, 2008, Bureau of Rural Sciences, Canberra

National Forest Inventory, National Plantation Inventory, Bureau of Rural Sciences, Canberra 2001-2008

Natural Resource Management on Australian Farms (cat. no. 4620.0)

NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water <>

Schedules 1, 1A & 2: Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 No. 101, and Schedules 4, 4A & 5: Fisheries Management Act 1994 No. 38

Water Account, Australia (cat. no. 4610.0)

Water Use on Australian Farms (cat. no. 4618.0)


NSW State of the Environment Report

NSW State Plan

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