ABS environment statistics showcase our sunburnt country

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5 June 2017
ABS environment statistics showcase our sunburnt country

Just as Dorothea Mackellar showcased the natural beauty and scale of the Australian climate and landscape in her famous poem, My Country, the ABS is showcasing a range of its environment statistics on United Nations’ World Environment Day on 5 June, celebrating "connecting people to nature."

“The ABS collects data on numerous aspects about our beloved sunburnt country, its environment and people’s impact on Australia’s land, water and natural resources,” said Peter Comisari, Assistant Director of Environment and Agriculture Accounts Development.

“These include measurements such as population statistics, land use and agriculture, water and energy consumption, tourism and recreation. They reflect a nation with diverse and often contrasting environments.”


Among renewable energy activities, employment in roof-top solar photovoltaic (PV) systems (which also includes solar hot water systems) made up the largest component of total direct annual full- time equivalent employment in 2015 -16 with 5,570 or 50 per cent of all such employment.
4631.0 - Employment in Renewable Energy Activities, Australia, 2015-16

sunburnt land

Sweeping plains

Agriculture takes up a large proportion of these plains (34 per cent) and urban environments are growing and absorbing nearby environments.

Between 1750 and 2012, 13 per cent of Australia’s vegetation has been cleared including 34 per cent of rainforest, 30 per cent of mallee, 60 per cent of coastal wetlands in southern Australia, 31 per cent of Eucalyptus open forest, 99 per cent of temperate lowland grasslands and 34 per cent of Eucalyptus woodlands. 1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2012

sweeping plains


Most of Australia’s national parks are either in mountainous regions or large arid regions.

Victoria has 16 per cent of land cover dedicated to national parks and 1 million hectares are in or near mountainous regions. Queensland has 4 per cent of land cover allocated to national parks covering nearly 3 million hectares in mountainous regions. South Australia in contrast has 20 per cent of land cover of which 18 million hectares are allocated to national parks in arid regions.
4609.4.55.001 - Land Account: South Australia, Experimental Estimates, 2006 - 2011


Droughts and floods

Water consumption rises and falls with the amount of rainfall. During the recent drought between 2008-09 and 2010-11 water consumption per household decreased by 10 per cent then increased by 5 per cent from 2011-12 to 2012-13 after the drought broke.
4610.0 - Water Account, Australia, 2014-15


In Australia, each person has the equivalent of 3-4 baths per day (730 KL per capita) due to their own use and use of goods and services using water.


Australia has 59,736km of coastline of which 39 per cent are in tropical climates and 61 per cent are Temperate.
1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2012



A majority (73 per cent) of Australians took part in activities such as visiting national parks and botanic gardens, going for a walk in the bush, and camping to experience the beauty of the wilderness.
4602.0 - Interaction with Nature Conservation


Brown land

In 2015-16 hydro energy employed full-time 1,840 people and wind energy employed 620 full time equivalent people.
4631.0 - Employment in Renewable Energy Activities, Australia, 2015-16

In June 2015 the proportion of Renewable energy supply for total Australian domestic energy use was 8.3 per cent, a decrease from 8.5 per cent in 2014, but higher than the recorded 7.6 per cent in 2012.
4660.0 - Energy Use, Electricity Generation and Environmental Management, Australia, 2014-15


For more information visit: World Environment Day

Note to newsdesks: To arrange an interview with Peter Comisari contact the ABS Media team on 1300 175 070 or email media@abs.gov.au

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