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A comparison of changes in selected indicators of environmental pressure per unit of economic production (GVA) between 1996-97 and 2011-12 illustrates, among other things, the close correlation between Australia's GHG emissions intensity and energy intensity(footnote 1) , with both decreasing approximately 25% during this period.
Waste intensity is the only indicator of intensity to increase over the period (48%). This result is consistent with international evidence which suggests that economic growth is associated with growth in waste production per capita(footnote 2) .
INDICATORS OF ENVIRONMENTAL PRESSURE FOR SELECTED INDUSTRIES
The value of mining production, as measured by GVA, increased steadily between 1996-97 and 2011-12, from $80b to $134b or 69%. The mining industry's share of total GVA rose from 4.7% in 1996-97 to 9.6% in 2011-12. The increase has been accompanied by a proportionately larger rise in the number of persons employed in the mining industry, from 84,500 in 1996-97 to 259,600 in 2011-12.
The indicators of environmental pressure for the mining industry reveal a mixed picture. Energy consumed per unit of economic production (energy intensity) has risen by 10% over the period 1996-97 to 2011-12. The mining industry has increased its focus on lower value (dollar per tonne) commodities, such as coal and iron ore. This has resulted in a relatively greater level of energy use for extraction and processing than for commodities with higher unit values (i.e. more tonnes must be removed in order to generate the same value of production). Part of this relates to the higher proportion of production coming from open cut mines. This method typically requires removal of large quantities of soil, rock and so on (i.e. overburden) to expose the commodity, with a corresponding energy use for overburden removal, before commodity production begins.
Waste intensity recorded the greatest increase among the indicators of environmental pressure of the mining industry, increasing by 244% from 1996-97 to 2011-12. The majority of this increase occurred between 2003-04 and 2011-12 when waste intensity rose by 220%. This period coincides with a rapid expansion of the mining industry, with opening and expanding mines contributing to a major proportion of waste production in the mining industry. Similarly clean-up of laydown yards, historic waste stockpiling and demolition of closed mines, all produce large amounts of waste.
GHG emissions intensity and water intensity recorded for the mining industry decreased by 3% and 55% respectively for the period 1996-97 to 2011-12.
Between 1996-97 and 2011-12 the value of production generated by the agriculture industry, as measured by its GVA, rose from $23b to $34b. The agriculture industry's contribution to total GVA across all industries dropped from 3.6% in 1996-97 to 2.4% in 2011-12. This decrease was accompanied by a drop (26%) in employment in the agriculture industry, from 402,450 in 1996-97 to 321,050 in 2011-12.
Consistent with the change in water intensity observed for the mining industry, the agriculture industry witnessed a steady trend downwards, decreasing 59% over the period 1996-97 to 2011-12. In response to the climatic conditions of the early 2000's (e.g. drought), the agriculture industry became more efficient with water use through infrastructure improvements, technology advancements and changes to crop selection.
Energy intensity remained almost unchanged from 1996-97 to 2011-12, increasing only 1%, while waste production has shown a 21% increase in intensity for the agriculture industry. In contrast, GHG emissions intensity decreased 24% from 1996-97 to 2011-12.
GVA of the manufacturing industry rose between 1996-97 and 2011-12 from $90b to $105b. Manufacturing's contribution to total GVA fell from 13.5% in 1996-97 to 7.5% in 2011-12. Similarly, the number of persons employed in the manufacturing industry fell from 1,077,525 in 1996-97 to 938,300 in 2011-12.
In comparison to the mining and agricultural industries, manufacturing's recorded GHG and energy intensities remained relatively steady between 1996-97 and 2011-12. Waste intensity experienced the greatest increase of the intensity indicators for the manufacturing industry, increasing 27% between 1996-97 and 2011-12. Energy intensity of the manufacturing industry fell by 6% in the 5 years leading up to 2001-02 but thereafter increased, and across the entire time series 1996-97 to 2011-12 energy intensity increased by 4%.
The notion of environmental assets used in this publication is consistent with the SEEA definition and has the potential to include: subsoil assets, both mineral and energy; land; soil resources; timber resources, both plantation and native forest; aquatic resources (e.g. fish), both cultivated and natural; water resources, comprising surface water, ground water and soil water; and other biological resources. The ABS makes estimates of the value of subsoil, land and timber assets. While the ABS does not currently estimate the value of water resources or aquatic resources, they are the subject of ongoing research.
The value of Australia’s environmental assets (in current prices) increased 96% over the period 2003-04 to 2012-13 from $2,457b to $4,826b. The value of Australia’s produced capital also increased over the same period, although to a lesser extent (79%), rising from $2,778b to $4,985b.
Overview of changes in environmental assets
In 2012-13 land accounted for 80% of the value of Australia's environmental assets, down from 92% in 2003-04. Over the same period, the value of land (in current prices) increased 72% to $3,873b.
The share of mineral and energy resources among Australia’s environmental assets rose from 8% to 20% in the decade to 2012-13. This occurred alongside a 376% rise in the value of mineral and energy resources from $198b in 2003-04 to $942b in 2012-13, a change that is further described below.
The overall value of Australia's timber assets grew by 14% between 2003-04 and 2012-13. Australia's timber assets are comprised of: native standing timber, which decreased in value by 35% to $1.5b in the decade to 2012-13; and plantation standing timber, which rose in value by 30% to $9.6b for the same period. Throughout this period, the value of Australia’s timber assets remained at less than 1% of the total value of Australia's environmental assets.
The value of produced capital on a per capita basis increased in current price terms by 55% from $139,469 in 2003-04 to $215,599 in 2012-13. The value of Australia’s stock of environmental assets on a per capita basis increased by 69% over the same period, from $123,245 in 2003-04 to $208,638 in 2012-13.
Mineral and energy resources
Strong overseas demand for mineral and energy resources, particularly from China, drove a boom in the prices of many of these resources over much of the decade to 2012-13. These price rises increased the economic viability of many mineral and energy resources and led to increases in the amount of resources assessed as being within the scope of economically demonstrated resources (EDR) for these mineral and energy assets(footnote 3) .
Between 2003-04 and 2012-13, the value of Australia’s iron ore assets rose from $7b to $366b as a direct result of increased market prices. In turn, the proportion of the value of total mineral and energy resources attributable to iron ore rose from 3% to 39% over the decade to 2012-13. Over the same period, estimates of the physical extent of EDR iron ore assets went from 14 gigatonnes to 49 gigatonnes, a 261% increase. Much of this change is explained by reclassification of iron ore deposits from sub-economic to economic categories(footnote 4) .
Among other categories of mineral and energy resources, notable changes in the physical quantity of EDR between 2003-04 and 2012-13 included increases for copper (127%), gold (88%) and silver (98%).
For bauxite resources, estimates of physical quantity rose 14% from 5.6Gt to 6.4Gt over the 10 years to 2012-13. However, for this period, the value of Australia's bauxite assets fell considerably (94%) from $16b to $1b. This fall occurred against a backdrop of an over-supply of aluminium, of which bauxite is the most important ore, and increased refining costs(footnote 5) .
In 2012-13, the physical extent of Australia’s energy resources was estimated at 63Gt for black coal; 44Gt for brown coal; 1,165Kt for uranium; 2,720b cubic metres for natural gas; 120GL for crude oil; 298GL for condensate; and 110GL for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
Black coal EDR increased significantly during the 2003-04 to 2012-13 period mainly due to new discoveries and through reclassification of existing resource(footnote 6) . Physical estimates of Australia's black coal rose 60% over the decade to 2012-13. This was accompanied by a 936% increase in value of black coal from $5b to $56b.
In contrast, the value of Australia's brown coal fell by 65% between 2003-04 and 2012-13, despite an 18% physical increase in brown coal EDR in Australia.
Between 2003-04 and 2008-09, the value of Australia's uranium deposits increased from $194m to over $859m. Since 2008-09, however, the economic value of uranium has fallen with international prices. While physical estimates have remained stable (1165Kt in 2012-13), the value of Australia’s uranium resources dropped 67% between 2008-09 and 2012-13 to $286m at the end of the period.
Monetary values for all of Australia’s categories of petroleum resources increased over the period from 2003-04 to 2012-13, with the value of natural gas rising by 207%, condensate by 140%, liquid petroleum gas (LPG) 114%, and crude oil by 46%. Changes to the physical stocks of the resources were mixed, however, with rises for condensate (26%) and natural gas (11%) contrasting with declines for LPG (-51%) and crude oil (-34%).
In terms of energy (petajoules-PJ) content, black coal represents Australia's most significant energy resource with an estimated energy content of 1,601,370PJ as at 30 June 2012. This is followed by uranium (663,600PJ) and brown coal (433,077PJ).
Resource rent and depletion
Resource rent is the benefit from holding and using environmental assets. It comprises a return on environmental assets and depletion; the latter is the change in the monetary value of the asset between the beginning and end of any one year arising purely from its extraction. For Australia, experimental estimates of resource rent, return on environmental assets and depletion are available in respect of subsoil mineral and energy assets.
The resource rent of subsoil assets increased 186% in the decade to 2012-13, from $19.7b to $56.3b. Of this, depletion increased 56%, while the return on subsoil assets rose 245%.
WATER SUPPLY, USE AND CONSUMPTION
Water consumption is the amount of water lost by the economy during use, meaning that the water has entered the economy but has not been returned to either water resources or the sea. Total water use differs from water consumption, because water use does not subtract in-stream use (such as that used in hydro electricity generation) and water supplied to other users and the environment.
Australian water consumption in 2011-12 was 16,019GL, an increase of 20% or 2,682GL since 2010-11. Water consumption declined between 2008-09 and 2010-11. The subsequent large increase in 2011-12 was mainly driven by a 30% or 2,236GL increase in water consumption by the agriculture industry, including forestry and fishing.
The agriculture industry was the largest consumer of water throughout the four year period from 2008-09 to 2011-12, consuming 9,587GL of water in 2011-12 (accounting for 60% of total water consumption). Between 2008-09 and 2010-11 water consumption by the agriculture industry was steady at around 7,100GL per annum. The increase of 2,236GL in 2011-12 was driven by sheep, beef and grain farming, which increased 29% or 894GL and was the largest contributor to water consumption by the agriculture industry, accounting for 44% of agricultural water consumption in 2011-12. A large part of the rise can be explained by a 50% increase in cultivated land used for grain and seed production, from 158,200ha to 237,600ha.
The water supply industry experienced a 30% or 468GL increase in water consumption in 2011-12. A significant proportion of water consumed by the water supply industry relates to leakages from water distribution networks. Electricity, gas and mining industries showed similar percentage movements, while households was steady at 1,715GL or 11% of total water consumption in 2011-12.
Water consumption by the manufacturing industry was steady over the three years to 2010-11, and then decreased by 14%, or 94GL, in 2011-12. The reduction was driven by the wood, pulp, paper and converted paper product industry and the food, beverage and tobacco product industry consuming less water. The wood, pulp, paper and converted paper product industry decreased its water consumption from 92GL to 59GL (a 35% decline), a move associated with a falling volume of production - gross value added (in chain volume terms) fell 11% between 2008-09 and 2011-12. Water consumption by the food, beverage and tobacco product industry also decreased, falling from 295GL to 264GL (a 10% decline)(footnote 7) .
Manufacturing’s share of water consumption dropped from 4.6% in 2008-09 to 3.5% in 2011-12. In the same period, water consumption by agriculture increased (from 52% to 59.8%) as it did by mining (3.6% to 4.2%).
Household water consumption accounted for 11% of total water consumption in Australia in 2011-12. Over the period 2008-09 to 2011-12 household water consumption decreased from 1,818GL to 1,715GL (6% or 103GL).
New South Wales was the main contributor to the national decrease, reducing its consumption from 548GL to 508GL (7% or 40GL) over the four years to 2011-12. All states and territories excluding Queensland (which experienced an increase of 2% or 5GL) showed a decrease in household water consumption over the four years, reflecting the broader national trend.
The average price paid for water by Australian households has increased by $0.88/KL or 54% between 2008-09 and 2011-12, from $1.63/KL to 2.51/KL. South Australia has the highest average water price at $3.94/KL, followed by the ACT at $2.85/KL and Victoria at $2.78/KL. Western Australia has one of the lowest average water prices for households at $1.51/KL.
Western Australia consumed 18% of all water in Australia, while contributing only 11% of total expenditure on water. Conversely, South Australia consumed 7% of the national total while paying 11%.
Water revenue and expenditure
Total revenue from sales of water increased from $14,089m in 2010-11 to $15,835m in 2011-12 (a 12% increase). The water supply industry accounted for 99% of total water revenue in 2011-12 and this share has remained constant between 2008-09 and 2011-12.
Of the total water revenue collected by the water supply industry in Australia in 2011-12, Queensland had the highest proportion of any state (27%, an increase from 24% in 2008-09), followed by NSW (25%, a decrease from 28% in 2008-09) and Victoria (24%, an increase from 21% in 2008-09).
A comparison of relative use (in physical terms) and expenditure (in monetary terms) of distributed and reuse water across industries and households shows that, as of 2011-12, agriculture uses the most distributed and reuse water (56% of total) and pays comparatively less for it (6% of total water expenditure). In comparison, households use relatively little water (14% of total distributed and reuse water) and account for 46% of the total expenditure on water. While data on types of distributed and reuse water (i.e. potable and non-potable) are not available, water paid for and used by the agriculture industry is almost entirely non-potable.
This contributed to the disparity between the prices paid per kilolitre (KL) between agriculture ($0.09/KL) and all other industries (mining $2.02/KL, manufacturing $1.44/KL, electricity and gas $0.38/KL, water and waste services $1.15/KL and other industries $1.70/KL). In addition, water used by agriculture is typically transported through open waterways and channels. The value of this infrastructure is less than that needed for potable water.
Industry intensity of water use
Water intensity is a measure of the water consumed to produce one unit of economic output. It is calculated by dividing water consumption by industry Gross Value Added (GL/$m GVA). The volume of water required by the agriculture industry to produce one unit of economic output fell by 59% between 1996-97 and 2011-12 to 0.28GL/$m GVA. The water intensity of all other industries also declined over the period, though to a lesser extent, falling by 42%.
Gross value of irrigated agricultural production
In 2011-12, the total gross value of irrigated agricultural production (GVIAP) for Australia rose 5% from the previous year to $13.5b. The three commodities with the highest GVIAP in Australia were vegetables ($2.6b), fruit excluding grapes ($2.4b) and cotton ($2.2b).
Rice and cotton, which are the most water intensive crops, have seen significant increases in GVIAP from 2008-09 to 2011-12 increasing by 619% and 248% respectively. Other products recording an increase between 2008-09 and 2011-12 include: production of sheep and other livestock (105%); production from meat cattle (49%); sugar cane (20%); and fruit excluding grapes and nuts (2%).
Total GVIAP for cereals grown for grain and seed increased 27% or $43m between 2010-11 and 2011-12. However over the four year period from 2008-09 to 2011-12 this has decreased by 36% or $114m. Total GVIAP for grapes showed a similar trend, decreasing 19% between 2008-09 and 2011-12 before increasing 5% between 2010-11 and 2011-12.
ENERGY SUPPLY AND USE
Supply of energy
Between 2008-09 and 2011-12, Australia’s total net supply of energy increased by 0.4% from 19,636PJ to 19,706PJ. Net supply of energy accounts for the transformation of primary energy products to secondary energy products and related conversion losses. Thus net supply of energy avoids double-counting amounts of converted primary energy.
In 2008-09, 89% of total net supply was produced domestically and the remainder (11%) was imported. This pattern has been stable over the period 2008-09 to 2011-12 and in 2011-12 domestic production was 90% of total net supply and imports 10%.
From 2008-09 to 2011-12, the mining industry was the main producer of domestic energy, principally through extraction of fossil fuels and uranium. In 2008-09, the mining industry contributed 94% or 16,652PJ of domestic energy production, growing slightly to 95% or 16,905PJ in 2011-12. Relative shares of net energy supplied by other industries and imports remained relatively constant during the period.
Black coal accounts for the majority of domestic production of energy and has increased from 50% or 9,015PJ of domestic production in 2008-09 to 55% or 9,672PJ in 2011-12. In contrast, uranium has fallen from 27% or 4,846PJ of domestic production in 2008-09 to 20% or 3,525PJ in 2011-12.
Renewable energy production increased between 2008-09 and 2011-12 by 13% or 33PJ and grew from 1% to 2% of total energy production. Solar, hydro-electricity, and wind energy all grew during the period by 89%, 19% and 57% respectively.
Imports of energy products increased by 16% from 1,759PJ in 2008-09 to 2,034PJ in 2011-12. The most significant energy import is crude oil and refinery feedstock 941PJ or 53% of energy imports in 2008-09, increasing to 1,141PJ or 56% in 2011-12. In contrast, there has been a decrease in the imports of petrol (139PJ or 18% in 2008-09, decreasing by 6 % to 125PJ in 2011-12) and other refined fuels and products (205PJ or 12% of energy imports in 2008-09, decreasing to 190PJ or 9% in 2011-12).
Use of energy
Between 2008-09 and 2011-12, Australia’s domestic net energy use (i.e. by industry, households and government, but excluding exports) increased by 2% from 3,989PJ to 4,083PJ.
Net energy use by industry increased between 2008-09 and 2011-12 by 50PJ from 2,905PJ to 2,955PJ. However, net energy use by industry as a share of total domestic energy use has fallen slightly from 73% in 2008-09 to 72% in 2011-12. The primary fuel sources used by industry are diesel (growing from 602PJ or 21% of energy used by industry in 2008-09 to 695PJ or 24% in 2011-12), natural gas (falling from 701PJ or 24% of energy used by industry in 2008-09 to 678PJ or 23% in 2011-12), and electricity (626PJ or 22% of energy used by industry in 2008-09 and 630PJ or 21% in 2011-12).
Household net energy use increased by 39PJ between 2008-09 and 2011-12 from 1,002PJ to 1,041PJ and represents a slight increase from 25% to 26% of total domestic energy use. The primary fuel sources used by households are petrol (470PJ or 47% of energy used by households in 2008-09 to 484PJ or 46% in 2011-12), and electricity (falling from 216PJ or 22% of energy used by households in 2008-09 to 208PJ or 20% in 2011-12).
The manufacturing industry remains the largest user of energy among Australian industries, despite its consumption decreasing from 1,152PJ or 40% of domestic energy use in 2008-09 to 1,078PJ or 36% in 2011-12. In contrast, the mining, transport, and commercial and services industries marginally increased their shares of net energy used by industry between 2008-09 and 2010-11; mining rose from 466PJ or 16% of energy used by industry to 504PJ or 17%, transport rose from 559PJ or 19% to 601PJ or 20%, and commercial and services rose from 324PJ or 11% to 348PJ or 12%.
Exports remain the largest net user of Australian energy products, accounting for 13,896PJ or 78% of domestic energy extraction in 2008-09 and 14,050PJ (80%) in 2011-12. The main energy products exported are coal (7,411PJ or 53% of energy exports in 2008-09, increasing to 8,516PJ or 61% in 2011-12) and uranium (4,754PJ or 34% of energy exports in 2008-09, decreasing to 3,525PJ or 25% in 2011-12). Natural gas exports rose during the period (838PJ or 6% of energy exports in 2008-09, increasing to 1,048PJ or 7% in 2011-12), as did crude oil and refinery exports (678PJ or 5% of energy exports in 2008-09, increasing to 764PJ or 5% in 2011-12).
The energy intensity of Australian industry decreased by 5% between 2008-09 and 2011-12. The agriculture, forestry and fisheries industry was the only industry which recorded rising energy intensity during this period (11% increase). The decrease of the mining industry’s energy intensity was a reversal on the trend seen over the decade to 2008-09.
Australia’s most energy intensive industries were manufacturing (decreasing from 11,995 GJ/$m GVA in 2008-09 to 11,535 GJ/$m GVA in 2011-12), transport (decreasing from 8,564 GJ/$m GVA in 2008-09 to 8,453 GJ/$m GVA in 2011-12), and mining (decreasing from 4,121 GJ/$m GVA in 2008-09 to 3,763 GJ/$m GVA in 2011-12). The least energy intensive industries were commercial and services (decreasing from 455 GJ/$m GVA in 2008-09 to 448 GJ/$m GVA in 2011-12) and construction (decreasing from 1,630 GJ/$m GVA in 2008-09 to 1,556 GJ/$m GVA in 2011-12).
Electricity use and expenditure
In 2009-10, Australian industries and households in total paid $30,502m to use 907PJ of electricity.
The manufacturing industry was the largest user of electricity in Australia in 2009-10, consuming 252PJ or 28% of total domestic use of electricity. The $4,905m paid by the manufacturing industry for this electricity represents 16% of total expenditure on electricity.
In contrast, households used 221PJ or 24% of domestic use of electricity in 2009-10. The $10,959m paid by households represents 36% of total expenditure on electricity.
WASTE GENERATION AND MANAGEMENT
Waste generation by industry and households
The Australian economy generated 53.7m tonnes of waste in 2009-10. The construction industry generated the largest volume of waste with over 16.5m tonnes, representing 31% of the total waste generated during 2009-10. In 2010, the number of households in Australia was estimated to be 8.4m with an average household consisting of 2.6 persons. Households generated 12.4m tonnes of waste in 2009-10, or around 1.5 tonnes of waste per household. In 2009-10 Australia imported 0.6m tonnes of waste.
Broadly, there are three 'destinations' for Australia's waste: disposal to landfill; recovery for use in the domestic economy; and export.
Of the total waste generated in 2009-10, 25.2m tonnes was recovered domestically, 24.9m tonnes was disposed to landfill and 3.7m tonnes was exported.
Businesses and government provide waste management services that are used by other businesses, government and households. Waste management services include income from a range of services related to waste management, including collection, transport, recycling, treatment, processing or disposal of waste. In 2009-10, the supply of these services was valued at $9,595m. Private waste management businesses (which include public trading enterprises) supplied just over half (54% or $5,149m) of the value of these services while local government authorities provided just over one quarter (26% or $2,512m). The remaining $1,860m of waste management services was provided by businesses not primarily undertaking waste management. A large proportion of these (40% or $748m) were provided by the construction industry.
Waste management services are used by businesses in their production processes, or by households. In 2009-10, the waste management services industry consumed 30% or $2,903m of these services and the construction industry consumed 17% or $1,643. Households spent $1,623m on waste management services (recyclable and non-recyclable combined), mostly on municipal rates related to waste management services. Households accounted for 17% of total expenditure on waste management services.
EXPENDITURE ON WASTE MANAGEMENT SERVICES, By selected industries and households, Percentage contribution to total, 2009-10
Not all waste that is produced has a negative value. Where the owner/discarder of the waste materials receives payment for the waste, it is termed a waste product (e.g. paper and scrap metal). In 2009-10, waste products supplied to the economy were valued at $4,582m. The waste management industry supplied about 50% of the value of these products in the form of sales of raw materials (e.g. paper, cardboard, metals, organic materials etc.). The remaining 50% of waste products were supplied by manufacturing ($723m), wholesale ($547m) and retail ($550m), which made up over 80% of this remaining income from sale of waste products. In 2009-10, nearly two-thirds (63% or $2,870m) of the total value of waste products supplied to the economy were consumed domestically with the remainder exported. Of those recyclable/recoverable materials exported, metal was the most valuable material ($1,356m).
GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS
All estimates of direct GHG emissions contained in this publication are recorded on a SEEA basis (i.e. on a residence basis). The residence basis differs from the territory basis underpinning estimates of GHG emissions produced according to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Total direct GHG emissions measured on a SEEA basis fell in every year from 2007-08 to 2010-11. In total, GHG emissions fell from 596.3 Mt of CO2 equivalents GHG in 2007-08 to 574.9 Mt in 2010-11, a fall of 3.6%. This fall can be largely attributed to the agriculture industry which recorded a fall in emissions of 25.4 Mt (or 19.8%) between 2007-08 (128.4 Mt) and 2010-11 (103.0 Mt). The electricity, gas, water and waste services industry also recorded a reduction in GHG emissions from 209.9 Mt in 2007-08 to 204.6 Mt in 2010-11 (i.e. a fall of 5.3 Mt or 2.5%), otherwise most industries recorded small increases in the production of GHG emissions for this period.
In 2010-11, the most significant contributor to direct GHG emissions was the electricity, gas, water and waste services industry with 204.6 Mt or 35.6% of total direct GHG emissions recorded on a SEEA basis. Other significant contributors were agriculture, forestry and fishing with 103.0 Mt of direct GHG emissions (17.9% of total); manufacturing (71.6 Mt, or 12.5%); and mining (68.5 Mt, or 11.9%). Households generated 52.7 Mt or 9.2% of direct GHG emissions in 2010-11.
DIRECT GHG EMISSIONS, Percentage contribution to total by selected industries and housholds, 2010-11
In 2011-12 Australian governments levied environmental taxes of $27.7b, an increase of 6% or $1.75b over the previous year. In 2011-12 these taxes comprised 7% of total Australian tax revenue and were equivalent to 2% of GDP. Environmental taxes expressed as a proportion of GDP decreased gradually over the eight years to 2010-11; however, this trend was reversed between 2010-11 and 2011-12 when the ratio increased from 1.8% to 2%. Note that the Carbon Pricing Mechanism ('carbon tax') came into operation on 1 July 2012 and therefore the 2011-12 data presented here pre-date the introduction of the carbon tax.
Environmental taxes by type of tax
The most significant environmental tax in Australia is the excise duty on crude oil, LPG and petroleum products, accounting for 61% of total environmental taxes in 2011-12 (down from 63% in 2010-11 and 71% in 2003-04). Between 2010-11 and 2011-12 environmental taxes related to crude oil, LPG and petroleum products increased from $16,305m to 16,925m (an increase of 4% or $620m).
Between 2010-11 and 2011-12 Renewable energy certificates (RECs) experienced the greatest percentage rise among all environmental taxes, increasing 78% or $683m. Renewable energy targets (RETs) create a legal requirement for liable entities (typically electricity retailers) to purchase a set number of RECs and the observed increase in RECs is driven by changes to the schedule of RETs.
Environmental taxes paid by industry and households
The share of total environmental taxes paid by households was 30% in 2011-12, down from 36% in 2003-04. The amount of environmental taxes paid by households increased from $7,913m in 2010-11 to $8,423m in 2011-12 (an increase of 6%).
The manufacturing industry paid more environmental taxes than any other industry in 2011-12, contributing $5,308m or 19% of all environmental taxes paid. The commercial and services industry paid the next highest amount in 2011-12 with $4,523m or 16% of total environmental taxes followed by transport ($3,351m or 12%), electricity, gas and water supply ($2,070m or 7%), mining ($1,653m or 6%), construction ($1,241m or 4%) and agriculture ($910m or 3%). Between 2003-04 and 2011-12 the share of environmental taxes paid by the manufacturing industry fell from 25% to 19%. In contrast, the electricity, gas and water supply industry increased its share of environmental taxes paid during this period from 1% to 7%. The share paid by all other industries remained relatively constant over the period.
Environmental taxes paid by the electricity, gas and water supply industry increased 52% between 2010-11 and 2011-12, the largest increase for any industry across this period. Since 2003-04 environmental taxes paid by this industry have increased by 614%. This increase is largely attributable to the growth of renewable energy certificates; a tax which is paid mostly by the energy, gas and water supply industry (98%). Between 2003-04 and 2011-12 significant increases in environmental taxes paid were also recorded for the mining (91% or $788m) and construction (240% or $876m) industries.
Experimental land cover accounts have been compiled for Australia for the periods January 2001 to December 2002 and January 2010 to December 2011 using Geoscience Australia's Dynamic Land Cover, beta version (DLCv2). The main landcover categories of this dataset have been collapsed to facilitate presentation. A 10 year time interval was selected as the rate of change in land cover is slow and because the supporting data set remains in a testing phase. As such the information should be interpreted cautiously and with reference to the data custodians Geoscience Australia.
The map below presents land cover for the period January 2010 to December 2011, while the figure shows the changes between the periods January 2001 to December 2002 and January 2010 to December 2011. The total land area of Australia is approximately 7.7m km2. Herbaceous cover was the most abundant land cover in Australia in 2010-11 accounting for 3.6m km2 or 47% of all land cover, followed by Woody trees with 2.1m km2 or 28% and Woody-shrubs with 1.2m km2 or 15%. Irrigated or rainfed cultivated land together represented 0.6m km2 or 8% of all land cover in January 2010 to December 2011. There was little change in the area of irrigated or rainfed cultivated land between January 2001 to December 2002 and January 2010 to December 2011. Woody-shrubs showed the greatest absolute increase between January 2001 to December 2002 and January 2010 to December 2011, growing by 0.4m km2, while the area of Wetlands increased by 85% or from 18,159 to 33,360 km2.
Changes in land cover have many potential drivers, including human activities and natural phenomena. The DLCv2 data presented here summarises many observations of the Earth's surface to provide a single dominant land cover class for each of the two year periods selected. There will be some level of land cover change within and between each two year layer of DLCv2 caused by various drivers. This intra-period and inter-period variation should be considered when interpreting the changes reported between the periods January 2001 to December 2002 and January 2010 to December 2011. Examples of human activities that drive land cover change include urban development, crop and pasture management and industrial activity. Natural drivers of land cover change include flood events, bushfires and seasonal climatic variation. Attribution of specific causes to observed land cover change requires additional information.
1 The intensity indicators presented in this publication are described in the Glossary. <back
2 Productivity Commission, 2006, Inquiry Report No. 38. <back
3 Economically demonstrated resources (EDR) is used to measure the physical extent of a given resource. EDR is a measure of the resources that are established, analytically demonstrated or assumed with reasonable certainty to be profitable for extraction or production under defined investment assumptions. Classifying a mineral resource as EDR reflects a high degree of certainty as to the size and quality of the resource and its economic viability. <back
4 Geoscience Australia – Trends in Australia's Economic Demonstrated Resources of Major Mineral Commodities http://www.ga.gov.au/products–services/publications/aimr/trends.html. <back
5 The Snowden group newsletter, September 2013: Commodity spotlight: Bauxite. http://www.snowdengroup.com/news/newsletters/september–2013/commodity–spotlight–bauxite. <back
6 Geoscience Australia – Trends in Australia's Economic Demonstrated Resources of Major Mineral Commodities http://www.ga.gov.au/products–services/publications/aimr/trends.html <back
7 Table 5 of Australian System of National Accounts, 2012–13 (cat. no. 5204.0). <back
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