The Net Zero in Government Operations Annual Progress Report presents an aggregated summary of non-corporate and corporate Commonwealth entity greenhouse gas emissions at a whole-of-Australian-Government level, as per the Net Zero in Government Operations Strategy.
As per the data collated during the 2022-23 emissions reporting period, non-corporate Commonwealth entities (92) and corporate Commonwealth entities (66) emitted an approximate total of 3,286,328 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (t CO2-e) emissions in financial year 2022-23. The single largest source of CO2-e emissions is from electricity consumption (1,370,454 t CO2-e).
About public reporting – Emissions from Australian Government operations
To support transparency, all non-corporate and corporate Commonwealth entities are required to report on emissions from their operations in Australia or Australia’s external territories, in annual reports from the 2022-23 financial year. This will be expanded to include reporting by Commonwealth companies from the 2023-24 financial year, providing a picture of emissions from operations across all Commonwealth entities and companies, and helping to prepare for the phased implementation of the Commonwealth Climate Disclosure initiative.
There are currently multiple approaches to reporting emissions. While each has merits, none are entirely fit-for-purpose when applied in context of reporting on emissions from Australian Government operations. The Department of Finance, supported by the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water, has developed an emissions reporting framework including tools and guidance to support entities in measuring and reporting on the emissions from their operational activities. This framework is detailed in the Net Zero in Government Operations Strategy.
In addition to entity annual reports, the Department of Finance will aggregate the emissions data and publish a whole-of-Australian-Government Annual Progress Report.
Data reported in the Annual Progress Report for 2022-23 will form an initial baseline for emissions associated with electricity, natural gas, fleet vehicles, domestic flights and other energy. Future publications will track progress towards the APS Net Zero by 2030 target.
The Department of Finance has published an update to RMG 135 (annual reports for non-corporate Commonwealth entities) and RMG 136 (annual reports for corporate Commonwealth entities). This guidance outlines the minimum annual reporting requirements related to the Net Zero in government Operations Strategy.
The relevant section on APS Net Zero 2030 within each RMG can be found by expanding the section under Other legislative requirements titled Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
Emissions sources for public reporting
The initial focus of public reporting in 2022-23 was on emissions associated with electricity, natural gas, fleet vehicles, domestic flights, and other energy. This will be expanded in 2023-24 to include emissions associated with refrigerants, waste disposal and treatment, employee domestic business travel (non-air) and accommodation.
Focusing on these emissions sources allowed for reporting across scope 1 emissions (emissions from sources owned or controlled by government), and scope 2 emissions (those emissions related to purchased energy), and selected scope 3 emissions. The emissions reporting framework may expand over time to include additional material emissions sources as data quality and methodology improves.
Implementation of the emissions reporting framework will involve a continuous improvement cycle in public reporting as time goes on. This provides an opportunity to help rebuild capability across the APS to measure, report and reduce emissions.