In 2003, the first Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability was appointed after the Victorian Parliament passed the Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability Act.
The Commissioner's role is to provide independent and objective reporting to inform policy-makers, scientists and the wider Victorian public on the state’s natural environment.
According to the Act, the Commissioner's role is to:
- review and report on the condition of Victoria’s environment
- encourage decision making that facilitates ecologically sustainable development
- enhance knowledge and understanding of issues relating to ecologically sustainable development and the environment, and
- encourage Victorian and local governments to adopt sound environmental practices and procedures.
The Commissioner does this by:
- preparing the five-yearly State of the Environment Report
- providing comprehensive Annual Reports
- undertaking annual Strategic Audit Reports of the implementation of environmental management systems by mandated Victorian Government agencies, and
- working and consulting with all sectors of the Victorian community.
Specific environmental incidents or situations are managed and reviewed by either the Environment Protection Authority, Victoria or the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning or other appropriate government agency. The Commissioner can be directed by the Minister according to section 10 of the Act.
Our work with the Minister
The Commissioner provides advice to the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Hon Lily D’Ambrosio MP and prepares reports according to the Act.
By approval of the Minister, the Commissioner will:
- create a framework for the five-yearly State of the Environment Report
- appoint committees for the purpose of providing advice to the Commissioner, and
- establish a Reference Group for the purpose of providing advice to the Commissioner in respect of the performance of the functions of the Commissioner.
Commissioner's Reference Group
The Commissioner's Reference Group provides advice and support to the Commissioner. The Reference Group is comprised of non-government members, identified and invited by the Commissioner, with a range of interests and expertise, including youth affairs, environmental consultants, academics, industry, primary industries and older Victorians' concerns.