Bowrey, G., Australian Commonwealth public sector environmental reporting in a new public managerialism environment, School of Accounting & Finance, University of Wollongong, Working Paper 3, 2008.
The environmental impact of organisations operations on the environment has come under significantly increased public awareness, over the past two decades. Even so, most organisations in Australia are not required by regulation to report on the impact of their organisations on the environment. Some organisations have been voluntarily providing reports to varying degrees on their environmental performance and management, however the only legislated environmental reporting requirement for private sector organisations in Australia is to report breaches of environmental laws and licences in their annual reports (Section 299(1) Corporations Act 2001). In the public sector the situation is slightly different. The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act 1999), enacted in 1999, requires federal (Commonwealth) government organisations to include in their annual reports a section detailing the environmental performance of and environmental management in their organisation as well as the organisation’s contribution to the nation’s ecologically sustainable development. This paper argues that the adherence [and lack of] to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 reporting requirements by Commonwealth organisations, including Commonwealth Agencies, Commonwealth Statutory Authorities and Commonwealth Companies, can be explained by the sector’s recent reforms influenced by the pervasive new public managerialism (NPM) mentality within the sector. The paper will also introduce the new concept of NPM reporting paradox.