The Minister for the Environment is required, under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, to table a report in Parliament every 5 years on the state of the Australian environment, including that of the Australian Antarctic Territory.

The Minister appoints an independent committee of experts to produce the report. In 2011, the committee adopted the international DPSIR Framework (Driving Forces-Pressures-State-Impacts-Responses) for the data capture, syntheses and discussions for each topic. This included the production of ‘report cards’ where status and trends were rated according to the quality of the data.

The State of the Environment 2016 report covers the following topics:

  • Atmosphere
  • Built environment
  • Heritage
  • Biodiversity
  • Land
  • Inland water
  • Coasts
  • Marine environment
  • Antarctic environment

The chapter on the Antarctic environment, included for the first time in 2006, covers a wide range of topics, such as the global importance of Antarctica, the state and trends of the living and physical environments, heritage values and a number of operational indicators. It also discusses the pressures acting on Antarctica at present, and the effectiveness of management.

The Australian Antarctic Division monitors and reports on a number of issues in the Antarctic environment through its online System for Indicator Management and Reporting (SIMR).