Every five years, a national State of the Environment Report is tabled in Parliament by the Federal Minister for the Environment. The report summarises the condition, pressures, pressure-drivers and management approaches relevant to nine categories of the environment, from the atmosphere to the coasts. The next report will be State of the Environment 2016.
As well as providing accurate and timely public information, the report underpins policy and management decision making for sustainable use and effective conservation. Efficient, transparent environmental assessment is central to the reporting process, but the underlying observation data streams vary in quality, availability and origin, and no standard process exists for bringing them together.
This project will provide a foundation for improving marine State of Environment reporting by assessing ways of integrating disparate data sources. It will characterise their ‘representativeness’ and develop protocols for merging data streams of varying quality, including low quality data such as ‘expert beliefs’.
The systematic approach will remain relevant even as the quality and quantity of environmental data changes, thereby ensuring the consistency of analysis and reporting. It will build confidence in the reporting process and product, increasing its influence and value to policy makers and the public.