6 December 2006

Several UQ academics have made valuable contributions to the latest report card on Australia’s environmental health released today.

The State of the Environment (SoE) report, compiled every five years, gives a snapshot of the health of Australia’s atmosphere, biodiversity, coasts and oceans, human settlements, inland waters, land and natural and cultural heritage.

The SoE was released by Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell from Parliament House this morning.

UQ Associate Professor Robert Beeton from the School of Natural and Rural Systems Management, chaired the SoE Committee which prepared the report.

In his introductory speech Associate Professor Beeton said Australia still lacked accurate and consistent environmental data and should be building its capability to live with a variable climate.

He said there should be more recycling of water, energy, building materials and organic waste.

Associate Professor Beeton is an expert in environmental management and rural communities and has worked on the SoE in advisory and scientific roles since 1999.

He said the SoE was the most comprehensive yet with complete commentaries and explanations presented online.

UQ’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Michael Keniger was one of eight report reviewers who checked for accurate data, fair conclusions and overlooked issues.

As one of Queensland’s leading architects and the state’s former Chief Architect, Professor Keniger said he focused on the findings of human settlements, urban form and the effect of urban growth on the natural environment.

The SoE Committee also commissioned commentaries on seven SoE themes analysing trends, pressures and the effectiveness of responses to problems.

The Director of UQ’s Ecology Centre Professor Hugh Possingham reviewed the biodiversity commentary while UQ’s Rangelands Australia Director Professor John Taylor reviewed the land commentary.

The SoE report can be viewed at www.deh.gov.au/soe and Associate Professor Beeton’s speech here.

MEDIA: Associate Professor Beeton (0419 714 533), Jenny Boshier, Department of the Environment and Heritage (02 6274 2037), Miguel Holland at UQ Communications (07 3365 2619)