Australia's National Framework for Environmental Management Systems in Agriculture

An environmental management system (EMS) is a systematic approach that can be used by any enterprise or organisation to continuously improve its business management to achieve efficiencies and better environmental outcomes. The adoption of formal EMS in agriculture is relatively new, so Ministers for Agriculture and Natural Resources across Australia have taken the initiative to develop a National Framework for EMS in Australian agriculture. Its purpose is to provide a context and a common level of understanding for the adoption of environmental management systems in agriculture, recognising that the details and content of an EMS will be determined by the individual business.

The National Framework provides a set of principles that describe the broad parameters needed to achieve consistency and acceptance across the agricultural sector. It also describes the relationships and roles of the range of participants in environmental management in agriculture — including landholders, industry groups, community groups, and governments at the local, State and national scale.

Most importantly, the Framework emphasises that the adoption of an EMS by a business is voluntary and that the roles of government and industry groups are to facilitate the provision of information and assistance.

National Framework for EMS in Agriculture has been developed by a national EMS Working Group with significant input from government, industry and the community through a public consultation phase, targeted workshops and the involvement of the national Industry/Community EMS Steering Committee. The Working Group members are to be commended on their thorough consultative process, including input from New Zealand and other overseas experiences. They have delivered a valuable national framework and progressed the national approach to EMS in agriculture.

The National Framework has been endorsed by the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council, which will now oversee its use in supporting and coordinating the voluntary adoption of EMS in Australian agriculture.

Australia’s National Framework for Environmental Management Systems in Agriculture msword Word [1.2mb] PDF Icon PDF [513kb]

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