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Why Report

Legislative requirements for the preparation of the SOER is prescribed under section 112 of the Environment Protection Act 1993 (EP Act)

Legislative requirements for State of Environment Reporting under the Environment Protection Act 1993 in South Australia

Purpose of Reporting

Good-quality, up-to-date information is needed to enable us to effectively manage and protect our environment. This includes the condition of our natural assets, trends in condition over time, causes of environmental change and the effectiveness of management responses to those changes.

We can't fix it if we don't know what is impacting it.

A number of respondents on the 2023 SOER YourSAy page indicated that they thought some people had a lack of understanding and awareness of environmental issues and that better education was required. Reporting provides information to various stakeholders on how we can all better-protect the environment and, therefore, can be used as an educational tool. The SOER provides examples of key pressures that are impacting our environment and what is being done or could be done to address these issues. State government can help support the provision of tools and mechanisms for environmental protection and improvement. However, we all have a role to play in taking action, making a commitment and collaborating to achieve this goal.

We can all make small changes that lead to a big difference in achieving the best environmental outcomes for the state we’re in.


The EPA Board is responsible for the delivery of the SOER to the Minister with the assistance of agency staff and key stakeholders. The development of the report was supported by a Project Board appointed by the Chief Executive of the EPA. The purpose of the Board was to provide strategic direction to inform the report’s content. This included the framework of the Summary Report and key recommendations and issues that have been presented to the Minister for Climate, Environment and Water. An interagency project team was also formed and included staff from the Department for Environment and Water (DEW) who were responsible for preparing South Australia’s environmental trend and condition report cards 2023, form an integral part of the SOER.

Membership of the 2023 SOER Project Board consisted of the following people:



Mr Keith BaldryProject Executive, EPA

Ms Sandy Carruthers

Executive Director, Strategy, Science and Corporate Services, DEW
Dr Stephen ChristleyEPA Board Member
Professor Chris DanielsChair, Green Adelaide; Adjunct Professor at UniSA and the University of Adelaide
Dr Jon GorvettChair SOER 2023 Project Board (as Chief Executive EPA)
Ms Tara IngersonProject Manager SOER 2023, EPA
Mr Rob KerinChair, Regional Development Australia (South Australia)
Mr Ian LiddyProject Officer, Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, Attorney-General's Department
Mr Andrew SolomonProject Officer, SOER 2023, EPA
Mr Craig WilkinsChief Executive, Conservation Council SA
Meeting of the SOER Project Board (Around the table: Around the table left: Sandy Carruthers (DEW Executive Director, Strategy, Science and Corporate Services), Dr Stephen Christley (EPA Board member), Keith Baldry (A/Chief Executive EPA), Rob Kerin (Chair Regional Development South Australia), Tara Ingerson (Project Manager SOER 2023, EPA), Andrew Solomon (Aboriginal Engagement and Science Officer, EPA), Tobias Hills (A/Project Executive EPA), Craig Wilkins (Chief Executive, Conservation Council SA), Professor Chris Daniels (Chair, Green Adelaide), and Ian Liddy (Project Officer, Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation)

Future Reporting

Environmental reporting is undertaken by a number of South Australian Government agencies, including DEW, Landscape Boards and the EPA. In addition, State of the Environment Reporting is also undertaken at a national level, which includes state-based information.

A continuing issue that has been raised by recommendations in previous SOERs has been the lack of data and information for some environmental aspects and the limited reliability of current data in other cases. In addition, the need for better integration of environmental reporting and the consistent collection of data across government has also been raised. DEW’s expansion of its trend and condition reporting has been a response to this challenge, and it is implementing further measures to address this. However, this is still a significant issue for South Australia, making it difficult to prioritise where environmental investments are to be targeted and assess the effectiveness of programs aimed at protecting and restoring environmental condition. It is recognised that further improvements in environmental reporting need to be made to better incorporate the views of Aboriginal peoples, further integrate with reporting undertaken by DEW and Landscape Boards, and align with national reporting frameworks.

There is also some uncertainty regarding the desired targets for the condition of the state’s environmental assets, that is, what we are measuring against and what the desired environmental condition is that we are seeking to achieve. It would be preferable to identify what success looks like and continually evaluate the effectiveness of policies and programs to ensure they are meeting the desired aims. This will help inform future statewide and regional priorities, and strategic planning.

A National Strategy and Action Plan was released by the Australian Government in 2018 to develop a common national approach for environmental reporting, which adopted environmental economic accounting. This principle was agreed to by all environment ministers across Australia in 2017. The Plan recognises many benefits that a consolidated approach to environmental reporting would bring to support environmental decision-making.

Therefore, environmental reporting for South Australia needs to be reviewed to improve and refine information that measures progress in responding to key environmental issues and to link indicators to the health and wellbeing of the community and the environment. Potential options for improvement may include:

  • Providing a road map that outlines future reporting processes to monitor and report on South Australia’s natural assets.
  • Broadening the context for environmental reporting that incorporates indicators that link the environment to health, wellbeing and liveability in Greater Adelaide and regionally. This may include adopting other reporting frameworks such as natural capital accounting, including Environmental Economic Accounting, data visualisation tools and interactive reporting, and provision of real-time data. This will help inform the assessment of impacts and benefits from policy responses and support South Australia in keeping pace with national harmonisation of environmental accounting and reporting. Other frameworks that may be considered include reporting against ecosystem services, planetary boundaries and/or sustainable development goals that would help inform the selection of indicators and triggers for action.
  • A statewide approach for monitoring to ensure consistency in collecting data that can be used for reporting on environmental condition at different time and spatial scales.
  • Ensuring that indicators and data collection identify whether government programs are achieving the desired environmental outcomes.
  • Improving capacity to collect/collate reliable and consistent data from various sources to assess and report on environmental trend and condition. This will help better inform state and federal government decisions for environmental protection and restoration at the landscape, regional or state scale.
  • Aligning with national and international monitoring and reporting frameworks to enable consolidation and comparison of environmental data and the condition and trend of our environmental assets.
  • Building meaningful relationships with Aboriginal peoples to incorporate their values, knowledge and expertise regarding trend and condition of the environment and associated responses.
  • Ensuring that recommendations identified in the SOER are followed by actions for implementation, with clear roles and timeframes for delivering these recommendations.
  • Reviewing reporting requirements in relevant legislation to ensure they are fit for purpose and have a clear role in the protection and restoration of our environment.