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The program

Essential Environmental Measures for Australia is an Australian government program that brings experts together to:

  • identify measures that are essential for tracking change in the state of our environment and
  • improve the availability of measure-related data.

The program will contribute to a stronger information base to understand our environment, how it is changing and how human activities are affecting it.

What will the program deliver ?

Essential environmental measures: A measure is a quantifiable aspect of the environment that is key to tracking change in the state of the environment. For example, measures of climate may include rainfall, temperature, wind speed and direction, or sea surface temperature. Measures help us to prioritise where we should collect new data and where we should improve the availability of existing data.

Improved data availability: The program facilitates groups of stakeholders to make existing measure-related data more findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR). These data improvement activities are guided by the National Principles for Environmental Information. Program outputs build-on existing initiatives where possible and may include open access data streams or standards for collecting and sharing data.

What are the benefits of the program ?

The program provides a national framework to inform environmental information activities across government, academia and industry. By facilitating the re-use of essential environmental data, the program helps:

  • maximise the value of investment in environmental data,
  • stimulate research and innovation, and
  • strengthen the environmental information base available to all Australians.

Improving the availability of essential environmental data supports a wide range of analysis, reporting and decision making needs, including the national State of the Environment report and environmental-economic accounts (refers Figure 1 below).

How is the program delivered ?

The program works with networks of stakeholders across the environmental information community, including the Australian Government, state governments, universities and research facilities. Working groups identify essential environmental measures in their area of expertise and identify opportunities to make measure-related data more findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR). These efforts make data more available for analysis, reporting and decision making.

The Essential Environmental Measures program operates according to the following principles:

Collaborative: Invite stakeholder communities to work with the program towards mutually beneficial outcomes.

Pragmatic: Build-on existing activities and momentum where possible.

Flexible: Adapt the program approach to suit different stakeholder communities.

Transparent: Openly share program aims, processes and outcomes.

Enduring: Adopt a long-term outlook and approach



The Essential Environmental Measures program makes data available for a wide range of analysis, reporting and decision making needs.
Figure 1: The Information Supply Chain

Image at top of page: View across North Beach, Lord Howe Island Group (World Heritage Listed site). Copyright Department of the Environment and Energy. All rights reserved.