Introduction: This discussion paper responds to the growing demand for environmental expenditure information identified within environmental domains. The ABS has previously produced Environmental Protection Expenditure statistics, Environment Protection, Mining and Manufacturing Industries, Australia, 2000-01 (cat. no. 4603.0) and Environment Expenditure, Local Government, Australia, 2002-03 (cat. no. 4611.0). However, a scarcity of available information and data priorities which focussed on other areas, such as water and energy environmental-economic accounts, has meant that regular environmental expenditure accounts have not been produced.
The tables contained in this discussion paper are based on the United Nations System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) Central Framework for expenditure on environmental protection and natural resource management. The SEEA is an international statistical standard that the ABS uses to produce a range of environmental-economic accounts including the ABS Water Account, Australia (cat. no. 4610.0) and the ABS Energy Account, Australia (cat. no. 4604.0). More information about the ABS environmental-economic accounts programme and its relationship to the SEEA can be found in the ABS Information Paper: Towards the Australian Environmental-Economic Accounts, 2013 (cat. no. 4655.0.55.002).
Establishing accounts for environmental expenditure would identify and measure society’s response to environmental concerns through the supply and demand for environmental protection services and through the adoption of production and consumption behaviour aimed at preventing environmental degradation. An Environmental Expenditure Account (EEA) would provide information on the value of environmental protection specific services produced across the economy and on the expenditure of resident units on all services for environmental protection and natural resource management purposes.
As a first step, the ABS is seeking feedback on this discussion paper from stakeholders on how an EEA might be used by policy and research agencies and on any technical issues where readers have expertise. Feedback is also sought on the identification and accessibility of appropriate information and data sources for the accounts