Staff at all levels within the University have responsibilities for minimising environmental harm.

These responsibilities are principally based on the Environmental Protection Act (1994) (QLD) and related legislation. The University's Sustainability Policy and Environmental Management Policy further reinforce these responsibilities.

Executive Officers

The Environmental Protection Act (1994) (QLD) includes an Executive Officer Liability (Section 493).
 
UQ’s executive must ensure UQ complies with the Act and all subordinate legislation. If the corporation commits an offence, the executive officers are deemed to have committed the same offense (maximum penalty – 5 years imprisonment and $312,375 personal fine).  In practice, this means a supervisor must ensure that the staff (or contractors) they are responsible for are able to undertake their duties without breaching the Environmental Protection Act.
 
Defences to the Executive Officer Liability are:
  • The executive took all reasonable steps to ensure compliance, or
  • The executive was not in a position to influence the conduct of the corporation.
Taking “reasonable steps” to ensure compliance includes:   
  • Being familiar with all environmental aspects of UQ’s operations.
  • Identifying members on staff with responsibility for environmental management.
  • Preparing, implementing and supporting an Environmental Management System that addresses all regulatory requirements and risks.
  • Keeping abreast of changes and developments in policy and legal requirements.
  • Demonstrating and communicating responsibility to employees and the public.
  • Ensuring staff are adequately trained and resourced to undertake their duties.
  • Exercising control over the actions of contractors.
  • Keeping adequate records to demonstrate compliance.
To assist executives meet their responsibilities, UQ currently has:
In practice, the UQ executive must:
  • Ensure their managers are adequately trained and resourced to undertake their duties, minimising the risk of environmental harm.
  • Ensure their managers are aware of the EMS and the applicable procedures.
  • Consider environmental issues in making operational decisions.
  • Assist and support the University central administration with National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting
 

National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (NGER)

The University of Queensland is required to annually report energy consumption and production and greenhouse gas emissions to the Australian Government under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act.

Heads of Schools and Organisational Units

Heads of Schools and Organisational Units, Managers and Supervisors are to implement and maintain, within the School/Organisational/Operational Unit, an effective system of environmental management consistent with the Environmental Protection Act and other legislative requirements. 

To assist, UQ currently has: 

These require Heads of Schools and Organisational Units, Managers and Supervisors to:

  • Implement the UQ Environmental Management Policy and Environmental Management System (EMS) within the Organisational/Operational Unit.
  • Ensure the provision of induction and refresher training and that staff are trained in their environmental responsibilities as applicable to their work.

Identifying and Managing Environmental Impacts

All UQ Faculties, Schools, Centres and Administrative Units are asked to assess activities in their area that may impact on the environment.  To date, we have identified activities such as air quality, energy consumption, construction, noise, waste management and water usage.

If you become aware of an item that requires attention, you should notify the Sustainability Office, Property and Facilities immediately.

National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (NGER)

The University of Queensland is required to annually report energy consumption and production and greenhouse gas emissions to the Australian Government under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act.

Individual Staff and Students

All staff and students have a responsibility to comply with environmental legislation as well as environmental policy and procedures developed by the University, School or Organisational Unit. 

Notwithstanding the responsibilities below, numerous UQ staff and students will carry other responsibilities, namely:

  • Executive
  • Heads of Schools and Organisational Units, Managers and Supervisors.
  • Property and Facilities Division Staff.
  • Environmental Services, Property and Facilities Division Staff.

General Environmental Duty

Under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (Qld), everybody has a general environmental duty (section 319).  You must be aware of the activities you undertake that may impact on the environment. For example, you must know how to correctly dispose of hazardous materials. 

Duty to notify

If you become aware of environmental harm being caused (or possibly being caused), you have a duty to report that harm under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (Qld) (section 320). If you fail to report environmental harm it is an offence and you can be prosecuted.

General environmental duty and duty to notify of environmental harm

Staff and students should:

Online Sustainability Training covers UQ's environmental policies and procedures as well as workers' individual responsibilities.  There are also a number of sustainability programs for staff and students at UQ.

IF SOMETHING DOES GO WRONG and there is an environmental incident:

Initially Contact Security on Ext 53333 and follow all instructions.

Try to minimise harm if safe to do so.

After the incident, contact Manager Sustainability, Sustainability Office, Property and Facilities to complete the incident investigation process. (Ext 51587, Email: s.green@pf.uq.edu.au

Note: Some Schools/Centres may appoint a specific person that staff and students can report environmental incidents to.  This person should then contact Security on Ext 53333 and/or the Manager Sustainability on Ext 51587.

National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (NGER)

The University of Queensland is required to annually report energy consumption and production and greenhouse gas emissions to the Australian Government under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act.

 

P&F Sustainability Office

Sustainability Office, Property and Facilities Division:

  • Manages the University's central environmental responsibilities, including the Environmental Management System
  • Provides a range of support, and advisory services to the University community to assist meeting their individual and corporate environmental responsibilities.
  • Promotes best environmental practice at UQ. 
  • Manages the environmental risk of the Property and Facilities Division.

Key activities include:


Environmental Legal Management

For central or corporate University operations and Property and Facilities operations, Sustainability Office undertakes:

  • Identification of environmental regulatory requirements and university operations requiring controls.
  • Application for Legal Permits, Approvals and Other Legal Requirements.
  • Management of Licences, Permits, Approvals and/or Other Legal Requirements.
  • Management of Legal Breaches.
  • Reviews/Audits of Approval/Permit Conditions.
  • Water Efficiency management Plans.
  • National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting.

Environmental Management Systems 

Within the existing structure of the UQ EMS, the Sustainability Office undertakes:

Environmental Audit Program 

The operation of the Environmental Management System is regularly checked through audits. EMS Audits are conducted in UQ areas that primarily work with hazardous materials to assess whether UQ environmental procedures are being followed.  

An EMS Audit Report is produced and presented to the area audited. Areas audited are asked to complete the EMS Audit form detailing how they will address any issues that were identified in the audit.

Environmental Consultancy for the University

The Sustainability Office will assist the University Community to meet their environmental responsibilities through:

  • Advice regarding the application of UQ environmental policies and procedures.
  • Conducting environmental audits.
  • Undertaking, or requiring feasibility studies.
  • Developing policy. 
  • Managing centrally developed and delivered environmental projects.
  • Design review of capital projects.
  • Technical advice and general consultancy reports on referred issues, practices and procedures.

 

Property and Facilities Division

Property and Facilities Division is responsible for delivering comprehensive facilities management services to support the University’s sustainability goals, Environmental Management System and legislative requirements. This includes:

  • Incorporating sustainable design into construction, refurbishment and maintenance works.
  • Providing recycling and waste management facilities.
  • Maintaining gardens, lakes and landscaped areas.
  • Weed and pest control.
  • Environmental emergency response.

Attaining and managing development approvals and other environmental licences for central operational issues as required under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (Qld).