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EMS – Making it Work for the Sustainable Management of the Defence Estate

Juliet Woodward

Sinclair Knight Merz Ltd Email


Sinclair Knight Merz has worked with the Department of Defence to implement The Defence Environmental Management System (EMS) at Victoria Barracks - Paddington, HMAS Penguin, HMAS Waterhen, Garden Island and HMAS Watson. Under the Defence EMS, environmental management processes are developed and implemented at Defence sites to meet Defence’s environmental policy objectives. Defence’s robust policy on EMS implementation allow these processes to be tailored to the specific needs of the individual site.

The primary focus of the project was to facilitate further implementation of the existing site-based EMS processes as well as to enhance environmental performance at Defence sites in the Sydney Central region. The project also provided an opportunity to address any strategic changes in the Defence environmental policy and key recommendations from previous EMS management reviews. SKM, working with Defence’s regional environmental staff, developed recommendations for a “refresh” of the EMS using a risk management based approach. Opportunities to streamline the EMS processes at the five sites were identified and an innovative regional framework was implemented. The benefit of simplifying documentation across the region to minimise duplication, and the application of a consistent format for risk data and other EMS records was applied. This regional methodology has been applied successfully through the development of an intranet based system that can be accessed by all relevant Defence personnel and follows a three tier approach with different elements, reflective of the EMS implementation at a national, regional and site based level. An interactive roadmap of the EMS can be accessed for any of these Defence sites and provides links into existing web based processes that relate to the environmental management of facilities and operations. The on-line system allows ease of interaction, regular updating and longevity of the EMS.

The key learnings have been the value of an intranet based system that utilises existing business processes within a large and diverse national organisation. By changing the platform of the EMS a wider sphere of engagement and awareness has been achieved as well as a simplification of implementation of environmental management processes.

Key Words

Environmental management system, best practice, innovation, integration, intranet based EMS

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