Victoria's environmental assets are fundamental to the Victorian economy and society. A healthy environment has unique intrinsic values, and contributes to the State's liveability and sustainability by providing clean water and air, and habitats for species, as well as being the basis for many Victorian regional industries such as agriculture and tourism.
The benefits provided by a healthy environment are inadequately captured by traditional measures of progress, such as gross domestic product or employment growth. Nor do these measures take into account the state of environmental assets and our reliance on them.
In 2012, the United Nations launched a new environmental accounting system that is being adopted by us, as a framework for linking the quantity and quality of environmental assets to related socio-economic benefits.
The System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) is an internationally accepted standard, with a set of accounting principles that can help recognise the interdependence of societies, economies and the environment.
We are developing accounting applications based on the SEEA framework to provide better, integrated and more consistent information and analysis on our environmental assets in Victoria – information about which assets have been depleted or lost, which are declining in condition, and how the health of these assets affects our well-being as a society.
This framework will support government policy, planning and investment decisions affecting the environment. It will also strengthen the ability of local government, business, not-for-profit and community stakeholders to recognise benefits of protecting and investing in the environment.
For further information please contact Environmental-Economic Accounts at EEA@delwp.vic.gov.au.
Publications and further information
Frequently asked questions
What is Environmental-Economic Accounting?
Environmental-Economic accounting is an integrating framework to report on the inventory of environmental assets and the services they provide in our society and economy over time, along with transactions involving spending on the environment.
How does it work?
Through measurement and valuation, the SEEA helps to compile and produce information, records and/or statistics on the environment, with a focus on biophysical information to produce consistent and comparable information on ecosystem assets and natural resources and the benefit they provide.
What will it provide?
The integrated framework provides a coherent and consistent set of information regarding environmental, social and economic statistics to support and inform policy, planning and investment decisions affecting the environment. It also provides a robust approach to consider multiple benefits and trade-offs among alternative policies or management for decision making.
How will it help to protect biodiversity?
The Environmental-Economic Accounting valuation can provide quantification of the benefits derived from both markets and non-market goods or services (or costs or welfare losses from environmental degradation or depreciation) from ecosystem assets. This contributes to a better understanding of the benefits of diverse options for projects, conservation programs or environmental policies affecting biodiversity.
How will Environmental-Economic Accounting help improve measurement and tracking of the health of the natural environment?
The Environmental-Economic Accounting enables robust evidence based decision-making and involves work to maintain and advance our capabilities to assess the status of natural resources (extent and condition), their attributes and the impacts of human interventions for better policies and decision making to sustain long term healthy environment.