Using the internet and other resources ask the class to do a survey on who in government is making decisions about air quality (teachers could select information from the list of websites provided below and give students a small selection to fill in a table).
Create a table for students to set out the level of government, government department/council, air quality issue being dealt with, policy made and the consequences evident (if any) of the policy:
Local Government decision-making
- Some local councils have air quality policies, whilst others do not. It is worthwhile to get students to look at the website of their local council or contact them by phone to determine if their local council has developed air quality policies or programs. The Department of Local Government (www.dlg.nsw.gov.au) provides a quick-find directory to all NSW council websites.
State Government decision-making
Environment Protection Authority (EPA)
Air quality issues are addressed by the EPA and a number of air policy documents illustrating decision-making. The administration of environmental protection laws can be found on the EPA website at www.epa.nsw.gov.au.
The EPA also prepares the State of the Environment Report which provides information about the current status of the main environmental issues and assists government environmental decision-making: www.epa.nsw.gov.au/soe
The EPA also does community consultation on policies which allows people to have their say: www.epa.nsw.gov.au/consult.
The NSW Government's website lists NSW Government agencies that are involved at state level decision-making: http://www.nsw.gov.au/environment.asp
Currently the State Government is also running the Our Environment-it's a Living Thing campaign which encourages the NSW community to become involved in environmental protection: www.livingthing.net.au.
Decision making at this level is also affected by various lobby groups such as the Total Environment Centre: www.tec.org.au which runs campaigns on Clean Air and Green Electricity (doing a search for 'air quality' will yield a lot of data).
Federal Government decision-making
Federal Government decision making on air quality occurs through various departments and agencies, in particular Environment Australia and The Australian Greenhouse Office. Other relevant Federal Government environment policies and programs can be found on the environmental portal: www.environment.gov.au
The CSIRO website, www.csiro.gov.au, provides information on atmospheric research funded by the Federal Government.
Another important federal decision-making body in the areas of environmental protection and natural resource management is the Environment Protection and Heritage Council (EPHC). The EPHC is a national body representing the interests of the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments and its website contains information about national air quality standards: www.ephc.gov.au.
Global decision-making on air quality involves primarily the issues of global warming/climate change and ozone depleting gas emissions. Environment summits have been organised by the United Nations Environment Programme starting with the Rio Summit in 1992 and most recently the Kyoto Summit in 1997.