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Managing Australia's Environment

Managing Australia's Environment

Edited by Stephen Dovers and Su Wild River


Managing Australia's Environment is a report card of unprecedented scope, examining Australia's resource and environmental management institutions and policies against the requirements of ecologically sustainable development. The contributors engage with policy, management and legal issues at all levels of government, across a diverse range of sectors including forests, oceans, the arid zone, water, regional development, the Indigenous domain and environmental protection. The result is a rich source of recommendations for purposeful and adaptive policy and institutional responses to the great challenge of sustainability.

Managing Australia's Environment is written by leading researchers and practitioners, including: Ian Lowe; Robyn Eckersley; Tim Bonyhady; Clive Hamilton; Ronnie Harding; Gerry Bates; Stephen Dovers; John Dore; Sarah Ewing; Mark Stafford-Smith.


I. Introduction

Processes and institutions for resource and environmental management: why and how to analyse
Stephen Dovers

II. Sectoral Studies

Rangeland institutions over time and space
Mark Stafford Smith and Nick Abel
The ocean and marine realm
Marcus Haward
Water resources management
Dingle Smith
National Forest Policy and Regional Forest Agreements
Catherine Mobbs

III. Processes and Institutions

The Resource Assessment Commission: lessons in the venality of modern politics
Clive Hamilton
Discrete, consultative policy processes: lessons from the National Conservation Strategy for Australia and National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development
Stephen Dovers
Sustainable regional development: lessons from Australian efforts
John Dore, Jim Woodhill, Kate Andrews and Colma Keating
Informing ESD: state of environment reporting
Ronnie Harding and Denise Traynor

IV. Managing, regulating and motivating

Straddling boundaries: inter-governmental arrangements for managing natural resources
Peter Crabb
Legal perspectives
Gerry Bates
EPAs - orphan agencies of environmental protection
Peter Christoff
Parliamentary and intergovernmental processes
Brett Odgers
Local government
Su Wild River
Marketisation in Australian freshwater and fisheries management regimes
Jennifer McKay

V. People, policy and programs

Catchment management arrangements
Sarah Ewing
Institutions and processes for resource and environmental management in the Indigenous domain
Kim Orchard, Helen Ross and Elspeth Young
The Landcare experience
Allan Curtis

VI. Perspectives and synthesis

The disappointment of the law
Tim Bonyhady
Science, research and policy
Ian Lowe
Politics and policy
Robyn Eckersley
Economic policy and sustainable use of natural resources
Warren Musgrave and Onko Kingma
Reflecting on three decades: a synthesis
Stephen Dovers


Due to its academic complexity, this book would be of limited use in a school situation. However, I did find several aspects useful from a VCE Unit 3 perspective. The text’s main focus is on sustainability – ecologically sustainable development (ESD) – and the need to integrate policies across social, economic and environmental fields as well as institutions. To link the diverse subject matter of the text, common themes are identified.
These themes centre on five core principles: persistence, purposefulness, information-richness and sensitivity, inclusiveness and flexibility. They are used in the various chapters to evaluate the policies being discussed. I found this particularly interesting in view of Outcome 3 in Unit 3. In addition, there is some useful data representation … This book, particularly the earlier chapters, may be a useful teacher reference.

Interaction (Vic Geography Teachers Assocn), Vol 32(2), June 2004

In my view it is those chapters that grasp the opportunity to go beyond the adaptive management framework by either using it to draw generalisations or relate it to other areas of social and economic theory that stand out.
Mobbs, for example, explores the rationalities, or worldviews, that underlay, and eventually clashed in, the Regional Forest Assessment process. Dore et al, couch their analysis of principles for sustainable regional development in the context of global and national social and political trends and shifting understandings of the meanings of regions, regionalism and regionalisation. McKay takes a critical look at the manner in which property rights in water have been defined; the dearth of information informing current approaches to the marketisation of water management; and the need to recognise that marketisation is not in itself sufficient to generate sustainable outcomes. The concluding chapter by Dovers raises a range of themes, including power and the definition of ‘resources’, that emerged from the preceding chapters but which unfortunately, did not receive the same systematic treatment as the principles of adaptive management. These are by no means the only well written and insightful chapters.
Given the size and scope of Managing Australia’s Environment, almost any reader with an interest in environmental management should be able to find something of relevance.

Stewart Lockie, Rural Society, Vol 14 No 1


Published March 2003
Publisher The Federation Press
ISBN 9781862874473
Australian RRP $75.00
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Out of print

Government / Political Studies

Land and Water Australia Environmental Solutions Series

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