How can we make environmental policy reform stick?

How can we make environmental policy reform stick?

Fri, 04/07/2014 - 10:00 to 11:00

Andrew Campbell is the Director of the Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods at Charles Darwin University in Darwin. 

Professor Campbell was previously Managing Director of Triple Helix Consulting, and he has played influential roles in natural resource management in Australia for 25 years.  He has considerable research leadership experience, notably as Executive Director of Land & Water Australia from 2000-2006.  He has also had senior policy roles in land, water and biodiversity management as a senior executive in the Australian Government environment portfolio.

Andrew was instrumental in the development of Landcare, working with the National Farmers' Federation and the Australian Conservation Foundation to develop the proposal that catalysed the Decade of Landcare.  He was Australia's first National Landcare Facilitator from 1989-92, and he pioneered the concept of Whole Farm Planning as Manager of the privately-funded Potter Farmland Plan initiative in western Victoria in the 1980s. Full Bio


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“How can we make environmental policy reform stick?”

Australia is seeing systematic attacks on environmental policy at an unprecedented level of intensity, sophistication and comprehensiveness.  As a consequence, environmental policy reform is much more difficult than hitherto, and sustaining it over decades arguably even more so.  There is a broader political narrative in Australia — exemplified by George Megalogenis in his book ‘The Australian Moment’ — that policy reform has become too difficult, that vested interests have become too powerful and governments are less bold and less able in the 24-hour media cycle to make and sustain a compelling case for reform.  This is arguably especially the case for policy reform that favours long-term conservation over short-term resource exploitation and development.  

That contention is reasonable, but this seminar will contend that reform is not impossible — just more difficult.

This is a modified version of a keynote presentation given at Harvard in late March, to a conference convened by Professor Mike Young, the Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser Chair in Australian Studies at Harvard University, on the Dynamics of Environmental Policy Reform.

The conference was opened by Kevin Rudd, now a Visiting Professor in the Kennedy School at Harvard.  Prof Rudd was asked to reflect on the same question, setting up an interesting comparison between the practitioner and academic perspectives.

The seminar will explore how and why environmental policy reform is becoming more difficult, and propose some principles for more effective and durable policy reform.  The context will be environmental policy, but the principles are likely to be widely applicable in other sectors.

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