Community forestry can be a feasible strategy for reducing poverty and achieving environmental conservation

24 Sep

By David Holland

Forest products have sustained communities associated with forests for millennia, however, as these peoples have engaged in their regional economic system and the region has opened up to the world economic system, some groups have been left behind due to essential resources relied on by past generations lost due to a change because of war or unfair capitalist practices taking resource access away. (“State of the world’s Forests 2005” 2005)

Whatever the reason, we have people in poverty now attempting to find opportunities in the forest for survival and advancement in an economic world. This situation is a major cause of an over exploitation of forest resources.

In a crude argument we could say that the forests support the biosphere and the biosphere supports human live, therefore we all have a part to play in ensuring our future as a species and we collectively should take a role in the protection of the world’s forest resources.

So is there scope for the poorer communities of the world to help us all better manage the biosphere, and our forests?

The answer would be yes, provided that we, as the world, pay for the services these people can potentially provide. (Gilmour & Nurse 2004) But first we need to support them through education. Education on what forest resources could be sent to a market, and how to sustainably manage the forest and all its potential resources.

Unfortunately markets are not always good at providing the right incentives to produce these results. It will be up to national governments to carefully craft national environmental laws, and in addition for the United Nation to produce forward looking policies to encourage individual nations to support poorer nations to implement appropriate laws. (Wootliff 2010)

It is not about reducing poverty, as noble as it may be to do so, it is simply about maintaining and enhancing the underpinning ecological and biospherical mechanisms this globe has to support our existence and the existence of every living thing on this planet. (El-Lakany 2005)

We have a responsibility to future generations to share the cost of these measures across the globe. If the major cost of these measures can be achieved through a market then so be it, however if not, the governments of the world should consider their position.

The Paris climate change conference has embraced this principal through the compensation of low-lying countries subject to sea level rise. With the recent withdrawal of the US from the agreement it seems that the US is some how able to be immune from the effects that the rest of the world will suffer from climate change or deforestation.

 

References:

El-Lakany M. Hosny  (2005), Forward – State of the world’s Forests 2005, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, Rome, Retrieved from ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/007/y5574e/y5574e01.pdf, May 2017.

Gilmour, D., Malla, Y & Nurse, M. (2004), Linkages between Community Forestry and Poverty, Regional Community Forestry Training Centre for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok, Thailand, Retrieved from https://www.recoftc.org/sites/default/files/old/uploads/content/pdf/Community_forestry_and_poverty_69.pdf, May 2017.

“State of the world’s Forests 2005” (2005), Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, Rome, Retrieved from ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/007/y5574e/y5574e00.pdf, June 2017.

Wootliff Jonathan (2010 March 30), Good forest governance is good for economy, environment, Jakarta Post, Retrieved from https://www.pressreader.com/indonesia/the-jakarta-post/20100330/282196532138047,

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Discussions on the extent payments for environmental services (PES) might enhance the transition to sustainable agriculture

24 Sep

By David Holland

There has been some evidence that the extra cost to producing organically grown produce is not much more than producing non-organic produce. (Rukmana 2010) Over the years, consumers have realised that the food value of such produce is higher and tend to buy the produce for a higher price. (A short history of FAQ; Groves 2010) That said, there are many other environmental services that can be achieved through agricultural production. The preservation of clean water in a catchment system is one that has a great importance, particularly to downstream users of the resource. (“Catchment protection and improvement grants”)

But can paid environmental services go hand in hand with the production of food? At the margin, there often is some benefits for agriculture from conservation measures. The prevention of soil erosion through employing areas of native vegetation as wildlife refuges is one outstanding example. (Moll et al 2007; Rukmana 2010) However, historically farm incentives have been predominantly tied to production. Some have been aimed at building social structures, but few have worked to improve environmentally sustainable values. (Dogra 2010)

One reason is that sustainability is often difficult to understand and even harder to quantify.

Walter & Stutzel (2009b) have attempted to create a measure of sustainability that on the face of it is difficult. Rauscher & Momtaz (2014) have a much more simpler method by identifying sustainable indicators and subjectively scoring them from available data and aggregating the results from a score card.

However, policy makers have not succeeded in engaging in sustainability assessments and produce adequate policy to steer agricultural businesses to preserve the environment, except in the pursuit of economic gain, most of which would be in achieving more production or higher profits. (Dobbs & Pretty 2004)

Dobbs & Pretty (2004) also bring out an equity problem. If many farmers are already doing the sustainable practice and governments, in an effort to get more farmers to operate in a sustainable way introduce incentive, then those practicing should be paid. The problem may be that for the small amount of improvement in this one sustainability measurement, a lot of money could flow from a government’s budget. Also, incentive like this can alter business models and make the government’s money the reason for the business.  An example of this can be seen in the operation of some cattle stations in Australia, which are being paid to destock as part of the federal government’s carbon farming initiative scheme. (“About the Carbon Farming Initiative”)

 

References:

“About the Carbon Farming Initiative”, Department of Environment and Energy, Australian Government, Retrieved from http://www.environment.gov.au/climate-change/emissions-reduction-fund/cfi/about, May 2017.

“A short history of FAQ”, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United nations, FAQ,, Retrieved from http://www.fao.org/about/en/, May 2017.

“Catchment protection and improvement grants”, NSW Water, Retrieved from http://www.waternsw.com.au/water-quality/catchment/living/grants/cpig, May 2017.

Dobbs, T., & Pretty J. N. (2004). Agri-environmental stewardship schemes and ‘multifunctionality’. Review of Agricultural Economics, 26(2), 220-237, Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/stable/pdf/3700832.pdf?refreqid=excelsior%3A1c52853b88127f608c261d31e57d3336, May 2017.

Dogra, B. (2010, March 29). Science is being forced to help commerce, The Statesman Asia News Network (Kolkata), Retrieved from Charles Sturt university library https://doms.csu.edu.au/csu/file/fdb86a3c-2111-4d97-9ba7-b164ce92defe/1/dogra-b.pdf, May 2017.

Groves, Don (2010 May 14), A doco which could make you sick!, Food Inc., Retrieved from http://www.sbs.com.au/movies/review/food-inc-review, May 2017.

Rauscher, Raymond Charles, Momtaz, Salim (2014), Sustainable Communities: A Framework for Planning – Case Study of an Australian Outer Sydney Growth Area, Retrieved from http://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-94-007-7509-1, May 2017.

Rukmana, N. (2010, March 27). Cirebon plans to develop organic farms. The Jakarta Post, Retrieved from Indoniesia Organics http://www.indonesiaorganic.com/indonesia-news/cirebon-plans-to-develop-organic-farms-west-java, May 2017.

Walter, C., & Stutzel, H. (2009b). A new method for assessing the sustainability of land-use systems: Evaluating impact indicators. Ecological Economics, 68(5), 1288-1300, Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/science/article/pii/S0921800908005259, May 2017.

The strengths and limitations of a market-based approach to managing fresh water resources.

24 Sep

By David Holland

3.6% of the world’s GDP is consumed through price based management instruments. (Whitten et al (2004) This would indicate that market based management schemes can adequately manage natural resource allocation in the environment.

But in the Syr Darya basin there seems to be no system of management for the fresh water resource. With a range of competing needs for the water and the likelihood that climate change will change the dynamics of its supply, the Central Asian States need to act to secure the availability of the fresh water resource into the future. (Savoskul et al 2003)

With water use going to electricity generation through hydro schemes and cotton farming taking a sizable share, the resource is at risk today. This is because much of the water from the power industry is being diverted to a newly formed wetlands and as a result the Aral Sea has a drastically reduced water level. (Savoskul et al 2003

It seems that with the snow melts and present levels of precipitation there is just enough water to go around provided there was a water sharing plan in place and the profitable industries such as the power and cotton industries contributed toward the environmental cost of the use of the resource. (Savoskul et al 2003)

But what type of management should be imposed? A command and control (CAC) mechanism or a market based system.  A market makes users value the resource and a CAC raises funds to improve the management of the resource. The Republic of Korea uses both systems and as a result can collect funds to subsidise farmers for their livestock waste water costs. (Muchapondwa 2015)

Before applying any mechanism, it is important to understand the dynamics of the resource before designing a market or any other control. (McDonald2014) Managers must be careful to design a market that produces the required results, otherwise there could be little or no improvement to the environmental problem. (Whitten et al 2003)

Pannell (2010) has devised a framework to help ensure that schemes are scrutinised by criteria that tests the benefit of the initiative against the costs, whether a CAC or market based design, to get the best outcome for the least cost. Poor design of projects could result in poor environmental outcomes.

Similar schemes to the Korean initiative could also tackle poverty while providing an environmental benefit. In counties where poverty is common or employment is low, funds collected by the CAC scheme could be used for employing unskilled labour to remove invasive alien plants as is the case in one of the “Water for the World” projects as described by the UN Environment Program publication by Muchapondwa et al (2015).

 

References:

Adamrah, M. (2010, March 29). Govt to build reservoirs in flood-prone areas. The Jakarta Post, Retrieved from https://www.pressreader.com/indonesia/the-jakarta-post/20100329/281913064295698

McDonald Dr Garry, Fairgray Dr Douglas (2014), Managing and Protecting our Freshwater Resources – Some Implications for Rural Communities , Market Economics Ltd, Takapuna, Auckland,  Retrieved from www.marketeconomics.co.nz/LiteratureRetrieve.aspx?ID=172924

Muchapondwa, Edwin; Stage, Jesper; Lee, Youngsoek; Chiramba, Thomas; Mungatana, Eric; Kumar, Pushpam (2015), Use of Market-based Incentives in Watershed Management: Driving the Green Economy through involving Communities & the Private Sector, Freshwater Ecosystems Unit, Division of Environmental Policy Implementation, United Nations Environment Programme , Retrieved from http://ltu.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:996517/FULLTEXT01.pdf

Pannell, D. J., Roberts, A. M., Park, G., Curatolo, A., & Marsh, S. (2010). INFFER (Investment Framework For Environmental Resources): Practical and Theoretical Underpinnings, INFFER Working Paper 1001, University of Western Australia, Retrieved from http://dpannell.fnas.uwa.edu.au/dp1001.htm

Savoskul, Oxana S. , Chevnina, Elena V. , Perziger, Felix I. , Vasilina, Ludmila Yu. , Baburin, Viacheslav L. , Danshin, Alexander I.  A.I., Matyakubov, Bahtiyar , Murakaev, Ruslan R. (2003). Water, Climate, Food, and Environment in the Syr Darya Basin, Contribution to the project ADAPT, Adaptation strategies to changing environments, Retrieved from http://www.weap21.org/downloads/AdaptSyrDarya.pdf

Whitten Stuart, Carter Marc and Stoneham Gary (Edited), (2004 Oct.) Market-based tools for environmental management , Proceedings of the 6th annual AARES national symposium 2003 , A report for the RIRDC/Land & Water Australia/FWPRDC/MDBC, Joint Venture Agroforestry Program , Retrieved from http://www.aton.com.au/publications/Proceedings_AARES_2003.pdf

 

Threatened species conservation in Australia and the EPBC Act. 

12 Feb

By David Holland

 

The Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, replaced four commonwealth Acts including the Endangered Species Act 1992, The Environmental Protection Act (impacts of Proposals) Act 1974 and the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 1975. (Thomas 2007)

Since Australia signed the Ramsar agreement in 1971, the Federal government has been committed to list and take action on wetland fauna and flora communities. This was in the backdrop of a committed community of environmentalists within Australia that lead to the Landcare movement and the Australian Conservation Foundation.

The issues in Australia were that the culture in the 1950s and 1960s had been to tame the bush and clear the land. Wetland were generally left as they provided no opportunity for agricultural use. As with the Ramsar process on the world stage, Australia, through the voice of the environmentalist, started to realise that the world was finite and the Australian landscape was more sensitive to wholesale development than previously thought.

After Ramsar and under the Heads of Agreement on Commonwealth/State Roles and responsibilities for the Environment Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environment, States started to pass legislation that reflected the above Commonwealth Acts. (Thomas 2007)

In 1979 the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act was passed to control land use within NSW. Later the Act incorporated the protection of designated Wetlands under State Environmental Planning Policy 14.

Then as land management moved from the urban setting to the rural, Australia started to have policies like Total Catchment Management, to better manage farm land, the landscape and to reduce erosion etc. This later moved to vegetation and even habitat protection in the mid 1990s. Then there was a move to Integrated Catchment Management which looked at landscape management from a regional level with Catchment Management Authorities. (Dovers 2003)

Then in 1995 NSW followed the Commonwealth by introducing the Threatened Species Act. This was to work in conjunctions with the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 and the EPA Act 1979 in protecting species and ecologically sensitive communities from wholesale development.

But the EPBC Act goes further and deals with any matter related to the environment with a national significance, including world heritage properties within Australia, Ramsar wetlands, nationally endangered and vulnerable species and/or communities, migratory birds, protection and management of coastal environments and the protection of marine life. It also has a responsibility to manage and act on nuclear activities within Australia or that is likely to affect Australia. (Thomas 2007)

Table 1: Below is a typical listing from the EPBC Act 1999

Mammals that are Critically Endangered 
Genus, species (subspecies, population)
Common Name Effective
Gymnobelideus leadbeateri Leadbeater’s Possum 02-May-2015
Miniopterus orianae bassanii Southern Bent-wing Bat 18-Dec-2007
Pipistrellus murrayi Christmas Island Pipistrelle 12-Sep-2006
Potorous gilbertii Gilbert’s Potoroo 06-Jul-2004
Pteropus natalis Christmas Island Flying-fox 03-Jan-2014
Saccolaimus saccolaimus nudicluniatus Bare-rumped Sheathtail Bat (Qld) 04-Apr-2001

Figure 1 Locality map of Leadbeater’s Possum (EPBC Act)

picture1

It is the whole population that benefited through the application of the policy not only today but into the future. That said, there are business interests with shorter vision and a need to make a profit that would perhaps prefer to be back in the 1960 where the taming of the bush enabled wholesale development of mining interests and urban and industrial development in all manner of places without controls.

But now after Ramsar, there has been slow process from the first MAR conference at Les Saintes Maries-de-la-Mer in the French Camargue. This meeting recognise the importance of wetland and later catchment and land management, and later again the protection and rehabilitation of endangered and vulnerable species and communities. (“MAR” is simply short for marshes)

But not to forget the home grown environmentalist who saw a need to protect landscapes and rehabilitated landscapes like Alan and Marigold Lawrence who founded Landcare on the Central Coast.

These people had ideals that all Australians should be able to enjoy natural settings. This is what the EPBC helps to do while at the same time allows business and commercial enterprises to develop land in an appropriate way that ensures protection for our natural Australian heritage.

If we were to ask how the values of these pioneers across the world have influenced policy we see a slow progression of policy to protect the natural environment through land use planning and then to Threatened species protection.

The trajectory is sound but there is more to do. Proper integrated planning still needs to be applied.

When developing urban areas, a process of retrofitting wildlife and natural bushland corridors needs to continue. These processes were of wildlife design were pioneered by David Goldney, Professor at Charles Sturt University, who would have been one of the first environmentalists to study the effects of corridors in a rural setting in the 1990s. Also when developing urban areas, an introduction of the precautionary planned retreat from the oceans due to the advent of climate change induced sea level rise should commence. A planned retreat that includes the re-establishment of wetlands and salt-marsh as the seas rise and inundate now dry land. (Holland 2015)

But is the policy behind the EPBC Act formulated on best scientific knowledge. The answer would have to be no. Science understood little about how wetlands work in the beginning but as the world started to protect these areas more funding became available to study them. If the world had waited to do exhaustive studies on many of our vulnerable species before politicians decided to provide funding through appropriate legislation to do recovery plans, species may have been lost. Yes, science has been active in many of the areas of conservation as highlighted above, but it is ideas that need to drive the processes of policy development. The risk is that opponents to policy change may have vested interests in unfettered development and complain that there is no scientific basis for the policy change and influence popular opinion against a policy change that has environmental merit.

 

References:

Australia Conservation Foundation, Our History, https://www.acfonline.org.au/about-us/our-history

Australian Government, EPBC 1999, Offset Policy, Oct 2012, http://www.environment.gov.au/epbc/publications/epbc-act-environmental-offsets-policy

Australian Government, Department of the Environment, About the EPBC Act, http://www.environment.gov.au/epbc/about

Australian Government,  The Department of the Environment, The Ramsar convention on wetlands, http://www.environment.gov.au/water/wetlands/ramsar

Australian Government,  The Department of the Environment, Nuclear Actions, http://www.environment.gov.au/epbc/what-is-protected/nuclear-actions

Dell’Amore, Christine (2013), LAST OF THE LAST, 20,000 Species Are Near Extinction: Is it Time to Rethink How We Decide Which to Save?, National Geographic , PUBLISHED DECEMBER 16, 2013, http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/12/131216-conservation-environment-animals-science-endangered-species/

Dovers Stephen, Rivers Su Wild (editors) (2003), Managing Australia’s Environment, The Federation press, pp. 134-140, 284-301, 328-337,  394-412, 442-460, 501-514,

Garnett, Stephen, Professor of Conservation and Sustainable Livelihoods, July 2, 2014, Threatened species win a voice in Canberra – but it’s too late for some, The Conversation,  Charles Darwin University, https://theconversation.com/threatened-species-win-a-voice-in-canberra-but-its-too-late-for-some-28667

Golden, Dr David Charles, Citation for the Conferral of a Doctor of Science (honoris causa), https://www.csu.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/628894/Goldney-David-Charles.pdf

Holland D, Planning for Sea Level Rise Risk in some Coastal Regions of Australia – A Market Approach, Habitat Association for the Arts and Environemnt Web site, https://habitattownplanningforum.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/planning-for-climate-change-the-risk-model-for-sea-level-rise-discussion-paper-3rd-edition-rev1-20151.pdf

How to use the assessments Guide, EPBC 1999, Offset Policy, http://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/12630bb4-2c10-4c8e-815f-2d7862bf87e7/files/offsets-how-use.pdf

Matthews, G. V. T.(1993), The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands: its History and Development, Published by the Ramsar Convention Bureau, Gland, Switzerland, Re-issued Ramsar Convention Secretariat, 2013, http://www.ramsar.org/sites/default/files/documents/pdf/lib/Matthews-history.pdf

Rouget, Mathieu 1; Cowling Richard M.2; Lombard Amanda T.2; Knight, Andrew T.2; and Kerley Graham I.H.3; 30 Jan 2006, Designing Large-Scale Conservation Corridors for Pattern and Process, Conservation Biology, Volume 20, Issue 2, pages 549–561, April 2006, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1523-1739.2006.00297.x/full

NSW Government, Threatened Species Act (1995), http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/viewtop/inforce/act+101+1995+FIRST+0+N

NSW Office of Environment and heritage, Ramsar Wetlands, http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/wetlands/RamsarWetlands.htm

Thomas, I. (2007),  Environmental Policy.  Annandale, N.S.W: The Federation Press, pp.36-40, 70-129, 403-425.

 

 

 

 

A History of management measures related to the Murray-Darling Basin water resource

12 Feb

By David Holland

I would like to focus on the initiatives of the Federal government during the 1990’s and into the new century. This was the period when the Murray Darling Basin Ministerial Council, later to become the Murray-Darling Basin Commission launched the Natural Resource Management Strategy (NRMS). (Connell 2007)

This was the first time in the long history of managing the basin that Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory were consulted in an attempt to better manage the resources in the basin. This initiative was in the backdrop of newly developed Integrated Catchment Management principals (ICM) which for the first time acknowledged the sensitivity of the natural environment when developing economic uses of water for agriculture and power generation in the MDB catchment. (Dovers 2007)

Before this Initiative salinity and land management practices were the main issues.

Much of the salinity problems that had arisen at the beginning of last century were overcome by large infrastructure investments for navigation, power and irrigation such as the Hume Weir in 1933 and the lower river lock system. (Connell 2007)

In NSW under the new Water Act 2000 the state started to implement water sharing plans developed for each river and ground water system in NSW. The Murray and lower Darling was just one of them, however this river system had an over committed water resource. The aim of this program was to ensure all rivers in NSW had some environmental flow. Any water sharing of this system needed to include not only environmental flow but a South Australian and Victorian allocation of water.

It wasn’t until the period when the Howard government establishing the Murray-Darling Basin Authority in 2007 and provided funding to purchase water allocations for environment flow through the Commonwealth Environment Water Holder (CEWH) scheme that the MDB turned a corner for the environment. (Crowley 2012) However people concerned about river health still criticise the Murray-Darling Basin plan 2012. (South Australian Government 2012)(Phillips 2012)

References

Carla Mooneya , Poh-Ling Tanb, (2012), South Australia’s River Murray: Social and cultural values in water planning, Journal of Hydrology, Volume 474, 12 December 2012, Pages 29–37, Water Planning in Australia: meeting the challenges of incorporating social, cultural and scientific information into decision-making, http://www.sciencedirect.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/science/article/pii/S0022169412002739 (cited March 2016)

Connell, Daniel, 2007, Water Politics in the Murray- Darling Basin, Federation Press.

Colman W., (2009), Australian National University, Two Decades of Murray-Darling Water Management: A River of Funding, a Trickle of Achievement, Agenda, Vol. 16, Number 1 Press release, http://press.anu.edu.au/agenda/016/01/mobile_devices/ch01s03.html (cited 2 April 2016)

Crowley, Kate; Walker K J; (2012), Environmental Policy failure, The Australian Story, Tilde Publishing and Distribution,  pp. 74-87.

CSIRO Land and Water / Charles Sturt University, Published Water the good stuff,http://www.water.org.au/pubs/pub04_bowmer.htm, (cited March 2016)

Dovers Stephen, Rivers Su Wild (editors) (2003), Managing Australia’s Environment, The Federation press, pp. 236- 253, 393-411.

Kathleen Bowmer,(2004), Look after the Land and the Rivers: Reflections on Water Sharing,

 

Murray Darling Basin Commission, (2002), Environmental Challengers in the Murray- Darling Basin, Printed Material in the Murray-Darling Basin Initiative.

Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council, (Sept 2000), Draft Integrated Catchment Management in the Murray-Darling Basin.

NSW Government, (2003), Water Sharing Plan for the New South Wales Murray and Lower Darling Regulated Rivers Water Sources 2003, NSW legislation, http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/viewtop/inforce/subordleg+186+2003+FIRST+0+N/ (cited2  April 2016)

NSW Department of Infrastructure Planning and natural resources,(Sept 2004), A guide to the Water Sharing Plan for the New South Wales Murray and Lower Darling Regulated Rivers Water Sources, NSW Government, http://www.water.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/547692/murrayreg-guide.pdf

Phillips, Sara ,May 2012, Murray-Darling Plan reflects the failure of the government, ABC Environment, http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2012/05/31/3514567.htm, (cited 2 April 2016)

Quiggin, JohnChambers, Sarah;Mallawaarachchi, Thilak, Water Policy Reform : Lessons in Sustainability from the Murray Darling Basin, Edward Elgar Publishing, http://reader.eblib.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/(S(radepoiycscgzbj3xcbimax2))/Reader.aspx?p=881401&o=476&u=hSuhCa8BIa8%3d&t=1459082398&h=62224971D99C659252DB9831324D7CC8EA166335&s=43446336&ut=1443&pg=1&r=img&c=-1&pat=n&cms=-1&sd=2, (cited March 2016)

South Australian Government, 16 April 2012, South Australian Government response to the Draft Murray-Darling Basin Plan, Link At South Australian Government Submission on the Murray …, (cited 2 April 2016)

Schliebs, Mark.(2012), Greens will block revised Murray-Darling water plan, The Australian , [Canberra, A.C.T] 10 Aug 2012: 6, http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/docview/1032770732?OpenUrlRefId=info:xri/sid:primo&accountid=10344 (cited March 2016)

Wells, Adrian, (1995), The Murray Darling Association [Also celebrating a 50th anniversary.] [online]. Trees and Natural Resources, Vol. 37, No. 1, Mar 1995: 29-30. Availability: <http://search.informit.com.au.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/documentSummary;dn=950605997;res=IELAPAISSN: 0814-4680. [cited 27 Mar 16].

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Update for planning for sea level rise

22 Jan

by David Holland

written early 2016

One of the potential threats to Australian shores is the onset of sea level rise, but to date the federal government have not specifically made policy in this area. They have however made general policy to reduce carbon emissions as part of the Paris conference initiative. Clearly the Australian government is heavily influenced by the world opinion. With the opposition taking a strong position on climate change issues this has had an effect on government policy.

Opposition Federal ministers have indicated that they see sea level rise as a state and local government issue, but Dawson (2011) and Holland (2016) recommend that the Federal government should take a leadership role in this potentially devastating economic impact that climate change will have.

In 2009 the New South Wales (NSW) State government had developed policy in this area and was influenced by the IPCC reports forecasting up to 900mm rise in sea levels by 2010. However, because the NSW reforms affected land owners in a negative way, the standard set in 2009 was removed by a new state government and any requirements on the standards where placed onto councils in 2012. Councils were then obligated to take full responsibility for making a flood plan. This action was influenced by public pressure from land owners.

Many States Governments have little or no plans for sea level rise adaptations. One important measure outlined by Barnett, Waters, Pendergast, & Puleston, (2013) is that planned retreat should be considered.

The National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility would have influence on State government policy as a research paper by the facility identified issues of resistance to adaptation in the Eastern states of Australia.

Since the NSW government was affected by public opinion in 2012 it now seems to have a successful policy outcome of adapting to climate change effects through the Integrated Regional Vulnerability Assessment (IRVA). Also three new planning policy documents have just finished a public consultation process. These initiative may have been encouraged by the Nature Conservation Council and the Australian Conservation Council which often have representative on government committees.

A draft Coastal Management Bill will bring a new Coastal Management Act in NSW and amend the EPA Act 1979. The Explanation of Intended Effect for the proposed new Coastal Management State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) will control development and introduce four new zones to planning in NSW and finally a rewritten draft coastal management manual will give better support for council planning decision making.

Local government have had little direction to plan for climate change induced sea level rise. In 2010-11, the public outcry over high insurance premium was deafening to the Central Coast councillors and as a result flood prone properties were not identified. This irresponsible policy of councils is slowly changing in Gosford City with a new initiative called sea level rise mapping. This policy was passed by council in March 2015.

Recently, Wyong councillors were still being held hostage by unanimous interest groups to the constant frustration on peak environmental groups such as the Community Environment Network (CEN).

Hopefully the new amalgamated Council on the Central Coast will take concise and appropriate action to address climate change related sea level rise by making appropriate planned retreat strategies in the near future using the new State Coastal Management Act.

References:

Barnett, J, Waters, E, Pendergast, S & Puleston, A 2013, Barriers to adaptation to sea level rise: The legal, institutional and cultural barriers to adaptation to sea-level rise in Australia, National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, Gold Coast, 85 pp., https://www.nccarf.edu.au/sites/default/files/attached_files_publications/Barnett_2013_Barriers_to_adaptation_to_sea_level_rise.pdf

Dawson, Blake, Australian Government, Climate Change and Energy efficiency, COASTAL CLIMATE CHANGE RISK – Legal and Policy Responses in Australia, http://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/68cbcb67-bd6c-41ee-b214-02a5143d90d9/files/coastal-cc-legal-responses.pdf

Holland. D., A national security problem – Sea Level rise, (2016), Habitat Association Web Page, https://habitattownplanningforum.wordpress.com/2016/02/21/a-national-security-problem-sea-level-rise/

 

Bibliography

Australian Government, Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, 2011, Coastal climate change risk – Legal and policy responses in Australia, http://www.environment.gov.au/climate-change/adaptation/publications/coastal-climate-change-risk

Australian Government, Department of Environment(2006), The role of the private sector in environmental stewardship, integrative commentary by Ms Deni Greene, Deni Green Consulting Services, www.environment.gov.au/node/22660

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Council Amalgamations

2 Mar
This is a submission by Dr Raymond Charles Rauscher published on 28 Feb 2016 ray.r@idl.net.au Conjoint Lecturer at University of Newcastle School of Environment and Life Sciences, Ourimbah Campus, Ourimbah 2258

The conclusions reached in this submission by the author are based on working in town planning within NSW since 1969 and on completing research on various aspects of local government and sustainable urban planning (SUP), a theme of this submission.

There are three subject areas covered

A. Objection to Amalgamation Proposal

B. Amalgamations and State Review of Local Government

C. Options of Councils Working Together and with the State

This submission opposes the amalgamation as proposed as it has not allowed the community and the local councils as affected to adequately be engaged in the amalgamation process (as conducted by the State). At minimum, a referendum (overseen by the local council and the State) for each council area affected should have been conducted. Part A. Objection to Amalgamation Proposal contains a brief statement on this objection. Part B. Amalgamations and State Review of Local Government discussions and actions on the reform (including amalgamations) of local government in New South Wales (referred to as NSW herein) as commenced in 2009. This Part B provides a time line and progression of understanding this review. It notes the State having received a report from the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) at the end of 2015. It also notes the State appointed the Council Boundary Review Committee (CBRC) to receive submissions on proposed IPART recommendations on council amalgamations. There is one clear message here from councils, among a number of issues, of ‘no forced amalgamations of councils’. Thirdly, Options of Councils Working Together and with the State (C) outlines a need for the State, councils and the community to be engaged in examining options for councils working together and with the State, especially in the area of ‘urban planning and infrastructure provisions’. The submission concludes, “There is every possibility NSW councils and the State will be operating under different arrangements in the future, without forced amalgamations. The options of the State and councils working in partnership presents an array of options. The ideal would be to formulate the State and councils partnerships that would satisfy community engagement and apply sustainable urban planning (SUP) practices in municipal and district level planning.

The read the entire submission follow the link below:

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