Rethinking Overlap and Duplication: Federalism and Environmental Assessment in Australia
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Critics of federalism have long pointed to overlap and duplication as evidence of a system under pressure. This article challenges their critique through an examination of Australia's environmental assessment and approval regime. It finds that, in their quest to eliminate duplication and overlap, policy makers have imposed artificial divisions on a complex policy domain. By limiting the opportunities for political engagement, they have also surrendered some of the strengths of a federal system of government and removed important failsafe mechanisms which provide valuable insurance against policy failure. While the empirical argument is based on the Australian experience, the analysis has more general implications for federations characterized by concurrency.
Copyright 2010 Oxford University Press. This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Publius following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version, Rethinking Overlap and Duplication:Federalism and Environmental Assessment in Australia, Publius, 40(1), 136-170 is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/publius/pjp028