Australian environmental governance and environmental planning procedures

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Steele, Wendy
MacCallum, Diana
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Jason Byrne, Neil Sipe, Jago Dodson
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2014
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Abstract

How do we connect the processes of collective public decision-making with complex biophysical systems? In Australia, the answer seems to be ‘not very well’. The full magnitude of human impact in post-colonial Australia is only just now beginning to be properly understood. In key areas such as land, water, energy and air we have embraced a pattern of development that is increasingly being recognised as ‘unsustainable’ (Low 2010). We have built our cities on flood plains, yet have cleared many water catchments of vegetation, so that in times of heavy rain there are few barriers stopping down-stream flooding (see chapter 7). We also consume vast amounts of water, yet we inhabit one of the driest continents on Earth. We have developed suburbs on prime agricultural land, but wonder why food security has become an issue. We mine for coal seam gas through fracking ancient rocks near precious aquifers with little understanding of the cumulative environmental risks involved. In short, we do not seem to have learned from the lessons offered by history or the experiences of other countries. Is there something wrong with our decision-making systems?

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Australian Environmental Planning: Challenges and Future Prospects
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Urban and Regional Planning not elsewhere classified
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