Green Vision for A Brown Country

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Mackey, Brendan
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Menadue J. and Keating M.

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Like we do in many areas, such as sport and financial services, Australian conservation punches above its weight in the international arena. Australia is signatory to all major multilateral environmental agreements including the Convention on Biological Diversity and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, we have environmental law in all three tiers of government, have established one of the world’s best national reserve systems including some of the largest world heritage areas, along with supporting cutting edge conservation science and management practices. All these conservation measures are worthy achievements that should be celebrated. They are certainly necessary and warrant the ongoing support of all concerned citizens and organisations. They are, alas, insufficient in the face of the overwhelming pressure on the natural environment we now face. Unfortunately, we are not fixing conservation problems at a faster rate than we are creating them. We are not saving species and ecosystems at a faster rate than they are being extirpated and degraded. While technological innovation brings both welcomed conveniences and economic efficiencies, it also opens the doors to novel ways of exploiting natural resources on land and sea, exposing ecosystems that we previously never imagined being threatened. There is a great deal of public policy and private action aimed at promoting nature conservation, however, little attention is directed to identifying a vision and long term goal for biodiversity and nature conservation in Australia. Given what we have lost in this continent over the last 200 years and what we face losing in the coming century, focus on a conservation vision and a long term conservation goal (or goals) for Australia will provide the necessary context for federal and state strategies and regulatory frameworks, along with private and civil society efforts. Among other things, we need to be able to evaluate what the anticipated accumulated outcomes of our current web of conservation policies and programs will be and how these match with our long term goals?

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Fairness, opportunity and security: Filling the policy vacuum

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Environmental Management

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