Environmental policy

Cassandra Star

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Australia’s extreme bushfire summer of 2019– 2020 highlighted once again the fragility of the Australian landscape and its vulnerability to environmental threats. By March 2020, 18.6 million hectares had burnt, 5900 buildings were destroyed, 34 people had died, over 3 billion animals were killed and some species had been driven to extinction (Sternlicht 2020). Such events highlight the need for robust and effective environmental policy as a preventive measure for future events and incidents, as well as to ensure effective management and use of environmental resources. As Chapter 14 explained, environmental policy issues like this one illustrate the underlying rationale for public policy: addressing collective problems that cannot be solved by individuals or the market alone. At the same time, the degree to, and way in which, governments address environmental issues is shaped by political institutions, by ideological orientations and party politics, by interest group activity, and by changing economic, social and political circumstances. This chapter provides an overview of the main influences and constraints on the form and effectiveness of environmental policy formulation in Australia. The core themes and issues covered include: • the broad constitutional constraints on environmental policy • the influence of Australian federalism• the institutional influences and challenges on the formulation and implementation of environmental policy the challenges presented by environmental problems for policy decision-making, coordination and enforcement the impact on effective environmental policy of the political context in Australia the role of political parties, interest groups and Australian government– business relations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAustralian Government and Politics
EditorsAlan Fenna, Rob Manwaring
Place of PublicationMelbourne, VIC
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9780655700753
ISBN (Print)9780655700746
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • environmental policy
  • landscape fragility
  • bushfires
  • federalism
  • Political participation


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