Tasmania's Resource Management and Planning System : towards sustainable development?
Author(s)Clark, Phillip M
KeywordsResource Management and Planning System
Conservation of natural resources
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AbstractIn 1994 the Tasmanian State Government finalised a suite of legislation, the Resource Management and Planning System (hereafter called the System), in response to pressures resulting from the State's past problems and conflicts associated with economic development and environmental management. In this dissertation examples of these problems and conflicts, their underlying circumstances, and the strengths and weaknesses of the environment protection and land-use planning legislation applicable at that time are examined. These pressures induced a reform process involving a change in political attitudes towards environmental management, and a complete review of the legislation, culminating in the formulation of the new System. The reform process, and the objectives, structure, instruments and processes of the System are explained. The System is intended to incorporate into resource management and planning decisions the principles of sustainable development. Using the principles, objectives, and proposed measures for achieving sustainable development which emerged from the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the author has deductively constructed a benchmark concept for sustainable development relevant to Tasmania. The System is assessed in terms of the degree to which it has incorporated of these principles and its potential to facilitate their objectives. In addition, the System is assessed for its potential means to avert or resolve a recurrence of Tasmania's past development and environmental management problems and conflicts. Assessment shows that all the principles of sustainable development considered relevant to Tasmania are incorporated within the System either explicitly or, occasionally, by generous interpretation. Notwithstanding their incorporation, the principles are sometimes poorly defined, and can be expected to generally diminish the System's outcomes. I argue that the potential for the System to facilitate the objectives of sustainable development is substantial, but is diminished by ambiguities in the System's own objectives, its limited jurisdiction, a lack of obligation on decision-makers to adhere to those objectives, and the absence or incompleteness of planning instruments and processes. The System could offer effective means for addressing Tasmania's development and environmental management problems and conflicts. The principal obstacles to this potential are its restricted jurisdiction, and the absence of a formal regional planning mechanism. The realisation of this potential greatly depends on the quality of Ministerial, and therefore political, decision-making required by the System, the level of leadership given to promoting the System's objectives, and an adequate level of resourcing. The assessment of the System undertaken here concludes with an overview of the lessons learned from Tasmania's experience in formulating and implementing a resource management and planning system intended to facilitate the objectives of sustainability. These lessons include the significant benefits resulting from a comprehensive consultation process with all stakeholders, the need for adequate education in relation to the System's objectives and processes for those using the System, and the shortcomings in the System's instruments and processes.
Clark, Phillip M (1998) Tasmania's Resource Management and Planning System : towards sustainable development? PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.