3: Achieving a Natural Advantage of Nations
chapter was written by Professor Peter Newman
based on his experience having recently developed
a comprehensive government sustainability strategy,
covering 42 areas of the Government of Western
Australia. Professor Newman is Professor of City
Policy and Director of the Institute for Sustainability
and Technology Policy (ISTP) at Murdoch University.
The ISTP is now the largest such body in Australia,
with 70 PhD students, 150 undergraduates, and
100 Masters students, all studying for degrees
in sustainable development. Peter also has recently
become Sustainability Commissioner for the state
of New South Wales, Australia.
Hargroves and Professor Peter Newman, Director
& Technology Policy, Murdoch University.
of the Western Australia Sustainability Roundtable,
Sustainability Commissioner of New South Wales.
papers from Proffesor Peter Newman
government is critical to achieving sustainable
development, not only as an important mechanism
for managing local clusters to help drive eco-innovation
this century. Whilst the achievements of Local
Agenda 21 are well known, and the network of National
Councils for Sustainable Development (NCSDs) has
over 70 national members globally, the achievements
globally of state governments have been much less
well reported. Yet for countries like China, the
US and India, with such large populations, or
countries like Australia that cover such large
areas of the planet, state/regional governments
are a key level of government that will play a
major role in whether or not we make the shift
to a sustainable future. And given that the directions
taken by China, the US and India will be critical
to whether we make overall progress globally towards
sustainable genuine progress, the critical role
of regional/state governments in those countries,
and hence around the world, cannot be overstated.
addition, state governments, responsible often
for managing energy and water utilities, cities
and surrounding regions, are therefore critical
to operationalizing Sustainable Genuine Progress
this century. The lack of recognition of the importance
of regional/state government level to sustainable
development, the lack of an international Agenda
21 regional government network, goes a long way
to explaining the lack of progress since the Earth
Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.
Network of Regional Government for Sustainable Development
Network of Regional Government for Sustainable Development
(nrg4SD) is comprised of increasing numbers of state/regional/sub-national
governments from around the world, some of who already
have comprehensive sustainability strategies. The
nrg4SD began at the World Summit for Sustainable
Development in 2002, and now holds conferences every
six months that are hosted by state governments
around the world.
Australian State Sustainability Strategy
first government in Australia to develop a truly
integrated whole of government partnership driven
approach to sustainable development is the Western
Australian (WA) Government. This arose partly from
business demands for clear frameworks within which
to operate. Government of Western Australia (2003),
Hope for the future: The Western Australian State
Sustainability Strategy, Department of the Premier
and Cabinet, Perth.
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Papers from Proffesor Peter Newman
City and the Bush - Partnerships to Reverse the Population
Decline in Australia’s Grainbelt
Major trends that are draining people from the grainbelt
are globalisation of the economy (and its associated
global urban culture) and coastalisation based on
lifestyle preferences. A focus on grainbelt towns
in partnership with the adjacent global city is needed
to reverse the decline. It will require a new quality
of life attraction similar to that drawing people
to the coast, a stronger sense of place and greater
social diversity. It will also require tapping of
new global city sustainability obligations through
partnerships between the city and its bioregion on
issues of biodiversity, new bioindustries and new
water regimes and clear planning to contain sprawl
in the city and coasts. Hope for rejuvenation can
be provided through the example of inner city areas,
which suffered similar problems of decline and reversed
them over a thirty year period.
The New Opportunity
Sustainability is a different way of thinking that
is changing each profession, government and business.
It started in the 1980’s by reminding business
that there was a triple bottom line (TBL). This meant
that environment and community issues needed to be
taken seriously as well as the financial bottom line.
For those companies who took their environmental responsibilities
seriously some of the magic of sustainability began
to occur. I saw this when I was a member of the EPA
in Perth. I found that poorly considered proposals
generally were not just environmentally hazardous,
but usually reflected second-rate technology and poor
Sustainability Journey at Murdoch University
Murdoch University was established in the early 1970s
in order to address contemporary issues directly rather
than through traditional disciplines (Bolton, 1984).
This is an ideal structure to address sustainability
and thus it should not be a surprise to find Murdoch
has developed a sustainability niche among the largest
in the university world. The story of its development
reflects the broader global sustainability story and
will be outlined from a personal perspective.
the new grand narrative
Sustainable development was first mentioned by the
International Union for Conservation of Nature when
they created The World Conservation Strategy: Living
Resource Conservation for Sustainable Development
in 1980. It came from an ecological perspective on
managing natural resources for the long term rather
than seeing them as an economic resource for short
term exploitation. This ecological perspective had
been extended by a number of ecologists like Ian McHarg
and Paul Ehrlich into a broader world view where human
society and economy were largely regarded as a ‘cancer’
spreading out of control. Human activity had to be
curtailed and regulated thus giving rise to the environmental
movement, to pollution control, environmental impact
assessment and the setting aside of natural areas
with as little control by humans as possible.
Busses and Cars: Planning for a sustainable future
in Australian cities.
The Perth Train Story: Twenty five years ago the Coalition
Government of Sir Charles Court in Western Australia
closed down the Fremantle railway line. The stated
rationale was that buses would do the job better as
they were cheaper and more flexible. In reality they
wanted to build a freeway down part of the rail reserve.
For the transport planners trains were a symbol of
the old economy and WA was going for the car in a
big way, with buses to pick up those few who couldn’t
manage a car, and with freeways to service the rapidly
sprawling suburbs. The land use assumptions were part
of their package – the idea that Australian
cities would turn back in and redevelop around the
train system was not imaginable.
Participative Route to Sustainability,
By Janette Hartz Karp and Peter Newman
The complex, contentious, apparently overwhelmingly
difficult problems we face on the environmental, social
and economic fronts, cannot be resolved by doing nothing
or even by doing as we have done in the past. Simply
coining and propagating the term “sustainability”
has been a start. It has reframed the issues (Lakoff,
2004) in a worldview that enables us ‘see’
the future in a different way: “Meeting the
needs of current and future generations through an
integration of environmental protection, social advancement
and economic prosperity”. The question is how
can we change the trajectory we are currently on?
Government regulation may help, but will not be sufficient.
We will need the hearts and minds of civic society.
To achieve this will also require a change in worldview
and hence direction.
Sustainability: Principles and Practices with a case
study on Western Australia
Sustainability is applied to regional governments
through applying four principles: visionary, interdisciplinary
synergies, geographical synergies and sectoral synergies.
These are then used as the basis of a case study applied
in Western Australia which is the first regional state
in the world to produce a Sustainability Strategy.
from the Book
Their second meeting was held in San Sebastian, Spain,
in April 2003, with their third conference in Fremantle,
Perth, Western Australia, in September 2003. The fourth
conference was held in Cardiff, Wales, in March 2004.
2 OECD (2002b) Governance for Sustainable Development:
Five OECD Case Studies, OECD, Paris.
3 Key Note Opening Address, Governance for Regional
Sustainability: The WA Approach, Third Conference
of the Network of Regional Governments for Sustainable
Development, University of Notre Dame, Fremantle,
Western Australia, 2003.
4 OECD (2003) Improving Policy Coherence and Integration
for Sustainable Development: A Checklist, OECD, Paris.
5 WBCSD (1997) Exploring Sustainable Development:
Global Scenarios 2000–2050, WBCSD, London.
6 Newman, P. and Kenworthy, J. (1999) Sustainability
and Cities, Island Press, Washington, DC.
7 Roseland, M. (1998) Toward Sustainable Communities,
New Society Publishers, Gabriola Island, BC, Canada;
Suter, K. (1995) Global Agenda, Albatross, Sydney.
8 The Network of Regional Government for Sustainable
Development, nrg4SD, was set up at the WSSD in Johannesburg
in 2002 but nations and local governments first began
addressing sustainable development at the Earth Summit
in Rio in 1992.
9 Healey, P. (1999) ‘Sites, Jobs and Portfolios:
Economic Development and the Planning System’,
Policy and Politics, vol 18, no 1, pp91–103.
10 Armstrong, R. and Head, G. (2002) ‘Liveable
Neighbourhoods: Guiding New Development for a More
Sustainable Urban Future’, in Armstrong, R.,
Ruane, S. and Newman, P. (eds) (2002) Case Studies
in Sustainability: Hope for the Future in Western
Australia, ISTP Publications, Perth.