SOCIAL ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN AUSTRALIA

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POVERTY 

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Department of Social Security is the main provider of social welfare programs. Social security services in Australia are provided directly by the Federal Government or through State/Territory and Local Government authorities and voluntary organizations.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Generation of income through employment is considered the main way to improve living standards and Government policies focus on the creation of an economic environment, which is conducive to the generation of employment. Where self-provision is not possible, a comprehensive safety net ensures protection of a basic standard of living.

The Government recognizes that poverty is a relative and complex concept. As non-cash factors such as access to government services and family support are also important in determining living standards, the Government does not endorse any specific measure of poverty.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

Strengthening civil society through support for institutions outside the government sector, such as NGOs and community groups is a key aspect of the Australian development cooperation program. This program also includes a comprehensive approach to address the role of women in development.

Programmes and Projects   

Poverty alleviation is intrinsic to the objective of Australia's development cooperation program. The Government pursues a three-pronged poverty reduction strategy which requires action on a number of fronts such as: the promotion of sustainable economic growth, investments in human resource development and social development and the provision of safety nets and emergency relief where needed.  

Over 30% of the Australian aid program is spent on social sector programs. The Government also places considerable importance on supporting good governance through development assistance.  The Australian development cooperation program takes into account the environmental impact and sustainability issues in activities aimed at economic growth and those directly targeting the poor.

Status   

Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people comprise about 1.6% of the overall population and suffer serious disadvantage by a range of indicators in both socio-economic well-being and health. Unemployment rates are substantially higher than for other Australians; levels of long term unemployment are particularly high. Income levels are under two thirds of the national figure. The health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is also significantly worse than for other Australians.  

Since the mid 1980s there has been a series of searching reports on various aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs, which have called forth significant Government responses. These responses have covered a broad range of areas and have had varying degrees of success. The severity of disadvantage suggests that improvement in the socio-economic and health status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will be gradual. In the wake of the report of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody it is now recognised that the improvement being sought will be achieved only by fundamental changes in societal attitudes and by recognition of the rights of Australia's indigenous citizens.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies 

No information is available

Financing 

The social security and welfare budget was approximately $A 43,449 million in 1994-95 and $A 45,237 million in 1995-1996.

Cooperation  

No information is available

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This information was provided by the Government of Australia to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: 1 April 1997.

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DEMOGRAPHICS 

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA) has primary responsibility for broad population issues at the national level. The Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) has responsibility for family planning related issues in Australia's overseas aid program. 

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Australia does not have a formal population policy, although it is keeping the issue under consideration. A formal immigration policy is in place.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

At the community level, NGOs have held a range of seminars on the linkages between population and the environment and on family planning issues.

Programmes and Projects 

The following schemes have recently been introduced into Australia's immigration program to facilitate migration away from metropolitan centres:

Status 

Australia's population passed 18 million in March 1995 and is growing at a rate of about 1 percent per year. While relatively high compared to other OECD countries, this rate is comparable to other immigrant receiving countries. It is similar to that of the United States and lower than that of New Zealand and Canada. Population projections show a clear long term trend declining from current rates of between 1 percent and 1.3 percent annually to between 0.2 percent and 0.5 percent by the year 2051. If there were no net gain from overseas migration, the growth rate would be even slower with the projected total population peaking at around 20.7 million in the year 2033 and declining to 20.1 million by 2051. 

 

While Australia's overall population density of 2.3 persons per km2 is very low, over 80% of the population is concentrated in a narrow corridor along the east, south-east and south-western coastal region, representing only 5% of the total land area. Australia is also highly urbanised with 85% of the population living in urban centres of at least 10,000 people. About 39 percent of the population live in only two cities, Sydney and Melbourne. 

The extent to which population factors affect the environment has not been clearly established. Factors relating to population and environmental degradation include patterns of population distribution, patterns and levels of consumption, public sector pricing policies, lifestyle choices, technology paths, land management practices and product mix at national and regional levels. Non-permanent population flows, such as tourism, also impact on the environment.

Challenges  

Population pressures can be seen to contribute to environmental degradation, especially in large urban areas and in certain high growth coastal regions, where native habitat and wetlands are often at risk, as well as agricultural areas with fragile soils. The environmental and economic impact of the urban nature of Australia's population has led the Government to look at ways to promote greater migration away from metropolitan centres.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

Linkages between population and environmental degradation have been considered by a number of government inquiries into population, including the National Population Council report titled "Population Issues and Australia's Future: Environment, Economy and Society". In 1994, the House of Representatives Standing Committee for Long Term Strategies conducted an inquiry into Australia's population carrying capacity. The Committee rejected the view that Australia is already close to its maximum carrying capacity and the notion of a single optimum population target. It recommended the adoption of a population policy and a consumption strategy, noting the importance of consumption patterns in determining the environmental impact of any given level of population.

There is considerable research being undertaken in Australia on population issues by a wide range of organisations, including Federal Government agencies, universities and private institutions. Each year, DIMA produces reports based on statistical data and research are compiled on the following issues: population size, growth and composition, natural increase, international migration, regional patterns of population growth and decline, and population projections.

The information base on population issues is being developed to encourage informed debate on the central issues. All completed population related publications are indexed in Population Index, a world-wide quarterly bibliography published by the Office of Population Research, Princeton University, and now available on the Internet. Material on population is also available in the Multicultural Australia and Immigration Studies Database which is generally accessible in Australian libraries through Computer links to the National Library of Australia.

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation

No information is available

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This information was provided by the Government of Australia to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: 1 April 1997.

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HEALTH

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

Australian constitutional arrangements place implementation of health policy, programs and promotion within the ambit of State and territory Governments. The Federal Government role is one of leadership, coordination, harmonisation of approach and international health activities.  

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

A National Environmental Health Strategy will be developed to place environmental health within an integrated framework that includes environmental, social and economic factors such as housing, transport, urban and rural design and management. The Australian health insurance system, Medicare, guarantees access for all Australians to public hospital and medical services. The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme provides access to essential medicines at reduced costs.

Australia has a strong commitment to strengthening families, particularly in parenting and caring roles. It views family and parenting support as pivotal in reducing the long-term incidence of child abuse and in increasing the psycho-social health of Australians. Australia is also committed to improving the supply, affordability and quality of childcare. An extensive range of services has been developed to meet the needs of children and families, including those who are socially or economically disadvantaged.

Vulnerable groups, including infants, youth, women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups, the aged and people from non-English speaking backgrounds, receive special priority in Australian health programs.  

Available data shows that the life expectancies in 1992-94 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women were 15-20 years below those of other Australians. The National Aboriginal Health Strategy (NAHS) aims to improve the health status of Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islander people, and has informed policy development in Aboriginal Health since 1989. The strategy addresses primary health care, environmental health, and community infrastructure issues. From 1 July 1995, responsibility for funding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and substance abuse services was transferred from the Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) to the Federal Department of Health and Family Services. The Department funds 164 such services, the vast majority of which are controlled by local communities. Special programs focus on mental health and hearing services for Aboriginal people. Health Framework agreements between the Federal and State/Territory Governments, ATSIC and indigenous health organisations are being signed to ensure joint priority setting, planning and coordinated delivery of health care for indigenous Australians. Trials are being conducted to test innovative ways to fund and deliver health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people using models of care coordination and pooled funding.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

No information is available

Programmes and Projects 

The National Women's Health Program includes sub-programs such as the Alternative Birthing Services Program, the Family Planning Program, the National Program for the Early Detection of Breast Cancer, and Cervical Cancer screening. Within the Disability Services Program, a range of NGOs and local government bodies are funded to provide support services in an innovative manner for people with a disability. Elderly people receive assistance with residential and home and community care services. A National Action Plan for Dementia Care aims to improve services for people with dementia and their care givers.  

 

The national communicable diseases surveillance programs are aimed at ensuring a prompt and coordinated response to any outbreaks of communicable diseases and improving the status of children. Special programs address HIV/AIDS. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare is an independent Statutory authority which undertakes statistical and research work in the health and welfare areas, providing support to the Federal and State/Territory Governments.

 

The Commonwealth Health Research Program provides funding through several research granting schemes for research into all aspects of health and health services. The principal source of funding for this research is the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). The NHMRC provides a wide range of research grants and training awards to individual researchers and research institutes. The NHMRC Environmental Toxicology Centre undertakes research into all aspects of plant toxins, soil and water contaminants and other potential environmental hazards. Specific funding programs through NHMRC and the Federal Department of Health and Family Services are provided for research into public health, health and welfare services, mental health, HIV/AIDS, and indigenous health issues.

The Rural Health Support, Education and Training Program aims to provide recruitment of health workers in rural and remote areas by increasing education, training and support opportunities. Initiatives include the development of culturally appropriate curricula for Aboriginal Health Workers, a manual for primary clinical care, and an education and training program for managing children, domestic violence and suicide behaviour among adolescents.

Status 

No information is available

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

The Australian Health and Community Services Ministers have supported the development of a National Public Health Partnership between the Commonwealth, State and Territories as a coordination and collaboration mechanism that adds value to the work of each jurisdiction. The development of the partnership has been seen as an opportunity to place public health at the forefront of effective health care in Australia.

Included in the Partnership will be the recently formed Directors of Environmental Health Forum, which includes representatives from all governments. The Directors of Environmental Health (DEH) has been identified as crucial to intergovernmental cooperation on environmental health. DEH promotes uniformity and reduction of duplication across a range of environmental policy issues and technical initiatives and provides a conduit for information and expertise transfer, particularly with the World Health Organisation, OECD and regional health agencies. It also provides advice, including public education, on a wide range of environmental health issues.

The National Occupational Health and Safety Commission provides a national mechanism for addressing productivity and equity issues. The Commission has endorsed a set of principles governing the relationship between occupational health and safety and ecologically sustainable development. It has declared exposure standards for a number of workplace hazards and has a National Strategy for the Management of Chemicals Used at Work. The Commission has also endorsed a National Data Set for Workers Compensation Statistics as the primary source of national data on occupational health and safety performance. It has strategies for handling priority hazards of chemicals, occupational skin disorders, occupational noise inducing hearing loss, occupational back pain and mechanical equipment injury. The Government is developing health impact assessments in the workplace and includes occupational health and safety in environmental impact assessment.

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation  

 

Within the development cooperation program, in 1994/95, funding for health aid activities was about $A 80 million. Health policy is based on the strategy of primary health care endorsed by WHO. A special theme of assistance is Women and Their Children's Health. HIV/AIDS activities and family planning/reproductive health are of increasing importance. Australia participants in the WHO Global Program on AIDS. The Government cooperates with ILO in the occupational health and safety area.

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This information was provided by the Government of Australia to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: 1 April 1997.

Click here to go to the Health and health-related statistical information from the World Health Organization.

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EDUCATION

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Commonwealth Government of Australia adopts a leadership role in environmental education and focuses on public awareness, information and education initiatives, as well as encouraging a coordinated and cooperative approach to the formal education sector. As part of the National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development (NSESD),ministers agreed to the incorporation of ESD principles as a cross curriculum perspective in the national curriculum framework.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

 

Each State and Territory has primary responsibility for determining curriculum content. Principles of ESD are agreed within Common and Agreed National Goals for Schools and as part of the National Strategy for ESD. Regarding the national goals, these are currently under review by the Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA). States have proceeded to develop National Curriculum Profiles and Statements (1994, and, most recently, specific documents concerning the integration of environmental education into the curriculum have been released by Education Departments for Tasmania (1986), New South Wales (1989), Victoria (1990), Western Australia (1990), South Australia (1991), Queensland (1993), Northern Territory (1994) and the Australian Capital Territory (1997). New South Wales and Tasmania will review their environmental education statements in 1998. In Western Australia, 1997 has seen the dissemination of a Draft Curriculum Framework for all schools, produced by the Western Australian Curriculum Council. The Victorian Department of Education is reviewing the content of the 1990 Ministerial Policy Environmental Education documents.

 

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

 

In the National Numeracy and Literacy Plan, the Commonwealth, State and Territory Education ministers have agreed to the following goal: that every child leaving primary school should be numerate, and able to read, write and spell at an appropriate level. Ministers have also adopted a sub goal: that every child commencing school from1998 will achieve a minimum acceptable literacy and numeracy standard within four years. 

 

The Minister for the Environment has commissioned the Australian Association for Environmental Education to prepare a Report on Environmental Education Needs and Proposals for National Action. This follows national environmental education workshops run in previous years in conjunction with the Department of the Environment, the Department of Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs and the Association.  The Report was finalized by the Association in October 1997, and its recommendations are currently being considered.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

No information is available

 

Programmes and Projects   

 

The Coastcare Program is being implemented under tripartite Commonwealth, State and Local Government Memoranda of Understanding. Coastcare provides opportunities for communities to work with their local land managers to identify problems along their stretch of the coast and then to develop and implement solutions to these problems. Regional Coastcare facilitators help assist in this process. Coastcare has formed 250 community groups since its inception in early 1996.  

 

The National Wetlands Program has been providing funding to the World Wide Fund for Nature (Australia)(WWF) to undertake the Tri-national Wetlands Cooperative Management Program. Indigenous traditional owners from Kakadu National Park stand to benefit from visiting wetlands managers in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea and exchanging ideas on similar management issues. The project has two key objectives, namely: 1) to develop a combined training program for wetlands managers of Tonda wildlife management area in PNG, Wasur National Park in Indonesia and Kakadu National Park and 2) to formulate a co-operative management arrangement to facilitate staff training and exchange of expertise, particularly in wetlands research and management.  

 

The Commonwealth, through the Endangered Species Program, funds public networks, such as the Threatened Species Network and Threatened Bird Network, to promote active community involvement in recovery programs for threatened species. The networks also work to educate and raise awareness among local communities about wildlife conservation. Environment Australia has helped incorporate ESD principles in schools through the One Billion Trees Schools Education Program and by producing educational resource materials.  

 

Natural Heritage Trust funded programs such as the National Landcare Program and the National Rivercare Initiative involve both Commonwealth Government of Australia and State/Territory governments in promoting the Total Catchment Management/Integrated Catchment Management approach to natural resource management. This approach recognizes that integrated management of land, water and related vegetation resources is required with all stakeholders making an appropriate contribution.  

 

A range of environmental education programs has been developed. Examples include EnviroQuest, an interactive computer game for schools to increase awareness and interest in environmental issues by school children; Australian Ways, a resource kit for teachers of English as a second language focused on ESD; a capacity building program for coastal managers; the Environment Protection Agency's Cleaner Production workshop series; and the Australian Heritage Commission's primary school teaching resource, Special Places. 

 

In August 1996, the Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories released an Environmental Economics Research Paper titled "More With Less: Initiatives to promote sustainable consumption". The Paper examines Australian initiatives designed to alter consumption patterns in order to reduce environmental impact. Examples of these initiatives include: 

Education Network Australia (EdNA) is an Australian initiative which aims to facilitate the provision of cost effective education to all parts of the education community in Australia. EdNA is founded on cooperation and consultation between representatives of all sectors of the education community including Commonwealth, State and Territory governments, non government schools, the vocational education and training sector, the higher education sector and the adult and community education sectors. The aim is to maximize the benefits of information technology for all sectors in Australian education and to avoid overlap and duplication between the various sectors and systems. 

 

There is an EdNA Directory Service on-line to enable students and teachers at all levels of education to access and share information across Australia and throughout the world. The Directory contains a search facility, which points users to quality sites in a comprehensive range of education fields, including Sustainable Development.

The Australian Environmental Education Network (AEEN) is a national network of environmental education and information programs, materials and publications. The Network includes access to materials and programs produced from within the Federal Environment Portfolio, States/Territories Environmental Education Resources, lists of current school and community environmental programs, environmental programs for schools available through the Internet, links with tertiary resources and a bulletin board for the exchange of ideas.

Status 

Education is available to all sectors of the community irrespective of socio-economic status. The public education system provides free education up to Year 12 secondary level. Fees are payable for tertiary education.

At the school level, research has shown that young people' s participation in education, the workforce and society is influenced significantly by their level of ability in literacy and numeracy. The major factors which are usually seen as placing educational outcomes at risk include socio-economic disadvantage, poverty, low parental expectation, disability, a language background other than English, family or personal difficulties, geographic isolation, indigenous background and gender. 

Challenges

No information is available

 

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

 

Increased public education and awareness about water use is an important element of the Council of Australian Government's (COAG) strategic framework for reform of the water industry. The Task Force has also published and widely distributed a number of policy papers on Groundwater, Stormwater/Wastewater, Water Trading and Water for the Environment to increase awareness and assist decision-makers in the water industry. COAG Water Reforms also address water quality through the development of the National Water Quality Management Strategy which comprises a set of guidelines based on policies and principles to assist stakeholders to contribute to improved water quality management. The strategy is based on the use of a systems approach to water quality management through a complementary package of regulatory and market based measures. Central to the strategy is promoting the adoption of best practice and community awareness and education.

 

The Institution of Engineers, Australia with active assistance from the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering completed a major Review of Engineering Education in Australia. This review had a section giving recommendations for the incorporation of sustainable development education principles into tertiary education throughout the entire course structure.

 

Some non-government organizations are concerned with environmental initiatives that involve the participation of families and local communities, including 'Clean Up Australia' and ' Keep Australia Beautiful'.  Awareness raising activities include:

Environment Australia mounted a major public awareness campaign involving mass media advertising and point of sale distribution of information designed to demonstrate that many pre-1986 cars could use unleaded petrol. It was highly successful and more than 500,000 drivers switched to unleaded petrol over a six month period.

National Water Week is a national water awareness campaign, which has been conducted annually under the auspices of the Agricultural and Resource Management Council of Australia and New Zealand to focus attention on the social, economic and environmental benefits resulting from improved water management. The aim of Water Week is to build on ongoing awareness raising activities and to generate a greater focus on water conservation and management issues within the community through concentrated public education, advertising and media strategies and activities for schools around Australia. 

WaterWise is another education and awareness initiative that is gaining momentum in Australia. The aim of WaterWise is to raise the profile of water-related issues, promote the benefits of water use efficiency, and increase awareness of the implications of inefficient water use. WaterWise encourages partnerships between State agencies, local government or other water service providers, manufacturers and industry groups, agricultural and irrigation associations, education and vocational institutions and consultants in the development and delivery of messages and information on water use efficiency. Specific WaterWise programs are WaterWise in the Home, WaterWise in the Workplace and WaterWise on the Farm. WaterWise produces school curriculum course materials for all levels of students and assists local governments implement their programs.

Ocean Care Day in Australia is an example of an innovative approach to family and local community awareness of coastal management. It is an annual event that aims to promote the achievements of the community, user groups and individuals actively pursuing conservation of Australia's marine and coastal ecosystems at a national, regional and local level.

Arbor Week and Frog Week, celebrated around Australia, focus community awareness and participation in environmental education programs.

 

Information 

 

Coastal and Marine Studies in Australia is a new resource for Australian teachers, which provides access to the latest information on the marine and coastal environment. The manual covers classes from Kindergarten to Year 12, and gives guidelines on incorporating coastal and marine studies into existing schools programs. In particular there is an emphasis on the key learning areas of Science and Studies of Society and Environment. 

Australia' s Best Practice Environmental Management in Mining series demonstrates government, industry and community organizations are working together as partners in protecting the environment. The mining industry and government are collecting and presenting information on a variety of topics that explain best practice environmental management in Australia's mining industry. Through booklets and videotapes the package targets all sectors of the mining industry - minerals, coal, oil and gas. The case study examples are practical, cost effective and exceed requirements currently set by environmental protection regulations.

The National Resources Information Centre (NRIC) has a Web site enabling access to a broad range of information relating to sustainable development issues. NRIC, through its purpose-built training facility, the Advanced Systems Institute, offers 'best practice' focused training in the use of information systems as enabling technologies for sustainable development. Courses have been held for scientists and managers in both the public and private sectors and from both developed and developing countries. A telecentres program has been established to link rural communities to the resources of the Internet and to train rural people in the use of information technology to enhance the sustainability of their communities. 

The Commonwealth Government of Australia has published and distributed nationwide a booklet called "Global warming - cool it! A home guide to reducing energy costs and greenhouse gases." Another promotion campaign between government and industry has phased out chloroflurocarbons (CFCs) in advance of requirements agreed under the Montreal protocol.

'Australia: State of the Environment 1996' (SoE) is the first independent nation-wide assessment of the status of Australia's environment. The report provides the Australian public, its governments, and decision-makers with information about the state of wetlands, issues of water conservation and management. One of the aims of the SoE reporting process is to increase the general awareness of these issues in order to achieve more sustainable water consumption patterns.

Clockwork: Hands on for Habitat is an innovative education program on the Internet, which provides a guide for community involvement in conserving endangered and vulnerable plants and animals. This is part of the Department of the Environment's Internet site.

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing 

The Commonwealth Government of Australia is contributing substantial funding to Australian schools to support the development of literacy skills. The Government has already committed $669 million for literacy and numeracy in the four years to 2000. The Commonwealth budget for schools has been increased by 4% from $A3.6 billion in 1996-97 to $A3.75 billion in 1997-98. The funding package for this year includes $A7 million for the new National Literacy and Numeracy Plan. The Commonwealth will continue to provide targeted funding for educationally disadvantaged students by supplementing the funding of Australian schools to achieve specific national objectives.

 

Cooperation  

 

No information is available

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This information was provided by the Government of Australia to the 5th and 6th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: 1 June 1998.

Click here for more information about National Heritage Trust. .

For more information about the non-governmental organization, AKeep Australia Clean,@ click here.

For more information about Education Network Australia (EdNA) activities, click here.

More information about environmental education and information programs from Australian Environmental Education Network (AEEN) are available at this site.

Click here for waterlands, waterways and waterbirds.

Click here for the Waterwatch Homepage.

Click here for the State of the Environment Homepage.

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HUMAN SETTLEMENTS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Planning Ministers' Conference acts to promote an integrated approach to urban and regional planning which covers regulatory, microeconomic, environmental and social issues. Membership consists of the Federal, State, Territory and New Zealand Ministers responsible for planning.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Australia is one of the most urbanised countries in the world, with about 85% of its population living in urban areas. The rate of urban growth has resulted in severe environmental and social consequences, which threaten the high quality of life currently found in Australian towns and cities. In 1992, a National Housing Strategy was completed, putting forward a comprehensive set of national housing and urban policies and setting objectives for expanding the range and supply of affordable and appropriate housing. 

The Australian Urban and Regional Development Review was carried out in 1993 to 1996. The outcomes of the Review offer significant potential to address human settlements in an environmentally sustainable manner. The Review considers the relationship between energy use, urban form, transport and housing design.

Both the National Water Quality Management Strategy and the National Landcare Program address the issues of water supply and wastewater treatment in urban areas. Waste management is being addressed through a number of Government activities. The Australian Housing Industry Development Council is examining the recycling of building materials and mechanisms for the disposal of builders' rubble. The National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development promotes the implementation of travel demand strategies and management techniques such as the integration of land use and transport planning to minimise the need of fossil fuel-based transport.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

The National Urban Development Program promotes an improved range of housing types, making more efficient use of land and infrastructure, and reforming planning processes at the local level. It includes the Australian Model Code for Residential Development (AMCORD). The National Strategy for the Conservation of Biological Diversity refers to the conservation of biodiversity in urban areas and includes bioregional planning, habitat retention and providing public information. A national program to plant one billion trees by the year 2000 addresses both rural and urban areas.

Status   

No information is available

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

The Integrated Local Area Planning Program (ILAP) is the key program designed to build the capacity of local governments in urban management. A pilot study of 20 councils aims to build the capacity of local governments to reform strategic planning and decision-making processes to ensure a more holistic approach with and between local governments and the integration of regional and State Government plans. The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute was established to promote research into social and economic aspects of housing and related issues. The Institute has been encouraging all aspects of the urban environment to be addressed in an integrated manner.

Information   

The National Local Government Environment Resources Network and the Local Government Environment Information Exchange Scheme are providing information and support to local government for better environmental management.

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing   

The Federal-State Housing Agreement provides funding for housing assistance for people on low income.

Cooperation

The quality of the urban environment is an increasingly important issue in the national development cooperation program. Australia participated in HABITAT and supporting agencies, ESCAP and the ADB. Australia has relevant expertise especially in land title registration, urban infrastructure, land use planning and waste management and is cooperating, e.g. with Thailand.

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Australia to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: 1 April 1997.

Click here to access UNCHS "Best Practices for Human Settlements" in Oceana, including Australia, New Zealand, PNG, Figi, and Micronesia

For information related to human settlements and refugees, you may access the UNHCR Country Index by clicking here:


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