Peter Costello

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Productivity Commission Reference

NO. 083

PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION REFERENCE - IMPLEMENTATION OF ECOLOGICALLY SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT (ESD) BY COMMONWEALTH DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES.

I have today asked the Productivity Commission to report within nine months on the Implementation of ESD by Commonwealth departments and agencies. The terms of reference are attached.

It is over five years since the National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development was released. The key guiding principles of the strategy remain as relevant today as they were in 1992.

Economic, social and environmental well being are strongly linked. It follows that economic, social and environmental goals must be pursued in an integrated manner. It is vital that Commonwealth departments and agencies show leadership in the process. This ESD inquiry will provide opportunities to assess the progress of Government agencies in implementing ESD. It will also show where useful initiatives could be taken to improve performance.

I have asked the Commission to examine the effectiveness of Commonwealth policies and programs in changing community or corporate behaviour in ways which promote ESD outcomes; analyse the policy and economic implications of incorporating ESD into decision making processes; and develop evaluation mechanisms and priorities among Commonwealth departments and agencies for the implementation of ESD.

The Commission is well-placed to conduct this inquiry, having substantial experience in assessing ESD, including its recent ecologically sustainable land management inquiry. The inquiry will be headed by Dr Neil Byron, who I recently appointed as a Commissioner because of his expertise in environmental matters.

While the Commission will not conduct public hearings for the purposes of this inquiry, there will be ample opportunity for public participation. The Commission will shortly release an issues paper and invite expressions of interest from parties wishing to participate in the inquiry. I encourage all interested parties to make submissions to the Commission.

People who want to register their interest in the inquiry or obtain a copy of the terms of reference can find details on the Productivity Commission's website (www.pc.gov.au/inquiry/esd/) or apply directly to the Commission. For more information contact Dr Don Gunasekera, Assistant Commissioner (Productivity Commission, Melbourne) on 03 9653 2192.

CANBERRA
24 August 1998

24 Aug 1998

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