Sustainability at the Australian local government level: Is there room for Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)?

Baresi, Umberto, Vella, Karen, & Sipe, Neil G. (2015) Sustainability at the Australian local government level: Is there room for Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)? In State of Australian Cities National Conference 2015, 9-11 December 2015, Gold Coast, Qld.

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Recent calls in Australia have addressed the need for better integration of planning processes. The consequent effort made by government has been, and still is, reshaping the way urban and regional planning and sustainability are managed. Focusing on planning practices at the local and regional levels, we investigate how environmental sustainability is pursued from an institutional perspective. Specifically, we analyse the way that planning in Australian cities aims to achieve sustainable strategies and reflect on the relationship with ‘Strategic Environmental Assessment’.

This paper has four goals. First, sustainable planning practices at the local and regional levels are analysed considering the legislative and organizational frameworks of each state. The goal is to identify through an analysis of planning documents how much discretion is given to local councils to address sustainable strategies. Second, we focus on two regional and four cities in Queensland, to outline strengths and weaknesses of current legislative and practical frameworks. We use analytical criteria from the SEA literature to investigate these plans in more detail. Third, we examine the relationship between strategic and statutory plans, to see how sustainability is actually implemented. Finally we compare emerging issues about sustainable planning in Australia with countries overseas with different planning and SEA traditions. Considering that SEA is evolving and there are considerable international experiences, we offer recommendations on how Australia might achieve a more integrated and sustainable approach to planning.

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ID Code: 90101
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Strategic Environmental Assesment, Local Government, Regional governance, environmental sustainability, planning practice
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > URBAN AND REGIONAL PLANNING (120500) > Land Use and Environmental Planning (120504)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Civil Engineering & Built Environment
Current > Institutes > Institute for Future Environments
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 [Please consult the author]
Deposited On: 10 Nov 2015 22:35
Last Modified: 23 Mar 2016 15:59

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