Environmental governance paper launched

Dr Brian CoffeyThe Parliamentary Library has released a new research paper prepared by Parliamentary Library Fellow Dr Brian Coffey, a Vice-Chancellor's Research Fellow, from RMIT University

Dr Coffey’s fellowship paper, titled, Towards good environmental governance? Assessing the evolution of Victoria's environment portfolio, chronicles the Victorian Government’s environment portfolios over the past fifty years and offers insights into their governance.

In his paper, Dr Coffey states, ‘governments around the world have established environment portfolios as a means for providing political leadership over environmental matters. The ministers responsible for these portfolios are at the centre of environmental debate and are responsible for treading a delicate path through difficult political and administrative terrain. However, relatively little is known about environment portfolios and how they have changed over time. This is a significant gap in academic knowledge, given the high profile of environmental issues in contemporary political debate, and the recognition in the academic literature that good environmental governance is conceptually and practically challenging…

This paper provides an analysis of Victoria’s environment portfolio. It finds that, while institution-building has occurred, the frequent redefining of the portfolio and reorganising of the machinery of government, and lack of coherent strategy for dealing with environmental matters, is problematic…

A more systematic approach is required if Victoria is to effectively manage the environmental challenges that it faces. Such an approach could be based on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and would position sustainable development at the conceptual and practical heart of governance, so that environmental objectives are fully considered in all decision making.’

Dr Brian Coffey is a Vice-Chancellor's Research Fellow at RMIT University’s School of Global Urban & Social Studies. He is a political scientist, with a background in policy studies and environmental economics. He is particularly interested in how environmental issues are conceptualised in public policy processes and the implications this has on governance. His research has focussed on enhancing social scientific understandings of state-level policy frameworks and their potential for transforming governance in ways that are more ecologically sustainable and socially just.

Dr Coffey’s paper was officially launched at a Parliamentary Library seminar on 7 March 2019 by John Thwaites, former Victorian Minister for Environment & Climate Change. The seminar presentation is available here and can be viewed on Parliament’s YouTube Channel.


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