Mladen Kovac, Chief Economist, Office of Environment and Heritage
Nicholas Conner, Principal Conservation Economist, Office of Environment and Heritage
Implementing an environmental-economic accounting framework to support environmental policy-making: a work-in-progress
Introduction to SEEA
Along with nearly all other countries, Australia produces a set of national economic accounts – the System of National Accounts (SNA). The SNA provides information on economic activities in Australia, for income, expenditure, output, net worth and international transactions by households, businesses and governments. Importantly, the SNA shows not only how economic activity changes over time, but also how changes in one sector flow through, and affect other sectors in the economy. This information is routinely used by government policy makers to inform policy decisions, often supported by economic modelling showing trade-offs between different sectors of the economy under different policy options.
Carly Chabal, Intern, National Parks Association of NSW
Every year, millions of visitors flock to sites like Half Dome, the Grand Canyon, and Kilimanjaro, pull out their cameras, find the perfect lighting, adjust the focus, and—you guessed it—take a selfie. Jokes aside, all of these locations are home to unique plants and wildlife, but they wouldn’t be nearly as amazing without the spectacular landscape.
There’s something mesmerising about natural geologic wonders in a world that is becoming increasingly filled with concrete. One of the things that make Australia so lovely is its dramatic landscape. From the white sandy beaches of the Gold Coast to the towering Uluru, Australia is a geologic wonder. Here in New South Wales, we have access to an expansive karst environment, the wild Blue Mountains, towering coastal cliffs, one of only four glacial cirque lakes in mainland Australia, and the highest peak on the main continent.
John Turnbull, Past President, National Parks Association of NSW
Anne Dickson, Sustainability facilitator and consultant and sessional lecturer in sustainability
As I sat on the rocky ledge just south of Jibbon Head in the Royal National Park, I couldn’t find the words. In front of me – a pod of dolphins, migrating humpback whales, and just to my right, an Australian fur seal feeding in the shallows. Behind me – an echidna, black cockatoos, finches and early spring wildflowers. And the value of all this? Nothing short of priceless.
In today’s society, we seem to need to put a price tag on everything. Of course, some things can be valued in monetary terms – anything which has a market, which is bought and sold. Even then, the price paid may not be a true reflection of the value or cost – hence the need for carbon pricing, for example.
Dr Oisín Sweeney, Senior Ecologist, National Parks Association of NSW
A case study on the Victorian Central Highlands
Back in June, scientists and economists from the Australian National University produced a ground-breaking piece of work. They published a set of experimental ‘ecosystem accounts’ for the Central Highlands region of Victoria. NPA Senior Ecologist, Dr Oisín Sweeney, explains the relevance of this approach.
Graeme L. Worboys, Adjunct Fellow, Fenner School of Society and Environment, Australian National University
Large numbers of the Wild Horse, a farm-animal escapee, are severely impacting the water catchment wetlands of the Australian Alps, including right across Kosciuszko National Park. In 2014, 35% of the Alps wetlands had been damaged. These high mountain wetlands are the very heart of the headwater catchment sources for our mightiest rivers, the Murray, Murrumbidgee and the Snowy and regrettably they are also a preferred grazing area for these heavy stock animals. Numbers of Wild Horses have grown from about 2,000 to more than 6,000 in just 11 years and they are causing great damage to the catchments. The NSW Government, in response to these threats has launched, in May 2016, a draft Wild Horse Management Plan for consultation … a plan, amongst other things, to protect the water catchments.
Yesterday’s revelations in the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) that the Baird government has dipped into the Climate Change Fund to find the $240 million for private land conservation is the latest piece of worrying Coalition climate policy says the National Parks Association of NSW (NPA).
The $240 million has been repeatedly touted by the government as being a safety net against a return to broad scale land clearing resulting from the repeal of the Native Vegetation Act, but has been labelled by the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists as ‘a taxpayer subsidy to farmers to clear land’.