08 May 2014

Abstract: The Australian state is not normally considered in the context of fragility. We challenge the assumption of Australian robustness by examining the way in which two potential vulnerabilities are framed and the way these issues are incorporated in to the political and institutional policy agendas. Food and energy security will be examined in the context of Australia as a complex adaptive system with an analysis of the vulnerabilities of these two issues as understood by different actors. While it can be argued that Australia has been resilient in the past, we argue that this state cannot be taken for granted for the future. There are vulnerabilities that could become triggers for unexpected changes, or which could tip towards greater vulnerability and fragility.

Journal article
24 Mar 2010

This report is part of a project exploring the potential for new industries and enterprises to fill land-use opportunities in areas where current agricultural industries may be strongly challenged by future climates.
The specific aims were to identify the regions and industries where climate change will alter the current mix of agricultural industries, determine the plant traits required for successful new industries in future climates, and suggest new industries that meet these criteria.

12 Sep 2007

Based on the largest survey of environment management practices to be conducted in Australia, this report finds that companies are deeply concerned about greenhouse emissions, and are taking action to reduce their consumption of electricity, gas, water and waste production.

17 Jul 2006

This paper examines non-metropolitan disadvantage in the framework of five key areas: economic capital; institutional capital; social capital; human capital; and natural capital. The report makes a number of recommendations and calls for a whole of government approach – in co-operation with business and community organisations – to decrease inequality between rural/regional and metropolitan centres across a range of areas.

21 Oct 2005

The pursuit of energy efficiency would also seem to be in the interests of any rational producer or consumer, firm or household. Yet the issue at the heart of this inquiry is why producers and consumers do not always seek greater energy efficiency, even when it seems cost effective for them to do so. Why isn’t the market working - or is it? Answering these questions is important in framing a policy response that will provide net benefits for the community.

03 Mar 2005

Australian governments engaged in a major reform program in the 1990s, culminating in the formation of the National Electricity Market (NEM) which commenced operation on 13 December 1998. Today, the NEM supplies electricity to 7.7 million Australian customers on an interconnected national grid that runs through Queensland, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and South Australia. In this paper Stewart Smith reviews the electricity market from a national perspective, and then focuses on the requirements of NSW.

Briefing paper
29 Oct 2004

Sustainable energy systems are widely seen as a desirable goal, but what constitutes such systems and how to make the transition from current practice to sustainable practice are more contested. Developed nations are locked-in to fossil fuel use, with a myriad of economic, technical, institutional and social obstacles discouraging change. Such obstacles are currently being faced by wind power proponents. The latter are promoting wind power in Australia because they believe it has a role in a sustainable energy system. The paper proposes that society can learn about the introduction of ‘sustainable’ technologies from the wind power case and suggests a body of theory and an analytical method for this purpose. The methodological argument is supported by the preliminary results of an ongoing empirical study. The paper concludes with a reflection on the theory and method and an outline of future research.

Journal article