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An Economic Unravelling of the Precautionary Principle: The Queensland Wild Rivers Act 2005

  • Year: 2010
  • Author: Iles, Stephen; Johns, Gary
  • Journal Name: Agenda : a Journal of Policy Analysis and Reform
  • Journal Number: Vol.17, No.2
  • Publisher: Australian National University
  • Published Location: Canberra, ACT
  • Country: Australia
  • State/Region: Queensland

The paper assesses the application of the precautionary principle in the Queensland Wild Rivers Act 2005. It finds that the Act is more restrictive than the ecologically sustainable development principles as conceived, and deployed, by the Queensland Government elsewhere. At the same time the Act is injurious to property rights, unnecessarily restricts future development options, and does not allow for assessments of non-environmental values or the cost of options forgone. As a result the Act has severe consequences for the Cape York economy and increases the risk of perverse consequences for the environment.

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