Achieving Environmental Sustainability through Fiscal Policy
Critical Issues in Environmental Taxation series
Edited by Larry Kreiser, Julsuchada Sirisom, Hope Ashiabor and Janet E. Milne
Chapter 13: The Political Economy of Australia’s Proposed Resource Rent Taxation Regime
* Hope Ashiabor and Moira Saccasan INTRODUCTION The seminal work, the Brundtland Report,1 couched the notion of sustainable development in terms of inter-generational equity. The report defined sustainable development with reference to paths of progress that meet the needs and aspirations of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. The report went further to state that this ability of future generations to meet their own needs could be compromised as much by affluence – the excesses of industrial and technological development – as by environmental degradation and underdevelopment. In presenting the report to the United Nations Environment Programme’s 14th Governing Session, the chairman said: At the same time as we call for a revival of economic growth, we urge that the quality of growth be changed. Growth must promote a fair distribution of income. It must be soundly based on the stock of natural capital that sustains it, instead of overusing it. It must respect limits to environmental resources such as clean air and water, forests and soils; it must maintain genetic diversity; it must be based on more effective uses of energy and raw materials. The environment must become an ally, not a victim of development.2 In most countries (including Australia) that are rich in non-renewable resources, these concerns have come into focus on a number of fronts. The first relates to managing the devastating environmental degradation that is often left in the wake of the exploitation of these non-renewable resources. As most countries...
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