Research Handbooks on Impact Assessment series
Edited by Claire A. Dunlop and Claudio M. Radaelli
Chapter 23: Australia and New Zealand
Recent reviews of the New Zealand and Australian systems of impact assessment (IA) have come to strikingly similar conclusions, indicating that, in summary, they have a variety of shortcomings in system design, major gaps between IA principles and practice, are often little more than an afterthought in the policy development process and a compliance exercise, little used and little valued. This chapter compares the Australian and New Zealand systems and their more recent development, finding that it supports the views contained in official reviews. It concludes that even though the formal, detailed requirements have been increasingly comprehensive in Australia and New Zealand, actual practice continues to demonstrate significant non-compliance with expected standards and processes, and limited influence on actual regulatory decisions. However, on a more positive note, the chapter also finds that the existence of ten different IA systems within the Australian federal state, combined with the close relations that exist between Australian and New Zealand officials responsible for IA, may encourage, if slowly, cooperative learning by transfer between jurisdictions of processes and techniques that seem more effective. Further, as a matter of conjecture, new or modified regulation that is well substantiated by a comprehensive regulatory impact statement (RIS) might also encourage the transfer of the regulation in question between jurisdictions, and vice versa, as well as the transfer of processes or techniques.
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