Edited by Tony Fitzpatrick
Chapter 11: Using markets to achieve environmental ends: reconciling social equity issues in contemporary water policy in Australia
The twentieth century was a watershed for the development of environmental policy and law, with the adoption and dissemination of key principles relating to 'precaution', 'polluter-pays', 'inter- and intra-generational equity' and 'sustainable development' (Dovers and Hussey 2013). Indeed the post-Second World War period saw hundreds of multilateral environmental agreements signed, and the introduction or consolidation of domestic legislation relating to water and marine resources, land use, biodiversity conservation, the protection of endangered species, waste and pollution control, as well as legislation pertaining to procedural processes such as environmental impact assessment. There has also been an extensive body of covenants and international agreements signed which formally identify and declare a range of human rights, which both directly and indirectly shape domestic environmental policy and law. Among the rights protected by these covenants are the rights to life, to the enjoyment of a standard of living adequate for health and well-being, to protection from disease and access to adequate food (Gleick 1990: 490). The rights of women and children to access water are also protected under international law. In addition to advancements made in national and international law, perhaps the most remarkable parallel development in recent years has been the rise and dominance of neoliberal economic theory in shaping environmental policy. Distilled to its most basic, this development has seen traditional environmental regulation supplemented by 'the market' as the preferred means for delivering environmental ends.
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