Topic 9 is a case study on water policy in Australia. It includes seven activities. Candidates are asked to choose and complete any three (3) of these.
Notes on the activities for Topic 9
The activity responses will be assessed on the basis of:
* the quality of your understanding * the critical evaluation of your material * the development of your argument * comprehensiveness of your response * the clarity of your presentation.
Ensure that you clearly state the activity that you have chosen to complete.
Due Date: Friday 24th May 2013
Activity 9.1 Key issues and questions
Before continuing with the current topic, list the issues and questions of policy raised by the article (Reading 9.1) as fully as you can. Keep in mind what you have learned through the unit and note how much is encountered in this short piece.
There were several key issues and questions raised in the Australian Water Policy case study. They included the decision making processes previously adopted by the Queensland Government, and in particular National Party politicians commissioning dams for their constituents in favour of following the rational policy making approach to determine appropriate dam locations. The process of naming these facilities also came under scrutiny as each new dam was named after fellow National Party constituents. These actions contradict the framework that encompassed rational policy making in accordance with the engineering model described by (Bulmer 1990) that sets out the policy making process. This process attempts to define the policy problem, identify potential gaps through interpretation of research data consequently shaping or reshaping a policy position accordingly through ongoing consultation and evaluation processes.
In 1992 the Council of Australian Governments (CoAG) was formed to serve as the lead regulatory body for water politics. This included establishing the National Competition Council (NCC) to oversee on behalf of the CoAG the implementation of water reform initiatives and compliance progress of all government agencies (Sutton 2009). The rationale behind the establishment of the NCC was to guide the execution of water reform policy in accordance with the subsequent implementation plan for each policy that outlined essential timelines, priorities, and key tasks.
Environmental impact was a key factor in shaping the outcomes of water policies which included water rights, environmental compensation payments, and a review of the water allocation systems. This review identified that there were excess water resources available for allocation after the essential environmental flow was firstly quarantined. Regulatory compliance was controlled by the NCC who were considered a very powerful and revered organisation with the capacity to recommend severe financial penalties for non compliance (Katharine 2005).
The decision by the Beattie Government to build Paradise Dam was intended to meet the NCC’s criteria which was an economically viable and ecologically sustainable water reform project. This criteria set by the NCC was paramount in fulfilling the water reform policy and to avoid ongoing financial penalties. The policy cycle according to (Bridgman and Davis 2000) identified consultation as a critical factor that must occur throughout the whole policy cycle. It is apparent that the Beattie Government did not undertake ongoing consultation with key stakeholders via the contemporary methods to develop a policy position on Paradise Dam that would support the implementation and construction process. The NCC conducted consultation with Paradise Dam critics in environmental lobby groups, upstream land users, and relevant local authorities to form an opinion regarding the effectiveness of this proposal to meet ongoing water reform requirements.