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

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  • Stephen Iles
  • Gary Johns

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen Iles & Gary Johns, 2010. "An Economic Unravelling of the Precautionary Principle: The Queensland Wild Rivers Act 2005," Agenda - A Journal of Policy Analysis and Reform, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics, vol. 17(2), pages 73-94.
  • Handle: RePEc:acb:agenda:v:17:y:2010:i:2:p:73-94
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    File URL: http://press-files.anu.edu.au/downloads/press/p89361/pdf/wild_rivers.pdf
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    1. John Rolfe, 1995. "Ulysses Revisited — A Closer Look At The Safe Minimum Standard Rule," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 39(1), pages 55-70, April.
    2. José A. Rodrigues-Neto, 2008. "Climate Change Policy: A Theorist’s Plea to Take Heed of Game Theory and Ambiguity Aversion," Agenda - A Journal of Policy Analysis and Reform, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics, vol. 15(2), pages 85-92.
    3. Rolfe, John, 1995. "Ulysses Revisited - A Closer Look At The Safe Minimum Standard Rule," Australian Journal of Agricultural Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 39(01), April.
    4. Kenneth J. Arrow & Anthony C. Fisher, 1974. "Environmental Preservation, Uncertainty, and Irreversibility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 88(2), pages 312-319.
    5. Gollier, Christian & Treich, Nicolas, 2003. "Decision-Making under Scientific Uncertainty: The Economics of the Precautionary Principle," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 77-103, August.
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