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2018 Spring - Tax and regulation for farm business sustainability

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FPJ1503D - Martin, P (2018), Australia needs a feasible business model for rural conservation

FPJ1503D - Martin, P (2018), Australia needs a feasible business model for rural conservation, in Farm Policy Journal, vol. 15, no. 3, Spring 2018, pp. 49-55, Surry Hills, Australia.

This paper discusses the effectiveness, fairness and viability of the business model Australia uses to slow the inexorable decline in rural biodiversity. Ongoing poor environmental outcomes create political pressures for tighter farm regulation, which fuels a movement against ‘green tape’ to reduce the increasing costs and complexity of regulation and administration. All other things being equal more protection will require more resources from rural Australia, and this is beyond its capacity to provide because of economic and demographic fundamentals and climate. Government support is also vulnerable to economic and political pressures, and often leads to high transaction costs and other problems for the very people who try to do the right thing. The ultimate result of insufficient resources (and conflictual politics) is thus inequity and inefficiency, and poor environmental outcomes, a ‘lose-lose’ outcome for everyone.
The potential for a more viable resourcing model or more efficient instruments and administration is given very little attention, though all sides would benefit from this. A more feasible model that spreads the load further, is more reliable in the face of commodity income and political volatility, and reduces the transaction costs of environmental protection, would make better outcomes more likely for everyone. It is difficult, but possible, to create such a model.











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