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Environmental policy implementation: sea dumping off sub-Antarctic Heard Island, Australia

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-25, 22:47 authored by Kriwoken, L, Hay, P, Keage, P
In pursuit of its Antarctic interests, Australia has nominated a single agency, the Australian Antarctic Division to exercise legislative and managerial responsibility for Antarctic operations. This agency has a dual role in undertaking station development and resupply activities on the one hand and the responsibility of enuironrnental watchdog over these same official activities on the other. There is potential conflict between these roles and in practice this can result in the subversion of the latter function and thus the promotion of environmental degradation with both short and longterm impacts on the terrestrial and marine Antarctic and sub-Antarctic environment. The situation described below typifies the problems encountered in implementing environmental protection policy by agencies charged with conflicting responsibilities. Recourse is had to policy implernentation theory in the context of analyses of pertinent Antarctic and sub-Antarctic environmental legislation, of policy interpretation and management within the Australian Antarctic Division, and of onsite decision-making. Observations of recent sea dumping activities off subAntarctic Heard Island are used to illustrate the problem of the Division's role ambiguity. Conclusions and recommendations point touiard serious inadequacies in the implementation of environmental policy and to the possibility of improving the enuironrnental record by strengthening the enuironmental responsibilities of other agencies.


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Maritime Studies







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