National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development

Prepared by the Ecologically Sustainable Development Steering Committee
Endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments
December, 1992
ISBN 0 644 27253 8

Industry, Trade and Environment Policy
Part 3 Intersectoral Issues - Chapter 21


To provide a government policy framework which supports the efficient and environmentally responsible development of the nation's resources; to pursue internationally, agreement on the incorporation of full environmental costs associated with production and use; and to maximise the ESD benefits of trade liberalisation.

Strategic Approach

Governments will continue actions to remove barriers to the efficient operation of market forces, while improving the efficiency of the allocation and use of resources and promoting an accelerated program of microeconomic reform. An appropriate taxation regime will be maintained to foster industrial development and to facilitate the more rapid adoption of best environmental technologies for all stages of the production process.

  • Governments will also seek recognition of the contribution that trade liberalisation can make to ESD, promote the benefits that a multilateral commitment to full-cost pricing can have for ESD, and seek to discourage other countries from adopting unilateral trade measures on environmental grounds.

Objective 21.1

  • to continue development of Australia's industrial sector, pursue opportunities to achieve greater diversity in our economic and industrial structure, while ensuring that environmental objectives are not compromised

Governments will:

  • at the Commonwealth level, seek rapid implementation of initiatives outlined in the Prime Minister's One Nation Statement to promote the development of Australia's industries in an ecologically sustainable manner
  • maintain their commitment to a continuing process of microeconomic reform
  • support the full range of operations of the National Road Transport Commission and the National Rail Corporation
  • continue efforts to increase the efficiency of approvals processes for major projects
  • work to remove impediments and distortions to efficient operation of market forces, by simplifying and streamlining regulatory frameworks and by proper pricing of resources and government services
  • encourage industry to treat environmental management as an integral component of project planning and operations

Objective 21.2

  • to seek a high degree of integration of trade and environment policies

The Commonwealth Government will:

  • continue to pursue global trade liberalisation in recognition of the contribution that this can make to the achievement of ESD
  • work through GATT to ensure the required weight is given to trade liberalisation and full- cost pricing in the development of regulatory and pricing mechanisms
  • seek to clarify existing GATT rules and principles in relation to links between environmental measures and trade, with a view to examining the need for possible rule changes to accommodate internationally agreed environmental objectives
  • at the Commonwealth level, continue to pursue efforts to achieve removal of subsidies and barriers to free competition in overseas markets and seek a more anticipatory approach in the GATT and other international forums to the links between environmental measures and trade
  • continue to play a leading role, through the Cairns Group of countries, to reform agricultural trade, including recognition of the incompatibility of agricultural protection and the principles of ESD
  • continue to press for the adoption of a systematic set of guidelines, based on ESD principles, in international forums, including the OECD