Recommendations for the reform of invasive species management institutions

Recommendations_coverMany reports highlight that controlling established invasive species depends on citizens, particularly landholders and volunteers, and recent reforms emphasise a citizen-focused approach. Ideas canvassed in the 2015 Discussion Paper, “Modernising Australia’s Approach to Managing Established Pests and Diseases of National Significance” are being implemented through the Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity (IGAB), and Australian states have been advancing parallel reforms. State governments are also concentrating their efforts on preventative biosecurity, relying more on landholders to manage established species and emphasising a general biosecurity obligation (a specialised form of a landholder’s duty of care).

Starting in 2012, we have investigated what institutional changes are necessary to enable effective citizen action. This has been independent of government and other interests, but has involved extensive consultation. The 2016 Discussion Paper, “Effective Citizen Action on Invasive Species: The Institutional Challenge (the “Discussion Paper”) details many issues. This report outlines the actions needed to effectively implement these policies.

Five key impediments to effective citizen action

There are five institutional impediments where significant improvements are needed for new policies to be effective:

  1. Stronger private incentives are needed. Legal obligations are important, but limited. The total mix of incentives determines whether sufficient action occurs.
  2. Systemic resourcing problems limit action, particularly in rural and remote areas. Even with motivation, a lack of money or manpower will prevent effective action.
  3. Managing the complex human aspects of a community-based approach will require greater skills and a more disciplined approach.
  4. The many barriers to coordinated cross-tenure action need to be addressed to reduce ‘non-participation’ and increase coordinated collective action.
  5. It is also important to reduce avoidable frustrations and transaction costs incurred by citizens who are prepared to take action.

This report contains proposals for reducing these impediments, and the Discussion Paper provides far more detail. There are no simple solutions to these challenges. Some are being partly addressed, but overall the attempts to find solutions are (as yet) piecemeal.

Author Paul Martin and Darryl Low Choy
Year 2016
Publisher Invasive Animals CRC
Pages 20
ISBN/ISSN Web ISBN: 978-0-9943800-9-8
Region Australia - national

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