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Promoting Better Environmental Outcomes

Roundtable proceedings

The Productivity Commission convened a roundtable Promoting Better Environmental Outcomes at Old Parliament House, Canberra on 19-20 August 2008.

Participants included government officials, academics, consultants, journalists and representatives of environmental organisations and agencies. Keynote addresses were presented by Professor Gary Libecap from the University of California and Professor Robert Stavins from Harvard University.

The Promoting Better Environmental Outcomes roundtable sought to address two questions central to developing good environmental policy:

  • under what conditions can governments improve environmental outcomes?, and
  • how should governments intervene to ensure effective and efficient results?

The roundtable proceedings are being published to enable a wider audience access to the information and insights that emerged. This volume includes papers by the speakers and a summary of the key points covered in the discussion sessions. The Commission is grateful to the speakers and other participants whose contributions made the roundtable such a valuable exercise.

Download the proceedings

  • Chapters
  • Media release

Session 1 Stocktake of the effectiveness of current approaches to environmental issues

Session 2 Market and cooperative solutions: strengths, limitations and the appropriate role of government

Session 3 Institutions and incentives for promoting better policies and outcomes

Session 4 Reflections for public policy

Dinner address


The Productivity Commission hosted a Roundtable on the topic Promoting Better Environmental Outcomes in Canberra on 20 August 2008.

Australian governments are responding to environmental policy challenges - in particular, threats to the environment - in various ways and with varying effectiveness. Policy measures that meet their objectives in low cost ways have proven difficult to formulate.

The Commission's Roundtable explored ways to promote better environmental outcomes from a practical policy perspective. Matters discussed included:

  • the effectiveness of a range of current approaches to environmental issues
  • the strengths and limitations of market-based and cooperative solutions
  • institutions and incentives for better policies and outcomes.

Invitees to the Roundtable included Professors Gary Libecap and Robert Stavins from the USA, who are eminent international experts in the field, as well as senior government officials, business and consumer representatives, policy analysts, academics and commentators.

The Chairman's opening address and keynote speakers' papers are available from the Commission's website. The full proceedings - which will also include summaries of the session discussions - will be published by the Commission later this year.

Further information

02 6240 3330 /

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