UPDATE on our Sustainable Economy Program | Meet Research Director, Laura Eadie

Policy solutions, not political games… It’s got to be sustainable.

Introducing CPD’s NEW Sustainable Economy Research Director
Australia has tremendous opportunity to leverage its abundant natural resources and skills in innovation to build a fair, sustainable and prosperous future economy. Yet first we need to get the policy settings right and move beyond the short term political scoring and threats from vested interests that pressure governments to sell off our common wealth at bargain basement prices.

Our Sustainable Economy Program is underpinned by an understanding of the problems caused by systemic short-termism in both the public and private sectors and by the failure to value public goods which are hard to measure or monetise. Our Program addresses these problems by demonstrating the value of Australia’s natural wealth, and developing a positive, evidence-backed agenda for greening our economy. Read more here.

Leading our efforts to do this is Laura Eadie, our new Sustainable Economy Research Director. Here’s what Laura has to say about her ambitions over the next two years for an exciting and much needed program.

“As the debates about mining taxes, rebuilding Queensland and carbon pricing show, there is a big gap between the media spin that currently passes for politics and the real-world issues Australia is facing. Pricing carbon is an essential step, but how will we deal with other environmental and economic pressures like rising food prices, water shortages and peak oil?

Given the increasing pressures for transformational change Australia faces in the 21st Century, we  cannot continue to have policies dictated by vested interests with loud voices and large wallets. Turning political debates upside down may seem like an impossible aim, but we’ll focus on specific areas where we can demonstrate the significant social and economic benefits of managing environmental issues well, and the unsustainable cost of business-as-usual.

With so much noise confusing the real issues, our program will be uncompromising about scientific and physical realities and practical about what it would take for Australia’s economy to thrive over the long term. We’ll directly challenge the fuzzy economic thinking that dominates the environmental debate in Australia.

For example, Sophie Mirabella recently claimed the Climate Change Committee’s report “will shut down Australia as a modern, industrialised economy”. Really? Australia is far from being a modern industrialised country. Our exports from high tech industries are only a quarter of our imports – similar to Greece and Turkey. Given the rapid pace of clean-technology development in Europe and Asia and the pressure of the high dollar on manufacturers, a coherent set of policies to develop a resource- and carbon-efficient economy is an essential risk management tool, and a potential source of competitive advantage.

Similar confusion muddies debates about managing our natural capital, with short-term profits often prioritised at the expense of long-term value. Our first two reports will make the economic value of healthy oceans and forests visible, in order to promote better decision making about managing our natural capital.

If this sounds ambitious, we are not planning to do this alone. If you want to help, we’re looking for experienced professionals and interns who are interested in contributing to our work. If you have expertise or a strong interest in environmental economics, policy or law let me know!”