Precaution: principles and practice in Australian environmental and natural resource management

Since the late 1980s, the concept of precaution has been incorporated into numerous international agreements and laws, as well as in domestic statutes and policies in many countries. This paper examines the international emergence of the concept and its application in Australia. Despite rapid growth in adoption of the so-called ‘precautionary principle’, the concept remains highly controversial, and its success in terms of improving environmental and natural resource management has been questioned. A common misconception is that the principle prescribes action. In fact, internationally accepted definitions are about decision-making processes. This paper argues that implementation guidelines are essential to ensure that precautionary decision-making is consistent with good decision-making principles, and to avoid unnecessary costs and perverse outcomes.

Issue Date:
Publication Type:
Journal Article
DOI and Other Identifiers:
Record Identifier:
PURL Identifier:
Published in:
Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 50, 4
Page range:
Total Pages:

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2019-08-26

Download fulltext

Rate this document:

Rate this document:
(Not yet reviewed)