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An Independent Queensland Regional & Rural 

On-Line Publication

(Cairns... Far North Queensland)


Thank you for visiting my on-line office.

I appreciate your interest in the issues that effect not only Queenslanders, but all Australians.

Please let me hear from you about your views on the issues that matter to your Family, your Community and your State.


Selwyn Johnston



One person, with the support of the community, can make a difference




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Australian Chemical Trauma Alliance

Australian Conservation Foundation

Cairns Heritage Group

Earth Share Australia

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

Queensland Conservation Council

Queensland Government - Department of Environment

Threatened Species Network

The Wilderness Society

Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland


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The Environment and How it is Managed 

When we talk about 'The Environment' we have to define fairly accurately what we are talking about. 

If you live next door to the 'neighbours from hell' you donít live in a good 'environment' but is that what we mean when we use the global term 'environment'. Similarly, how far back do we take 'environmental' matters in other distinct policy areas? 

Immigration, for example, do we consider environmental aspects in say setting an immigration target? 

Like most things in both politics and government {and there is a difference} it's all a matter of balance involving a number of competing ends. With government, hopefully, this balance leads to better, more effective and more efficient public interest management. In politics the benefit is generally directed to the betterment of the 'party' and 'policy' without necessarily any gain to the public. 

In government today money management is the name of the game, especially when you elect not to collect taxes, but have the need or the desire to spend. In order to manage budgets, and to allow for Nation wide comparison and control, it is necessary to have the same terms meaning the same thing. 

For this reason budgets have something like 10 'Expenditure Categories' and this is where 'pigeon holing' begins, with Health, Education, Defence and Environment being some of the categories. 

For convenience in practical management, environmental issues are divided into 'the brown' and 'the green'. 'The brown' includes the areas of air, water, noise quality and issues of pollution generally, whereas 'the green' side of the equation deals with matters of bio-diversity, native flora and fauna, reserved land and the like. Into this equation put heritage and coastal management and we already have a fairly wide area to cover. 

Even within these two areas, without the add-ons, two completely different sets of expertise are required, and the areas operate as separate areas of style and discipline even within the one administrative area. 

So to try to include into this administrative area things like weather {long and short term}, town planning, development, transport and such, would become very cumbersome. 

To overcome this we have an Executive and a Parliament. Each area of Government actually competes for the available funds, and sometimes for funding that isnít available {borrowings}. So, if one area is dynamic, popular or in need, the Government can direct resources in that direction. As a crosscheck on the Executives decisions, we have the Parliament and particularly the Estimates Debates and Estimates Committees as watchdogs. 

While the system is not perfect it is reasonably practical and there are controls. 

Taking the matter even further, our economy depends on growth. Not that it has to, but as a statement of fact it does. Growth in the main depends on productivity, and a market for that productivity. As the most secure market is the domestic market, the idea is to bolster up the domestic market. If we donít have the population growth within the community we have to 'import consumers' and right now Australia does this in spades. 

Such a course of action puts pressure on the environment, greater need for water, hospitals, schools, housing, transport and such. So while the 'environment' is a broad church in its own right, if we go to the end of its tentacles we include a lot of the area of Government. 

So better to keep it segmented and separate, simply for ease of working!




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Written and Authorised by Selwyn Johnston, Cairns FNQ 4870