Sustainable Development in Australian Agriculture: Some Operational Issues
This conceptual paper examines some operational issues surrounding the notion of sustainability in general and in the context of Australian agricultural development in particular. It is argued that the greatest problem to be overcome in the realm of sustainable development is to device a widely recognised definition incorporating the contemporary issues and concepts that have been established in the current literature over the last several decades. The paper has therefore placed greater emphasis on the definitional issues by reviewing the existing definitions and approaches towards measuring sustainable development. To this end the current literature has been reviewed in order to resolve the controversies towards proving a workable definition of sustainability in the context of the dynamic nature of ‘sustainability’ as an emerging issue of enormous significance. The main finding of this paper suggests that if policy makers cannot explicitly state the objectives of policy or management programs, there is little hope that definitions of sustainable development can move beyond broad, well meaning motherhood statements. Regarding the assessment of sustainable development it is proposed that a constant or rising Total Factor Productivity (TFP) – that is a value greater than or equal to one – indicates that the production system being considered is sustainable, providing service flows from natural resources are included as inputs.
Keywords: Sustainability, Australian Agriculture, Total Factor Productivity
Dr Marthin Nanere
Marketing Lecturer, Department of accounting and Management, La Trobe University - Bendigo Campus
Dr Ali M Quazi
Senior Lecturer, Newcastle Business School, The University of Newcastle