A Just and Sustainable Australia - the Report
12 December 2001 at 12:12 pm
A major new analysis of the Australian way of life has found there is a “crisis of faith” in the processes of democracy in Australian society today.
The analysis says it’s been brought about mainly by the rapid social, cultural and economic changes Australians have witnessed over the past 20 years.
While Pro Bono Australia readers have been discussing the issue of a Peak Body for the Third Sector, a grouping of peak national community organisations, called the “Australian Collaboration” has produced the analysis called “A Just and Sustainable Australia”.
It is principally authored by Professor David Yencken, the former chairman of the Australian Heritage Commission, and draws on the experience, research and concerns of the collaboration partners over 12 months.
Professor Yencken says it shows that for many Australians the kind of growth they have experienced has been one or more of the forms of ‘damaged growth’ identified in a recent UN Human Development report including:
Growth that does not translate into jobs
Growth that is not matched by the spread of democracy
Growth that damages cultural identity
Growth that despoils the environment
Growth where most of the benefits are claimed by the rich.
The report argues that tackling these negative aspects of growth demands many new approaches. Overall, the report provides a blueprint for a fairer and more sustainable society.
It offers 20 detailed recommendations for a better foundation for continued economic growth and wellbeing.
The recommendations are aimed at a fairer distribution of wealth – closing the gap between rich and poor (for example introducing stronger measures to curb income tax avoidance by high income earners), serious attempts to tackle environmental problems and ways of strengthening our democratic institutions and the protection of our fundamental freedoms.
The report was released during the Federal Election campaign but was not aimed at any one political party and the Collaboration Group briefed all the major party leaders of its findings. International issues however pushed its findings into the shadows during the campaign.
Professor Yencken says the Collaboration is now seeking the support of all parties in advancing the recommendations.
The Collaboration is made up of Australia’s largest national community organisations: the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, the Australian Consumers Association, the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia, the National Council of Churches in Australia, the Australian Council for Overseas Aid and the Australian Council of Social Service.
If you would like to purchase a copy of “A Just and Sustainable Australia” for $29.95 plus postage and handling, contact The Australian Collaboration at The Trust for Young Australians on (03) 9645 7977 or check out their web site at www.tya.org.au/australiancollaboration.