James Cook University, Townsville: Completed May 2002
Background | Project Achievements |
Globalisation and sustainability are philosophical ideals that
have been embraced politically by most developed nations. However,
there are many who argue that these are opposing paradigms; the
former demands efficiency and free trade in a competitive global
economy, the other demands social and economic equality without
compromising the environment.
There is considerable debate about what constitutes a
sustainable community and, perhaps more importantly, how progress
towards it should be assessed and monitored. For any sustainability
program to succeed there must also be wide support from the local
community, but for what sorts of sustainability initiatives can we
expect to find such support? The research associated with this PhD
thesis addressed these issues.
The towns of Australia's savanna region provide an interesting
geography for the study. The emerging 'global economic playing
field' has, for some towns in the region, offered economic
opportunities as never before and, as a result, they are growing
rapidly. On the other hand, the global economy has worked against
other towns and they are experiencing rapid decline. In short,
different sustainability issues emerge depending upon
At the heart of the PhD lies an analytical model capable of
assessing community support for sustainability initiatives at the
local level. The model was developed with local government in mind
and it was used to compare and contrast a sample of towns from
across the northern Australia region. The thesis explains the
research methods which included community surveys and interviews.
The collected data was used to validate the analytical model and
ascertain community capacity to attain sustainability in each town.
The thesis presents the most notable findings of the research. The
model clearly has applications in other contexts and a different
It is now widely acknowledged that sustainability can never be
achieved without also integrating human values into management
structures. As such, all natural resource management requires an
examination of values. This project provides both a theory and a
methodology for dealing with this issue.