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Land and Environment : Agribusiness Assoc. of Australia

Connections: Farm, Food and Resource Issues

Connections is refereed by Glenn Ronan and Bill Malcolm. The name reflects its origins, its intentions and the medium. It is a joint product of the Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society (AARES) and The Faculty of Agriculture and Food Systems, The University of Melbourne. Connections is an extension publication, connecting material in farm and agribusiness, in marketing and management, in environment and resources.

Connections - 2009

Paper 100

Observations on an unedifying spectacle

Vic Wright

The intensity of community debate about climate change that emerged a few years ago encouraged many to hope, if not expect, that meaningful policy debate and decision would follow in Australia. It hasn’t. In Garnaut’s (2009) view the “whole process of policy making over the ETS [Emissions Trading Scheme] has been one of the worst examples of policy making we have seen on major issues in Australia.” There are many plausible origins to this mess. One of them, ironically, may be the level of public interest in, and contest over, the issue and the irresistible temptation this provides for ignoble political exploitation.


Paper 99

Water – The Role of Markets and Rural-To-Urban Water Trade: Some Observations for Economic Regulators

Lin Crase

The concept of water markets and their attraction to economists is well established.  Moreover, the compelling arguments presented by Quenton Grafton et al. and articulated by Gary Libecap (2009) should resonate with economic regulators and generalist economists.  Regrettably, those of us who have watched the evolution of water policy in this country for several years might need to be forgiven for feeling somewhat more pessimistic (and dare I add just a little cynical).

Paper 98

Is economics being outcompeted in environmental decision making?

Ross Cullen

Economists are in danger of being outcompeted in environmental decision making by researchers from other disciplines. Decision makers need information to be able to evaluate and to make choice. Economists apply considerable effort to complete non market valuation studies, and cost benefit analyses, to inform decision makers but the information generated in those studies is often difficult for non-economists to understand. Decision makers may also have an aversion towards monetary valuation of preferences for aspects of the environment. Alternatives to non market valuation and cost benefit analysis, including cost effectiveness analysis (CEA) and cost utility analysis CUA), provide low cost, practical ways to evaluate projects and provide information for decision makers.

Paper 97

How Profitable is Farm Business in Australia?

Erwin Lagura and Glenn Ronan

This paper has been developed in response to a request by Professor Andrew Fearne, 2008-09 Adelaide Thinker in Residence on Food and Wine Value Chains: Prosperity through Collaboration for evidence on the profitability of agri-food and wine sectors.  The request has been cast into the question: How profitable is farm business in Australia?

Paper 96

Food security: What is it all about?

Kira Goodall

The term ‘food security’ has appeared as a buzzword in a variety of contexts in recent years. In particular high food prices and concern over the potential effects of climate change have been catalysts for discussion about food security as wealthy countries face the implications of challenges to food supply. In fact many of the issues associated with food security have been a long term challenge, particularly for developing countries.

This paper examines different applications of the term food security, government responses to these, and possible policy implications

Paper 95

Partial multipliers: when more is less

Ismo Rama and Patrick Lawrence

Investments are often promoted on the grounds that they will generate, or have generated, substantial ‘multiplier’ benefits for the local or regional economy. This note provides a brief discussion of partial multipliers.  The discussion has particular reference to partial multipliers in a public policy context where they are often used to estimate economic impacts flowing from potential government investment or other intervention to support or facilitate new investments in the economy.  We conclude that from an economic perspective they fail to consider the importance of opportunity cost, may be subject to double - and triple - counting, and do not distinguish between average and marginal impacts.  From a financial perspective they do not take account of the presence of negative multipliers due to financing requirements.  Further, partial multipliers are subject to data limitations.


Glenn Ronan, Co-editor and Principal strategy Consultant, corporate Strategy and Policy, Primary Industries and Resources South Australia.

Bill Malcolm, Co-editor and Associate Professor, Faculty of Land and Food resources, The University of Melbourne, Victoria.


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