The Challenges of Delivering a ‘Sustainable Australia’

  • Jamie Quinn
  • Sonia Kirby


Congested cities, water crises, soaring living costs, loss of biodiversity values and natural disaster impacts: these are key national issues that scream out for better planning and implementation of the future. How can they be addressed and Australia assured of a sustainable future? ‘Sustainable Australia’ is about where and how Australia can productively and sustainably accommodate more people. The sustainable development of Australia will not happen by accident: it must be planned, designed, and co-operatively delivered. This chapter explores Sustainable Australia through three themes:
  • Why Sustainable Australia is our greatest challenge;

  • A Framework for communities, business and governments to face the challenge together; and

  • Delivering Sustainable Australia through regional development.

The chapter concludes by proposing the establishment of an integrated ‘top-down bottom-up approach’ for sustainable development decision making, known as the Sustainable Australia Framework. It is supported by a Local Sustainable Development System, a new evidence-based engine for council community planning. Much of the proposed Framework already exists in disparate parts of Australia’s sustainable development policy and planning landscape, but it lacks proper integration and collaboration. This chapter explains how to stitch together relevant parts and combine them with new tools to focus on productivity and community wellbeing. It also recommends that further research and development is necessary to deliver ‘Sustainable Australia’, particularly through innovative regional and urban design.


Productivity Growth Water Security Urban Design Design Capacity Regional Design 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Australian Government. (2010). The 2010 intergenerational report. Canberra: Department of Treasury, available online at
  2. Australian Government. (2010b). Our cities, our future—A national urban policy for a productive, sustainable and liveable future. Canberra: Department of Infrastructure and Transport, available online at
  3. Australian Government. (2011a). Sustainable Australia—Sustainable communities—An overview. Canberra: Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.Google Scholar
  4. Australian Government. (2011b). Sustainable AustraliaSustainable communities: A sustainable population strategy for Australia. Canberra: Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, available online at
  5. CIA (Central Intelligence Agency). (2011). The World Factbook 2011, available online at
  6. United Nations. (1987). Our common futureThe report of the Brundtland Commission. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Jamie Quinn ConsultingIpswichAustralia
  2. 2.Urbis Pty LtdBrisbaneAustralia

Personalised recommendations