Just over 10 years ago the then Environment Minister, Peter Garrett, halted the unsustainable Traveston Crossing Dam near Gympie. At the recent Carbon Market Institute (CMI) conference Dr Rob Hales spoke to Peter Garret about his decision. He said the work we did (Griffith University) on social, economic and environmental impacts helped made his job easy.

“Now, with the election of a new government that has poor policies on economic social and environmental matters, academics have a responsibility and a mandate to engage with the present government to influence policy because the present government has signed up to the SDGs,” Dr Hales said.

Dr Rob Hales and former Environment Minister, Peter Garrett at the CMI conference in Melbourne, May 2019. (Photo supplied)

The Sustainable Development Goals are a UN agreement – of which Australia is a signatory – which measure progress on economic, social and environmental performance.

There are 17 goals, which have been broken down into a further 169 specific targets. Australia is presently ranked No. 37 in the world on meeting the Sustainable Development Goals – a surprising result given that Australia is an OECD country.

In a recent analysis led by Dr Hales examining the policies of Australia’s 10 major and significant minor parties, and rated them in terms of their alignment with SDGs, the Liberal Party, ranked ‘significant’ for just one goal – Goal 3 – to ‘Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages’. For the remaining goals, nine ranked moderate, six ranked minimal, and one ranked zero (Goal 17, to ‘Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development).