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Introduction to Public Policy in Australia


Discuss about the Public Policies for Health Policy and Legal Policy.

Public policy is the process through which the government ensures order in implementing the needs of its people as stipulated in the constitution (Dror, 2017). It is a collation of rules and regulations as well as obligations developed through a political procedure. For instance in United States of America, of late, there has been a healthcare bill that requires the citizens to have health care insurance. After numerous consultations and examination the federal government has summarized that that is the best route to take as far as the concerns of the citizens are concerned therefore embarking on drafting the bills and making of legislations to develop systems for the citizens to obtain health attention. Public policy is divided into various types as it regards the society e.g. health policy and legal policy (Vedung, 2017).

This essay is going to focus on the efficiency of public policy bearing two cases, that is, negative case analysis and positive case analysis. The analysis is as herein discussed below;

Firstly, the government of Australia has numerous policies for environmental sustainability to curtail impact on the environment. The issues entailed in the environmental management policy include; use of energy, emission green gas, office and building wastes and waste water.

In the recent past, the government of Australia partnering with other states governments has taken on determined investigation in Natural Resource Management policy with the aim of establishing agendas that can use public funds to the best impact thereby achieving positive NRM results. In the year 2013, billions of public money was spent by the government of Australia to address the concerns of countrywide NRM. The spending of billions on the NRM the government has been internationally recognized as high level spending thereby attracting praises for an achievement as well as strong criticism for such a failure (Whetton, Ekström, Gerbing, Grose, Bhend, Webb & Risbey, 2015).

Therefore, there is great need to justify the efficiency and the rationale of this policy as regards its capacity building and a more sustaining wider funding through influencing investment support from the community, private investors and the non-governmental organizations. The rolling out of this policy has seen many Australians change their expectations toward agriculture that has socio-economic and environmental responsibility.

The Australian Strategy for Conservation policy was as a response to the natural resource management. The program has influenced and changed the community beliefs on agriculture (Boulton, Brock, Robson, Ryder, Chambers & Davis, 2014). The NRM was reflected the basic change in expectation of the society that has environmental a d economic responsibility. There are political and social forces underlying the changes thereby reducing importance attached to agriculture in the economy of Australia contrary to knowledge that agriculture forms about sixty percent of the total land resource in Australia. Some serious views have been advanced to question the contractedness of this natural resource management program by the Australian government.  The NRM has reshaped the natural environment from the concept of integrated ecosystem to that of utility concept with petty issues of soil salinity and erosion thereby raising questions on the impacts of underestimating the natural assets in regard to homegrown health and wellbeing in Australia (Schmoldt, Kanga, Mendoza & Pesonen, 2013).

Efficiency of Environmental Sustainability Policy

Overly, the substantial attention has been paid on the government’s plans to shape the NRM program and its legitimacy thereof. Billion dollars from the public coffers have been used to that effect with a number of questions regarding its roles, responsibilities and accountability across ranks and authorities remaining unresolved. Also despite acceptance and roll out of the NRM program some serious allegations have meted against the importance of the natural resource management program on its ability to enhance community empowerment, decision making pegged on democracy and conflict resolution (Tietenberg & Lewis, 2016).

Different views have been highlighted on the efficiency and effectiveness of the NRM policy with the following issues standing out clearly; power, responsibility and role- the roles and powers regarding the spending of public funds to deliver the NRM program through devolution. The details concerning the planning process of marking out the goals and objectives of the program, information for communication, implementation strategies and accountability measures have been widely protested. For instance suspicion on the function of devolved governments in setting priorities for NRM and supporting ability in terms of incentives by the government have not been understood. Accounting and investment mechanisms by the government have found wanting. NRM planning process. Particular issues have been pointed out concerning the planning process so that NRM plans are made with informed science as well as socio-economic data, planning within the boundaries of environmental challenges by identification of overt resources. Collaboration and coordination. This is another reason that has been advanced to ensure improved cooperation among various governments and communities in the planning process including establishing structures for cooperation that is all inclusive for shareholders and interested communities. Finally, matters of capacity and engagement of the community. The function of the community in decision making in the NRM program is key and the capability of the regional administrations in bringing the community on board is as well important. For instance managing the involvement of the community in an indeterminate funding rotations (HC Coombs Policy Forum NRM Initiative, 2016).

Secondly, the case of Income Management policy in Australia is a good example to use. In this scenario, the economic stability of the disadvantaged members of the society is catered for by the scheme. Economically, these people are empowered in in one way or another since their expenditure on income is greatly controlled by the Cashless Card to their advantage, an income that would have otherwise been squandered in drugs, pornography and gambling. The government finds it easy to ensure that the children are protected and enrolled in school. Issues of financial harassment among the people on whom compulsory BasicCard has been imposed has also reduced a great deal. This policy is efficient and has positive outcomes as far as reason for which it was made is concerned. It has assured child protection and reduction in social issues like drunkardness and irresponsibility that possibly hurt the economy of the indigenous individuals and by extension the Australian economy (Lee, 2015).

Challenges and Criticisms of Environmental Sustainability Policy

In government’s view income management is instrumental in assisting the disengaged youths, long-lasting welfare program recipients and the vulnerable members of the society, and is targeted toward enhancing commitment, involvement and accountability. Through this the government is determined to progressively improve the welfare scheme so as to enhance individual responsibility and enable them to move upwards economically and out of welfare program reliance. Therefore, through this food, clothing, housing, health care and home utilities assured.

Income Management is a situation whereby rules and regulations are put in place to limit the expenditure of particular set of people from their income payments. Certain amount is set aside to meet costs of basic human needs like housing, health care, food and education. The forceful introduction of Income Management was done by the government of Howard in the year 2007 as an emergency response. During this time, schemes for income management were established to assist in circumstances of parents abandoning children and also when the children from such families were not enrolled in school. Provisions were also made for other people who wanted voluntary management of their funds from income.

Management of income has greatly reformed the welfare structure of the Australian people. Conditions for being in the welfare has been established with the restrictions as regards the expenditure from the payments. A right has been given for full payment to any qualifying government of Commonwealth and thus means that the recipients are allowed to spend from the payment as the may deem fit. In certain occasions the government would give assistance in form of physical materials rather than cash. Nevertheless, this has been criticized by researchers of Social Policy like Ronald Mendelsohn recounting it as an intrusion into the people’s (the recipients’) privacy (Maxwell, 2015.).

The commencement of income management  by the government of Howard were among the first reforms to change the behavior of the welfare  beneficiaries  to help change the  attitude toward the social disadvantages by forcing sanctions to the welfare so as to modify the recipients’ social customs and behavior. The policy of income management has been argumentative and argued upon by the adherents of the public while its canons have not been understood by the indigenous people of Australia and the leaders thereof( Parliament of Australia,2013).

The income management policy was advanced by the federation government of Howard as a reaction to emergency for some particular areas of the Northern Territory all-encompassing more than 72 remote societies and the associated outskirts. These areas were well-defined by alcohol, drug abuse and child neglect as well as other forms of public irresponsibility. So the government had to answer back and rescue the horrid state of those communities.

Efficiency of Income Management Policy

Recommendations were, therefore, made to ensure that at least half an individual’s earning was to be made in form of foodstuff vouchers. This was widely alleged that it could imperatively impact on prohibited drug abuse and alcohol use. On the same breath, payment in form of foodstuff receipt was complained as it foreshadowed superfluous reliance from the people. The forceful management of income was to be imposed on those who had eerie manners in the society. Therefore, to renovate the societal norms, regulations must lean on the values of the community by coupling welfare incomes to the members of the society and in the children’s interest as a composition of the community (Bolton, Brock, Robson, Ryder, Chambers & Davis, 2014).

The government then hosted an act that would reduce the pay by half by separating the Australian government income payments with the across-the-board objective of curtailing cash spent on drug abuse and those that are set aside for the sake of children and are actually spent for that purpose (Agrawal, 2014).  This is so because it was viewed that a child under the care of a person who is not registered in welfare payment program would risk neglect and fail to go school (Bielefeld, 2014).

The measures have been supported by some people who view it as important in helping those who are disadvantaged socially while some other people disapprove the procedures on the grounds that it is simply focused on the indigenous group, pillorying them and denying the right to self-determination of how to spend their money. Therefore, this policy have had positive impact on the indigenous Australian people regarding its strengths (Dee, 2013).

In conclusion, public policy as a collation of rules and regulations used to man a particular society, it is frequently rocked by controversies and relentlessly debated upon by people it is used to man. According to each person’s view, public policy may appear to be unfair and arbitrary in its operations. Among the marginal groups in the society, it is always common for the individuals to contest public policies that they feel are stringent on them or ostracize them in one way or another. For instance, public policies touching reproductive rights of females, equality or marriage have always been criticized simply because it has been accepted as true that it does not embody all the people or give advantage to some group over another. Since public policies are brought to play so as to meet or unravel the societal needs, they are therefore, not grilled on stone but are liable to change depending on the societal changes or needs (DiNitto & Johnson, 2015). In light of all the challenges and remonstrations faced by public policy, they are healthy to make a public policy live without the danger of being useless or even outdated. The Natural Resource Management policy and the Income Management policy by the Australian government are important public policies that can go a long way solving environmental and economic challenges respectively. However, their efficiency and effectiveness depends on their structures and how inclusive they are of the members of the society in which they operate.


Agrawal, A. (2014). Indigenous and scientific knowledge: some critical comments.  Anthropology Indonesia.

Bergstrom, J.C. and Randall, A., (2016). Resource economics: an economic approach to natural    resource and environmental policy. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Bielefeld, S., (2014). Compulsory Income Management and Indigenous Peoples-Exploring Counter Narratives amidst Colonial Constructions of Vulnerability. Sydney L. Rev., 36,           p.695.

Boulton, A., Brock, M., Robson, B., Ryder, D., Chambers, J. & Davis, J., (2014). Australian  freshwater ecology: processes and management. John Wiley & Sons.

Boulton, A., Brock, M., Robson, B., Ryder, D., Chambers, J. & Davis, J., (2014). 'We don't support this cashless welfare card'. Guardian (Sydney), (1794), p.3.

Dee, M., (2013). Welfare surveillance, income management and new paternalism in Australia. Surveillance & Society, 11(3), p.272.

DiNitto, D.M. & Johnson, D.H., (2015). Social welfare: Politics and public policy. Pearson.

Dror, Y., 2017. Public policy making reexamined. Routledge.

Forgione, P., (2016). Cashless welfare trial begins in Ceduna. Green Left Weekly, (1087), p.10.

HC Coombs Policy Forum NRM Initiative, 2016. _Gro            up_Literature_review.pdf

Lee, T.J., (2015). Benefits and disadvantages of cashless gambling for recreational gamblers: A    case of Australia. ?????? ?????????, 78(4), pp.405-405.

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Maxwell, R., (2015). Concern over welfare card. Guardian (Sydney), (1670), p.3.

Parliament of Australia,2013. /pubs/BN/2011-2012/IncomeManagementOverview

Schmoldt, D., Kangas, J., Mendoza, G.A. & Pesonen, M. eds., (2013). The analytic hierarchy       process in natural resource and environmental decision making (Vol. 3). Springer Science       & Business      Media.

Sommer, M., Caruso, B.A., Sahin, M., Calderon, T., Cavill, S., Mahon, T. and Phillips-Howard,   P.A., (2016). A time for global action: addressing girls’ menstrual hygiene management      needs in schools. PLoS medicine, 13(2), p.e1001962.

Tietenberg, T.H. & Lewis, L., (2016). Environmental and natural resource economics. Routledge.

Vedung, E., (2017). Public policy and program evaluation. Routledge.

Whetton, P., Ekström, M., Gerbing, C., Grose, M., Bhend, J., Webb, L. & Risbey, J., (2015). Climate change in Australia. Information for Australia’s natural resource management regions: technical report.

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