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  • Writer's picture2022 Global Voices Fellow

A Circular Economy for Australia

By Babet de Groot, Global Voices National Scholar, Y20, 2021

Babet de Groot is a Global Voices National Scholar. Her policy paper focuses on A Circular Economy for Australia.

Executive Summary

Australia has an overconsumption problem. The nation’s material footprint outweighs that of its cultural and regional neighbours and risks the environmental wellbeing of the Asia-Pacific (Jain, 2020; Wiedmann et al. 2015). To address this global environmental problem, Australia must embrace the circular economy. The circular economy represents a shift from traditional linear modes of production towards a regenerative and restorative economic model (EMF, 2013 and 2015; Esposito et al. 2018). This requires a systems-wide transformation. Australia must change the way it interacts with the environment through a paradigmatic shift, whereby we change our ways of thinking about how resources should be used.

This policy paper explores the potential for the systems-wide transition to a circular economy in Australia. It proposes a single policy recommendation: to restructure the taxation system. First, this paper outlines the rationale for the systems-wide transition to a circular economy. It outlines the key mechanisms of circularity and their benefits, including GDP and job growth. Then, it explains the international and domestic policy landscape, existing circularity policy, and challenges and opportunities. Finally, it describes a key step to kick-start this transition: shifting taxation from employee-labour to resource consumption.

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