Publication Details

Gullett, W, The precautionary principle in Australia: policy, law and potential precautionary EIAs, Risk: Health, Safety and Environment, 11(2), 2000, 93-124.


The precautionary principle has been adopted in such a widespread fashion that it is now difficult to find in either the international environmental arena or countries with advanced environmental protection frameworks an environmental policy document, a new environmental law, or even a political statement about environmental management that does not include a reference to the principle or reflect some of the core ideas of the precautionary concept. References to the principle can be found in documents produced by organizations such as the European Environment Agency, the World Trade Organization, and of course the United Nations; in numerous environmental treaties ranging from the management of straddling fish stocks to the prevention of pollution in the North Sea; in domestic and provincial environmental legislation; as well as in a plethora of domestic environmental policies and strategies. That the precautionary principle/approach is commonplace internationally (and, in fact, is considered by many to have crystallized into a norm of customary international law) and in domestic jurisdictions, is a testament to the soundness of the concept and the usefulness of considering precaution when devising environmental management and protection strategies.

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