Open Access Repository

The role of government in a partial transition from public to private in the expanding Australian protected area system

Kirkpatrick, JB ORCID: 0000-0003-2763-2692, Fielder, J, Davison, A ORCID: 0000-0002-5618-7068, Pearce, LM ORCID: 0000-0003-2296-580X and Cooke, B 2022 , 'The role of government in a partial transition from public to private in the expanding Australian protected area system' , Conservation and Society , AOP: 1-10 , doi:

149269 - The ro...pdf | Download (792kB)

| Preview


Since the 1980s in democratic societies, neoliberal reforms and neofeudal governance have transferred the delivery of many public goods and services from governments to non-government actors. Privatisation is a core neoliberal agenda, but little is known of the nature and extent of its application to nature conservation through reservation. We investigate the degree of privatisation of the expanding protected area system in our case study areas of Australia and Tasmania, hypothesising that governments have: disrupted public agencies managing the protected area estate by repeated reorganisation; diverted public funds from public to private protected areas; and increasingly alienated public reserves for subsidised private profit from tourism. We found frequent restructuring of agencies managing protected areas. Although Federal Government expenditure on private reserves increased markedly in the twenty-first century, so did expenditure on public conservation reserves. All States except Queensland increased public protected area funding. Direct subsidisation of private reserves by government has not had a steady upward trajectory. In contrast, subsidisation of private alienation of public conservation reserves for tourism may have accelerated in the twenty-first century. We conclude that, while Australian governments see value in protected areas as a source of economic development and electoral advantage, they are agnostic on ownership.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Kirkpatrick, JB and Fielder, J and Davison, A and Pearce, LM and Cooke, B
Keywords: environmental policy and governance, nature conservation funding, neoliberal conservation, private protected areas, public protected areas, private land conservation, public administration, government funding
Journal or Publication Title: Conservation and Society
Publisher: Wolters Kluwer - Medknow Publications and Media Pvt. Ltd.
ISSN: 0975-3133
DOI / ID Number:
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2022 Kirkpatrick et alLicensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

Related URLs:
Item Statistics: View statistics for this item

Actions (login required)

Item Control Page Item Control Page