The Western Australian regional forest agreement: Economic rationalism and the normalisation of political closure
Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Natural Sciences
This article explores the constraints imposed by economic rationalism on environmental policy-making in light of Western Australia's (WA) Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) experience. Data derived from interviews with WA RFA stakeholders shed light on their perceptions of the RFA process and its outcomes. The extent to which involvement of science and the public RFA management enabled is analysed. The findings point to a pervasive constrainedness of WA's RFA owing to a closing of the process by the administrative decision-making structures. A dominant economic rationality is seen to have normalised and legitimised political closure, effectively excluding rationalities dissenting from an implicit economic orthodoxy. This article argues for the explication of invisible, economic constraints affecting environmental policy and for the public-cum-political negotiation of the points of closure within political processes.