Consultant Licensing etc. Redux

To: Chris Charles <>
Subject: Consultant Licensing etc. Redux
From: Carl Clifford <>
Date: Tue, 23 Jun 2009 19:13:01 +1000

A few years ago, I would have thought the same thing. I have visited M'sia quite a few times in the last 10 years or so, and have seen a growing grass-roots environmental movement, thanks to the efforts of groups such as the Malaysian Nature Society, WWF, etc. Ordinary Malaysians are realising that there is a real problem with their environment, and have been pressuring the pollies and appealing to the Royal Families, many of who have become very environmentally aware. A couple of years ago I was fortunate to meet the Raja Permaisuri (Queen) of Perak, in Taman Negara, and she was very concerned about environmental problems in the country. The incumbent UMNO party has been losing ground in Parliament, and the former laissez-faire attitude to the environment in the government is also losing ground, so hopefully change is really on the way. I certainly hope so, for the Malaysians sake.

As to your second question "that a registration system in Australia could apply pressure in that direction too?" Well I am not going to prognosticate on what can happen in a society, because anything can happen. Just look at what turmoil occurred in German society in the first third of the 20th C or Greece in between 1967 and 1974.

As to large corporations, well they are regularly shown to be less efficient and competent than smaller competitors, but unfortunately they have the financial reserves to overwhelm the little blokes, but that's economics for you.


Carl Clifford

On 22/06/2009, at 9:51 PM, Chris Charles wrote:

The findings of your ferreting may suggest something else.
You say that Malaysia has a registration system for environmental consultants but is perceived to have a poor record of environmental action. Could it be that to achieve registration in Malaysia, a company must have certain political credentials? Could it be that a registration system in Australia could apply pressure in that direction too?

What reason do we have to assume that a large prestigious registered company that has invested in its 'Brand' will do a better job technically than a small company? I cant see how registration would change Chris Brandis' experience. More likely to entrench the 'safe' option of citing an established name rather than a little known local (sorry Chris).

Regards, Chris

Chris Charles
0412 911 184

33deg 47'30"S

On 22/06/2009, at 6:54 PM, Carl Clifford wrote:

Dear All,

It seems I started a discussion on a subject that some members of B- A feel passionately about. Interestingly, there has not been a post against the subjects I raised. A couple of respondents thought that I had used too wide a brush in including all consultants, which I did not intend, I actually was referring to those consultants whose work might potentially have a negative effect on the Public Good. In areas where the consultancy may have an adverse effect on Private Goods, well I think it should remain a case of caveat emptor, perhaps with the exception of the various forms of Financial Consultants.

The reason I asked the original questions is that my curiosity was piqued by a ferret through the Malaysian Department of Environment's web site on another matter. I noticed on their home page , links which led to pages for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) consultant registration, listings of registered environmental consultants and listings of EIA reports for public review, etc. Here is a country which many Australians regard as less than proactive on the environment, often justifiably, with an environmental consultant registration scheme and a process for the public to be able to review reports drawn up by these consultants, yet in Australia, nothing.

I was pleased to see that many in the environmental consultancy industry seem to agree that some form of institutionalisation of the industry is necessary, as is public access to consultants' reports.

Carl Clifford

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