Certificate IV in Understanding and Negotiating Sustainability Issues (52358)

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2 Garden Street,
Swanbourne Western Australia 6010

Phone: +61 8 9384 2136
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Endorsement from Elizabeth G. Heij, Facilitator of the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) Sustainability Network:

I would like to offer my strong support and endorsement for the above course. This is the first tertiary education proposal I have seen that is clearly based on the fundamental truth that, in seeking sustainable outcomes, we are together building an unknown future, not emulating historical precedent. As a former University Department Head myself, I have been disappointed over the last decade to see the extent to which our learning institutions are still teaching from the perspective of “yesterday” rather than “tomorrow.” We are still filling heads with yesterday’s knowledge rather than training people how to discover future wisdom. Yours is the first proposal I have seen that knowingly and actively makes that mental turn through 180 degrees to face the future, and looks at helping participants to build the necessary new “precedent-less” frameworks together.

Your course will help initiate the difficult but necessary transition to a new, more integrative and inclusive framework for negotiating the complex decisions ahead. I would expect those who come through the proposed course to become valuable and sought after in a whole range of public- and private-sector planning and consultation activities. I would also expect them to have a strong positive influence on inclusiveness and integration in their own workplaces.

I certainly see your course as addressing a glaring hole in our current curricula, and again emphasise my strong support.

Endorsement from Dr. Geoff Syme, Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) Land and Water Perth Laboratory:

[This topic is] greatly neglected within the environmental management field and this is much to the detriment of decision making processes and outcomes. As competition for natural resources in Australia increases we are..constantly forced to deal with the outcomes of poor process in terms of negotiation between stakeholders and between government departments and the community at large. There is generally an insufficient understanding of the theory and practice of public involvement programs and between party negotiations. This results in unrealistic expectations in relation to conflict management and poor integration of local and professional knowledge. Problems that are reconcilable become chronic. The associated discontent then generalises to wider issues in which the parties are involved.

I find your program to be highly professionally constructed and it reflects an in-depth appreciation of the concepts and practices central to the negotiation arena. Those who participate will bring an important substantive knowledge of inter-party processes that is currently lacking. I am not aware of any comparable courses and congratulate you on your initiative.

Endorsement from Professor Peter Newman, Director, Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute:

More than ever, decisions involving sustainability issues have to be made collaboratively, requiring not just management skills but negotiation and communication skills of a high order. The need is evident in the business and commerce sector, the resource development sector, the rural sector and increasingly in the way complex urban environments have to be managed and serviced.

Relative to the increasing need, there are no comparable well-researched negotiation and conflict resolution skills development courses that deal with intersecting social, economic and environmental issues. This course warrants being made available to people from a wide range of backgrounds so they have opportunity to prepare for how they might best share information, constructively discuss their differences, and work toward sustainable outcomes. For these skills to be put into practice they have to be made available when they can be developed to best advantage – before people begin negotiations and find themselves floundering and overwhelmed by the complexity of the issues at stake. Otherwise the consequent stresses and anxieties mean people are more likely to take a reactive, defensive approach rather than one that is proactive and positive.

Because sustainability issues invariably involve overlapping social and environmental issues, contention can arise both in terms of deciding who and what is actually involved, as well as who should take responsibility to ensure that sustainable solutions are found. These contentions, which often arise between people representing different sectoral interests, reduce the chances of people working collaboratively. They often sideline deliberation away from the vital core issue of working toward a sustainable future.