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Institutes look at sustenance and society

04 June 2013

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Professor Tom Kompas is Director of the Crawford School of Public Policy. He is also the Foundation Director of the Australian Centre for Biosecurity and Environmental Economics (AC BEE). He currently teaches the course Masters Microeconomics (IDEC8064).

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Putting food on our plates and better supporting society is the focus of two new institutes launched at ANU Public Policy 2013, the University’s flagship policy event.

The three-day event at the Crawford School of Public Policy brought together top researchers to analyse critical public policy issues and propose solutions. The first day was marked by the launch of two new institutes: the Social Policy Institute and the Food Policy Institute.

The Social Policy Institute was launched by Professor Brian Howe, former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia and a Professorial Associate at the University of Melbourne. In the afternoon, the Food Policy Institute was launched by Senator the Hon Joe Ludwig, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

The Food Policy Institute will be led by Professor Tom Kompas, Director of the Crawford School of Public Policy. Professor Tom Kompas said the Institute will look to develop policy answers that cross boundaries in academic expertise.

“Food is one of the major challenges facing us and it’s tied together with concerns over water, energy and climate change. Through the Institute we want to study ways to guarantee we have adequate food supply for the region and that there is stability in the provision of food,” he said.

The Social Policy Institute will be led by Professor Peter Whiteford of Crawford School. Professor Whiteford said social security, health and community services account for around 45 per cent of all government spending in Australia, and there are some big questions on the horizon that will need tough policy choices.

“Australia is facing very significant challenges, such as an ageing population putting pressure on age pensions, nursing homes and community care and the health care system. Addressing those pressures will require good policy with long-term planning and lots of solid research evidence. The Social Policy Institute will aim to play a significant role in that,” he said.

ANU Public Policy 2013 brought together around 50 academics, public servants and business leaders to tackle the big questions facing society. This year the themes were complexity, imperfection and the future of public policy, and opportunity and disadvantage. Read more at

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