Mitzi Bolton's picture

Mitzi Bolton



BSc (Hons)

Contact details

PHD Program


Supervisors/Panel Members

Prof. Bob Costanza, Dr. Ida Kubiszewski, Adj. Prof. Steve Cork, Prof. Stephen Dovers.

Topic Title

‘Between the idea and the reality’: Why don’t government decisions better integrate sustainable development?


Sustainable development has been a public policy goal for decades. The recent agreement by all UN countries to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is the latest manifestation. Despite this broad and repeated subscription, there has been inconsistent progress toward its achievement. This research aims to discover why government decisions do not fully integrate sustainable development or its principles. What factors limit or prevent public decision makers in their ability to address complex policy areas such as this?

It does so via the identification and construction of case studies of public decisions within the State of Victoria over the past decade and by interviewing and surveying the public decision makers associated with those decisions. It then extends the interviews and surveys to a general subset of Victorian public decision makers to understand if the experiences are unique to the case studies or have more universal salience.

This multi-faceted approach will identify factors that hinder or assist public decision makers to make the best possible decisions for their societies. These factors will then be analysed to understand their influence on decision making. A high degree of overlap in the interview and survey responses, irrespective of the participant’s area of policy focus, is also expected. It is hoped that building an understanding and awareness of such influences will identify mechanisms to minimise their effects, and assist in the delivery of outcomes more in-keeping with the principles and goals of sustainable development.

Employment History

Mitzi is currently a Senior Policy Officer at the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), both in Victoria, Australia.

During her 8+ years in the public sector, she has worked across a wide variety of issues as both an expert scientist and a senior policy officer. These include projects of state and national significance, and national standard setting. Mitzi has represented Victoria in various industry association and Cooperative Research Centre projects, and represented Australia at international conferences - one of which she took a lead role in coordinating.

In addition, Mitzi is a strong supporter of the Australasian Land and Groundwater Association, of which she is a member of the Board of Directors, Strategy and Risk Sub-Committee, and Victorian Branch Committee.

Personal info

Mitzi is based in Melbourne with her Scottish partner Martin. She travels up to Canberra every few months or so to see the cool-kids on campus and let her Supervisors know she’s still alive, so keep an eye out for her.

Mitzi is keen to participate in as much of campus life as is possible via a wifi connection, so keep her in mind when you’re organising seminars, reading groups, or anything else that can be hooked into via Skype, FaceTime, Google+, Firefox, ooVoo, etc.


Costanza, R., Atkins, P.W., Bolton, M., Cork, S., Grigg, N.J., Kasser, T. and Kubiszewski, I., 2017. Societal addiction therapy: from motivational interviewing to Community Engaged Scenario Planning, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Volumes 26–27, June 2017, Pages 47–53.

Costanza, R., Atkins, P.W., Bolton, M., Cork, S., Grigg, N.J., Kasser, T. and Kubiszewski, I., 2017. Overcoming societal addictions: What can we learn from individual therapies?. Ecological Economics, 131, pp.543-550.

Bolton, M., Dridan, J., Innes, L., Northway, N., Shiels, S., Warwick, B., Naidu, R., Srivastava, P., 2013. Precinct-scale urban renewal – challenges and opportunities. Remediation Australasia, 14, pp.18-21.

Bolton, M. - History favours those who write it (

Bolton, M. - Finding policy that’s built to last: What policymakers could learn from buying a house (

Bolton, M. - Politics: ignoring it won’t make it go away (True democracy is more than a hashtag and a Facebook ‘like’) ( ) also published in ADVANCE 2015 Winter edition.

Mailing address

Crawford School of Public Policy
ANU College of Asia & the Pacific
J.G. Crawford Building No. 132
Lennox Crossing
The Australian National University
Canberra ACT 0200 Australia

Updated:  18 August 2019/Responsible Officer:  Crawford Engagement/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team