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Deliberation in the wilderness: the far north Queensland citizen's jury

  • Year: 2005
  • Author: Niemeyer S; Blamey R
  • Publisher: Land and Water Resources Research and Development Corporation
  • Published Location: Canberra, ACT
  • ISBN: 1920860517
  • Country: Australia
  • State/Region: Queensland

The Far North Queensland Citizen\'s Jury (FNQCJ) attempted to replicate the ideals of deliberative democracy in considering future management options for the Bloomfield Track, a controversial road between Cape Tribulation Qld and the Bloomfield River Qld. The FNQCJ consisted of 12 randomly selected citizens from the region who visited the proposed Track site, consulted technical experts and community representatives and produced a report of their findings. An overview and analysis of the process considers the impact of deliberation on the policy preferences of participants and attempts to identify the key drivers of change. The results indicate that deliberation dramatically influenced policy preferences which converged considerably towards a consensus position as symbolic arguments dominating political discourse were discounted. Although the process did not result in complete consensus, the FNQCJ was far from a failure. The experience demonstrates that if conducted with care citizen juries have a valuable role to play in natural resources management decision making processes.

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