Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 1 August 2017) . . Page.. 2290 ..
Reference Group, the tripartite Work Safety Council and the soon-to-be-appointed Multicultural Advisory Council.
Ultimately as a government we need to build stronger trust and partnerships with our community, to be open to their ideas and their views on the future of our city. The Labor government is absolutely committed to that ideal.
MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (4.09): The Greens have always been committed to open and consultative democracy. Grassroots democracy is one of our four pillars. I am very pleased to be able to speak to Mrs Kikkert’s motion today. Clearly, we believe that strong community participation in decision-making leads to better outcomes for the government and for the community as a whole, which is why strengthened community consultation was included in our parliamentary agreement with the Labor Party.
Ms Stephen-Smith has talked about what this is going to mean in practice to some extent. I will talk a bit more about some more innovative options which may be part of it. We think that we do need some change in how we do our consultation, as Ms Stephen-Smith has mentioned. There are two areas where we think we should be trialling this in Canberra: citizens juries and participatory budgeting.
I have talked about both of these already today. I talked about citizens juries in relation to the estimates report. I commented that I think citizens juries have very great potential, but that it is possible that the majority of Canberra was not as excited about third-party insurance, as clearly some members of the government were. I am hoping that, given the amount of money allocated to this, there will be possibly more citizens juries topics and that we will have some good and interesting outcomes.
The other thing I mentioned briefly was participatory budgeting in terms of the response to Mr Steel’s petition about Farrer. We have real issues in terms of where the government puts its money. This is one of the fundamental choices that we, as an Assembly and as a government, make: How are resources spent? This in many ways can be even more important than the legislation we pass. If we decide to build a light rail, build a hospital, build a whatever, that choice has consequences. In particular, that choice often means that something else is not funded. These choices are really important.
Yes, the Greens are very pleased that $2.8 million has been committed in the budget to do a citizens jury process. We think that in doing this the government should look at the lessons from South Australia. Members may well be aware that recently in South Australia the South Australian government set up a statistically representative citizens jury to report on a nuclear waste dump proposal. This was after the royal commission on the issue found that public support for the waste dump was crucial if the proposal was to be successful.
The premier promised that the jury’s findings would influence his final decision on the waste dump. Then, despite the jury voting overwhelmingly against the nuclear waste storage proposal, Premier Weatherill declared that he intended to set up a