NSW Coastal Conference

Speech by Kathy Jones, Board Director of newDemocracy and Executive Chair of KJA

10 November 2016

We need to talk about trade-offs

Making decisions is hard.  Beyond the fact that there never seems to be enough money, big decisions tend to splinter communities. Coastal management is no exception. Like urban planning coastal management is a hotly contested space filled with divergent ideas and values. When opposing voices are shouting at each other over ‘wicked problems’, the real desires of the quiet majority are often overlooked. And Governments struggle when faced with hearing polarised positions.


Decision making  in Australia is sometimes stymied for the simplest of reasons – the failure of some companies and governments – at all levels – to place enough trust in the general community to consider issues logically and critically so that they understand the trade-offs. 


Too often it is assumed that ‘ordinary people’ are unable to make rational decisions on complex issues or are only driven by self‐interest. This view can lead to a reliance on expert-led decision making with little to no space for genuine engagement.


To read the full set of speech notes, please click on the link below.


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