‘The Hardest Decision in Water’
Iain Walker is Executive Director of the newDemocracy Foundation (nDF) in Australia, a role he has held since 2011.
In this keynote address, Iain will explore ‘The Hardest Decision in Water’ and how we can have a meaningful conversation with the community around concepts which fail the pub test – like “recycled” water.
The work of the Foundation is simply to find ways to do democracy better. While many complain about problems with the system, nDF aims to research, trial and implement processes which will result in trusted public decisions.
The methods used focus on exploring a complementary role for randomly-selected everyday people (much like a criminal jury) alongside elected representatives. nDF’s processes involve giving citizens vastly extended time and access to multiple sources of information to see if they can find common ground.
Iain has led over 20 trial projects at local government and state government level including projects for State Premiers on both sides of politics. The topics have ranged from long-term budgeting for the $4bn City of Melbourne Financial Plan to the potential for a high-level nuclear waste storage facility in South Australia. In the water industry, nDF designed the 2017 Citizens’ Jury process for Yarra Valley Water.
newDemocracy is a founding participant in the global Democracy R&D group which works with other practitioners to explore the merits of similar trials being conducted around the world.