THE South Australian Government will task a randomly-selected citizen jury with making policy recommendations to help ensure that Adelaide is both vibrant and safe, in light of community concern about alcohol-fuelled violence.
The project, to be operated by independent research organisations newDemocracy and The Australian Centre for Social Innovation, will involve a panel of 40 local people considering evidence from a range of community stakeholders on the question of how to make Adelaide vibrant and safe.
The government said that while newDemocracy has undertaken similar policy-making processes interstate – including engaging a community panel to look at the range and level of services delivered by a Sydney council – the South Australian project will be the first time that a State Government has commissioned a project using the 'deliberative democracy' approach.
Premier Jay Weatherill said the newDemocracy project would give community members the challenging task of reviewing information from a wide range of stakeholders and coming up with policy ideas over the coming months.
"This innovative newDemocracy project will be unlike any other consultation process we've done before – giving everyday community members the challenge of weighing up the issues and putting forward policy recommendations," Mr Weatherill said.
"The community is faced with big decisions about the sort of city we wish to create," Mr Weatherill said, adding that he has a strong belief that the community should be more involved in the decision-making of government.
"We need to ask ourselves how do we continue to have the safe, family-friendly community for which we are renowned while responding for the clear wish for the city to be more vibrant?"
Attorney-General John Rau said the work would complement measures to tackle alcohol-fuelled violence currently being undertaken, with new rules affecting late night licensed premises to soon be announced.
newDemocracy Foundation executive director Iain Walker said that over three months, 40 people chosen at random would spend more than 50 hours looking at the issue in detail with access to experts of their choosing and would then agree on a set of recommendations.
"It absolutely helps that these people aren't from parties and aren't up for re-election – it's actually why this is complementary to Government as it serves to identify an informed voice of the community and not simply the activist groups on either side of an issue," Mr Walker said.
More information regarding the project is available from the South Australian Government's 'Your Say' website at <http://www.yoursay.sa.gov.au/>. More information about newDemocracy is available from the newDemocracy website at <http://www.newdemocracy.com.au/>.