In 2016 Council handed over decision-making power to the community to prioritise the allocation of 13 potential infrastructure projects in the north of the Shire. Since then, Council has expanded the number and types of participatory decision-making opportunities that the community can be involved in.
Participatory or deliberative democracy covers a broad range of opportunities to be involved in and make decisions on behalf of community, including for example participation via place planning groups, guidance groups, committees, participatory budgeting, innovative community engagement, public hearings, community grant programs and other forms of engagement.
Being committed to empowering community members to make and shape decisions, means :
- Providing opportunities for people to participate in decision-making
- Providing quality information and good conditions to enable members of community to discuss and deliberate on matters affecting them
- Where appropriate, using participatory or deliberative opportunities to be involved in decision making.
Following the success in 2018 of Council's first 'Community Solutions Panel' deliberative democracy process, Council has recently held a second to develop "The Byron Model" for deliberative democracy. A third community solutions panel is also currently underway considering the question "What actions Council can take to align visitor behaviour with community values?". This will help develop the Byron Shire Sustainable Visitation Strategy 2020 - 2030.