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Stakeholder engagement and deliberation in environmental approvals: A case study of Gladstone, Queensland

Claudia Benham, Australian National University

Tue 3 June 2014

11:00am – 12:00pm

Fishbowl, Building 24, University of Canberra


Australia’s natural gas boom has prompted public concern over the industry’s potential to impact on communities and the environment. It has been suggested that public deliberation, in the context of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and approvals processes, can promote more sustainable decision making that incorporates a range of community perspectives. This is particularly important given the international commitments of Australian gas producers to principles of sustainable development. Claudia’s PhD research explores community perceptions of the quality of public deliberation during the environmental approvals process for three Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) plants in Queensland, Australia. In this presentation, she will discuss the preliminary findings of her research with residents in the Gladstone Region. These early findings suggest that opportunities for public participation through public meetings were provided during the LNG approvals processes, but there remains room for improvement in the deliberative quality of these engagements, and in linking the outcomes of public meetings to decision making processes.

About the speaker

Claudia is a PhD student in the Fenner School of Environment and Society and CSIRO Science into Society Group. Her PhD research examines the social and ecological impacts of natural gas developments, and seeks to identify opportunities for managing these impacts through deliberative forms of governance. Claudia has previously worked for the Australian Government in water policy and marine conservation roles, and she is particularly interested in the application of deliberative approaches to environmental problems with global effects, especially on marine and coastal environments. She has published on water resources management and NRM funding in Australia.

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