Our Work

We have an action research approach: advances are made through practical trials, and here you can see each of them.


The Byron Shire is well known as a domestic and international tourist destination, with over two million annual visitors. Local residents and tourists alike place significant value on the unique character of the area and its lifestyle.

The conundrum before Council is how to balance protection of that character with demands for more, and higher quality, infrastructure.

With rates recently increased, the next issue to be addressed is this: how should the money generated through the rate increase and earmarked for expenditure on infrastructure be prioritised, and how should those priorities be funded if rates alone are not enough?

Council has a plan to engage with the community thoroughly on this front; to go deeper in talking about how resources should be allocated over coming years, embarking on the hard conversations about priorities, growth, development and service levels. Like many other small, regional councils, they must do this within limited means and find a way to genuinely build a role for residents as a complementary voice and input in making public decisions.

Council has chosen to work with the newDemocracy Foundation to see if a community deliberation can be designed which delivers an informed voice of everyday people.

We will undertake a bespoke jury-style process – a Community Solutions Panel – so that a group of randomly-selected local residents armed with time, free access to information, a clear authority and given the starting point of possible solutions (prepared by active interests and Council), can reach a shared, considered judgement.

Byron Shire has many active interests including an array of groups, organisations (formal and informal) and vocal individuals. All have considered various solutions to community dilemmas. They will each bring a perspective to bear on this question. Engaging these organisations and individuals to provide input to the material presented to the panel and to produce the potential solutions available to the panellists will be a unique element of this project.

The Community Solutions Panel will be tasked with addressing what infrastructure spending Council should prioritise, and how should these priorities should be fund if the rates alone are not enough. Council has committed that the Panel's recommendations will be implemented in the Delivery Program when it is adopted in June 2018.


An important part of Byron Shire Community Solutions Panel is the opportunity for individuals, community organisations and other locally based organisations or interested bodies to make submissions on how they would answer question put to the Panel. Submissions are now open and you can find out more, and submit your ideas, using the template available HERE.



More information

Process Design December 2017 (Concept)

Process Design December 2017 (Operations)

Jury Requirements

Community Solutions Panel Submission Template