Australian environmental governance and environmental planning procedures
Like other Western nations, since the nineteenth century Australia has been a representative democracy, in which citizens elect parliamentary representatives to make decisions and develop policies on their behalf. This chapter explores how these different, even competing ideas of democracy 'play out' planning practice. In a participatory planning context, informing involves one-way communication designed to provide information to citizens. Consultation involves a two-way exchange of information, primarily via government authorities providing information that citizens respond to. Engagement differs from consultation in terms of the extent of dialogue and the degree of input into the decision-making process. Collaboration tends to entail more deliberative processes in which citizens work together to weigh up different options and recommend or determine the final outcome. Emerging from its activist roots and events such as the Green Bans, public participation has become an integral part of the planning process in Australia.