Watered Down: The Role of Public Participation in Australian Water Governance
Internationally and nationally, the importance of involving the public in the decisions and management of water resources is beyond reproach. Indeed, much of water governance reform has centred upon implementing governance frameworks that afford greater opportunity for widespread participation. In substance, however, national water reform is a complex exercise that seeks to reconcile diverse governance systems, including administrative, technical, market-based and participatory components. This article challenges the apparent ascendancy of the participatory approach to water governance by exploring these tensions, particularly between market-based and participatory approaches. It argues that the participatory approach to water governance evident in Australian water policy appears more about obtaining community acceptance of an economic rationality for water management rather than democratising decisions over an essential public resource.
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Land Use and Environmental Planning