Abstract: Industrial developments in the coastal zone are often associated with rapid social and environmental changes, and as such they are key catalysts for public debate around economic development and environmental conservation (such as “coral versus coal” narratives). While public decision making increasingly incorporates local knowledge and attitudes, ensuring that industrial development in the coastal zone reflects both the needs and priorities of local communities, and the social-ecological context, remains a challenge. Alternative forms of public decision making, such as public deliberation, provide an avenue for exploring and reconciling community priorities on industrial development, but they are yet to be widely applied. The need for such methods is however, increasingly urgent as resource-dependent communities in the coastal zone evaluate both the immediate impacts and benefits of industry, as well as the longer-term effects of climate change. Using case studies from northern Australia, this seminar explores social-ecological impacts and community perspectives on industrial development in coastal regions, and discusses current practice and prospects for deliberative decision making in these contexts. The seminar examines how local communities perceive the benefits and impacts associated with heavy industry, and explores community views on future development in Australia’s north.
Biography: Dr Claudia Benham is an environmental social scientist, and Lecturer in Environmental Management at JCU. Her work explores the linked ecological and social dimensions of coastal environments. Claudia previously worked for the Australian Government in environmental impact assessment and marine conservation planning. Her work appears in international journals including Marine Policy and Sustainability Science.