REID HIGHWAY EXTENSION
REID HIGHWAY EXTENSION
The issue of the proposed traffic flow on and off the new Reid
Highway Extension had been a highly contentious issue in the Karrinyup
/ Carine community over the past decade, particularly at the Everingham
St. intersection. An earlier trial closure of Everingham St. had been
abandoned as unsuccessful. Complaints persisted in the community about
lack of safety for the school children, delays at intersections and the
hazards of traffic diverted onto local roads. Surveys of local
residents showed the community remained divided about whether
Everingham St should be open, closed or partially opened.
When Labor came to government, the new Minister suggested a trial
partial closure of Everingham St. When this suggestion was also
resisted, she decided to take one step back to gain consensus from the
community about the best option to trial.
It was decided to carry out a Citizens' Jury - a consultation method
developed in Germany and the USA and now used extensively in the UK -
to give ordinary citizens a stronger voice and role in democratic
The Citizens' Jury is a structured method of obtaining detailed,
considered views from members of the public, who arbitrate between
alternatives. The Jury hears evidence from a range of 'expert
witnesses' and from this informed viewpoint, draws conclusions, which
it recommends to the public body.
The Reid Highway Extension Citizens' Jury was chosen from a random
sample of 250 residents from the surrounding area (selected randomly by
the WA Electoral Commission) who were invited to participate. Forty
(40) residents applied and twelve (12) were chosen according to
geography to ensure each key area was represented.
Prior to the Citizens' Jury
An advertisement was put in the Stirling Times asking the
community for submissions. One hundred and fifty two (152) responses
The Citizens' Jury met with the Minister a week before the formal
Jury sitting for an initial planning session. At this session, the
process was explained to the Jury and each member received a synopsis
of the community's submissions, together with papers from the Main
Roads WA and the Stirling Council. Public submissions without the names
attached were made available to the participants, as well as additional
information and data they had requested. This information was also made
available to the various action groups who had agreed to address the
At the Citizens' Jury
Understanding the Issues
Unlike a traditional Jury, the proceedings were facilitated by an
independent arbiter. Also, unlike a Jury, it was expected to deliver
its findings in a specified period of time - in this instance, during
the one day.
The relevant action groups and other interested parties attended the
weekend Jury deliberations as 'expert witnesses', to make factual
presentations of their positions. They achieved this in a very
professional manner, answering questions and clarifying issues as
When the presentations and discussion of the data had concluded, the
'expert witnesses' (presenters) left and the Jury deliberated. The
technical experts remained to answer questions when needed.
Developing the Options
The Jury developed ten (10) options to resolve the issue. These
included closing, opening and partly opening Reid Highway, with an
innovative suggestion to create a one-way circuit around the school
Determining the Criteria
The key issues the Jury decided to take into account were:
- Safety of children not only at Everingham, but, eg. at playground
- Access by buses, especially to and from the school
- Access by emergency services
- Local traffic access to and from Reid
- Not displacing traffic onto unsuitable streets
- Reduction in 'rat running'
The decision was unanimous - to fully open the Everingham/Reid
intersection, however with a series of safety measures recommended to
ensure the safety of the school community and residents.
The road option recommended by the Jury has now been built,
including the safety additions. The option was trialled using the
methodology suggested by the Jurors. The trial was successful and the
road treatment has been completed.
The Citizens' Jury Report and Resultant Actions
The Citizen's Jury agreed upon the content of the report. They
received a draft copy, made amendments and approved the Final Report
and Recommendations. This was then submitted to the Minister. The
Minister accepted the Report, including the additional money for the
safety measures, and forwarded it to the relevant Agencies and to the
media as her recommended action.
The Citizen's Jury was an excellent example of community democracy -
of citizens taking responsibility, acting professionally, and finding a
solution that encompassed the interests of the whole community.
After such an extensive controversy, the community received the
outcome with remarkable acceptance. They reported that they thought the
process was fair, and since the community had made the determination,
they were prepared to accept it - even though it may not have been in
their personal interests.
Several of the members of the Jury admitted at the end of the
sitting that they had been proponents of a different solution at the
commencement of the proceedings. However, when they had all the facts,
they suggested, the logic was obvious and it became clear to them that
their earlier views were misguided.
It was considered to be a risky strategy choosing Jury members from
citizens likely to be directly impacted by the decision. It was felt
they would not be able to be impartial and maintain the interests of
the whole community at the forefront. However, choosing local jury
members was far more acceptable to the community than choosing citizens
outside the area. As it happened, the Jury members took great care
ensuring all the community's interests were taken into account rather
than pushing for their own.
Since the issue was fairly clear-cut and the Minister was prepared
to live with the Jury's decision - providing it was not at large
additional public cost - the Citizen's Jury was an ideal methodology to
use to resolve this issue.