Conference Theme and Streams

Considering the modern pressures and context of environmental regulation, this conference will ask the critical question:

Is being right enough?

Do we need more than the traditional regulatory tools (i.e. legislation, regulation, incentives and information) to achieve good outcomes for the environment and the community? Do we need to rethink how we use these tools? Are there other things we can be doing to better achieve our objectives?

The conference theme is posed as a question to encourage thought and discussion on the topic throughout the entire program.


The conference program will be organised into the following three streams.

1. Retrofitting our toolbox

This stream will highlight how regulators are using new regulatory tools or old tools in new ways:

  • to facilitate compliance
  • to better collaborate and engage with individuals, community groups, industry, the scientific community, and other agencies
  • to achieve good environmental outcomes
  • to strengthen their credibility as a regulator.

Topics could include: risk communication, citizen science, modern communication tools and techniques (e.g. social media), science communication, community engagement (e.g. citizen juries, community consultation committees), economic risks and incentives (e.g. environmental insurance, financial assurances).

2. Technology and information

This stream will showcase how regulators are working with technology and information in new and creative ways to achieve better environmental and community outcomes.

Topics could include: surveillance technology, smart sensors, unmanned aerial vehicles, strategic intelligence to set compliance priorities, open data and open government for better policy development and transparent decision-making, software and mobile apps, sharing intelligence across jurisdictions/agencies, situational crime prevention, crime prevention through environmental design and investigation technology (i.e. profiling, electronic surveillance).

3. Headspace

This stream will look at how regulators can draw on the science behind why people make certain decisions or behave a certain way, and how this can be used to influence behaviour or achieve better outcomes for the environment and community. For example: in designing strategies; developing public or operational policy; delivering education programs; or interacting with groups, individuals or industry.

This stream will also encourage regulators to turn a critical gaze onto themselves. We can use the same ideas to consider how we go about our business and how we can improve our strategic decision making, policy development and regulatory responses.

Topics could include: the psychology of offenders, the psychology of a regulator, unconscious bias, behavioural insights, nudge theory, motivating positive behaviours, the science of interviews.