Lived Experience and Public Participation Statement of Intent

The ATDC has created this statement to provide a guiding framework for how the voice of lived experience will be represented throughout our organisation and in the information and advice we provide to our members, lived experience advocates and other stakeholders.

We recognise that lived experience of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs is multi-faceted and includes:

  • People who currently use drugs
  • People who are experiencing a drug dependence and may be receiving treatment support
  • People who no longer use drugs and /or had a dependence and experience receiving treatment support
  • Family, friends, carers and others who have personal lived experience of someone with who uses or has used drugs
  • Frontline workers in the alcohol, tobacco and other drugs sector
  • Members of the general community.

Due to the diversity in lived experience, the ATDC chooses to use the term ‘public participation’ when describing the process of capturing the lived experience perspective. We consciously adopt this terminology instead of ‘consumer engagement’ to promote the use of simple language and avoid labelling individuals or groups with a term that may have unintended duality that conjures imagery of people who have / or are ‘consuming’, ‘imbibing’ or ‘ingesting’ liquids or other substances into their body.

Why public participation is important to the ATDC

The ATDC is committed to adopting a person-centred approach and engaging those impacted by the work that we do, whether through our policy, advocacy, or other organisational activities.

The ATDC believes that it is only through meaningful public participation that the organisation can achieve its vision of ‘A Tasmania without alcohol, tobacco or other drug related harm or discrimination’.

Through the engagement of lived experience, the ATDC will foster a culture of collaborative inquiry alongside those Tasmanians our organisation and members exist to support.

Our commitment to public participation

The following principles outlined in our ‘public participation commitments’ specifies the guiding principles and activities the ATDC commits to in its goal of ensuring meaningful engagement of the lived experience perspective.

Our Public Participation Commitments

We, the Board and staff members of the ATDC, commit to the following guiding principles:

Genuine collaboration

  • We will consider public participation as part of our core business, and directly engage with those with lived experience whenever practicable in relation to all policy and activity decisions – through conversation, surveys, ad-hoc focus groups, and the ATDC Consumer Reference Group.
  • We will engage with open minds, and a genuine curiosity. Decisions will not be finalised prior to the engagement of our lived experience advocates, and we will be prepared to be challenged and change our direction where the feedback warrants it.

Clear objectives

  • We will be clear at the beginning of any consultation process what the objectives of the engagement are, including any assumptions the ATDC is testing.
  • We will make it clear what is expected of those we engage with, including their power to influence the outcome, and we will follow-up and show gratitude for every contribution.


  • We will utilise processes which are sensitive to accessibility and relevance, and will make engagement with us easy for everyone.
  • We will ensure engagement processes and avenues are appropriate for each lived experience advocate group/s, and be considerate of diverse capabilities, agendas and perspectives.

Opportunity to engage

  • We will periodically seek out new contributors and collaborators, to ensure ongoing diversity of engagement and perspectives.
  • We will create structured opportunities for those with lived experience to access and develop their professional skills through professional development and training.

Remuneration for time and expertise

  • We will demonstrate the value we place on public participation by ensuring all lived experience advocates are appropriately remunerated for their time and expertise.

Continuous improvement

  • We will review our public participation processes regularly, and will proactively seek feedback about how to improve.
  • We will commit to all current Board Directors and staff to attend one public participation engagement session per year, to increase understanding of / and embed the importance of listening to the lived experience perspective.