Consultation projects

Project                Community Engagement and Consultation for Alternative Waste Technology
Client                   Sunshine Coast Council, October-December 2011

In response to a number of policy changes aimed at minimising waste and landfill at the federal, state and local government levels, Sunshine Coast Council commissioned Engagement Plus to undertake engagement activities aimed at exploring the community’s attitudes and values towards alternative waste technologies (AWT) and waste management.

Engagement Plus identified that a large proportion of the community has limited knowledge or exposure to alternative waste technologies. Therefore, vital to achieving the project’s objectives was the design and delivery of an innovative and educativecommunity engagement process which focused on working collaboratively with the community to achieve a common understanding, explore new ideas and perspectives and bring unexamined assumptions into the open.

To meet this requirement Engagement Plus designed two community engagement processes, ‘Garbo Dialogues’ and an online forum. ‘Garbo Dialogues’ was a deliberative dialogue process which included the recruitment of 30 people representative of the Sunshine Coast Council demographic to participate in a series of three two-hour sessions held over consecutive weeks. Deliberative dialogue processes allow participants to explore complex public issues where there is a lot of uncertainty about solutions and the high likelihood of the community polarising on the issue. The goal of deliberative dialogue processes is to reach common ground for action.

In addition to the Garbo Dialogues, an online forum ‘Managing Future Waste’ was run in parallel where the wider community had the opportunity to access information about alternative waste technologies, participate in short polls, a survey and online discussions.   The report, which was well received by Council, including recommendations that Council engage further with the community and conduct further technical studies to explore some of the issues identified by participants.

Project                 Kuranda Community Centre Precinct Consultation
Client                   Tablelands Regional Council (Queensland), January- September 2011

Engagement Plus was appointed by the Tablelands Regional Council to undertake a comprehensive and transparent community engagement process aimed at:

  1. identifying the wider Kuranda community’s vision for the future use of the Kuranda Community Precinct; and
  2. Researching what was economically feasible and sustainable in relation to the site.

It is intended that outcomes from the research and engagement activities will inform the development of Council’s Master Plan for phased development of the Precinct.

Prior to Engagement Plus’ involvement, the project had had a long and often difficult history with high levels of community dissatisfaction, conflict and outrage. Mindful of this history and Council’s requirement for balanced input from all aspects of the Kuranda community, Engagement Plus developed a thorough and robust communications and engagement strategy which included:

  • Extensive research about funding opportunities, governance models and other community precincts for benchmarking purposes.
  • Two different mail out surveys to every household within the Kuranda area and surrounding district (surveys were also available online).
  • One-on-one interviews with decision makers, key stakeholders and interested community members.
  • Two deliberative forums.
  • Regular media releases to the local paper providing project updates and promoting participation in the consultation process
  • Development of material for Council’s project webpage.
  • Internal Council Workshop.

Variables that were explored with the community included different uses of the site including commercial, residential, educational and service based models; governance models; and funding approaches including the sale of part or the entire site. Integral the success of the project was the strong focus on re-establishing trust with a community which had become disenfranchised with Council following the amalgamations and the involvement of key decision-makers in clarifying the project negotiables and non-negotiables

Project                 Bus Stop Infrastructure Upgrade Program
Client                    Moreton Bay Regional Council (Queensland), October 2011 – ongoing

Engagement Plus was engaged by Moreton Bay Regional Council to prepare a community engage plan, relevant communication tools and stakeholder engagement and management activities associated with the Bus Stop Infrastructure Upgrade Program which is being undertaken in line with TransLink’s bus stop design standards and the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992. The project involved the preparing and distributing a communique informing affected property owners and residents adjacent to identified bus stop upgrade sites of the proposed works and timeframes and giving them an opportunity to provide feedback. More general communiques regarding the Upgrade Program were distributed to the wider community and within the disability sector. Engagement Plus is also responsible for responding to any feedback or concerns raised by those stakeholders or the broader community.

The success of this project hinged on our ability to plan effectively and provide accurate information in a way that is meaningful to stakeholders while remaining cognisant of the sensitivities surrounding works of this nature occurring on and adjacent to peoples properties.

Challenges that presented during this project included:

  • Responding to the concerns of stakeholders who are adversely affected by, or had concerns about the works.
  • The project management required to manage numerous large databases effectively to ensure consistency and accountability of information provision.

Project                 Townsville Learning Audit
Client                   Townsville City Council (Queensland), February – September 2011

Engagement Plus was commissioned by Townsville City Council to undertake an audit of learning aimed at identifying learning opportunities, facilities and services available in the Townsville region as well as gaps and barriers in access to, and provision of, learning opportunities.  The information gathered from the engagement activities was used to develop a set of future directions that Townsville City Council may consider for their future development of a learning community plan.

In designing and delivering the engagement methodology Engagement Plus included a broad range of activities providing both learning providers and the wider community with multiple opportunities for participation. Engagement activities included a project webpage, static displays, learning provider survey, community survey, market stalls, four workshops, a learning boot camp and individual interviews with key stakeholders.

While the project brief included consulting with the wider Townsville community, Townsville City Council was also particularly interested in the views and opinions of target sectors including women, the unemployed, the culturally and linguistically diverse community, the business sector and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sector. When the engagement processes originally contemplated resulted in low numbers of responses from the target groups,  Engagement Plus responded by developing new and creative opportunities for engagement which resulted in increased numbers of responses.