Good engagement the key to sustainable cities

The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) will join the University of Melbourne to identify and address the key challenges in engaging effectively with communities to better manage risks in the delivery of Australia’s infrastructure.

Jonathan Cartledge, the GBCA’s Senior Manager – Government and Industry, said the project is in keeping with GBCA’s focus on developing buildings, cities and communities that are healthy, resilient and positive places for people and the natural environment.

“Effective engagement is at the heart of delivering infrastructure that meets the needs of our cities and building better communities for all of us.” Mr Cartledge said.

“The evidence base around the critical success factors to support good community engagement that better manages risks in the delivery of our infrastructure needs development. A stronger evidence base will support more informed engagement strategies that deliver better economic, environmental and social outcomes around Australia.

“The Next Generation Engagement Project is an important next step to help deliver this evidence base. The Green Building Council of Australia is proud to play a role in this innovative research.”

Social license expert, Dr Sara Bice, is leading the project on behalf of the Melbourne School of Government.

“Almost $20 billion in largely taxpayer-funded projects have been delayed, cancelled or completed and then mothballed over the past decade in Australia. This research aims to identify the key engagement challenges and gaps in delivering new infrastructure and to then address them through applied research with industry.”

“Partners such as the GBCA will play a vital role in helping us to understand this issue. The experiences of the GBCA and its members at the coal face of major projects will allow us to create a clear picture of the core social challenges and opportunities facing Australia’s infrastructure delivery,” Dr Bice said.

Over the coming six months the University of Melbourne and its partners will conduct the largest national consultation on engagement to date. This will include:

  • a national survey on engagement and social license challenges for Australia’s infrastructure sector
  • workshops in each capital city with leading Australian practitioners and international infrastructure experts
  • a gap analysis that details the most critical knowledge gaps for the community engagement profession
  • testing the gap analysis with infrastructure professionals across Australia.

Dr Bice said, “Through this work we aim to identify the biggest roadblocks around engagement, social risk management and social license for infrastructure delivery together with an analysis of emerging trends and challenges.”

“Our aim is to get this information onto the desk of key decision makers in Australia’s infrastructure sector to really inform the discussion. Our intention is that this work will seed longer-term research partnerships that will help industry to make meaningful progress on these issues.”

For the latest news on the Next Generation Research Project visit

www.blogs.unimelb.edu.au/nextgenengagement