Leading industry groups and players in the infrastructure sector have joined the University of Melbourne’s groundbreaking Next Generation Engagement Project.
At a time of unprecedented investment in Australian infrastructure, the University of Melbourne will conduct the largest consultation on the practice of community engagement to date over the coming six months – seeking to identify the key challenges, knowledge and skills gaps in this important discipline.
Social license expert, Dr Sara Bice, is leading the project on behalf of the Melbourne School of Government (MSoG). She said, “We believe that tension between projects and communities is contributing to considerable costs and delays. Experience tells us that early and constructive community engagement can play a critical role here. Our aim in The Next Generation Engagement project is to get a solid evidence base; to really articulate the potential that community engagement holds for successful infrastructure development.”
The University of pleased to acknowledge the support of the following partners across the infrastructure sector, including:
- Infrastructure Australia
- AGL Energy
- Westpac Banking Corporation
- Melbourne Water
- The NSW Government (including Dept of Premier and Cabinet, TfNSW, Dept of Planning and Environment, Treasury and Infrastructure NSW)
- The Coordinator General of Victoria (including Melbourne Metro and Level Crossing Removal Authority)
- Infrastructure Victoria
- Infrastructure Partnerships Australia
- The Infrastructure Association of Queensland
- Green Building Council of Australia
- Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia
- The Australian Institute for Project Management
- The International Centre for Complex Project Management
- The International Association for Impact Assessment
- The Public Relations Institute of Australia
- IAP2 Australasia
- Delib Australia and UK
- Temple Executive Search
- Bang the Table
“The experiences of our partners at the coal face of major projects will allow us to create a clear picture of the core social challenges facing Australia’s infrastructure delivery,” Dr Bice said.
Over the coming months the Melbourne School of Government 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 capital cities with leading Australian practitioners and international infrastructure experts
- a research report that details the most critical knowledge gaps for the community engagement profession (gap analysis)
- testing the gap analysis with infrastructure professionals across Australia.
“On the completion of 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 opportunities,” Dr Bice said.
“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.”