It is important to decide how to best engage communities and stakeholders at the early stages of planning a project. Engagement opportunities in the establishment project stage involve introducing the project to the community and stakeholders, including route options and the location of key infrastructure.

Our communities and stakeholders often know their local area better than we do and can provide valuable input that helps improve our projects.

Involving them in the establishment stage will also help create a sense of ownership for your project. It will also guide the engagement approach for future project stages.

Your key engagement activities during the establishment stage include:

  • Develop project area profile
  • Identify key stakeholders, potential issues/opportunities and levels of engagement
  • Develop engagement strategy and program of early engagement activities
  • Develop key messages.

For more information talk to your Regional Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Manager or the Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Principal Manager.

Establishment engagement strategy

The establishment engagement strategy is usually a high level overview of the engagement opportunities at this stage of your project.

Your engagement strategy will include:

  • An overarching communication approach to the proposed project
  • An outline of the project (including benefits, key activities)
  • The project area profile
  • Stakeholder and issues identification
  • Proposed management of issues
  • An overview of the communications tools
  • An indicative project timeline that estimates when communication activities will occur
  • Evaluation, monitoring and reporting.

Consider using social and interactive tools as well as the more traditional engagement tools.

On bigger projects, you will also develop detailed engagement strategies at both the development and delivery project stages. The three engagement strategies may have some overlapping information, but should be specific to the project stage. On smaller projects you might simply expand the original engagement strategy at the different project stages.

A community and stakeholder engagement plan template is included in the toolbox.

Project area profile

It’s best to understand the area, the communities and the stakeholders impacted by the project before you plan your engagement activities. As a first step, you should develop a profile of the project area.

A typical project area profile usually includes:

  • Local government areas affected by the project, including the names of the general manager and mayor
  • State government electorates affected by the project, including the names of local members
  • Community and business groups active in the area, chamber(s) of commerce
  • Hospitals, schools, childcare, aged care facilities, sporting and cultural facilities in the area
  • Local media
  • Other major projects/issues in the community
  • Demographics and other notable characteristics of the community (language groups, key identifiers, economic profile, notable stats and facts etc).

A project area profile template is included in the toolbox.

Stakeholder and issues analysis

When preparing an engagement strategy, you will need to identify communities and stakeholders who have some interest in your project.

Our stakeholders include any group or individual who might have an interest and/or be impacted by our projects and initiatives. This includes people and groups:

  • Who are impacted by possible construction or operational activities
  • With an interest in policy or operational decisions
  • With an interest in infrastructure development proposals.

When you are identifying key stakeholders, think about their potential issues and concerns and how you would manage them. You should also think about levels of engagement and communication approaches for each stakeholder group. Refer to the stakeholder analysis and issues check list for more information.

While the specific communities and stakeholders will vary from project to project, some stakeholder groups will have an interest in all or most of our projects. View the typical Roads and Maritime stakeholder groups.

All stakeholders should be included in your contact management system or database. This database should be set up to record and report on details of community and stakeholder engagement activities for all project stages. Check out the stakeholder database how to guide for more information.

Key messages

Think about what message you want to deliver.

We use key messages on all communication materials. Key messages help focus attention on the most important information about a project.

Think about what messages you want to deliver and what issues you may encounter. Think about the best way to communicate those messages and manage those issues.

Consider who your stakeholders are. Different key messages may be required for different stakeholder groups.

View the key messages check list.

At a minimum, key messages usually cover:

  • Project features/work description
  • Benefits to motorists and community
  • Work details where applicable including timing, impacts and mitigation activities
  • Our commitment to working with the community and stakeholders
  • Project funding
  • Project contact details.

Key messages will need to be reviewed and updated as a project progresses.

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