Our Advocacy

As the peak body for the community and stakeholder engagement sector, IAP2 Australasia believes that engagement, when done well, improves social, environmental, and economic outcomes and increases trust in the democratic process.

We advocate for all communities to be authentically engaged in decisions that affect them, in alignment with the IAP2 Quality Assurance Standard for Community and Stakeholder Engagement.

Advocacy initiatives centre around the following objectives:

  • Influencing key decision-makers,
  • Showcasing the evidence of the impact and benefit of authentic engagement,
  • Strengthening awareness of authentic engagement, and
  • Advocate for engagement to be mandated and defined in legislation and policy.

Advocacy initiatives

Encouraging authentic engagement in the delivery of successful shovel-ready projects

In August and September 2020, a statement was sent to the Department of Premier and Cabinet for each State and Territory; and also to the Hon Michael McCormack MP, the Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development.

This communication supported and encouraged Government’s focus to work with industry on nation building projects and critical infrastructure through accelerating ‘shovel-ready’ projects. Essentially, a call to action was made to each recipient to commit to ensure that authentic engagement remains an integral component of shovel-ready projects, to improve social, environmental and economic outcomes.

The evidence and benefits of quality community engagement was detailed in the letter, including:

  • Minimising social risk through engagement
  • Reducing delays, cancellation or mothballing of significant infrastructure projects
  • The importance of quality engagement to support Australian recovery
  • The role of engagement in creating better functioning cities and towns to deliver an increase in GDP in the long term
  • Building trust through open communication and engagement

The letter is available to view here.

Case study template launched

To assist IAP2 Australasia with advocacy, benchmarking and research initiatives, the IAP2 Australasia Research Working Group has developed a case study template for engagement professionals to submit their own case studies as a valuable resource to support future engagement and research projects, and decision making. Additionally, case studies will become important assets in advocating for engagement and influencing key decision-makers to ensure that authentic engagement remains an integral component of all projects and processes.

Thank you to the IAP2A Research Working Group for achieving this key project.

Learn more at iap2.org.au/casestudy/ .

IAP2 Australasia provides support for the Black Lives Matter movement

In June 2020, IAP2A Board of Directors sent out a statement encouraging you, our IAP2 community, to use your skills to help our Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, Maori and Pasifika communities. We believe engagement professionals play an important role in prioritising and advocating for diversity, equality and inclusion.

As the peak body for the community and stakeholder engagement sector, IAP2 Australasia, considers that engagement, when done well, improves social, environmental and economic outcomes and increases trust in the democratic process. Inclusion, Transparency and Respect are the IAP2 Australasia values – and our vision is for communities shaped by people.

We encourage you to read the statement, and welcome you to share your ideas with us.

IAP2 Australasia joined the Australian Communications Advocacy Group (ACAG) to support university fee equality

IAP2 Australasia – representing community and stakeholder engagement professionals throughout Australia – partnered with the Public Relations Institute of Victoria (PRIA) and the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), to ensure communication, arts and humanities subjects remain a viable study option for all Australian students.

Formed in response to the Federal Government’s proposal – known as the Job-ready Graduates legislation – to increase fees for undergraduate studies in Arts and Humanities subjects, ACAG aimed to represent all disciplines across the communication industry – public relations, marketing, media and advertising – which would be impacted by the proposed fee increase.

IAP2 Australasia joined ACAG in their advocacy efforts and encouraged our members also to write to local members and senators to voice opposition and share this opposition on social media. IAP2 Australasia wrote to Senator Stirling Griff  and urged him to vote no to the Job-Ready Graduates Package. Sadly in October 2020, the Job-ready Graduates legislation passed in the Senate. You can learn more at acag.net.au/.

Strategic Partnership with RMIT

Community engagement is increasingly recognised as a central component of policy and service development, generating demand for community engagement practitioners across industries and sectors. As employment opportunities increase, higher education courses in community engagement have emerged in various disciplines. To date there is little empirical research that explores the theoretical foundations of community engagement pedagogy (learning and teaching methods), or provides guidance on how academia and industry could collaborate to increase professionalism in community engagement practice.

To address this knowledge gap RMIT University, in partnership with IAP2 Australasia, embarked on a project that investigates ways to advance community engagement professionalism in IAP2 Australasia’s region of responsibility, Australia and New Zealand (Australasia). A pilot study commenced in February 2020 to provide base line data for the project, focusing on postgraduate Community Engagement courses.

You can read the report prepared by RMIT here.

As this partnership unfolds, evidence-based recommendations will be developed to strengthen strategic community engagement interventions on the ground, supported by theory-based and practice-informed teaching in universities.