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From New Challenges Collaboration Grows

From New Challenges Collaborations Grows

With DevelopmentWA.

As the Western Australian State Government’s central development agency, DevelopmentWA operate across Western Australia with a diverse portfolio of industrial, commercial and residential projects and with this have a complex portfolio of community engagement requirements.

Like every business, COVID‐19 radically changed how we operate and how we engage with each other. Combined with two recent Government department mergers, it was a good time for the business to pause, reflect and adapt our practices to ensure we continue to deliver effective engagement.

We embarked on a journey to review our engagement practices, identify strengths and opportunities for improvement and further embed engagement as core to the business model.

Initially desktop research was undertaken to understand, benchmark and learn from other State Government agencies. Internally staff from across the organisation were interviewed and a survey was conducted, followed by workshops by the Community Relations and leadership team to build on and generate stronger approaches to engagement.

Several key focus areas were explored including our engagement culture, structure and resourcing, capabilities, systems and processes and resource/budget allocations. Some of the key take‐outs included; a need to maintain focus on high risk and complex projects while giving more attention to medium and low risk projects, having a greater presence across all areas of the organisation to build capability and identify potential social risks early, having more courageous conversations with the community and stakeholders and ultimately ensuring the organisation is more open in those conversations.

Most critical however was the next step. To learn further we reached out to fellow engagement teams from Government Land Organisations (GLO) from around Australia and New Zealand. Nine Government Land Organisations were contacted with all choosing to contribute to the engagement review – an outstanding demonstration of their commitment to engagement and shared recognition of its importance.

A range of commonalities among the GLOs quickly came to the fore including a strong and shared commitment to engagement, a complex working environment with high risk projects and all agencies having an interest in being part of an engagement network to share knowledge. The insights gained through the engagement review led to the development of DevelopmentWA’s Stakeholder and Community Engagement Strategy for 2023‐2025.

Following the review we hosted a webinar to share the key findings with the Government Land Organisations and explore opportunities to continue our collective learning moving forward.

It became evident that there was a combined desire to continue sharing knowledge and supporting each other in our engagement practices. As such a Community Engagement Network was Confidential 2
established between the nine GLOs, who now meet quarterly to discuss a range of pertinent themes to the development industry.

Digital Engagement, Community Outrage, and Designing with Country sessions have been the key topics of the GLO Community Engagement Network sessions held to date, with all parties benefiting from the collective knowledge and experiences of the group.

New South Wales Landcom Director Project Communications & Engagement Abbie Jeffs said the development of the quarterly GLO Community Engagement Network sessions allowed them to leverage off the combined experiences and knowledge of the group to inform their engagement practices.

“The quarterly GLO meetings are really worthwhile. We’re all engagement specialists working in similar organisations, giving communities a say in how their cities and towns are growing and changing. Because of this shared purpose, conversation is always highly relevant.”

“The collective experience of the group and the willingness to openly share our insights and learnings with each other is creating a really valuable community of practice.”

Appropriate Government Land Organisations looking to join the quarterly discussions are encouraged to contact DevelopmentWA at community@developmentwa.com.au

The Government Land Organisation Engagement members.

About DevelopmentWA

DevelopmentWA is the State Government’s development agency. Operating throughout Western Australia, we have a unique capacity to shape and create sustainable developments for tomorrow. Our comprehensive portfolio of projects will ensure our State is firmly positioned for future growth. For more information visit developmentwa.com.au