The International Association of Public Participation has named Melbourne Water as Australasian organisation of the year for its innovative community engagement program.
The organisation was among a number of public sector entities — including Transport for NSW and the City of Sydney — to receive recognition at the IAP2 2020 Core Values Awards ceremony on Tuesday evening. The awards recognise excellence in public participation across all government and industry sectors.
Melbourne Water’s winning project, the Next Generation Community Engagement Program (NextGen), was previously nominated for the same IAP2 award in 2018.
Since the introduction of the program in 2016, NextGen has transformed the way the organisation involves the community in decision-making across its key strategies, projects and operational activities. It continues Melbourne Water’s proud history of best-practice community engagement, according to managing director Michael Wandmaker.
“Led by our board and leadership team, it is embedded as an integral part of our operations and ensures the community is at the heart of everything we do. It’s more than just a program of work — it reflects our strong culture of community engagement across the organisation,” he said.
“Melbourne Water is honoured to receive this prestigious award. It is wonderful recognition for our dedicated staff and the important work they do every day with our community.”
Some of the innovations delivered through Melbourne Water’s NextGen program include the use of cutting-edge digital engagement and education tools, such as the Drip Trip App. The program is validated by an evaluation framework, which allows Melbourne Water to provide comparative data for all engagement activities across the organisation.
“This framework provides real-time data monitoring, enabling us to demonstrate the value of engagement and continually improve our practice,” Wandmaker said.
“As well as this, our online engagement platform ‘Your Say’ has enjoyed more than 150,000 visits and over 4500 contributions from the community.”
See the full list of IAP2 2020 award winners below.
Australasian Organisation of the Year
Melbourne Water — Next Generation Community Engagement Program.
Highly Commended: Central Coast Council — A fresh start for engagement.
Australasian Project of the Year
City of Sydney — Planning for 2050.
Runner up: Shire of Augusta Margaret River, Climate Action Augusta Margaret River and Elton Consulting — Climate Action Plan/Summit.
Institute for Public Policy and Governance: University of Technology Sydney — Community Engagement in Australian Local Government: The Practice and its Pressures.
City of Sydney — Planning for 2050.
First Highly Commended: District Council of Yankalilla — Nature’s Best, Let’s Plan The Rest.
Second Highly Commended: Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning, Articulous, Gold Coast Waterways Authority, City of Gold Coast, Deicke Richards and John Gaskell Planning Consultants — The Spit Master Plan: from conflict to consensus.
Infrastructure (Construction Phase)
Lendlease Engineering and Brisbane City Council — Kingsford Smith Drive upgrade: a new entry statement to Brisbane.
Highly Commended: The Department of Transport (Regional Roads Victoria) — The Great Ocean Road: caring for a community icon.
Infrastructure (Planning and Design Phase)
Transport for NSW — Involving community in the design of the Princes Highway upgrade in the face of bushfire and COVID-19 crises.
Highly Commended: City of South Perth — City of South Perth: Connect South.
RACQ and democracyCo — Rethink CTP Online Citizens’ Jury.
Shire of Augusta Margaret River, Climate Action Augusta Margaret River and Elton Consulting — Climate Action Plan/Summit.
Highly Commended: Northern Beaches Council — Protect. Create. Live Northern Beaches Environment & Climate Change Strategy 2040.
Disaster and Emergency Services
Department of Transport (Regional Roads Victoria) — Golden Ball Bridge – North East Victoria.
Sydney Olympic Park Authority — Sydney Olympic Park Disability Inclusion Engagement – Development and Implementation of Disability Inclusion Action Plan 2019-22.
Judges’ Encouragement Award
MATES in Construction Queensland Australian Institute of Suicide Research and Prevention — The Apprentices Research Project.