Northlink WA, BG&E Design Engineers
Community and Stakeholder Engagement
NorthLink WA is the second largest road infrastructure project ever to be undertaken in Western Australia. A 42km route – 37km of which is a completely new highway through a greenfield site – the project is jointly funded by the West Australian State Government and the Australian Government. Construction of the project commenced in early 2016, with completion anticipated for late 2019. We were engaged by BG&E design engineers to work as part of a multi-disciplinary team that was developing the detailed design for NorthLink WA, in preparation for going out to tender. Our role was to manage community and stakeholder engagement, and to achieve consensus around design options so that the project could proceed to delivery unimpeded by unresolved community concerns.
During the course of the 12 month project, more than 1,000 community members and stakeholders were engaged in the process to inform the project design. This was achieved through formal reference groups and working parties, informal information sessions, briefings and presentations. These engagement activities were complemented by a suite of information materials including a project specific website, quarterly newsletters, shopping centre displays, newspaper advertisements and direct mail. In addition, a 1800 Information Line was set up and staffed 24/7, and all enquiries documented according to Main Roads WA protocols.
This was a complex project which had a multi-layered governance structure, from Main Roads WA to the WA State Government, the Federal Government, and Project Steering Group which included representation from three separate local government authorities.
The detailed design was completed on time, ready for Main Roads WA to issue the contract for tender in late 2015. All major stakeholder issues were either completely resolved, or working towards resolution under the guidance of the relevant Local Government Authority as appropriate. In addition to this positive outcome, no negative media coverage of the project eventuated, despite the project occurring at a time when Main Roads projects were being subjected to significant media scrutiny. Surveys of community members and stakeholders reported a high level of satisfaction with the engagement process, believing that the information with which they were provided was timely, appropriate and adequate for their needs.