THE ROLE OF COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT IN
LAND ACCESS – INTRO
§  It common place in the media to see community
protests / resis...
THE ROLE OF COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT IN
LAND ACCESS – CURRENT ISSUES
§  Further issues arise and are complicated by project
a...
WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG?
CAN WE AVOID IT?
§  Is it possible? Can we blame Landowner Fatigue?
§  We all want fast track project delivery
§  We ar...
CAN WE DO A BETTER JOB?
§  We have established Community Stewardship is a new
and profound trend sweeping the land.
§  C...
HOW CAN WE DO A BETTER JOB?
§  Project proponents often fail to recognise the intricate
social and cultural elements and ...
SOCIAL ECOLOGY – BALANCE OF SOCIAL,
ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS
SOCIAL ECOLOGY – UNDERSTANDING &
ENGAGING THE PEOPLE
§  Project proponents need to understand the traditions,
practices, ...
THE 3 STAGES OF ISSUE MANAGEMENT
§  Emerging Issues – Typically born through uncertainty, fear
of the unknown, miscommuni...
ENOUGH OF THE THEORY – PRACTICAL SKILLS
§  Get out of the office, be immersed in community.
§  You go to community / com...
ENOUGH OF THE THEORY – PRACTICAL SKILLS
§  Don’t employ project promoters, engage professional
land access / acquisition ...
CASE STUDY – ACID RAIN
In August last year residents of Tara and Kogan on Queensland’s
western Darling Downs noticed small...
CASE STUDY – ACID RAIN
§  The consequence of a Disruptive Issue?
§  How could of this be avoided? What went wrong?
§  H...
CONCLUSION
§  Project teams need to evolve and adapt to the new
community landscape and environment, learn new
skills and...
WHERE TO FROM HERE?
§  As the world goes more online project proponents need to adapt
their approach to community engagem...
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT STRATEGIES
QUESTION TIME??
SCG –MANAGEMENT TEAM CONTACT INFO
John Sturgeon, Principal
+61 (0) 438 321 177 - john.sturgeon@scgroup.net...
John Sturgeon - Sturgeon Consulting Group - The Role of Community Engagement in Land Access
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John Sturgeon - Sturgeon Consulting Group - The Role of Community Engagement in Land Access

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John Sturgeon delivered the presentation at the 2014 Land Access Forum.

The 5th annual Land Access Forum brought together Government departments, coal, CSG, UCG mining and exploration companies, mining and petroleum industry associations, landholders, law firms and consultants to discuss the new and emerging regulatory reforms, practicalities, challenges, and future directions of land access.

For more information about the event, please visit: http://bit.ly/landaccess14
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John Sturgeon - Sturgeon Consulting Group - The Role of Community Engagement in Land Access

  1. 1. THE ROLE OF COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT IN LAND ACCESS – INTRO §  It common place in the media to see community protests / resistance to proposed projects. §  There seems to be a growing culture of opposition to the development of these projects. §  Communities everywhere are standing up and saying…NO!!! §  This epidemic of Community Stewardship opposition has major consequences for project proponents, owners, Government and on individual project viability and bottom line.
  2. 2. THE ROLE OF COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT IN LAND ACCESS – CURRENT ISSUES §  Further issues arise and are complicated by project approval processes requiring Government to make contentious and controversial decisions. §  Government is forced to strike a balance between the interests of the community (micro) and the interests of project proponents and the wider community. §  Ignorance of Community issues is not bliss!!! §  Often politicians are last to recognise this sentiment… too late at the polls!!!!
  3. 3. WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG?
  4. 4. CAN WE AVOID IT? §  Is it possible? Can we blame Landowner Fatigue? §  We all want fast track project delivery §  We are all focused on jumping the hurdles §  EIS Approval, Finance, Design, Procurement etc. §  There is however a big pay off for project proponents who are tuned into the community and avoid project sabotage, disruption, delay and possible abandonment. §  Can we do a better job of fostering acceptance of our projects? I hope so!!!
  5. 5. CAN WE DO A BETTER JOB? §  We have established Community Stewardship is a new and profound trend sweeping the land. §  Communities are banding together in an attempt to take control and protect their homes, livelihoods, cultures and way of life from project threats. §  Sound reasonable? What would you do? §  Natural human reaction to real or perceived threats. §  When projects are introduced without sufficient engagement / consultation (two way) strong resistance occurs.
  6. 6. HOW CAN WE DO A BETTER JOB? §  Project proponents often fail to recognise the intricate social and cultural elements and linkages of the community. §  Need to recognise the farm is a home, a business, a livelihood, a heritage and a legacy. §  What are the real roots of the issues? It is often not just a resistance on change / progress. §  How is this done? Dig deeper, emersion in the community, Participate rather than Dictate!! §  Spend time, go slow now to go faster later.
  7. 7. SOCIAL ECOLOGY – BALANCE OF SOCIAL, ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS
  8. 8. SOCIAL ECOLOGY – UNDERSTANDING & ENGAGING THE PEOPLE §  Project proponents need to understand the traditions, practices, lifestyles, values and culture of a local community in order to identify any possible opportunities / benefits of a project to the community. §  Communities take time to understand and absorb information and time to reason and contemplate. §  Communities want the opportunity to genuinely participate not just be dictated to. §  This social study will identify current sentiment and any emerging issues, existing or disruptive issues.
  9. 9. THE 3 STAGES OF ISSUE MANAGEMENT §  Emerging Issues – Typically born through uncertainty, fear of the unknown, miscommunication, rumor and innuendo. Mitigated through direct intervention, fact provision and support. Don’t move on until resolution. §  Existing Issues –Often an Emerging Issue left to fester, unresolved, gains momentum, perceived threat now more certain, rising speculation an loss of credibility and trust / respect. §  Disruptive Issues – Loss of control, Options to resolve limited, negotiation may work (deep pocket solutions required) Can be too far gone, often only option courts to decide!
  10. 10. ENOUGH OF THE THEORY – PRACTICAL SKILLS §  Get out of the office, be immersed in community. §  You go to community / community wont go to you. §  Face to Face / One on One – Consistent message (not scripted) / Consistent faces, listen more than you talk. §  Records Record Records – be subtle / informal. §  Don’t underestimate power of social media. §  Drop the barriers – no suit and tie!!! §  Build rapport, earn respect and trust. §  Limit Fatigue - Coordinate engagements, use technology single point of contact. Avoid repetitive unnecessary interfaces!!
  11. 11. ENOUGH OF THE THEORY – PRACTICAL SKILLS §  Don’t employ project promoters, engage professional land access / acquisition expertise. §  Deal with issues early , don’t dance around them! §  Don’t make promises that cant be kept. §  Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know, I will get back to you” – make sure you do! §  Promote fairness, equity in processes and conduct. §  Not all consultations / engagements will be happy joyous affairs. Its not always good news being delivered. Be professional, but be human!
  12. 12. CASE STUDY – ACID RAIN In August last year residents of Tara and Kogan on Queensland’s western Darling Downs noticed small particles of black muck falling on their properties. Already convinced a nearby Ironbark coal seam gas project was making them ill, some residents knew instinctively who to blame. A Lock the Gate Alliance activist launched a petition on Change.org ­ urging Origin to shut Ironbark until the  “toxic black rain can be eliminated” or pay to move residents out of the area. In fact, the black rain was naturally occurring waste from jumping plant lice or “lerps” that gorge on eucalyptus sap, an Origin-funded study found. That hasn’t stopped 26,326 people signing the petition, which blames soil and water contamination, nausea, irritation and “lack of . . . energy” on “the mystery substance”. Article Source: Australian Financial Review 13 August 2014
  13. 13. CASE STUDY – ACID RAIN §  The consequence of a Disruptive Issue? §  How could of this be avoided? What went wrong? §  How is it best managed now? §  Is it too late? §  The Social Ecology Equilibrium of Social / Economic and Environmental factors seems way out of balance here. §  There are significant lessons to be learned here!
  14. 14. CONCLUSION §  Project teams need to evolve and adapt to the new community landscape and environment, learn new skills and expand on old strategies. §  Community dynamics need to be considered in preapproval planning phases of projects. §  Proactive not reactive meaningful engagement to discover real latent issues – not project promotion. §  Develop relationships through collaboration, earn respect and trust, the community / landholders are your long term partner and neighbour.
  15. 15. WHERE TO FROM HERE? §  As the world goes more online project proponents need to adapt their approach to community engagement to this. §  Projects already, but more so in the future, will have Facebook, twitter, instagram profiles in order to reach/inform the community directly and in a non-confrontational/non-intrusive manner. §  Currently emails and letter drops are still the main game? §  Social media approach can replace the traditional bombardment of the Community (Community & Landowner Fatigue). §  Some proponents are fearful of moving forward into social media for fear of getting burned. But as the case study shows the opposition is already there exploiting that space.
  16. 16. COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT STRATEGIES
  17. 17. QUESTION TIME?? SCG –MANAGEMENT TEAM CONTACT INFO John Sturgeon, Principal +61 (0) 438 321 177 - john.sturgeon@scgroup.net.au Patrick Leahy, Director +61 (0) 422 312 761 - patrick.leahy@scgroup.net.au Murray Sharpe, Director +61 (0) 448 198 850 - murray.sharpe@scgroup.net.au `

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