This month, we asked the industry decision-makers, ‘How important is ongoing communication with the community to the roads and infrastructure industry?’
Communication is fundamental to every aspect of life. Effective strategic and outcome focused communication facilitates knowledge sharing, informed planning and decision making, while also stimulating innovation and sustainable change. Regular, open and ongoing communication underpins strong relationships, it forms and instils community to achieve our common goals. It is critical that all stakeholders are engaged, including local communities to gain local knowledge and deliver local outcomes. The Australian Flexible Pavement Association is proud to bring industry and community together, to open lines of communication to share information, discuss issues and develop and promote best standards and practices across safety, sustainability, technology, diversity, knowledge and training.
For infrastructure projects to be successful, a robust communication and community consultation framework is essential to accompany any development. Public opposition to new infrastructure is primarily due to potential noise, stench and other pollution risks and concerns about impacts on property values. If there is no satisfactory communication, all infrastructure projects risk having public opposition. Therefore, government has a key role to play in ensuring communities are adequately consulted on new infrastructure projects, which may come in the form of a tailored program to educate them about the value and benefits of that particular infrastructure project.
Ongoing communication with the community is very important when it comes to infrastructure projects. Not only are these projects paid for with taxpayer dollars, but they can also be disruptive to community members. Sharing project updates with the public used to be difficult, but advances in project reporting and visualization technology are making it much easier. Trimble SiteVision, for example, is a user-friendly augmented reality system that makes it easy – and even fun – to visualize and explore construction projects in 3D. This can help community members and others outside of the construction industry better understand a project’s design and timeline.
Communication is more important than ever given the record spend on major infrastructure and the significant disruption that is occurring across our Country. Whilst the infrastructure industry delivers solutions that improve and enrich communities, the construction process can be disruptive. Active and meaningful engagement brings community on the journey with us, it affords us the social license to operate and builds trust. By empowering our Project teams to genuinely engage, to deliver out of the box solutions and by lifting the lid on what goes on behind the barriers, we bring the communities in which we work along for the ride – they become enablers and can be the projects biggest advocates.
This article was originally published in the October edition of our magazine. To read the magazine, click here.
If you or someone at your organisation is an industry leader and would like to be a part of this monthly column in 2022, please get in touch with Editor, Tom O’Keane: email@example.com