Articulous has been fortunate to be working on a number of projects in 2017 in the Rockhampton and Yeppoon areas and our best wishes go out to residents affected by flooding as a result of Cyclone Debbie.

The sting in the tail from the tropical cyclone was well and truly felt in Rockhampton as the banks of the Fitzroy River swelled. The residents of Yeppoon, many of whom work in Rockhampton, knew this feeling all too well, having suffered through the impact of Tropical Cyclone Yasi in 2011. One thing in common with both regions is the key role that local council plays in working with the SES and volunteers to inform and assist the community in disaster preparedness. A role that can only be successful when there is a high level of trust between all parties.

Transparency is the key for building trust between communities and organisations and local government is at the heart of it. If you need your community to act quickly to save lives they need to have faith in you. Livingstone Shire Council in Yeppoon and Rockhampton Regional Council have recognised the importance of this and both organisations have invested heavily in engagement to make their decision-making processes transparent. Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Design an engagement framework that articulates your approach to engagement and make it public. Tell your community how you will engage and hold yourself to account, publicly.
  • Engage on things that matter. Rockhampton Council recently undertook extensive engagement on their planning scheme for residents to have a say on the future of Rockhampton as a city.
  • Evaluate your engagement to better improve future performance. Don’t be afraid of continuous improvement, engagement is not always about getting it right in the moment but learning about your community’s needs for the long-term.

Nobody wants to see our towns at the mercy of mother nature, but with local governments and communities working together we can best mitigate our risks. Good community engagement is the best way to make that ideal a reality.

(Image: Kerri-Anne Mesner)