Three key infrastructure challenges and opportunities unique to engaging communities in NSW

Alanna Beardsley

Alanna Beardsley

With New South Wales’ growing number of infrastructure projects, let’s look at some key areas stakeholder engagement experts can support the state as it puts the community first with investments in health, a focus on customer service, and expanded infrastructure efforts.

NSW is spending more on health than any other sector

NSW will spend $10.8 billion alone on health infrastructure over the next four years. With more than 80 projects already underway across the state – the most of any state in Australia - NSW communities are set to benefit from the huge investment in new and upgraded health facilities.

The pandemic has put the spotlight on our health system and stakeholders are more eager than ever to engage, particularly in regional and rural communities.

Building hospitals is complex, but it also means there are plenty of opportunities to dive deeper with stakeholders and harness the consumer experience.

Customer service is a key focus for NSW

Since the establishment of the Department of Customer Service in 2019, NSW has been clear about its aim to put the customer first. From digitising identification to consolidating government websites and providing digital platforms for regulatory processes, the focus is on making it easier for citizens to connect and engage more effectively with the government.

In the engagement space, putting the customer first is about designing our approach so that stakeholders don’t need to work hard to get information or have their say.

Whether it’s video consultation sessions, online engagement portals, use of virtual reality or other digital innovations, combining these with traditional and face-to-face methods helps allow participation from everyone who wants a seat at the table.

Western Sydney region set for huge growth

The future of Western Sydney as a major city hub presents a huge opportunity for communities to be involved in shaping their region.  All three levels of government are investing over $20 billion in projects under the Western Sydney City Deal and major infrastructure projects including the Western Sydney International Airport, Sydney Metro line and M12 motorway.

With multiple projects being delivered concurrently there will no doubt be overlapping engagement touch points for stakeholders. This can potentially lead to confusion about ‘who’s who’, messages getting lost in the noise and consultation fatigue.

It will therefore be important for agencies and projects to collaborate, interlink their engagement activities and share insights to lead to meaningful engagement.

With so many projects shaping NSW’s future, it’s an important time for projects to not just engage with stakeholders, but to also work together and build legacies that bring long-term benefits to communities.

Three key infrastructure challenges and opportunities unique to engaging communities in NSW
Alanna Beardsley
September 29, 2021
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