"In the Spotlight" – Broken Hill
When water flows freely from your taps it is easy to forget the power water has to change daily lives and the well-being of communities. For a remote community such as Broken Hill, the water supply is the lifeblood of the town. Water restrictions impact local sports clubs, home gardens and lawns and business confidence.
The 270km pipeline is a long-term solution for the Broken Hill community and will provide them with a secure water supply. WaterNSW is delivering this much-needed project and has involved KJA since the early planning stages through to delivery to work closely with the community to build relationships and keep them well engaged.
Located in remote Far West NSW, the project has brought unique challenges and opportunities. The Wiljakali and Barkandji Aboriginal people have lived in the Broken Hill region for more than 40,000 years and nearby is the World Heritage listed Mungo National Park.
A team of archaeologists were the first boots on the ground and KJA has been consulting with the Aboriginal community to coordinate representatives to contribute to the cultural heritage survey process. This work has given interesting insights into the culture and history of the region. While walking the pipeline route on cultural heritage surveys our Project Manager Troy Gavin has sampled and learned to identify some local bush tucker, including bush tomato, saltbush, quandongs, wild banana, river mint and Broken Hill Peas.
Our project team members are frequently on ground at the construction site and have had to learn how to work differently when working out in the field in such remote and environmentally sensitive locations. Having a tailored and well-organised engagement strategy means that even issues such as a lack of phone and IT coverage won’t disrupt the project.
Given the complexity of water issues in the Far West and community concerns, tailored communications strategies have been required at every stage to guide engagement and consultation activities. The project is supported by tailored key messages, issues analysis, customised stakeholder engagement tools and media management plans.
“The KJA team, led by Kate Thomson, has provided a consistent presence and point of contact for the community over the last 12 months for the W2BH project. Communication tools have been tailored to engage with different stakeholder groups and provided for identification of great engagement opportunities and track any emerging concerns to allow for effective management and interactions with the community. The team has been flexible and responsive to challenges encountered and the changing needs of the project. I have really enjoyed working with the KJA team and the communication experience they have provided to the project.”
Jacqui Hyne, Strategic Communications Manager, WaterNSW
Strategic upfront stakeholder engagement with landholders, Council and Traditional Owners has been imperative for building trust and rapport. Adapting the communication tools to make information accessible has been very important to maintain the flow of information in this remote area.
By delivering on promises and ensuring a consistent approach, aligned with project milestones, we have established good relationships with project stakeholders, raised project awareness and facilitated a strong community and delivery interface.