We execute programs that focus on minimising these disruptions to our communities, and employ qualified and experienced stakeholder and community relations professionals, who act as the conduit between the communities and the project teams.
Our Community Engagement Managers actively engage local community groups and stakeholders (including local residents, property and business owners, and transport users) to provide timely and adequate notification of planned onsite activities, key dates for the commencement and conclusion of onsite activities, associated impacts on stakeholders and the community, and our strategy for minimising those impacts.
This includes coordinating and facilitating meetings and forums, taking part in education presentations and community engagement events, and distributing information and materials that ensure our communities are fully informed about the impact of our activities, and our projects’ objectives, benefits and expected outcomes.
They also proactively look for opportunities to improve local communities and leave a positive legacy.
Our people are the thought leaders of their industries, so one of the most valuable commodities we can give our communities is our knowledge and experience.
An effective way that our people are engaging with our communities is by donating their time, skillsets and knowledge.
The Downer Seymour Whyte Joint Venture (DSWJV) is delivering major civil and road works for the Berry to Bomaderry Princes Highway Upgrade in the Shoalhaven Shire in southern New South Wales.
The team has lent significant knowledge and expertise to a local community group that is attempting to transform a decommissioned sports field into a new 24/7 off-leash dog park in Bomaderry.
“Without the support of Downer Seymour Whyte, this dog park project would not have been possible. They’ve been a true project management partner helping us navigate the complexity of the park infrastructure planning while also upskilling our team,” said Kylie Knight, Founder and President of Bomaderry Community Inc.
In Victoria, Downer’s team delivering the Warrnambool Line Upgrade has partnered with Deakin University to offer mentoring to women completing STEM courses.
In FY21, our qualified engineers have filled guest lecturer spots at the university, taken part in ‘Ladies in Engineering’ events to connect students with professionals in the fields they are studying, and participated in work placement and internship webinars to engage with people wanting to explore engineering careers.
In addition, the team also ran a STEM competition for local female high school students.
Also in Victoria, our team working on the O’Herns Road Upgrade project visited Year Nine students from the local Epping Secondary College to teach them how to build a freeway interchange. Engineers from Downer’s VEC business, as well as Major Road Projects Victoria, provided an interactive learning experience that demonstrated how to construct a diamond interchange, like the one being built as part of the upgrade.
Using videography, time-lapse vision and artist impressions, the engineers explained the method being used to construct the new interchange to not only highlight the benefits the project will deliver to the community, but also raise the students’ awareness around engineering and construction careers on large-scale infrastructure projects.
These programs not only engage the local communities on the importance of the projects we are delivering, they also leave lasting benefits and skills for the local people.