When SunWater moved to install a new warning system for communities downstream of its dams across Queensland, the organisation engaged BBS to develop the community relations and communication strategy.
The project involved engaging with at least six regional communities and was undertaken in the context of some challenging prior relationships with local governments. This meant that a key focus of the program was to develop strong working relationships with key stakeholders so that positive and proactive communication could be undertaken with local residents.
The new warning system was being installed at a time when anxiety was high due to recent floods and flooding issues (not necessarily related to SunWater) and when community was suspicious about why a new warning system was needed if the message was that there was no increased risk of flooding.
BBS’ role involved establishing and supporting positive communication with local government and community leaders, advising SunWater executives on trigger issues and potential community anxieties. We also developed communication systems to engage directly impacted residents in face-to-face conversations and also in ensuring the broader communities were aware of SunWater’s commitment to safety and community engagement. Activities included government briefings (and associated materials); media relations; community meeting coordination; development of promotional material (presentation, flyers, posters); social media campaigns.
Our work enabled the construction teams to meet their deadlines in an environment of support and positivity around the new technology.