Fraser Coast Regional Council regularly use their online engagement platform to inform, consult and collaborate with their community.
Hailey Rickard from Fraser Coast Regional Council said “Online engagement has completely transformed our engagement process here on the Fraser Coast. By using an online platform, we have been able to create a community space for the life of our projects – engaging with the community along the whole journey. From our Recycled Water Strategy to our Planning Scheme to Small Community planning – Engagement Hub has been useful in a vast array of projects.
As a local government, you are always concerned you aren’t reaching the whole community – not everyone wants or has the time to attend a workshop or a drop-in session. Online engagement provides the opportunity to contribute in your own time – you can be on the couch having a ‘cuppa’ – and providing your feedback at the same time.
At Fraser Coast, we were able to easily adapt during COVID-19 last year as we already had an online engagement platform. We were able to create online portals (private project pages) for our community groups as space where they could learn and work together. It also allowed us to be innovative in how we present information or engage with the community – including videos, interactive images and online mapping tools.
The data – so much data! The reporting and data functions have enabled us to be able to provide more in-depth analysis. That’s made it so much easier to evaluate a project – including being able to evaluate in real-time. For example, we’ve been able to provide fortnightly project updates during a project – tagging/ theming as you go or presenting decision-makers with a comprehensive evaluation at the end of the project.
On the Fraser Coast, we strive to ‘build better communities. Online engagement helps build our social license and community trust in what we are doing. It creates a space that the community know they can visit and see what you are doing, while also building your reach for community involvement and feedback.”