2004 – Managing Community, Government and Stakeholders – Ross River Dam Upgrades

Ken Diehm

Ross River Dam is dam of extreme hazard located immediately upstream of a population in excess of 100,000. A comprehensive review undertaken by a team of international experts (ref 1) identified a number of unacceptable risks that required immediate attention.

The State Government designed and oversaw the construction of the dam that was completed in 1976. NQ Water is of the belief that the problems identified by the team of international experts were a result of poor design by the State and inadequate attention by them during the construction process.

NQ Water developed a comprehensive communications plan (ref 2) with the objective of keeping the community adequately informed, gaining positive media exposure, obtaining the support and confidence of the business community and key stakeholders, and securing State Government funding towards the upgrades.

The climate at the time was characterised by adverse media history in relation to the dam, reluctance by the State Government to take responsibility, and poor brand awareness of NQ Water and its activities.
This paper focuses on the process undertaken by NQ Water in engaging the community, various levels of Government, key stakeholders, and business community, which resulted in securing the necessary funding for the dam upgrades. It will discuss the key elements and components of the communications plan, their objectives, the results achieved, and lessons learnt.

Buy this resource