Community consultation

Embracing the power of 'co'

29 August 2018

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Professor Helen Sullivan is the Director of Crawford School of Public Policy.

Crawford School of Public Policy is embracing the power of ‘co’ as it partners with the infrastructure sector to co-design and research the relationship between infrastructure projects and communities.

The ground-breaking Next Generation Engagement Program, believed to be the largest of its kind in the world, aims to improve the relationship between communities and infrastructure projects, to identify and promote best practice and to support positive community outcomes from major infrastructure delivery. It is researching five priority themes for the infrastructure sector, as defined by industry and government during 2017.

Next Gen has made its home at Crawford School under the leadership of Associate Professor, Dr Sara Bice, and is already kicking goals – being named as a finalist in the prestigious IAP2 Australasian Core Values Awards and today welcoming global toll road developer and operator, Transurban as a major partner in its work.

Dr Bice said the commitment is an extremely positive development for this world-leading research program.

“We’re thrilled to bring such an experienced infrastructure proponent into this work and to have Transurban’s global perspective. Transurban’s expertise will help us to better understand community engagement and ways to mitigate social risks. These are critical factors for infrastructure projects’ success.”

Transurban Group Executive, Corporate Affairs Henry Byrne, said the company is pleased to share its insights with the Next Gen Project.

“Soaring population growth and record investment into infrastructure presents legitimate challenges and it’s incumbent on us to engage with communities as transparently as possible on issues that may affect them. By working with communities, we can drive better outcomes.”

Transurban joins Melbourne Water in working with the Next Generation Engagement Team on its Flagship Research Project – The International Infrastructure and Engagement Case Centre.

“The International Infrastructure and Engagement Case Centre will be the first of its kind and will provide us with the pool of data needed to answer many of industry’s most burning questions. We’re studying the value of engagement, the pricing of social risk and the most effective timings and approaches for engagement to build enduring social license,” Dr Bice said.

Head of Crawford School of Public Policy, Professor Helen Sullivan, said she was excited to welcome such a novel research program to ANU.

“In 2017, the Next Generation Engagement team, led by Dr Bice, worked hand in hand with industry to map out its most pressing knowledge gaps, challenges and opportunities in engagement. That work underpins a research agenda with the potential to transform the relationship between proponents and communities. We are very pleased to be support such exciting work,” Professor Sullivan said.

Stay in touch with the latest from Next Gen at

What is the Next Gen Engagement Program? To find out more, check out this video.

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Updated:  29 October 2020/Responsible Officer:  Crawford Engagement/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team