Introduction

The Commission is an independent statutory planning authority, which brings community, industry and government together to identify strategies for improving the liveability, productivity and sustainability of Greater Sydney now and in the future.

The Commission aims to make Greater Sydney a metropolis of three liveable, productive and sustainable cities by coordinating and aligning the planning that will shape the future.

The Greater Sydney Commission was established in early 2016 through the Greater Sydney Commission Act 2015 (GSC Act).

The GSC Act (section 9) lists the principal objectives of the Commission including a specific reference to engagement:

(g) to provide increased opportunity for the public involvement and participation in environmental planning and assessment in the Greater Sydney Regions.

Since its inception, community engagement has been a vital part of the Commission’s work. This included using community input to shape the Greater Sydney Region Plan and five District Plans, developing the key performance indicators to measure progress on implementation of these plans, and considering solutions to key urban challenges such as sharing spaces, enhancing active transport and planning for great places.

In 2018, following the Commission’s move to the Premier and Cabinet Cluster, the Premier gave the organisation a new set of priorities which included:

  • Leading robust conversations with community and stakeholders about land use and infrastructure through innovative engagement activities; and
  • Providing the government with independent advice about the land use and infrastructure issues that are a priority for the community and stakeholders.

The Commission is committed to continuing this work through a collaborative approach, listening to the community, talking to experts, and gaining insights from local councils and other state government agencies.

The community provides the Commission with access to important and valuable knowledge, ideas and expertise. By listening to the community, we are collectively shaping the future of the city to deliver quality outcomes now and for future generations.

This Community Participation Plan builds on our strong foundations, ensuring the community continues to play an important role in planning for the future of Greater Sydney.

What is a Community Participation Plan?

In July 2017, the Commission released an Engagement Strategy (PDF 2.8MB) to guide the way we have conversations with the community and other stakeholders.

Under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) division 2.6 and Schedule 1, the Commission is now required to develop a Community Participation Plan.

The Community Participation Plan replaces the Commission’s Engagement Strategy and continue to guide our strong consultative approach. It outlines the tools we will use, values we will embrace and opportunities we will provide for the community to be involved in the work of the Commission.

After exhibition and consultation the Community Participation Plan has been published on both the Commission’s website and the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment’s Planning Portal.

How did we develop our Community Participation Plan?

This Community Participation Plan was developed in close consultation with members of the community.

Through a series of co-design workshops we brought together more than 100 people from across Greater Sydney’s three cities to tell us how they would like to participate in the work of the Commission.

Ideas generated from these workshops have been used to shape the Community Participation Plan.

During these workshops participants were asked:

  • Who makes up Greater Sydney?
  • Who is currently part of the conversation when strategic plans are prepared and made?
  • Who is not part of the conversation when strategic plans are prepared and made?
  • What are the barriers to people participating in strategic planning?
  • What are some ideas for how we can include more people in strategic planning?

In co-designing the Community Participation Plan with the Commission, the community told us they value:

  • Being asked their opinions, not told what to think;
  • Being engaged before decisions are made;
  • Having an environment where they feel safe to voice their opinions; and
  • Engagement that is flexible, accessible and interactive.

The community also identified barriers hindering people from participating in engagement activities. We have outlined these barriers below, as well as how we will seek to remove them to ensure good access to our engagement opportunities.

The Commission also asked Professor Jim McNamara, Distinguished Professor of Public Communication at the University of Technology Sydney, to undertake a review of our previous engagement activities. This review noted the Commission’s excellent engagement program to date across various projects and suggested that to further improve the organisation could specifically reference openness, timeliness and partnering in our engagement values.

Barriers to engagement

Barrier

How we will respond

People often lack the time to participate in engagement activities

Where possible we will provide a range of engagement options for people with differing time availability.

Lack of awareness of opportunities to engage with the Commission

We will continue to use a wide range of communication tools to ensure people are aware of opportunities to comment on and have access to information about the Commission and its ongoing projects. These may include:

  • Website;
  • Electronic newsletters;
  • Social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Reddit);
  • Newspaper, tv and radio news articles; and 
  • Advertising including metropolitan, local and ethnic newspapers as well as social media.

Complexity of subject matter

We will help the community understand complex information by using direct and clear language that is free from jargon. Where relevant we will develop one-page, Plain English summaries of the issues about which we are engaging.

Literacy, language and physical ability

We will tailor our engagement to people’s needs by providing a range of engagement opportunities including channels that are widely used, opportunities for face-to-face engagement and going to people in their communities.  This will help us ensure that a diversity of community members including young people, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People and people with a disability have the opportunity to engage with the Commission. We will always provide support to enable a wide range of people to be involved with our engagement activities. This may include ensuring our venues are accessible and translation services are provided, together with workshops and materials in other languages.

Not enough information about what happens after the engagement or how the info will be used.

We will be upfront about how the information will be used as well as how community feedback helped shape our work. We will report back to the community about how we have taken their feedback into consideration.

 

Go back to The Community Participation Plan