Understanding community sentiment to inform decision making
As part of the Federal Government’s review of demand management at Sydney Airport, it released a Discussion Paper in November 2020 seeking feedback from interested stakeholders. WSP supported Sydney Airport’s submission to the Discussion Paper by running a deliberative engagement process with a representative community panel to discuss key community impacts of demand management.
Deliberative engagement to deep dive into the issues
To understand the community’s views on demand management reform, our Communications and Engagement team developed and delivered a deliberative engagement process to deeply involve a selected, representative panel of 17 people in discussions about demand management at Sydney Airport.
We worked closely with a specialist recruiter to assemble a community panel from across Greater Sydney, ensuring a diverse mix of ages, gender, airport usage and cultural and linguistic background. We developed a carefully considered question to put to the panel for deliberation, and designed and facilitated three interactive and engaging workshops, one online and two face-to-face, to stimulate discussion and draw ideas from the panel.
Generating ideas and developing recommendations
The panel heard presentations from Sydney Airport, the Sydney Airport Community Forum, the former Aircraft Noise Ombudsman and the NSW Farmers Association on a range of topics related to demand management including:
- Efficient use of airport infrastructure
- Passenger access
- Aircraft noise and noise management
- Regional access to Sydney Airport
- Opportunities for slot management reform
Using the information gathered, the panel worked in small groups to generate 50 potential improvement ideas to support demand management objectives, which the facilitators helped the group prioritise to identify the top ideas to develop into recommendations.
A facilitated discussion was undertaken to understand the meaning and objectives behind the top ideas, with input from Sydney Airport on practicality, to form recommendations.
The panel made four recommendations to Sydney Airport regarding demand management reform, which Sydney Airport used to inform its position and its contributions to the Federal Government’s demand management review.
A successful approach to seeking feedback
Following the engagement, a representative from Sydney Airport said:
“The panel process reinforced our belief that this deliberative method of community engagement is a highly effective way to accurately understand community sentiment concerning what are not only important, but often highly complex issues.”
“We believe the recommendations made by panel members show that cautious reform in this complex policy area can deliver improved efficiency for the aviation industry and, in so doing, boost economic activity and employment.
“This will be particularly important as our economy recovers from the COVID-19 global pandemic. Equally important is the fact we believe reform can be delivered in a way that protects the amenity for local communities in the vicinity of Sydney Airport. The panel’s deliberations on how to best achieve this balance was extremely helpful.”