The Premier of South Australia proposed that the engagement be the most extensive in the state’s history. However, this was in response to a growing recognition by government that communities across the state were interested in determining the future of the state in collaboration with government.
The Premier appointed Community Engagement Board’s to give independent advice to government and act as a conduit between the community and government in relation to the Plan. This independence allows full and frank advice to be given to the government about the views of the community and enables participants to feel free to raise all of their thoughts in an open and honest way. To further assist this openness independent facilitators were engaged to support the Board.
A small secretariat within the Department of Premier and Cabinet designed and implemented the engagement strategy (face to face and online) and reported to the Board on a monthly basis.
With the assistance of Hieu Van Le, Community Engagement Board member and
chair of the South Australian Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs Commission, the team
established consultation meetings with the Greek, Chinese, Italian, and culturally
and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities. The team hosted separate consultations
for our largest ethnic communities, and more general consultation for the wider
Government departments gave the team access to their constituencies, for example the team worked with the Department of Education and Children’s Services to consult with children under the age of 12. This involved about 350 children from preschools, child care centres and children’s centres across the state. Of these, 26 per cent were Aboriginal and 20 per cent were from rural, remote or isolated communities.
In addition, the team involved South Australia’s Strategic Plan Alliance 70 members and peak organisations in every step of the process and sought their assistance in analysing the information we had gained through the engagement process. Alliance members are peak bodies, advocacy groups, charities and social and environmental groups including the major not for profits in South Australia and other groups with a special interest including business people and lobbyists and academics.
Most importantly, ordinary South Australians from a wide range of communities and backgrounds are the key stakeholders in the Plan. From Naracoorte in the south of the state to Port Pirie in the north, from Wudinna to West Beach - over six months, 9,200 people from across the state shared their ideas and visions for a prosperous and sustainable future. Approximately 40% of people who got involved were from the metropolitan area, 19% from the regions and 41% engaged with us online or through our survey.
In more than 60 community meetings they expressed their hopes and fears, asked hard questions about South Australia’s future and debated, sometimes passionately, how we can balance competing priorities. Everywhere there were local mayors, councilors, local Members of Parliament sharing their aspirations along with builders, shopkeepers, farmers, business people, community workers, mums, dads, grandparents and students.