Managing Public Submissions on Victoria Planning Priorities
Infrastructure Victoria is an independent statutory authority that provides expert advice and guides decision-making on Victoria’s infrastructure needs and priorities. The process for this involved managing public submissions effectively and efficiently.
Infrastructure Victoria plays an important role in identifying and prioritising Victoria’s long-term infrastructure needs. Having this work done by an independent agency provides the community with reassurance that infrastructure projects are chosen on merit.
Infrastructure Victoria’s key role is the development of the first ever 30-year infrastructure strategy for Victoria. It is state-wide, evidence-based and covers all types of infrastructure.
The strategy sets out a pipeline of initiatives – 137 recommendations – to be delivered over the next three decades to help create the best possible future for all Victorians. Some of these initiatives are new build solutions – state shaping projects that could transform how Victorians live and move. Many other initiatives involve no construction, but could provide greater impact on the future of Victoria.
Public Consultation Process
The strategy is the result of a year-long public consultation with people from all over Victoria. Infrastructure Victoria has consulted broadly at three development stages about how to create a future where everyone has good access to jobs, education and services, where industries and businesses thrive and where the environment is valued by managing public submissions.
Consultation first began in February 2016 on the draft objectives and needs through Laying the Foundations and attracted 126 public submissions.
The second round of consultation was undertaken in May 2016 to seek feedback on the options in All Things Considered. The consultation included a range of engagement activities:
- online platform, public submissions, citizen juries
- targeted interviews and meetings with local government networks across regional and metropolitan Melbourne
- private sector roundtables
- meetings with community and commercial leaders in regional Victoria
- targeted interviews with leaders in social and environmental organisations
- workshops with university students and community research on selected options
264 formal submissions were received and almost 550 comments and interactions on yoursay.infrastructurevictoria.com.au. The two citizen juries met for six full-day sessions from April to July to build its understanding of the subject. Both juries provided reports with recommendations, to which Infrastructure Victoria responded alongside the draft strategy.
The draft strategy was released in October 2016 followed by a four-week public consultation period. This was the third and final round of consultation to inform the development of the 30-year strategy. A range of targeted stakeholder engagement activities were also undertaken for this phase. In addition, Infrastructure Victoria completed community research on selected options recommended in the draft strategy that had not previously been consulted on or that had changed significantly since the last round of consultation for managing public submissions.
Consultation on other Initiatives
Other initiatives that Infrastructure Victoria has been working on include:
- Preparing advice for the Victorian government on the future ports capacity. The advice covers the future need, timing and location a second container port for Victoria.
- Examining the options, challenges and opportunities for transport network pricing in Victoria
Infrastructure Victoria has undertaken public consultation throughout the development of these key initiatives to ensure stakeholders and the community had a chance to put forward their views. Feedback received has helped them to test or confirm their work, understand matters of importance for stakeholders and local communities, and shape program of technical studies.
Darzin was implemented in late 2015 when Infrastructure Victoria was established as a stakeholder engagement management system for the 30-year strategy and other initiatives. All consultation records and communications with stakeholders have been captured in Darzin for record-keeping, analysis and reporting.
Analysing and Reporting on Public Submissions
All public submissions were analysed using the classification tree to understand top issues for stakeholders, trends in feedback across key stakeholder groups. These analyses were incorporated with feedback from other sources to provide a complete picture of stakeholder views on the development priorities. The qualitative analysis was important in informing Infrastructure Victoria on decisions and strategies that would help guide the state infrastructure development into the future.