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Turning social licence into a superpower.

27 June, 2023

Infrastructure projects and programs are the lifeblood of our nation's growth and development. But if recent years have shown anything, it’s that social licence is demanding attention and has prominence in the infrastructure landscape.

Social licence? Picture it as the stamp of approval from the local community and project stakeholders, granting projects the golden ticket to success. And quite frankly, it is an essential factor for the successful implementation of infrastructure projects and we’ll tell you why.

A failed rescue for Social Licence.

Let’s take a step back and look at a major project in Sydney that promised to tame traffic congestion and revolutionise connectivity. However, this audacious endeavour stumbled over a formidable hurdle – the absence of social licence. The local communities, environmental groups, and even urban planners raised their voices in protest, concerned about potential displacement, obliteration of green spaces, and increased pollution levels. Lacklustre community engagement and a veil of secrecy only added fuel to the fire, resulting in a symphony of protests and legal skirmishes.

Hold-ups and cost overruns became the battle cries of the project, as the wheels of progress ground to a halt amidst legal disputes and public discontent. The project's reputation was left in tatters, as it struggled to regain trust and rally support from stakeholders.

So, what did they learn? Social licence is no mere accessory but a powerful force that can make or break the destiny of a project.

The red capes of Social Licence.

When social licence is considered and implemented into strategies and tactics, the benefits are an extravaganza for our clients and their organisations. Think:

  • Public acceptance: Infrastructure projects adorned with social licence bask in the warm glow of public acceptance, ensuring smoother implementation and a united front.
  • Conflict dissolver: Engaging and consulting with local communities and stakeholders in the early stages diffuses tensions, resolves conflicts, and paves the way for fast-tracked approvals and progress.
  • Long-term Sustainability: Infrastructure projects built with social licence in mind are more likely to achieve long-term sustainability, as they consider the economic, social, and environmental impacts on the community.
  • Reputation enhancement: Projects that successfully obtain social licence earn a positive reputation, attracting potential investors and stakeholders for future endeavours.

Mastering the art of Social Licence.

While social licence seems to be the answer to many of the challenges the infrastructure industry face, many still find it hard to achieve or flat-out ignore its significance. Well, hold onto your hard hats as we outline its key success factors. 

  • Meaningful Community Engagement: Engage with the local community and stakeholders early in the planning process to understand their concerns, address their needs and incorporate their input into the project design and implementation.
  • Transparency and Information Sharing: Shedding light on project details is crucial. Provide clear and accurate information about the project's purpose, benefits and potential impacts to build trust and foster open dialogue.
  • Environmental and Social Responsibility: Be the hero the community deserves! Demonstrate a commitment to environmental sustainability, cultural heritage preservation and social benefits to gain public trust.
  • Benefits Sharing: Develop mechanisms to ensure that the benefits of the project are shared equitably with the community, fostering a sense of ownership and support.

As social licence has emerged as a critical factor in the success of infrastructure projects and programs, it is imperative for planners and decision-makers to recognise its importance. 

If you’re ready to unlock potential, understand your position in the market, streamline approvals and funding and get on the ground resourcing to achieve social licence, we’re here to support you. 

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