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Industry demonstrates the importance of community collaboration

The importance of industry collaborating with community via community consultation and engagement was highlighted throughout our most recent Leadership Great South Coast (LGSC) program day, ‘Taking an Industry Perspective’. The benefits and challenges of industry within small communities was also examined.

The small South West Victorian town of Portland is a vibrant town with a population of 10,000 people. LGSC’s program day enabled participants to take a closer look at Industry in the Portland township.

Portland houses both the Port of Portland and Portland Aluminium, which directly employ 700 people between them.  Portland is also the home of other industries including fishing, forestry, freight, transport, food and hospitality.

Two of our guest speakers, Shannon Curran from Port of Portland and Mark Riley from Portland Aluminium both demonstrated genuine care and concern for their employees. They highlighted the importance of developing trust through careful community consultation and engagement, including honest and clear communication, particularly for big industries operating within small communities. Community collaboration also provides an opportunity to gain broader perspectives and ideas from the community resulting in increased innovation.

Both of Portland’s major industries are very visible when driving through Portland.  Industry representatives discussed that it is important to be visible and transparent within the local community.  Both stated that they welcome questions from the community and answer these questions honestly. They offer regular open days so that community can visit.  The community are also kept engaged and updated via social media posts.

Big industry plays an important role in the community, employing locals and providing some financial support to community groups.  However, there are some risks to industry in smaller communities which need to be carefully monitored and involving the community in consultation processes helps to keep the industry honest and accountable.

A special thank you to all the wonderful guest speakers who presented at this program day including, Mark Riley from Portland Aluminium, Loren Tuck from Deakin Hycel project, Shannon Curran from Port of Portland and Luke Thorpe from Yumbah Aquaculture. All our guest speakers talked about how much they valued their workplaces, fellow employees and the communities in which they live.

Sarah Irving, 2022 LGSC Participant

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