University of Melbourne launches Next Generation Engagement Project

The Melbourne School of Government is working with leading industry groups and individuals in Australia’s infrastructure sector to deliver its groundbreaking Next Generation Engagement Project.

At a time of unprecedented investment in Australian infrastructure, the University of Melbourne will conduct the largest consultation on the practice of community engagement to date – seeking to identify the key challenges, knowledge and skills gaps in this important discipline.

Social license expert, Dr Sara Bice,  is leading the project on behalf of the Melbourne School of Government (MSoG). She said, “We believe that tension between projects and communities is contributing to considerable costs and delays. Experience tells us that early and constructive community engagement can play a critical role here. Our aim in The Next Generation Engagement project is to get a solid evidence base; to really articulate the potential that community engagement holds for successful infrastructure development.”

Partnership opportunities are available to select organisations until March 2017 and the University of pleased to acknowledge the early support of the following partners across the infrastructure sector, including:

“The experiences of our partners at the coal face of major projects will allow us to create a clear picture of the core social challenges facing Australia’s infrastructure delivery,” Dr Bice said.

Over the coming months the Melbourne School of Government and its partners will conduct the largest national consultation on engagement to date. This will include:

  • a national survey on engagement and social license challenges for Australia’s infrastructure sector
  • workshops in capital cities with leading Australian practitioners and international infrastructure experts
  • a research report that details the most critical knowledge gaps for the community engagement profession (gap analysis)
  • testing the gap analysis with infrastructure professionals across Australia.

“On the completion of this work we aim to identify the biggest roadblocks around engagement, social risk management and social license for infrastructure delivery together with an analysis of emerging trends and opportunities,” Dr Bice said.

“Our aim is to get this research onto the desk of key decision makers in Australia’s infrastructure sector to really inform the discussion. Our intention is that this work will seed longer-term research partnerships that will help industry to make meaningful progress on these issues.”


Janine O’Flynn and team win best paper award

The American Society for Public Administration awarded a practitioner-academic team with the Louis Brownlow Award for best paper in the journal Public Administration Review. The team included: 

  • Fiona Buick (University of Canberra)
  • Deborah Blackman (University of New South Wales—Canberra)
  • Janine O’Flynn (University of Melbourne)
  • Michael O’Donnell (University of New South Wales—Canberra)
  • Damian West (University of New South Wales—Canberra)

This paper comes from a multi-year collaboration between academics and the Australian Public Service Commission which sought to address an enduring challenge faced by government. The paper itself is about collaboration, the challenges and how to overcome them. Read the abstract here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/puar.12481/full 

The award will be presented at the American Society for Public Administration Conference 17-21 March in Atlanta, Georgia.


Article on Innovation in the Mandarin

Dr Pradeep Philip, a member of the Melbourne School of Government Advisory Board and Principal of Ergo Consilium, and Dr Vishaal Kishore, a Professor of Innovation and Public Policy at RMIT and Principal Fellow at the Melbourne School of Government write about the challenges of policy that embraces innovation and what we can expect in the future.

Read full article here: http://www.themandarin.com.au/74709-innovation-its-about-the-economy/


Public Interactive Learning Lab Highlights Housing Policy

In a public discussion of the changes in housing markets and development in Melbourne suburbs, four University of Melbourne researchers Professor Piyush Tiwari, Kate Raynor, Dr Andy Krause and Professor Kate Shaw worked with an interested audience of public participants to understand the pros and cons of our housing market and what the alternative futures could be.

Those futures included housing designed for single individuals as Prof Piyush Tiwari indicated that this a significant growth area of housing need, with the number of single person households expected to exceed three million by 2020. Most single occupancy households will be young adults from the ‘millenial’ generation or older people looking to stay in their local communities while downsizing.

The idea of ‘appropriate’ housing flowed through the discussion as Prof Kate Shaw showed international housing developments that are economically viable and put social and community needs at the centre of development. Prof Shaw’s research has indicated that more social housing would be made available if land released to developers included up front caveats on the inclusion of social housing.

Dr Andy Krause discussed the ‘rules’ of the housing market in terms of public and private ‘good’. Housing sits in area where home buyers need protections – it is a high value purchase and with generally not many available in the market at any time. On the other hand house owners often benefit disproportionately from public expenditure on social goods such as transport, roads and parks.

The advantage extends even more so to those who live in the inner city, as Kate Raynor explained. Households on lower incomes tend to find more affordable housing in the outer suburbs but at the same time they then lack access to good public transport, jobs and other services that are centralised rather than dispersed. This makes accessing jobs and services more expensive in both time and fuel, creating further disadvantage.

There is a second demographic shift happening at the same time, according Dr Piyush Tiwari, as more Australians are looking for rental opportunities rather than buying their own houses. This change in housing preferences leads to a need for the market to move to longer term leases and more effective caps on rent increases in order to maintain a reasonable level of housing equity.

Professor Shaw suggested that Australia is now well positioned to change the way that we approach social housing. Following the lead of Canada and Berlin we can look to new types of cooperative housing models, housing associations and other mixed market solutions. Investments required to make this work in Australia could include legislative change to ensure that superannuation funds invest ~1% of funds to low return social housing models. Funding new housing in this way would nudge innovations in property development and create benefits through secure (if low) returns on investment to all of us.

Videos of the Housing Policy Public Interactive Learning Lab here:

HOUSING – 1. PROPERTY MARKETS, PUBLIC POLICY AND (BIG) DATA

HOUSING – 2. THE TWO-TIER CITY AND THE MISSING MIDDLE

HOUSING – 3. RETHINKING THE BIG AUSTRALIAN DREAM

HOUSING – 4. WHAT ARE WE BUILDING AND FOR WHOM?



Robyn Eckersley speaks at Annual Melbourne-LSE Lecture

London School of Economics – University of Melbourne 2016 public lecture by Prof. Robyn Eckersley, hosted by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate eckersleyChange and the Environment and chaired by Dr. Robert Falkner

Most parties and observers acknowledge that the rapid ratcheting up of mitigation action and climate finance provision by developed countries is the key to unlocking enhanced mitigation in developing countries, and that both developments are essential if the Paris Agreement is to meet its long term goals and targets. Yet the responses by developed countries to the international expectation that their differentiated responsibilities require them to lead in mitigation (whether by moving early and/or doing more) shows considerable variation, ranging from cautious acceptance to cavalier denial. This lecture reviews the troubled history of the international norm of developed country leadership and the findings of comparative climate politics that explain this variation. It also offers some proposals on how the processes of reviewing NDCs might be strengthened to minimise the risk of self-differentiation degenerating into a self-serving apology for the protection of national interests.

Watch the lecture here:


Election Watch USA

HEMPSTEAD, NY - SEPTEMBER 26:  (L-R) Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton shake hands after the Presidential Debate at Hofstra University on September 26, 2016 in Hempstead, New York.  The first of four debates for the 2016 Election, three Presidential and one Vice Presidential, is moderated by NBC's Lester Holt.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)Have you been following the U.S. Presidential Election? MSoG’s Election Watch page has been covering polls, analyising the candidates and keeping tabs on the latest campaign videos. Check out our coverage of all things U.S. Election.

We are also hosting a live results-viewing event on Wednesday 9 November, in partnership with the American Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Consualte General. 

Jim Middleton, former ABC journalist and current Sky News correspondent will facilitate the day with experts from the University of Melbourne who will provide insight into the election results in real-time.

Please follow Election Watch on Twitter and Facebook



The Inside Story on the Australian Federal Election

On Wednesday 29 June we held a “political insiders” panel discussion. Watch the video here:

Australia finds itself at a crossroads, with huge decisions awaiting the next government. Our panel of top “insiders” examined how voters are engaging in the “marathon” campaign and how political parties manage their campaigns.

Our panel included:
+ Peta Credlin (Former Chief of Staff to PM Tony Abbott)
+ Ben Hubbard (Former Chief of Staff to PM Julia Gillard)
+ Barrie Cassidy (Host of the ABC’s “Insiders” program)
+ Ellen Whinnett (National Political Editor, Herald Sun)
+ Andrea Carson (Lecturer in Media and Politics, University of Melbourne)
The event was moderated by Nicholas Reece (Principal Fellow, University of Melbourne)



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