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Local voices making a difference at Port Waratah


Port Waratah knows that to be an active part of the Newcastle community, it is important it listens to residents.

And, that’s why it has again launched its Local Voices survey this week.

Now in its fifth year, the initiative involves a deeper dive into the matters that are most important to the Newcastle community with an “anchor” questionnaire now open until 2 October.

Residents are invited to share their views on Port Waratah operations, community investment, employment and economic contributions, environmental performance, COVID-19 impacts, and community engagement activities.

Port Waratah CEO Hennie du Plooy said Port Waratah was committed to using the feedback from the survey to shape its decision making and business planning.

“Our team uses the results to improve our strategic plans, ultimately improving our operations and aligning our performance to stakeholder expectations over time,” he explained.

“From the most recent feedback received, we better understand the community’s interest in impact management and data, like air quality, noise and water management, and actions in sustainability and climate change.

“This information has helped us to shape the content of Port Waratah’s communications including our website, social media, annual reports and community newsletters.

“Results from previous surveys have also influenced our decisions in community investment to support the greatest areas of need for people in Newcastle.”

Local Voices, delivered by Voconiq, is a unique community engagement program developed over 10 years within Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO.

Co-founder and CEO Dr Kieren Moffat said one of the advantages of the initiative was the ability to track trends in community views across multiple years.

“Continuing Local Voices over time means that Port Waratah is able to respond in a timely way to changes in community sentiment or experiences of their operation,” he stated.

“It really closes the gap between perspective and operational decision making.

“There is enormous value for communities in being heard by the companies that work alongside them.”

Through Local Voices, residents and people in the broader Newcastle area are directly influencing how Port Waratah thinks about its operations, plans for the future and invests locally. 

“We value the time given to complete the survey and, for every ‘anchor’ survey completed, $10 is donated to local community not-for-profit organisations,” Mr du Plooy said.

“So far, Local Voices has given back $22,500 to the Newcastle community.

“We’re asking residents to make their voice count by completing the Local Voices survey at”

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