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Port Waratah wants to hear local voices

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Take part in the Local Voices Community Survey to help inform Port Waratah Coal Services about your concerns and opportunities.

The short 5-10-minute review is open now until 14 April and focuses on understanding residents’ views on key operational, environmental and investment aspects.

Built from a foundation with CSIRO, the survey is conducted independently by Voconiq, a data science, research and community engagement company that bridges the gap between communities and companies.

Newcastle residents are invited to have their say on Port Waratah’s operations, employment and economic contributions, environmental performance and impacts, and its community engagement activities.

CEO Hennie du Plooy said the Local Voices survey helped them listen to the community’s needs and expectations.

“It has been a significant part of our community engagement since 2018,” he explained.

“Last year, more than 1,100 surveys were completed with more than 800 comments from participants.

“This is incredibly valuable to us.

“We want to thank everyone who took part and invite them to participate in this year’s survey.

“The results are used to strategically shape our operations, informing our decisions and building in greater improvement opportunities that ensure we understand and strive to meet stakeholder expectations to perform better in the short, medium and long term.

“Already, the comments from last year have informed us of local views on economic contributions and climate change.

“So, we in the process of reviewing our strategies to further reduce our emissions footprint by investigating new technologies, efficiencies and energy alternatives.”

Voconiq has conducted the independent survey for the past two years following on from the CSIRO.

Company co-founder and CEO Dr Kieren Moffat says the continuation of the community survey across multiple years allowed Port Waratah to track trends in community views.

“The Local Voices results show trends in community and stakeholder opinions, clearly demonstrating positive or negative changes, or maintaining sentiment, over time, which allows the company to see where they are improving and where to respond and make improvements,” she stated.

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

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

Survey results have highlighted investment in health projects as the top priority area for the community, which has influenced greater investment through the Community Investment and Partnership Program.

More than $419,000 was committed to health projects over the past two years.

The Youth Sport in Portside Suburbs initiative was developed as a direct result of the Local Voices community survey.

“It’s now provided more than $50,000 to junior sporting clubs over the same time,” Mr du Plooy said.

“We’ve also provided greater access to independent air quality information and attuned our range of communication methods to meet the preferences of the community and other stakeholders, encouraging two-way communication through traditional and digital platforms, all thanks to the feedback provided through the survey.”

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