Stakeholder Engagement & Social Sustainability

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We’re proud of our long history of working hand-in-hand with private, public and non-government clients and communities. We seek engagement and input on many levels — in infrastructure development, environmental planning, urban and open space planning, residential and commercial developments, community consultation and social planning.

GHD’s social sustainability multi-disciplinary teams work to integrate the social elements of sustainability into client projects and decision making processes. Community Consultation

To be sustainable, a decision, project or operation needs to be economically viable, environmentally responsible and socially acceptable. It’s all about the triple bottom line.

Our offering aims to help you understand the social impacts of your operations or projects, enhance stakeholder relationships and reputations and contribute to strengthening social networks and capacity. We do this by;

  • Defining and contributing the ‘social’ perspective to decisions, projects, processes and policies
  • Facilitating robust, defensible and meaningful stakeholder and community engagement processes
  • Assessing and managing stakeholder and community risks, issues and opportunities


  • Stakeholder and community engagement
  • Social planning and research
  • Social impact assessment
  • Strategic communication
  • Facilitation
  • Community development

For further information, contact:

Birgit Porter
Service Line Leader, Stakeholder Engagement & Social Sustainability – Australia, Chile, New Zealand, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East
T: +61 405 901 467
E: Birgit Porter

Katrina McCullough
Service Line Leader, Stakeholder Engagement & Social Sustainability – North America
T: +1 905 830 5656
E: Katrina McCullough

South Kempsey – Integrated Social and Master Plan

Located on the traditional lands of the Dunghutti people, South Kempsey has been identified as a high priority area under the Australian Federal Government’s “Closing the Gap” initiative. The Government has identified seven priority areas for improvement which this project reflected, including early childhood, schooling, health, economic participation, community safety, housing and governance/ leadership.


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Highlands Source Project


The Highlands Source project was initiated during a time of severe drought and is a major initiative designed to secure water supply to Goulburn, in the southern highlands of New South Wales. It involved linking Goulburn to Wingecarribee Reservoir, which is part of the Sydney Catchment Authority’s network of dams. The project involved tight timeframes and funding constraints which drove efficient and innovative approaches.

An extensive community and stakeholder engagement program was implemented as part of the project, which involved construction of an 80 km pipeline through 145 individual properties.

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Redfern Waterloo – Social Sustainability


GHD was involved in the preliminary Scoping Social Impact Assessment for Redfern Waterloo/Social Sustainability Plan for Preliminary Master Plan.

Three concentrated NSW LHC sites in Redfern Waterloo are being investigated for renewal over the next 25 years. This could be one of the largest urban renewal projects in Australia, changing the existing 3,500 social housing dwellings to a mix of social, affordable and private dwellings and resulting in a significant increase and change in population for Redfern Waterloo.

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Australian Solar Institute

Australia is at the forefront of solar research and development and the Australian Solar Institute's role was to keep it there.

GHD provided the Australian Solar Institute (ASI) with communications support, providing a variety of communication materials and a long-term communications plan which GHD assisted ASI to initiate but which ASI could deliver into the future.

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Social Sustainability – Defence Housing Australia

GHD’s Social Sustainability team has been engaged by Defence Housing Australia (DHA) to develop social sustainability plans for the major housing projects for Breezes Muirhead, Northern Territory, Rasmussen Queensland and AE2 Ermington NSW which will incorporate both housing for Defence families and also private owners.

Using international best practice frameworks, the plans have focussed on working collaboratively with the client, community members and key stakeholders to identify potential social issues and opportunities which build community capacity, identity, integration and social benefits.

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Water Allocation Planning – Mt Lofty Ranges

GHD was engaged by the Department of Water, Land and Biodiversity Conservation in South Australia to develop water allocation plans for the Eastern and Western Mount Lofty Ranges Prescribed Water Resources.

The project involved providing advice on water allocations to existing users and water trading rules for consideration in the Water Allocation Plan. There were three main objectives of this project including:

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Indigenous Enterprises – Natural Resource Management opportunity analysis


Rio Tinto Iron Ore has engaged GHD to investigate potential opportunities to procure Natural Resource Management (NRM) services from Indigenous enterprises in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The project is strongly supported by the Australian Government who is keen to establish more Indigenous NRM businesses throughout Australia.

The objectives of the project are to:

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Climate Change
Development Assistance
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Environment Sector
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Impact Assessment & Permitting
Impact Assessment & Permitting
Land Development
Land Development
Risk Management
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Spatial Sciences
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Water Sector
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  • The Toowoomba Outer Circulating Road Project, Queensland - 2015 Project of the Year (Queensland), Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA)
  • Burnett River Floodplain Action Plan - 2015 Flood Risk Management Project of the Year, National Floodplain Management Association


  • Christchurch Southern Motorway Stage 2 (GHD, NZ Transport Agency and Beca), New Zealand - Best Practice Award: Strategic Consultation and Participation Strategies and/or Processes, New Zealand Planning Institute 


  • Transport for NSW for North West Rail, Australia - Stakeholder and Community Engagement Award (NSW), Planning Institute of Australia 
  • Defence Housing Australia for AE2 Ermington, Australia - Commendation Public Engagement & Community Planning (NSW), Planning Institute of Australia
  • Regulating Urban Design: a comparative study of knockdown rebuild, Australia - Outstanding Student Project Award (NSW), Planning Institute of Australia


  • 'Future of Waste' Campaign - Lake Macquarie City Council, Excellence in Communication Award, NSW Local Government and Shires Association
  • One Community, One Mob Integrated Social and Master Plan, South Kempsey Council, Public Engagement and Community Planning Category (New South Wales), Planning Institute of Australia
  • Highlands Source Project,Excellence Award (Sydney), Regional Communities Category, Engineers Australia


  • Craggy Ridge Estate Community Engagement Program, Tasmania, Australia - 2011 Award for Excellence (TAS) Public Engagement and Community Planning Category, Planning Institute of Australia
GHD Library

The GHD library is a collection of relevant resources to this service line.