2007 saw a change in Federal Leadership, providing the Rudd Government with the opportunity to publicly scrutinise contentious airport-centred issues. Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) took the Federal Government’s demand for improved stakeholder relations and created an opportunity to develop a new Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) model – “Let’s Talk”.
The primary strategy for “Let’s Talk” is face-to-face forums tailored for each primary stakeholder to create dialogue and an opportunity for stakeholders to be educated on airport projects and operations, speak their mind, be listened to by BAC, and for BAC to implement feedback into future plans.
These forums have taken the shape of: the Brisbane Airport Community Forum for local community groups; the Brisbane Airport and Surrounds Planning Summit for State Government and Brisbane City Council; briefings with Federal and State Ministers and relevant Government Department heads, and tenant briefing sessions. BAC presents to industry groups to create dialogue within pre-established forums.
BAC’s CSR model has seen Brisbane Airport have an increased and improved presence and relationship with its stakeholders. Consequently, the Federal Government has approved the Major Development Plans for Brisbane Airport’s $4.2 billion infrastructure expansion program - the largest infrastructure program ever delivered by a privatised airport in Australia.
A change in Federal leadership in 2007 provided the Rudd Government with the opportunity to publicly scrutinise contentious airport-centred issues.
Consequently, 2008 saw the announcement of Australia’s first National Aviation Policy, redefinition of the Sydney Airport Community Forum, and proposed independent planning review panels for airport developments.
The Federal Government put forward a demand: Australia’s privatised airports must legitimise commercial activities by delivering a Corporate Social Responsibility program to survive in an increased legislative environment.
Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) has $4.2 billion in infrastructure development planned for delivery over the next two decades, which will increase and secure long-term capacity for Brisbane Airport, while creating over 30,000 jobs in the precinct. Once completed, it will be the largest infrastructure program ever delivered by a privatised airport in Australia.
For this ambitious vision to go ahead, legislative approval and support is required under the Federal Airports Act. As part of the approval process, the Federal Government legally requires a public consultation period for each project over $10 million, allowing for input from anyone within the public domain.
BAC took the Federal Government’s demand for improved stakeholder relations and turned it into an opportunity to develop a new Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) model – “Let’s Talk”. The “Let’s Talk” model was developed to reach all relevant key publics in a manner that creates a two-way conversation, identifies major concerns of key publics and incorporates this feedback into future plans for Brisbane Airport.
This decision to improve its stakeholder communications has seen BAC produce a corporate social responsibility model and the approval of an infrastructure program never before achieved by a privatised Australian airport.
- Research conducted into the history of Brisbane Airport’s relevant Federal Government (ie. Kevin Rudd, Wayne Swan, and Anthony Albanese) to understand the attitudes and perceptions driving their decisions.
- BAC holds an extensive stakeholder database maintained by its consultants Bayly Willey Holt, comprising on-airport tenants, BAC staff, politicians, government officers and the community. All stakeholders who have signed up to this database have done so to register interest in receiving information on specific airport issues. This has enabled BAC to comprise an up-to-date list of key stakeholders.
Progress monitoring research into attitudes and perceptions
- Brisbane Airport conducted research through the Australian Research Group into identifying the main concerns and perceptions of key target publics in April 2007.
- BAC conducted a Customer Service Survey in November 2007 and in 2008 to identify Brisbane Airport’s key target publics main concerns and perceptions. This research was conducted as part of an annual monitoring report for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
- BAC has collated qualitative and quantitative data from Airservices Australia regarding noise complaints in April 2008 and April 2009, which has been determined as one of the major issues for Brisbane Airport’s local community.
- Local Community: people are included in this category if flight paths or airport development affect them due to residential location, or if they have advised BAC they have a personal interest in Brisbane Airport.
- Federal: want to see improved stakeholder relations
- State: Want stronger input into airport planning issues
- Local (BCC): want stronger input into airport planning issues
- Airport tenants and workforce: more than 320 businesses and 16,000 people working on airport, wanting to be informed of airport development
- BAC employees: advocates for BAC in the community
- Industry: local industry stakeholders and groups whose business is related to Brisbane Airport operations.
- Travelling public: passengers at Brisbane Airport
- BAC shareholders
Due to the detailed nature of BAC’s major infrastructure program, operations, and the consequential issues surrounding them, face-to-face communication was flagged as the ideal method for discussion. Hence, the strategy was to develop face-to-face forums tailored for each primary stakeholder to enable a two-way dialogue where people could be educated on airport projects and operations, speak their mind, be listened to by BAC, and for BAC to then implement feedback into future plans.
These forums have taken the shape of the Brisbane Airport Community Forum (BACF) for local community groups, the Brisbane Airport and Surrounds Planning Summit (BASPS) for State Government and BCC, one-on-one briefings with Federal and State Ministers and relevant Government Department heads, and tenant briefing sessions. BAC has also taken every opportunity to present and meet with industry groups to create dialogue amongst pre-established forums. Other channels of communication (online, electronic, telephonic etc) were also established to support the forums, ensuring stakeholders have choice in their method of communication.
BACF: held quarterly in electorates around the airport, and community shopping centres.
BASPS: held quarterly with BCC, State Government and Federal Government representatives to discuss airport planning.
Special events and briefings: were held for tenants and airport employees for social networking purposes, and briefing sessions on major projects.
Community and industry presentations: BAC presents to established forums on issues of their choice.
Technical Noise Working Group: meeting for industry and community members to discuss operational and noise-related issues.
Staff Talks: bimonthly briefings on airport operations, projects and future plans for BAC employees.
Local Community Festivals: attendance at Racecourse Rd, Nundah and Morningside.
Website: support component to the BACF, enabling people to participate in the forum 24/7.
Publications: BAC’s airport magazine “Airspace”, monthly Traffic Updates and newsletters.
Phone and email: 1300 phone line and dedicated email address.
Media Relations: Media Releases regarding airport development, operations, and issues distributed across print, radio and television media when appropriate.
Sponsorships: a $1 million sponsorship program, which increases Brisbane Airport’s presence in the local community.
BAC’s CSR model has seen Brisbane Airport have an increased presence amongst its stakeholders, with high levels of attendance at the various forums. The forums have created the opportunity for discussion, and in some cases improved the relationship between the stakeholders and BAC.
Consequently, The Federal Government has approved the Major Development Plans for the Domestic Terminal Expansion, New Parallel Runway, International Terminal Expansion and Northern Access Road Project – the key projects in Brisbane Airport’s $4.2 billion infrastructure expansion program.
- BACFs were established quarterly from early 2008 for all stakeholders but primarily local community participation.
- Tenant briefings have been provided during at relevant stages during the progression of each major project.
- “Staff Talks” briefing sessions for BAC employees were continued with the inclusion of major project updates.
- BASPS were established quarterly from early 2009 for BCC and State Government stakeholders to participate in future planning of Brisbane Airport.
- All invited participants for the BASPS have attended personally or sent a deputy.
- Approximately 140 BAC staff attended each “Staff Talks” session between 2008 and 2009.
- Between 75% and 84% of participants invited to tenant briefings on the major projects attended each event.
- BAC gave presentations on the airport’s operations and development to over 20 industry groups between January 2008 and January 2009.
- Approximately 50 people attended each of the four BACF forums held.
- 1,800 people have registered to the Brisbane Airport stakeholder database with the database growing at around 2% per month.
- Zero submissions were received during the public consultation processes for the Domestic Terminal Expansion, Northern Access Road Project, and International Terminal Expansion Project.
- 194 submissions were received during the New Parallel Runway public consultation process, all of which came from primary stakeholders whose submissions were educated through participation in the BAC CSR program. This is comparable to Sydney Airport’s new runway consultation process, which received approximately 10,000 submissions.
- 55 submissions were received during Brisbane Airport’s Master Plan consultation process - a document approved every five years by the Federal Government, which sets in place the 20 year planning vision for Brisbane Airport. 480 submissions were received for the previous iteration of the document five years ago.
- The number of noise complainants dropped from 267 to 194 from April 2008 to April 2009.
- The number of road and traffic complainants dropped from 5 per week in September 2007(start of Northern Access Road project) to 5 per month January 2009 (near completion).
- The Federal Government approved the Major Development Plans for the Domestic Terminal Expansion, New Parallel Runway, International Terminal Expansion and Northern Access Road Project – the key projects in Brisbane Airport’s $4.2 billion infrastructure expansion program.
- Qualitative feedback from the BASPS saw responses from all participants saying they were pleased the summits provided better opportunity for input into airport planning. Participants suggested future summits be used towards consultation for the Airport Master Plan.
- The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission announced BAC had the best customer service levels of any Australian Airport in 2008. They surveyed 999 airport tenants and passengers.