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So we talked to your community — what actually happened after that?

We work on a wide range of projects, with the engagement phase scheduled at the start, middle, and/or end of each project. Some projects involve decision-making very much in the public domain, whilst others can be ‘quiet’ engagement exercises.

We hand back the engagement findings to our clients with the hope that they will actively use the data and that the outcomes for the community will be positive. However, for many projects, we never find out what happens after our involvement finishes…

Many projects are relatively simple – our client wants to make a decision about a physical site or develop a plan or policy. The following projects in which we were involved in the consultation and engagement process are great examples of very public engagement with a clear impact:

Renaming Moreland 

PURPOSE OF ENGAGEMENT: Moreland City Council had made a decision to change the name of the municipality.  The engagement purpose was to seek feedback on the community’s preferred name.

PROCESS: Three names were shortlisted and put to the community for feedback. There was a clear preference from the community for “Merri-bek”.

DECISION: Council held a special meeting to decide on the future name of the municipality. “Merri-bek” was endorsed.

IMPACT: The name change was officially approved by the Victorian Governor in Council and was published in the Victorian Government Gazette. The new name comes into effect – Council signage and assets will be updated gradually. 

DESIRED OUTCOME: The community begins to ‘own’ and use the new name.

City of Melbourne – Towards Smoke-Free Melbourne 2025

PURPOSE OF ENGAGEMENT: The City of Melbourne has a vision to see Melbourne becoming a smoke-free city, within the majority of public spaces and events. In order to achieve this, Council needed to determine the level of support for a Smoke-Free Policy and understand the impacts on interested and affected stakeholders and community members.

PROCESS: Deliver a range of pop-ups, targeted interviews, an online survey and recruit a deliberative community panel. 

DECISION: The Smoke-Free Melbourne Policy was endorsed by Council. 

IMPACT: This policy guides the creation of smoke-free areas, ways to reduce and de-normalise smoking as well as supporting people to quit. There are currently 13 smoke-free and vape-free areas prescribed by the City of Melbourne. Conversation Co are currently working with Council on the proposal to make Queen Victoria Market a smoke-free and vape-free area.

DESIRED OUTCOME: Melbourne is a smoke-free and vape-free city where the community is protected from the harms of smoking and vaping.

Domestic Animal Management Plans

PURPOSE OF ENGAGEMENT: Darebin City Council, Merri-bek City Council and City of Whittlesea needed to develop their Domestic Animal Management Plans in accordance with the requirements outlined in the Domestic Animal Management Act (1994). In order to achieve this, the three councils needed to engage with their communities on domestic animal management and build on each Council’s knowledge and experience for shared gains.

PROCESS: Deliver a range of pop-ups, targeted interviews, an online survey, online Q&A session and internal workshop.

DECISION: The three Councils developed their Domestic Animal Management Plans, including actions based on community feedback. Based on community feedback Merri-bek City Council and City of Whittlesea decided to undertake further community consultations to test the level of support for the introduction of cat curfews.

DESIRED OUTCOME: Further community consultation led to the introduction of a cat curfew in the City of Whittlesea and a series of initiatives such as education campaigns and desexing programs in Merri-bek.

Conversation Co

Conversation Co proudly acknowledges and celebrates First Peoples of Australia and their ongoing strength in upholding some of the world's oldest living cultures. We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the lands throughout what is now Victoria – where we live, conduct pop-ups, and engage with our communities – and pay our respects to their Elders, past and present. Conversation Co acknowledges First Peoples' sovereignty has never been ceded. The strength, resilience and pride of First Peoples, their cultures, communities and identities continue to grow and thrive today despite the impact of colonisation and ongoing experiences of racism.

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