Royal HaskoningDHV are currently undertaking the Haslams Creek overland flood study for Auburn City Council (Western Sydney) which will develop a 2D (TUFLOW) model of the whole catchment for the first time.

In addition to the technical challenges of modelling a highly urbanised, developed catchment, the Auburn Local Government Area (LGA) is one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse in Australia and is often a first place of settlement for many newly arrived refugees and migrants. Over the last five years, the Auburn LGA received the highest proportion of humanitarian entrants per capita of any Council area in NSW.

At the 2011 Census, 56.9% of residents in Auburn were born overseas. 54.2% of people in Auburn City come from countries where English is not a first language.  Residents originate from 130 countries and represent more than 67 language groups. The most common overseas birthplaces in Auburn in 2011 were China, Vietnam, South Korea, India, Turkey, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Philippines, Nepal and Sri Lanka.  Approximately two-thirds of residents (71%) speak a language other than English at home.

Community engagement is a fundamental part of the flood mapping project as the business, administrative and residential communities all need to have confidence in the outcomes and feel that it has been undertaken with adequate recognition of local knowledge and the specific characteristics of their catchment.

When engaging with the community it is important to be as inclusive as possible, using a wide range of techniques and mediums to reach as much of the diverse community as possible. This includes using both hard copy information as well web based, visual information as well text based, holding events in easily accessible venues at times of the day that suit the full range of consultees.

A Community And Linguistically Diverse (CALD) consultation strategy has been prepared to ensure the highly diverse community is adequately consulted. A key outcome of the CALD was that all consultation material should be prepared in English, Chinese, Korean, Arabic and Turkish. This has been achieved using in-house Royal HaskoningDHV staff.

The range of community engagement activities delivered for this project so far has included:

  • Preparation of ‘Culturally And Linguistically Diverse’ (CALD) community engagement strategies;
  • Issue of letters to over 5000 residents and businesses within the catchments informing them of the study;
  • Issue of letters to key study / catchment stakeholders;
  • Development community questionnaires seeking historic flood information;
  • Provision of text and material for Council websites;
  • Newspaper articles advertising the projects and community consultation open days;
  • Organising and leading public consultation open days including preparation of display material;
  • Preparation of display material for public exhibitions; 
  • Technical presentations to ‘Community Flood Working Groups’ and full Council sessions;
  • 1:1 meetings with flood affected residents