Melbourne Water

Troubleshooting the Sugarloaf Pipeline

Katherine Teh-White

Managing Director

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The brief:

Melbourne Water commissioned Futureye to help with their engagement of stakeholders during the implementation of the plans to create the sugarloaf pipeline (the North-South pipeline). The Sugarloaf pipeline plan proposed to pipe approximately one third of the water saved from the Food Bowl Modernisation Plan in the Murray Darling Basin to Melbourne, with the other two thirds going back to the environment and to farmers. The proposal was met with outrage from both environmental groups and farming communities. The general perception was that water was being piped to Melbourne for luxuries whilst farming communities continued to suffer from the effects of years of drought.

The result:

Through their work with Futureye, Melbourne Water adopted a more inclusive consultation policy that involved stakeholders in decision making. The majority of stakeholder concerns were dealt with successfully and those concerns that could not be resolved were dealt with reasonably. Whilst several arrests had to occur as some protesters continued to obstruct work on the pipeline, Melbourne Water ensured that the public was advised of all steps taken prior to these measures and that the arrests were a last resort, resulting in the outrage amongst stakeholders being much lower.

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