Across Australia, AGL currently invests more than $4 million in community events, organisations, and sporting teams. From Kwinana on the western coast of Australia to Singleton in the east – and many places in between – AGL is an integral part of Australian communities nationwide. But what does that mean in practice?
Social licence to AGL is about meeting and exceeding rising community expectations. We will do this by making decisions that respect and balance the needs of all our stakeholders, and deliver shared value for our people, customers, the community and shareholders.
To make the right decisions, it’s vital that we listen – fully and openly – to all the concerns and suggestions that our communities have.
In late 2019, we conducted an extensive ‘listening campaign’ across seven of the communities in which we operate, and we spoke with more than 800 community members on a wide range of subjects.
Community voices inform decision making
We have a Community Relations team that is dedicated to working with the community. The team provides the community with an opportunity to engage with AGL and have their voices heard.
To help inform our decision making, and to make sure the decisions that AGL makes are in line with community expectations, we need to listen effectively – and on a regular basis – to what our communities are saying.
What we heard in our recent survey
The survey revealed a wide variety of viewpoints. At a macro scale, results showed that the key national issue of most concern is environment and global warming (55%), followed by cost of living (20%) and jobs and unemployment (19%).
At the local level, residents are receptive to AGL being involved in their local area with 71% of people wanting AGL to support or invest in the community even further. One of the foundational questions we asked around what AGL could be doing more of in the community brought the following top responses:
- Buying from local businesses - 46%
- Donations - 45%
- AGL-sponsored events - 42%
- Local sporting team sponsorships - 40%
- Volunteering - 36%
The survey also found that, beyond the key trends above, there were several additional specific callouts around how we operate in our communities – and what those communities want to see in the future.
For example, a significant number of those surveyed wanted to see more local people hired and given opportunities. We’re accomplishing this through a number of initiatives; for example, in South Australia, we are introducing four school-based Indigenous traineeships at our Eastwood and Torrens Island sites. We have also partnered with the South Australian Department for Environment and Water to create a Kaurna Aboriginal revegetation team, who are revitalising the culturally significant Aldinga Washpools, south of Adelaide.
The next steps
This is the first time AGL has had comparable data across our communities. It’s an important step forward in improving the rigour of our decision-making and ensuring that we’re listening to what the communities want and need. We can now measure our impact and make the information available on a much more accessible basis to decision-makers across AGL – which will help us to become even better members of our communities.
|WHO WE SPOKE TO|
In late 2019, we conducted an extensive ‘listening campaign’ across seven of the communities in which we operate: a telephone interview with more than 800 community members on a wide range of subjects: what their issues, worries, and fears where; what their opinions are about AGL and our activities in the community; and how we can do better. We also conducted a follow-up with a set of focus groups in February 2020 to the communities around our Bayswater and Liddell Power Stations. The representatives were chosen at random to represent the age/gender breakdown of their communities according to ABS statistics.
We surveyed seven different communities to understand their individual and shared perspectives. We had 150 survey participants in our larger communities – communities with thermal generation assets like the Latrobe Valley (AGL Loy Yang), Upper Hunter (AGL Liddell and AGL Bayswater) and South Australia (AGL Torrens); gas assets like Camden; and renewable assets like Broken Hill; and 24-50 participants in our smaller communities of Coopers Gap and Macarthur (home to wind farms in Queensland and Victoria respectively).