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Community voice wins recognition

The award winning Community Panel Team (from left) Christine Umapathysivam, City of Unley; with the B-Hert Awards Dinner Host; Katherine Anderson, Ehrenberg-Bass Institute; and Prof Caroline McMillanA successful and innovative UniSA project that gives residents the opportunity to make an important contribution to local government has been named the best community engagement project at the 2009 Business-Higher Education Round Table Awards.

The Community Panel project developed by Dr Anne Sharp from UniSA Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science in collaboration with the City Councils of Tee Tree Gully, Burnside, Unley, Holdfast Bay and Campbelltown as well as the Local Government Association of South Australia, has grown from strength to strength.

There are now more than 2000 local residents registered as Community Panel members and they are regularly contributing feedback and opinion through online surveys about key decisions affecting the local community. Growing from a pilot project, it now includes five local councils with more communities adopting the Community Panel concept.

The panels help to engage residents from all groups, eliminating some of the traditional barriers to involvement. Research results from the surveys are then used by the council in the decision making process around policy or local issues.

Also featuring with and honorable mention in the best Research and Development category at the B-Hert Awards, was Professor Drew Dawson  for a project he carried out in partnership with InterDynamics Pty Ltd and Safety Support Ltd, to develop tools to manage fatigue related risk in the workplace. The collaboration has produced a suite of software products and consultancy services that have generated a new category of scientific fatigue risk-management solutions both locally and internationally.

The B-Hert Awards recognise outstanding collaborations in research and development, higher education and training, vocational education and training, and community engagement.