Stakeholder Management (Neighbour Relations) - NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service 1997


A Report to the ANZECC Working Group on National Park and Protected Area Management
NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, 1997

About this document

In 1995, ANZECC commenced the National Benchmarking and Best Practice Program aimed at five key areas. The Department of Environment & Natural Resources, South Australia took the lead responsibility for determining the best practice framework for Capital Works management. A working group was formed with all States and Territories represented and a project brief developed and endorsed.

This study forms part of the Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council's (ANZECC) Benchmarking and Best Practice Program.

The objective of the study was to apply the benchmarking methodology to determine best practice in neighbour relations. Specifically:

  • To research performance in neighbour relations; and
  • To compare the results of the reviews and develop strategies to promote best practice.

Information was collected from nine Australian nature conservation organisations including eight ANZECC member organisations and Melbourne Parks and Waterways.

A large amount of information has been collected and analysed and the results indicated:

  • Private urban and rural landholders adjoining parks and reserves are a significant stakeholder group totalling 256,638 for the nine organisations surveyed;
  • Stakeholder data, particularly neighbour data, is not generally systematically recorded and stored in databases and many of the results are estimates;
  • Organisations share the same high priority issues: fire, weed control, feral animal control, household pets, access, rubbish dumping;
  • Knowledge of issues is generally based on experience and rarely on customer research;
  • Approximately 29% of all staff have a role in neighbour relations highlighting that a high level of resources are committed annually to neighbour relations. This effort is not necessarily systematically coordinated or included in performance plans;
  • Many organisations use a small range of methods to communicate with neighbours eg. telephone, face to face contact, letters and meetings;
  • A wide range of innovative strategies and initiatives exist to resolve neighbour relations issues;
  • Organisations generally could not separate annual funding for neighbour relations, but the stakeholder/neighbour relations funds for five organisations was in excess of $30 million, which illustrates that funding is considerable;
  • The most common tool for managing neighbour relations was policies;
  • Specific neighbour relations performance measures generally do not exist (excluding NPWS). Many organisations rely on customer service standards and dissatisfaction systems such as complaints to measure performance; and
  • Market research has generally been targeted at park visitors.

Based on the results 17 best practice strategies in neighbour relations are provided for consideration.

The study recommends that standard performance measures be adopted by ANZECC members to allow ongoing benchmarking in neighbour relations. These could be linked to wider ANZECC stakeholder measures, and the same measures could be used by other benchmarking groups such as the Strategic Partners Group.