An Australian irrigation alliance has received the Core Value Award 2016 from the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) Australasia in the Infrastructure category.

The Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area Renewal Alliance (MIARA) – an alliance between Murrumbidgee Irrigation (MI), GHD, John Holland Group and UGL – received the award to acknowledge their effective stakeholder engagement on the Hanwood Modernisation Project in the central Riverina region of New South Wales.

Highlighting the link between effective stakeholder engagement and project success, MIARA has received this award for setting new benchmarks for public participation on the project.

The project was completed in October 2015, providing a modern and efficient water delivery system to around 210 landholdings in the Hanwood area.

Murrumbidgee Irrigation CEO, Brett Jones, congratulated the MIARA stakeholder engagement team, but also acknowledged the award wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Hanwood customers.

“Customers in the Hanwood project area were required to work with regular supply interruptions during the irrigation season to allow the MIARA contractors to install new supply infrastructure,” Mr Jones said.

“This work could not have been undertaken without their cooperation and understanding.”

GHD’s Service Line Leader for Stakeholder Engagement, Allen Rodwell, said that actively involving stakeholders from the start enabled the project to be completed on time and under budget.

“This is because we were able to minimise disruption to customers and identify opportunities to reduce capital and maintenance costs,” Mr Rodwell said.

“To successfully deliver this major upgrade MIARA introduced a new public participation process, with a multilevel approach including: workshops, pre- and post-construction meetings, one-on-one meetings and interactive design reviews.”

The $40.2 million Hanwood Modernisation Project forms part of the $175.1 million in funding MI received under round two of the Australian Government’s Private Irrigation Infrastructure Operators Program (PIlOP2) in New South Wales.

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