As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the way developers operate is changing. Staff meetings have shifted to Zoom, offices have emptied out, and for many projects, the shovel has been temporarily halted.

Despite this, many development projects that have been started before the virus hit have continued on the path to approval. Recognising the significant economic contribution that construction represents, the Victorian Government announced its Building Victoria’s Recovery Taskforce in May 2020 to help keep the state’s building and development industry running through the coronavirus crisis.

It is vital that developers and investors do not see the crisis as a shortcut when it comes to engagement and advocacy.

The government landscape is more crowded than ever before, and available funding is stretched thin. With hundreds of worthy developments clamouring for funding and approval, a robust evidence base is needed to set them apart.

Building an evidence base

A project book that provides a comprehensive outline of your project is vital to showing how it aligns to existing policy and precinct plans. The trick is to ensure that it is both readable and concise. Too much content will drown any prospective decision-makers in information, and too little will leave room for doubt. A well-written and researched project book can be presented as the foundational proof-of-concept for a development, and should contain all relevant facts and figures pertaining to the project’s economic cost and contribution.

Economic modelling can demonstrate the absolute value of your proposal, and is especially important in a time where the government is looking to maximise the value of its investments. Modelling on housing supply, infrastructure bottlenecks, and employment availability will be beneficial.

Polling is a highly effective way to both test your project’s viability with the local community, but also to demonstrate the value it has to government. In addition, a well-designed poll can inform you about which messages resonate with the community and which ones do not, showing you how best to talk about your development.

How we can help

The Civic Group has worked with developers on projects across Australia, providing strategic communications and advocacy advice. We have run community and stakeholder engagement programs for small and large scale developments.

For more information email us at or call us on +61 3 9620 9300.