Friday, 25 July 2014

Australian expert in community engagement tells Metgasco CEO "he's dreaming"

Gasfield  Free Northern Rivers Media Release, 22 July 2014 :

Senior Australian expert in community engagement tells Metgasco CEO “he’s dreaming”
A senior expert in community engagement, Dr Wendy Sarkissian PhD, has analysed Metgsco’s community engagement policy and come to the conclusion that it is severely flawed and insufficient for Metgasco gaining a social licence to operate in the Northern Rivers.
“As a senior expert experienced in community engagement, I find Metgaso’s Community Relations Policy severely lacking in the fundamentals for successful community engagement. It is laughable that Metgasco’s ‘Community Consultative’ policy was removed from its website a few days after I advised that it was written in Latin,” said community engagement expert, Dr Wendy Sarkissian
“The field of community engagement is well developed, so it is appalling to think that as an ASX listed company, Metgasco is trying to pass off its policy as world’s best practice. While it may be comparable to other gas company’s engagement policies, it is a damning indictment of industry practices if Metgasco thinks providing one-way information and ignoring community concerns amounts to world’s best practice,”
“Marketing and providing information by itself does not amount to community consultation. Community consultation is a two way street that actually involves a dialogue with the community. This involves listening to the community and responding to concerns, clearly something Metgasco has failed to do,”
“Metgasco’s narrow approach to only notify stakeholders living within 2 km of the proposed Rosella drill site ignores the wider impacts invasive gas drilling has on communities and the environment. This unsophisticated and misguided engagement process attempts to ‘contain’ the discussion which means those outside the 2 km are not deemed worthy of consideration. This is a damning indictment of Metgasco’s attitude to the broader community and environment,”
“Metgasco’s CEO Peter Henderson has said previously that it needs a ‘social licence’ to operate and that it would not go where it has no community support. The thousands of people who attended the Bentley Blockade, as well as previous blockades at Glenugie and Doubtful Creek, clearly demonstrate that Metgasco has no social licence. The fact that Metgasco’s licence to drill at Bentley was suspended by the government on the grounds of ‘inadequate community consultation’ attests to this fact,”
“I’d be delighted to speak to the Metgasco board and explain what authentic community engagement looks like. As an expert in this field, I can only reiterate that Metgasco’s dreaming if it thinks it can force itself into the Northern Rivers without genuinely engaging with the community,” concluded Dr Sarkissian.
Wendy Sarkissian 0402 966 284

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