NORTH-EAST CORRIDOR EXTENSION STRATEGY
NORTH-EAST CORRIDOR EXTENSION STRATEGY
STRATEGIC GENERAL INDUSTRIAL SITE
MULTI CRITERIA ANALYSIS CONFERENCE / CONSENSUS FORUM
State planning strategies had determined that a general industrial
area would be established in the North-East Corridor to give a better
balance between jobs and population. This became even more important
with the development of new surrounding suburbs.
The Minister for Planning and Infrastructure announced an industrial
site and highway alignment in January 2002. Due to environmental
concerns raised, the Minister requested that community engagement be
conducted to further assess the proposed industrial site location and
identify an alternative location.
Multi Criteria Analysis Conference / Consensus Forum
A consensus forum was held on 9 March 2002 with invitations sent to
stakeholder groups and a random sample of residents drawn from the
electoral roll. In addition, advertisements were placed in the two
community newspapers that service the area. A strong response was
received. Participants comprised 20 stakeholder representatives, almost
30 random sample representatives and over 30 people who answered the
Prior to the Forum
To help all participants understand the issues, a briefing package
was written, with input from the stakeholder groups, and was sent to
all forum participants to read before the first session.
There were seven location options presented to the Community
Consultation Forum for consideration, including the Pearce Strategic
General Industrial site, the site originally proposed by the North
Eastern Corridor Extension Strategy (NECES). The six alternative
options were drawn from suggestions made during the public submission
period of the NECES. Two alternative options were also generated during
the forum giving a total of nine options to be considered. The
locations suggested by the community were presented for consideration
in an unedited format
The first forum convened on 9 March. Participants were seated at
tables of 10 with a facilitator to assist with keeping the group on
track and on time. The multi criteria analysis process was explained.
This was followed by an explanation of a table outlining the
opportunities and constraints of the various options as devised by a
team of technical experts.
These were discussed within the small groups, using De Bono's Six
Thinking Hats as a means to encourage analytic processing (blue hat),
separate factual information (white hat) from emotion and intuition
(red hat), work through both the opportunities (yellow hat) and the
constraints (black hat) and encourage creative thinking (green hat).
Using a Nominal Group Technique, each participant ranked the items
in each column in order of importance from 8 = most important to 1 =
least important. Individual scores were added to form a team score. The
highest constraints and opportunities were then highlighted at the
Participants then determined the criteria, that is, the economic,
social and environmental impacts that needed to be considered to judge
A prioritisation matrix was created using each of the agreed
criteria and the various options that had been developed.
Between Day 1 and Day 2 of the Forums
Participants were asked to discuss their priorities with family,
friends and colleagues before submitting their matrix. Participants
were asked to rank the sites according to how they performed against
environmental, economic and social criteria.
Each option needed to be ranked in order of preference according to
criterion 1, then criterion 2, until all the options had been assessed
in terms of all the criteria.
Participants were asked to submit prioritisation matrices before the
following session. However, they had the option to change their
preferences at the final session, or to submit them if they had not
done so earlier.
The rows were totalled to highlight the forum's preferential ranking
of the site options.
The forum reconvened on 18 March 2002 and participants were given
the opportunity to alter their previous rankings before the results
The final results indicated that an alternative site - the Sounness
to Tiwest site was the community's preferred option, followed by the
Meat Industry Association's (MIA) proposed location. The third
preference was the East of Tiwest site, with the South-east of RAAF
site being fourth.
However, no one site scored the highest on each of the social,
environmental and economic criteria. For example, the site with the
highest overall score, the Sounness to Tiwest site, was the most
preferred site economically, and the second most preferred site
socially, but not so highly ranked environmentally. The community was
informed that a small technical expert group, with community
representation, would examine the forum's top four preferences with the
aim of determining the preferred industrial site.
Each of the top four sites chosen by the community were analysed by
seven representatives selected from relevant agencies including
environment, transport and planning, local Councils and a community
member. The criteria used were drawn from the State Planning Strategy.
Scoring was calculated individually and based on the total number of
times that an option was rated first or last by each group member.
The analysis highlighted the East of Tiwest and the Sounness to
Tiwest sites as being the most environmentally, economically and
socially preferable options. There was not a clearly discernible
preference between either of the sites.
In recognition that the prior analysis tended to be broad based and
that there was a large amount of land included in the Sounness to
Tiwest site, the group was reconvened with the aim of specifying the
exact location for the node within this option.
This analysis included a site visit. The main points of interest
were the swift topographical changes that occurred in the area from the
Palus Plain to the clay soils, vegetation and comparisons to mapped
vegetation, clay resource extraction areas, and identification of the
flattest areas of land off the Palus Plain that were conducive to
The group unanimously identified a portion of land within the
Sounness to Tiwest option as a potentially suitable location for the
industrial site. The Department of Environment was satisfied that there
were no fatal flaws associated with the proposed location. As the
community forum rated the Sounness to Tiwest site as the preferred
location, this option was acceptable to the community.
This issue was of intense interest and concern to the community. By
engaging the community from the beginning of this process through to
its conclusion, and ensuring their voice was heard throughout, the
difficult decision of where to place the industrial node was accepted
with little dissent.
Extraordinarily, there was no drop-off in participation from day one
to day two of the forum. In part, this was because of the community
interest in the issue, but also because the process thoroughly engaged
them from day one through to its conclusion.
Some members of the community still felt they had insufficient
information to prioritise each of the options against the criteria. The
more rigorous, data and computer based Multi Criteria Analysis
Conference (as used in the Freight Network Review) deals with this by
asking community members only to devise the options, define the
criteria and rank the importance of the criteria. The 'expert' group
analyses the options against each criterion, using quantitative data
where possible, and qualitative decisions where no other data is