As part of a consultant team, Mosaic Insights was commissioned by Department of Planning, Industry and the Environment (DPIE) to develop methodologies for conducting the social assessment component of the options evaluation framework (which also included economic, environmental and First Nations components) for the Reconnecting River Country Program. We were also engaged to design a survey, develop an implementation plan, and provide the methods for tracking public sentiment toward the Program.
As a key component of the Murray Darling Basin Plan, the Reconnecting River Country Program will improve the health of the ecosystems in the southern connected Basin. The Program will deliver environmental benefits in a balanced way, where social, economic, and cultural considerations are considered integral to identifying viable and sustainable options for increasing river flows in the region. Collaboration and broad community support is therefore critical to the success of the Program and the NSW Government is committed to collaborating with landholders, stakeholders and the community to identify potential impacts, benefits and mitigation measures for increasing environmental flows.
Mosaic developed comprehensive methods and detailed guidance for DPIE (or DPIE contractors) to conduct social assessments of potential impacts and benefits of the Program across the southern Basin. Identifying a combination of reliable social indicators and data sources; desktop analysis methods; and providing a framework for the social assessment aspect of the engagement, our package of works for the social assessment was comprehensive and easily transferable to the agencies who would be conducting the work.
The sentiment survey design and methods component of our scope of works was undertaken as a distinct project, aimed at providing a reliable and concise overview of public attitudes toward the Program as it was being rolled out. Based on a literature review of existing sentiment toward environmental water projects in the Basin, we identified as series of indicators that provided reliable and relevant measures for gauging trust and gaining feedback on the engagement for the Program, which formed the basis of the survey design. The sentiment tracking method was designed to be scalable and adaptable to other contexts beyond the life of the Reconnecting River Country Program.