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New Community Listening Report: A Real Deal for Gladstone

28 July 2023
Putting people at the heart of shaping Gladstone’s transition
The first report from our Gladstone-based, community-led coalition addresses three priority policy areas as part of the energy transition.

The report A Real Deal for Gladstone: Shaping economic and social transition through community listening (pdf, 8.3MB) calls on authorities to urgently address healthcare, housing and liveability pressures to future-proof the city and region against inevitable cycles of “boom and bust” that will be part of economic and social transitions spurred on by the global energy transition.

Throughout late 2022 and 2023, community groups brought together by the Queensland Community Alliance and supported by the Sydney Policy Lab, participated in a comprehensive community listening campaign led by the Real Deal's National Lead Organiser, Elise Ganley, who is based in Queensland.

In more than 300 conversations communities reflected on transitions past, and the need for community involvement in planning the transition ahead. The conversations gauged people’s hopes and worries relating to the shift away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy, as well as its implications for the city and the region. 

There was a widespread recognition that the way authorities choose to respond to urgent concerns about healthcare, housing and liveability has the potential to either entrench or alleviate longstanding inequities in the region. Participants emphasised that for Gladstone to become a stronger community, these challenges must be addressed as part of Gladstone’s broader economic, energy and social transition.

The results of the listening campaign and a range of potential policy solutions are contained in the new report, A Real Deal for Gladstone: Shaping economic and social transition through community listening (pdf, 8.3MB).

This new report contains the results of the listening campaign, canvasses potential policy solutions identified by local community organisations and suggests concrete ways to achieve these proposals. It was presented to Mayor Matt Burnett on Wednesday 26 July and will guide the continuing work of the Real Deal Gladstone-based coalition. Mayor Burnett committed to an ongoing working relationship with the Real Deal Coalition in Gladstone to develop positive solutions and negotiate with state government, federal government, and industry leaders.

A clear message coming out of this research is that people must be at the heart of the energy transition. We have a chance to change our region for the better and we must not squander this opportunity by simply following the patterns of the past.
Jaclyn McCosker, Australian Conservation Foundation’s Gladstone campaigner

The Real Deal project in Gladstone brings together an unusual and diverse alliance of faith, climate, union and community groups, supported by a network of researchers from various Universities. This is the Gladstone coalition’s first community listening report – on research conducted with, by and for the Gladstone community – a process that supports Gladstone’s residents in setting the agenda for a Real Deal that works for people and the environment.

This is our town, our jobs, our future. We are committed to working with other community groups for a just transition for workers and the greater good of the Gladstone Region.
Pat Grace, Gladstone Region President of the Rail Tram and Bus Union

The project is part of a larger Real Deal initiative, introduced by Associate Professor Amanda Tattersall in 2019, convened by Sydney Policy Lab at the University of Sydney. Alongside a national coalition, place-based coalitions have been built in Gladstone (QLD) and Geelong (VIC), and the Real Deal is working with a third coalition in Western Sydney. The Real Deal works with Australian communities to envision and shape the societal changes and transitions that climate change demands. To build this collective community voice, the Real Deal deploys participatory research, community organising and other relationship-based research strategies. 

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