The East West Link was Melbourne’s most controversial infrastructure project in 40 years.
The first stage was a $6 billion tunnel linking the Eastern Freeway with the Tullamarine Freeway which would run under the inner suburbs of Fitzroy, Carlton and Parkville affecting many landmarks including the University of Melbourne and Melbourne General Cemetery.
It would emerge at Royal Park, one of Melbourne most historic parkland areas.
To add to the difficulties the immediate area above the tunnel was an electoral hotspot in the battle between the Greens and Labor for control of the local state seats.
Clifton was retained by one of the international consortia to handle external communications and in particular community engagement with affected groups.
This program was undertaken in an atmosphere of heated demonstrations and controversy with the tunnel featuring daily on talkback radio and other forms of mainstream media.
In a media and political cauldron the community engagement continued with many of the suggestions from residents being included in the masterplan.
As a result of our program support for the tunnel and the concept of the link was growing in the opinion polls. When Labor won the state election Premier Andrews cancelled the contract negotiating a $1.1 billion compensation payout to the winning consortium.
Australia's leading provider of private prison management and health services for the corrections sector is a long-term Clifton client.
When the Victorian government announced a unique public-private partnership tender for the 1000 bed Ravenhall Correctional Centre, Clifton was retained to manage stakeholder communications as part of the bid process.
This included liaising with local councils, community groups, members of parliament, media, Western Health, Victoria University and other stakeholders about their requirements, as well as seeking suggestions and feedback on the planned complex including its education and training regime.
Much of the information gained from the skateholder communications program was included in the final successful tender.
Since our client won the contract to design, build, finance, maintain and operate the prison we have worked closely with the Department of Justice, the Ravenhall Community Engagement Group, community leaders and interest groups to ensure Ravenhall Correctional Centre is a good neighbour and a strong contributor to the local community.