2020 Wrap Up

By Donna Shepherd AM • Managing Director
• News

As Australia entered lockdown in early March 2020, Creating Communities launched our COVID-19 Stronger Together response to harness the power of community to support individuals, families and organisations through the pandemic.

Ten months on, we reflect on all the ways our partners in community have leaned into the challenges and hardship of this year to build safer, more equitable and humane solutions.

It's a tribute to the human spirit, people's ingenuity and the power of community to create positive change.

Thank you from our Creating Communities team.

Here is our 2020 wrap up.

2020 Wrap Up

A small collection of some of the projects we've worked on over the course of 2020.
This Is Our Dream

This Is Our Dream was launched in Newman in July 2020 at a ceremony in which the document was signed by chair of Karlka Nyiyaparli Aboriginal Corporation, Bradley Hall, and Martu elder and chair of Western Desert Lands Aboriginal Corporation, Melvin Farmer. The compact is an invitation to all people, communities, organisations and government to walk forward in a new way acknowledging Nyiyaparli and Martu land, culture, language and law. This new journey is one of mutual respect, inclusive decision-making and increased access to opportunities.

In November, Creating Communities was proud to be among the first signatories to the Cultural Compact.

Read More

Creating Communities signs Cultural Compact →

Building diverse and inclusive workplaces Australia-wide

Creating Communities was part of a small consultancy project team, selected from organisations nationally to deliver best practice insights into workplace inclusion and diversity for BHP Minerals Australia. This strategic work will be delivered through the Inclusion and Diversity Standards in Minerals Australia’s network of worksites and its 27 accommodation villages across the country. Particular focus of the project was in providing a more inclusive and welcoming lifestyle at FIFO villages, as well as workplaces which had a particular focus on fair and equal treatment for women, Indigenous people, abilities and people of all cultures.

This is a ground-breaking step for the resource industry and a visible and public commitment to leading positive social change. We were proud to be part of this innovative project.

“The work undertaken by Creating Communities will make a significant difference to the physical, social and emotional experience of more than 26,000 employees across our Minerals Australia Operations, in-turn supporting our drive toward gender balance. The teams extensive understanding of our villages and willingness to understand our workplaces combined with comprehensive research has enabled us to deliver a compelling minimum standard that has positioned us to fundamentally change the face of the mining industry.”

— Melinda McDonald, BHP
A new future for East Newman

As part of our Newman Futures work, Creating Communities and architecture and design firm Hames Sharley were engaged to deliver a holistic strategy to improve liveability and wellbeing in East Newman. Focusing on improved housing, landscaping, community service and amenity, the project team have been working closely with Martu and Nyiyaparli community members and the wider community to make this vision for East Newman a reality.

Discovering opportunities for students in Hedland

Hedland Collective is an important ongoing project, focused on a collaborative approach by local organisations, non-profits and government to make Hedland an even better place to live. Hedland Collective continued to support Hedland Senior High School’s school-based traineeships project this year. The project has expanded rapidly from 32 students in 2020 to more than 80 participants in 2021.

Watch the full School Based Traineeship video →

Innovation in the Western Desert

Led by Puntukurnu Aboriginal Medical Service, Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa and WA Police, the Staying at Home and Getting Back Home projects will provide essential infrastructure and improve wellbeing for Martu people in the Western Desert communities. These projects have been endorsed by the Department of Communities’ District Leadership Group. Through our role in the Newman Futures project, Creating Communities has supported the lead agencies in progressing these important initiatives.

“Remoteness should not impose extreme difficulty and cost on some of the most vulnerable people in Australia who seek a life close to their country. The Getting Back Home and Staying at Home strategies will support Martu people from remote desert communities to return quickly and easily to their homes or to choose to remain in their communities while conducting myriad government and private transactions as readily as other Australians. These strategies use 21st century methods to explode remoteness and to deliver greater quality of life and options to people in Martu communities.”

— Peter Johnson, Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa
Western Australian Football League innovation project

This year, nine Western Australian Football League clubs came together to identify their role in the provision of football at all levels and to build an income stream through a focus on community. The Western Australian Football League clubs recognised that they needed to understand and connect with their communities and key stakeholders. By changing their approach they have used football as a community and personal development tool, resulting in a number of football clubs creating significant revenue.

Subiaco Oval Gates (Image source: Development WA)

Digging deep to tell Subi stories

Subi East, encompasses the former Subiaco Oval and Princess Margaret Hospital and is being redeveloped by DevelopmentWA into an urban village catering for multiple generations. Our public engagement led to the production of a comprehensive Cultural Context and Place Narrative document which documented the history of how people have lived, moved through and connected with this well-known and much-loved part of Perth.

We also worked collaboratively with DevelopmentWA, Hames Sharley and UDLA to coordinate the community engagement that informed the development of the Subi East Masterplan.

The Subi East masterplan was built on the most extensive engagement process ever undertaken by DevelopmentWA, for a project of state significance. We were delighted to work with Creating Communities on this major undertaking. Their professional, collaborative and comprehensive approach ensured that collectively we captured a wide variety of ‘Subi Stories’ in the Cultural Context and Place Narrative and reflected the true essence of Subiaco and the future of the precinct in the final masterplan.

— Catherine Bentley, DevelopmentWA

COVID-19 response

Our Creating Communities COVID-19 Stronger Together response aimed to bring people together in new ways, to make sure they had access to accurate, vital information and to keep vital connections alive between friends and neighbours.

Building community connections online

2020 saw us launch a new innovative community platform, that connects people and supports digital engagement.

Hedland Collective Community Board →
Newman Futures Community Board →
Canning Community Board →


We designed and introduced the StreetNet concept – a hyper-local connection tool, offering people a simple and safe way to link up with neighbours in their own street, make friends and strengthen their community.

Hedland StreetNet →
Newman StreetNet →

Convening leaders

To help people during COVID-19, we curated the Stronger Together Conversations series where leading public figures and social commentators offered their insights and wisdom in a series of video interviews. While we were physically distanced, we could still find strength in the contributions and counsel of others.

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Conversations video series →

Adapting our work

We found innovative ways to enable public engagement to continue across our projects while physical meetings and workshops were not possible. We fast-tracked innovative ways of working to create opportunities for ourselves and our clients.

Read More

Innovation overcomes engagement →

A united approach to family and domestic violence

Through our role in Newman Futures and Hedland Collective, we have supported the WA Council of Social Service to coordinate the formation of the Pilbara Family Domestic Violence Network. This project has co-designed place-based solutions with local services with the goal to eradicate family and domestic violence in the Pilbara.

Empowering community voices in planning

Creating Communities designed and delivered a comprehensive community engagement process for Woolworths to help inform its planning of a landmark mixed-use development on the White Sands Tavern site at Scarborough Beach. At the Planning Institute of Australia (WA) annual awards in December, Creating Communities and Woolworths won the Public Engagement and Community Planning category for our work on the Future White Sands project.

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Celebrating community voices in planning →

"When there is such strong public interest in a proposal for the redevelopment of a landmark site like the White Sands Tavern, it is vital to get the public engagement process right. Hence Woolworths has invested in a comprehensive stakeholder and community engagement process. Against the challenging backdrop of COVID-19, Creating Communities facilitated an extensive and innovative process using a variety of methods that enabled all interested community members and stakeholders to have their say. That fact that the project won the Planning Institute of Australia (WA) Award for Excellence in Public Engagement and Community Planning this year speaks volumes for the quality of the engagement process Creating Communities developed and implemented."

— Alicia Jones, Woolworths

Image courtesy of Hall & Prior

Revitalising a historic heart

Creating Communities delivered an extensive community engagement process for aged care provider Hall and Prior. The proposal is to transform a significant and historical site in East Fremantle that was the homestead of local founders, Dalgety Moore family in the 1800s, and in more recent times the Woodside Maternity Hospital which closed in 2006.

The local community has embraced the plan and feedback at the open day revealed a strong level of connection to the facility which was a maternity hospital for more than 60 years.

"For Woodside, our focus for 2020 has been design and stakeholder engagement. As our plan is to be a long-term owner/operator on the development, our relationship with the community is supremely important. Not just because we want the local residents of East Fremantle to “like us” and have our development approved, but because our vision for aged care is one which is better integrated with the community that provides better health outcomes for our residents and the greater community. Andrew and Joseph at Creating Communities have been fantastic to work with and have immensely helped us better engage with the community and the Councillors and Staff at the Town of East Fremantle. Without them, I doubt our relationships would have been as well developed as they are now and I am super thankful we made the choice to partner with Creating Communities."

— Daniel Prior, Hall and Prior
A vibrant and united Lakelands community

The Lakelands residential estate in the City of Mandurah is one of Creating Communities’ longest-running land projects. Our role has involved encouraging community initiatives to bring people together and empowering them to be self-supporting into the future. Lakelands is now a community with a heart and great spirit.

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Our journey with Lakelands →

Global contribution

It’s been a big year for our Managing Director Donna Shepherd. As Chair of World Vision International she has been close to the action as World Vision has mounted its largest ever global humanitarian response to protect and support vulnerable communities from the impacts of COVID-19. This year Donna was awarded an Order of Australia (AM) in the Queen’s Birthday honours list for significant service to children through international humanitarian aid organisations. Donna was also awarded the PLC June Jones award for Significant Service in the community in December.

Creating Communities are proud to confirm their continued participation in the United Nations Global Compact and look forward to continuing to align our strategies and operations with the Compact and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Read More

2020 Communication on Progress →

Creating Communities team expands

We welcomed Cameron Robbins to our senior team in the role of Lead Community and Recreation. Michael Knight joined Creating Communities as Associate Economics and Desmond Taylor has supported our Newman Futures and Home in East Newman project as Associate Culture and Linguistics.

Lynden Prince, a mainstay of Creating Communities for 15 years is retiring. Lynden has always brought great compassion to her work across a wide range of community development roles and will be missed by us and the communities she worked with. We wish her well for her future.