Community Engagement

Outcomes-oriented businesses and government agencies are waking up to the fact that poor communication with Indigenous people can disable negotiations, skew consultative processes and contribute to disappointing results on both sides of the cultural divide.

Many managers, negotiators, and legal specialists with outstanding communications skills in a western environment find that Standard English, written documents, and meeting procedures often don’t transfer effectively to an Indigenous context. These same professionals acknowledge that authentic engagement can only occur by addressing communication and governance fundamentals. This is where Keogh Bay comes in.

Our overriding mission at Keogh Bay is to help western organisations and individuals improve the way in which they engage and communicate with Indigenous people. We accomplish this through:

  • Engagement and communication planning
  • Governance and partnership development
  • Plain English development and training
  • Indigenous communications tools and dialogue

Engagement and Communications Planning

Indigenous Communications Planning begins with an analysis of the communications context in which you or your organisation is operating.

  • What is the basis of your relationship with Aboriginal people?
  • What is the socio-linguistic and historical context in which this relationship will play out?
  • How will these matters influence the way in which Indigenous people interpret your actions?

Understanding these factors will help Keogh Bay outline an effective, long-term engagement and communications plan for your collaboration with Indigenous people.


Governance and partnership development

Keogh Bay has supported numerous western organisations and Indigenous groups develop durable mechanisms for collaboration.  Keogh Bay has a detailed knowledge of government systems and structures and the engagement needs of communities. This puts us in a unique position to help develop durable partnerships.  Here are just a few recent examples:

  • 2016-18 ARDS Aboriginal Corporation / NT Power & Water Corporation – Community Engagement Services: Keogh Bay planned and project managed NT Power and Water’s engagement with communities around infrastructure development.
  • 2018 NT Government, Department of the Chief Minister – Organisational Review for Big Rivers Regional Coordination Committee

The Big Rivers Regional Coordination Committee is a forum that brings together senior NT Government representatives and key community leaders, including Roper Gulf Regional Council, Katherine Town Council, Victoria Daly Regional Council and the Australian Government (PM&C) to address key regional issues for Katherine and the communities within the Big Rivers region. Keogh Bay was engaged by the NT Government (Department of the Chief Minister) to evaluate the current working arrangements of the Big Rivers Regional Coordination Committee and to identify opportunities to enhance the effectiveness of this forum. 2018 EON Foundation: Keogh Bay assisted EON Foundation to visit 10 NT Aboriginal communities and engage with community stakeholders about the deployment of EON’s Thriving Communities program. Thriving Communities helps Aboriginal schools and communities improve child health through the production of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Plain English Development and Training

Our Plain English (PE) skills have proved their worth over the years. Plain English is a critical communications technique in contexts where people speak English as a second language or dialect. This is the case across much of Indigenous Australia.

Keogh Bay also has expertise in drafting plain English legal agreements for both Indigenous and mainstream audiences. We can review the information you want to share with Indigenous people and advise you on the best approach. We can assist you to develop plain English communication tools to deploy at key meetings.

Keogh Bay can also train your team in the use of plain English and pictographic tools in a one-day, two-day or week-long training program.


Indigenous Communications Tools and Dialogue

The chances are your dialogue with Indigenous people will involve a series of discussions and cover several topics. Each of these engagements can be improved using communications tools to help to convey complex business and legal concepts to an Indigenous audience.

Keogh Bay’s tools and methods typically use a combination of graphics, plain English scripts and interpreters. Multimedia, animation and virtual reality are proving increasingly useful tools for imparting new information as part of a dialogue with Indigenous audiences.

Keogh Bay has a long-standing partnership with ARDS Aboriginal Corporation in the Northern Territory. ARDS has decades of experience in fostering dialogue with Aboriginal people on topics in law, health, science, mining and government in bilingual contexts. Together ARDS and Keogh Bay can help you and your dialogue partners to get the most from your engagement.

Further Information

To get more information on Keogh Bay’s community engagement experience, or to request a project quote, please contact us at:

Matt Wrigley on 0419763101 or by email to
Mark Simpson on 0417911858 or by email to
Ben Laidlaw on 0429728382 or by email to