Queensland Airports Limited

Issues management

Proactive communication support

Queensland Airports Limited (QAL) — which owns and operates Gold Coast, Townsville, Mount Isa and Longreach airports — engaged Rowland to provide support on a number of key Gold Coast projects, including gaining approval for the Instrument Landing System (ILS) and the multimillion-dollar terminal redevelopment (Project LIFT).

Rowland worked closely with QAL to develop and implement overarching communication strategies for these projects, which responded openly to community concerns and ensured key stakeholders understood the facts and benefits for airlines, passengers, the tourist industry, and the wider Gold Coast community.

Central to supporting QAL throughout the ILS approval process was an integrated proactive approach focused on addressing a grassroots misinformation campaign. Rowland developed key messages and supporting facts, which were shared across a variety of channels, including social media and QAL’s website.

As part of this campaign, Rowland advised QAL to undertake a public survey to gauge and share the Gold Coast community’s sentiments about the project. The survey results, which showed a high level of support for the ILS, became an important tool in helping QAL counter the negative minority’s comments, while also reinforcing the positive aspects of the project.

Rowland also worked closely with QAL to develop the supplementary report, the key document relied on by the then Minister and his advisers, which helped inform the decision to approve the ILS.

In tandem with our work on the ILS project, Rowland provided stakeholder engagement advice and support for Project LIFT – a proposed redevelopment of existing terminal facilities to meet future demand.

There was widespread support for Project LIFT due to the employment, tourism and other economic benefits for the region. However, QAL was conscious of balancing the expectations of some stakeholders with misperceptions about the scope of the project, and environmental and cultural heritage concerns.

Rowland’s approach was to highlight the benefits of the project for the region and leverage key stakeholder support; proactively work with stakeholders to identify, mitigate and manage anticipated issues; and provide information about the proposed redevelopment and how stakeholders could make a formal submission regarding the project.

Rowland continues to provide ongoing support to QAL on various projects, including branding and positioning programs.


  • Issues management strategy and advice
  • Preparation of communication materials
  • Development and review of key sections of the Instrument Landing System, draft Major Development Plan, Supplementary Report
  • Media training
  • Branding and positioning support

Our approach was to highlight the project’s benefits and leverage key stakeholder support, and proactively work with stakeholders to identify, mitigate and manage anticipated issues.