Government welcomes renewable infrastructure engagement review findings
The Albanese Government has welcomed the final report from the Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner’s Community Engagement Review and has accepted in principle all recommendations.
The Government commissioned the review to provide advice on more effective ways to engage landowners and communities directly affected by the renewable energy transformation, and to drive long-term economic and social benefits for these areas.
Aging and increasingly unreliable energy assets are retiring from our electricity network. These need to be replaced to make sure everyone has reliable access to reliable, cleaner, cheaper power.
We need more renewable projects, renewable energy zones, and transmission lines connecting generation to where it’s needed.
But for a decade the LNP ignored the impact of building new energy assets, such as transmission lines, on regional and rural communities and failed to improve how our energy projects are rolled out in communities.
The Albanese Government is committed to an equitable energy transition that provides genuine benefits to those involved.
Communities and landholders deserve better engagement, which is why the Government has accepted in principle all nine recommendations made by Commissioner Mr Andrew Dyer. These include:
- reducing unnecessary community engagement (where infrastructure will not ultimately be located) by improving the way project sites are selected
- increasing early local collaboration
- revising planning and approval processes to be more transparent and streamlined when it comes to community feedback
- motivating developers to ensure best practice engagement
- improving complaints handling
- keeping communities better informed on energy transition goals, benefits and needs; and
- equitably sharing the benefits of the transformation.
The Government will now work with states and territories, industry and communities to address the review’s findings.
“Local landholders and regional communities are absolutely crucial to our renewable energy transformation,” Minister Bowen said.
“Where these projects are done well, communities benefit from more jobs, cheaper energy, better connectivity and more business opportunities. And I am/we are determined to make the transformation a positive experience for communities.
“The Albanese Government is working to make sure their needs are being heard and taken into account earlier, and in a way that drives genuine mutual benefit for everyone involved wherever possible.
“After a decade of inaction from the Opposition, this review adds to the work already underway to improve the role communities play in delivering the necessary transformation of our energy system to keep the lights on.
“This report signals to regional and rural communities that we are determined to improve developer engagement to provide better information about an individual’s rights, involve communities earlier and more effectively, and properly handle complaints.
“Commissioner Dyer’s findings will help smooth Australia’s energy transformation and ensure greater project participation and equity.”
Commissioner Dyer’s review recognised work already underway across all levels of government to address community expectations. This includes:
- new market rules from the Albanese Government to strengthen community engagement requirements for transmission infrastructure businesses
- national guidelines, being developed with state and territory Energy Ministers, on community engagement and benefit sharing in the development of transmission infrastructure
- a First Nations Clean Energy Strategy to ensure First Nations people have a say in renewable energy policies and programs
- renewable Energy Transformation Agreements to align state and federal government approval processes.
To read the Community Engagement Review final report, head to http://energy.gov.au/engagement-review