The Australian Government welcomes the release of the Community Engagement Review and accepts in principle all recommendations.
The Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner, Mr Andrew Dyer, completed the independent Review into community engagement in renewable energy infrastructure projects at the end of December 2023.
The Review identified opportunities to ensure community support and participation in Australia’s renewable energy transition.
The recommendations will improve community engagement practices for new renewable energy zones and major transmission lines, which will maintain our energy security and delivery cheaper and cleaner energy.
The Australian Government has responded to the Review and accepts in principle all 9 recommendations.
While implementing some of the recommendations will be shared across all levels of government in Australia, many fall within the responsibility of state and territory governments.
The Australian Government’s Climate Change and Energy Minister will work with the relevant state and territory government climate change and energy ministers to progress the recommendations. This will occur through the Energy and Climate Change Ministerial Council.
The Review acknowledged the work the Australian Government has been doing with state and territory governments, industry, peak bodies and communities to progress:
- national guidelines on community engagement and benefit sharing in the development of transmission infrastructure
- a First Nations Clean Energy Strategy to ensure First Nations peoples have a say in renewable energy policies and programs
- a Nationally Significant Transmission Projects Framework to help accelerate project delivery
- Renewable Energy Transformation Agreements to align Australian Government and state and territory government approval processes.
The Review made recommendations in the following areas to improve engagement with renewable energy infrastructure developments:
- encourage best practice and selecting reputable developers for new projects
- reduce unnecessary and onerous community engagement by selecting project sites
- make engagement more efficient by revising planning and approval processes
- improve complaint handling processes
- keep communities informed about the transition, including its goals, benefits and requirements
- equitably share the benefits of the transition.
The Review sought input from a range of stakeholders and held over 75 meetings with landholders and community groups living close to renewable energy developments.
The Review’s online consultation also received over 750 submission responses.