The Australian Government welcomes the release of the Community Engagement Review and accepts in principle all its recommendations.
Andrew Dyer, Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner (AEIC), led the independent Community Engagement Review.
The Minister for Climate Change and Energy commissioned the Review in July 2023 to advise on improving community engagement on renewable energy infrastructure developments.
The Review sought input from a range of stakeholders, including landholders and community members living close to developments.
The Review was completed at the end of December 2023 and identified opportunities to ensure community support and participation in Australia’s renewable energy transition.
The Australian Government released the Review in February 2024 and accepts in principle all recommendations from the Commissioner.
Report from the Review
The Review made recommendations in the following areas to improve engagement with renewable energy infrastructure developments:
- encourage best practice and select reputable developers for new projects
- reduce unnecessary and onerous community engagement by improving the way project sites are selected
- 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 also recognised current initiatives by all levels of governments to address community expectations. This includes the Australian Energy Market Commission’s recent implementation of the Australian Government’s proposed market rules. The proposed market rules will strengthen the community engagement requirements of transmission infrastructure businesses.
Read the Review:
Response to the Review
The Australian Government accepts in principle all 9 recommendations in the Review.
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 Australian Government has also been working 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.
Read the response:
The Review held over 75 meetings with representative stakeholders, landholders and community groups.
The Review also invited organisations and community members to have their say or to make a written submission.
The Review received:
- over 250 online survey responses
- over 500 written submissions.
- Media release announcing the release of the Community Engagement Review on 2 February 2024
- Media release announcing Community consultation key to developing renewable energy infrastructure on 4 July 2023
- Information about the social licence and community support for new energy infrastructure
- AEIC 2022 Annual Report
- AEIC Opening Statement to Senate Estimates – 23 May 2023
- AEIC Guideline – Considerations for Landholders before entering into Commercial Agreements
- The Australian Energy Market Operator’s 2022 Integrated System Plan (ISP)
- Queensland Renewable Energy Landholder Toolkit (QFF)
- RE-Alliance (2021) Building Trust for Transmission – Earning the Social Licence Needed to Plug in Australia’s Renewable Energy Zones