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Community Engagement Review a step forward in Australia's energy transformation

Today’s release of the final report from the Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner’s Community Engagement Review marks a milestone for building and maintaining a stronger relationship between industry and the regional communities hosting renewable energy projects across Australia.

The Community Engagement Review was led by Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner, Andrew Dyer, and commissioned by the Albanese Government in July 2023.

The review aims to provide advice on the best pathways to maximise engagement and benefit for local communities in the process of planning, developing and operating energy infrastructure, including landowners and First Nations people.

The Commonwealth Government has provided in-principle support to all nine of the recommendations made in the final report. These include:

  • 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;
  • Equitably sharing the benefits of the transformation; and
  • Reducing unnecessary community engagement (where infrastructure will not ultimately be located) by improving the way project sites are selected.

Clean Energy Council Chief Policy & Impact Officer, Arron Wood, reaffirmed the commitment of industry to engaging in good faith with local communities throughout the life cycle of renewable energy projects.

“Stronger community engagement is critical to successful development of renewable energy projects and meeting Australia’s commitment to 82 per cent renewables by 2030, and we welcome the release of this report,” he said.

“We welcome the report’s acknowledgement that, beyond improving the practice of community engagement, there are a range of planning process challenges that governments should review to improve community experiences with renewable energy developments.

Specific recommendations around developer rating schemes and a greater role for governments in determining the location of early-stage project feasibility work, if implemented, would need to be undertaken very carefully to avoid delays to projects leading to energy security risks.

“Community engagement and effective communication are the antidotes to the misinformation that is being used to stir division within some regional communities,” Wood said.

“Genuine engagement in good faith from all parties is needed to ensure that we get the balance right between managing community expectations and getting on with the job of building the generation, transmission and storage infrastructure that Australia urgently needs.

“This is why the Clean Energy Council works closely with industry to establish and develop best practice.

“We look forward to working with the Commissioner and Commonwealth, state and territory governments in responding to each of the report’s recommendations.”


For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:

Liam Straughan
Clean Energy Council Media Officer
[email protected]
+61 409 470 683