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First Nations voices and rights are central to Australia's clean energy transition

The Clean Energy Council has just released its guide to engaging with First Nations peoples on renewable energy projects. The guide is based around best practice principles originally drawn up by the First Nations Clean Energy Network (FNCEN). Read the FNCEN's foreword to the guide below

We know the solutions for our communities.

We believe Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities have the means to self-determine our own futures and protect our country. And when we self-determine, things are done the right way for generations.

This guide presents another opportunity to reset relationships with Government and the clean energy industry and ensure sustainable power generation for all of us.

We can see the benefits and potential opportunity that the transition to renewables could bring.

We want to plan, design, own and operate community-to-large scale power systems on Country in ways that support inclusion and participation of our communities and people while building intergenerational wealth and environmental sustainability.

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We know that when we have the opportunity to consent, co-design, collaborate and co-own or own clean energy projects, project delay, cost and risk is significantly reduced, and community support, social licence and reputation is massively increased.

The First Nations Clean Energy Network was formed to ensure First Nations people both play a central role in and harness the opportunities from Australia’s renewable energy boom, and that the rapid transition to clean energy occurs fairly for First Nations people and communities.

The Network’s Best Practice Principles for Clean Energy Projects are designed for the clean energy industry, government and communities, and cover such things as ensuring projects provide economic and social benefits, mutual respect, clear communication, cultural and environmental considerations, landcare, business employment opportunities and free, prior and informed consent (FPIC).

We are very pleased that the Clean Energy Council has worked with us to transform our Best Practice Principles into a handbook for the clean energy industry to follow.

With just 14 significant First Nations clean energy project partnerships in development to date, we expect many more to be announced as a result of this guide being implemented by the clean energy industry in Australia.

As Canada has found, First Nations participation in energy partnerships can reduce delay, risk and costs across the project lifecycle by increasing engagement, community buy-in, local employment, business development and benefit-sharing opportunities, realising positive impacts on land, social licence and energy security, and achieving sustainable clean energy projects.

Our First Nations voices, interests, aspirations and rights are central to the country’s energy transition which we know must be done at pace and with justice in order to tackle climate change.

To read the guide, click here.