The installation of renewable energy infrastructure is being accelerated across the country to meet the increased targets set by the Australian and State Governments.
While the benefits of renewable energy and emissions reduction are well-documented, the impacts of these installations on local communities must also be appropriately managed and planned for.
Regional Capitals Australia (RCA) has recently developed a policy paper to address the legitimate concerns of regional communities and highlighted the importance of genuine consultation in the planning phase of energy projects.
In particular, RCA is seeking that:
- Best practice stakeholder engagement standards: should be established by the Australian Government to ensure that project proponents are aware of their responsibilities for consultation and engagement; and
- Strategic stakeholders must have a seat at the table: in key consultation forums to ensure there is a deep understanding of local and regional issues.
The outcomes of effective consultation can play an important role in the success of a project and RCA looks forward to working with the government to ensure these principles are adopted.