New manual sets standards for First Nations engagement in renewable energy projects

The guide aims to establish clear expectations for industry stakeholders while outlining essential considerations for engagement at each stage of a project's life cycle.

First nations guide renewables

The first comprehensive national guide focusing on meaningful engagement, consent, participation, and benefit-sharing with First Nations people on renewable energy projects has been launched.

Developed jointly by the Clean Energy Council and KPMG, and informed by the First Nations Clean Energy Network, the guide is titled "Leading Principles: First Nations and Renewable Energy Projects."

Through this collaboration, industry standards are aligned with Indigenous perspectives, signaling a significant step towards fostering stronger relationships and equitable outcomes within Australia's clean energy landscape.

Central to the guide's framework are the ten Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Best Practice Principles for Clean Energy Projects, developed by the First Nations Clean Energy Network.

First Nations Clean Energy Network co-chair, Karrina Nolan said First Nations are central to the Australian Government’s plan for the renewables roll out.

“The guide provides a new template for governments, industry and First Nations communities to work together towards the shared goal of more affordable, reliable and sustainable energy for all,” Nolan said.

“Meaningful engagement with First Nations communities leading to energy partnerships, equity and ownership opportunities stands to maximise community support for projects, increase opportunities for local employment and businesses, and deliver stronger outcomes for sustainability and energy security."

“The rights, interests and aspirations of First Nations peoples must be front and centre to achieve a just clean energy transformation, minimising risks, costs and delays for renewable energy projects being planned, developed and operated on country."

“And it's something which must be done in partnership with industry. This guide can help with that.“

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said the intention of the guide is to ensure respect for the rights of First Nations peoples and improved outcomes for communities.

“Australia’s clean energy sector has identified the need for stronger engagement and relationships with First Nations peoples,” Thornton said.

“We are proud to partner with the First Nations Clean Energy Network and KPMG to forge a path ahead for Australia’s clean energy industry to work hand in hand with First Nations communities.

“With proper practices in place, the essential work of the energy transition will not only accelerate Australia towards achieving its targets but provide First Nations Australians with an opportunity to be heard and play a crucial role in a defining economic shift for the country.”

Glen Brennan, KPMG Indigenous Services Lead, noted the depth of knowledge Indigenous stakeholders can bring to a project.

“First Nations communities have an intrinsic relationship with the natural environment and understanding of sustainable land cultivation and management through traditional knowledge and practices,” Brennan said.

To view a downloadable copy of the guide, go here.

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