Governments around the world have instituted Transition Authorities as a key mechanism to make sure workers and communities are active participants and beneficiaries of our future energy system. RE-Alliance applauds this move towards a Transition Authority for Australia.
In Australia we have already seen the consequences of poorly managed local transitions, whether that is in relation to the decline of coal or manufacturing.
At RE-Alliance, our conviction is that the success of our energy transition nationally depends on the success of the transition at the local level. The personal experiences of local workers, landholders and communities are central. The transition must deliver significant economic benefit to communities hosting our solar farms, wind farms, transmission lines, batteries and pumped hydro plants in order to earn trust and acceptance of the changes occurring in their region.
As such, we would like to see a National Energy Transition Authority that is significantly expanded from the narrow remit foreshadowed in the Bill. The Authority must deliver benefits to workers, but it must also address the needs of other stakeholders including farmers, and local economies as a whole.
A properly resourced and expertly deployed Transition Authority will have the power to facilitate stronger regional economies across the nation. A successful Transition Authority will provide a legacy we can look back on for decades to come.
- We recommend the Bill assure support for all Renewable Energy Zones with local chapters of the Transition Authority.
- We recommend the bulk of the work of the Authority occur at the local level.
We recommend a National Transition Authority should include in its mandate:
- local-led economic and land use planning to ensure local chapters can pursue genuine community aspirations
- the provision of accessible information to communities about relevant planning process and opportunities to be involved
- expert support for farmers dealing with renewable energy developers;
- housing supply in key regions; and
- maximising local employment and addressing regional skill shortages.
- We recommend alternative methods of appointment to the Board and CEO role to what is outlined in the Bill to ensure merit-based processes are used to fill these roles.
- We recommend that a clear climate mandate be articulated in the Bill as further protection from local and national co-option for political or corporate interest.