Australia-first code for renewable projects to help communities

Published Tuesday, 16 April, 2024 at 10:23 AM

Minister for Energy and Clean Economy Jobs
The Honourable Mick de Brenni

  • Queensland to set up mandatory nation-leading renewables code of conduct to ensure locals benefit first and foremost from renewable energy jobs boom
  • Code to set standard for social licence and regional community priorities
  • $20 million seed funding to establish a lasting and genuine community legacy
  • Builds on more than $9 million in support for Local Energy Partnerships Initiative

The Miles Government is ensuring Queenslanders are full partners in the state’s clean energy transition thanks to an Australian-first mandatory code of conduct, for renewable energy developers to set new standards for social licence.

Regional Queensland is the engine room of the renewable energy transformation and will attract about 95 per cent of infrastructure investment, and a vast majority of the predicted 100,000 new jobs by 2040.

The proposed code, which will be co-designed with stakeholders, will ensure renewable energy developers engage genuinely with landholders and communities when developing, building and operating new generation and storage projects.

In addition, the Miles Government will lead by injecting $20 million to ensure communities can engage in, and share the benefits of the transition.

The funding, part of the Regional Economic Futures Fund, will support outcomes to enable communities to establish legacy infrastructure, and advance critical services, with a focus on areas set to host future renewable energy zone development.

Today’s announcement comes following feedback from key industry groups and advocacy organisations.

The code is intended to focus on demonstrating tangible benefits for communities, including improvements to infrastructure, jobs, local economy, the environment and social fabric.

In developing the code, the Miles Government will consider the findings of the Commonwealth’s Independent Community Engagement Review. It will be co-designed collaboratively with the energy, environment, and agriculture sectors.

Local councils, Elders and community stakeholders will also prove vital in ensuring the transition reflects best practice, and meets the priorities of regional communities.

New projects are already subject to Queensland’s strong environmental assessments and approval processes. This code could put social licence at the forefront of future projects proceeding.

The commitment to developing the code responds to stakeholder feedback on the Energy Transformation Bill.

It builds on the Local Energy Partnerships Initiative, with $9.25 million invested to create the framework for government and energy providers to work collaboratively with communities.

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Energy and Clean Economy Jobs, Mick de Brenni:
“I expect that this nation-leading code will put communities firmly at the forefront of the energy transition, because they should have a genuine seat at the table when it comes to decisions in their local area.

“Because we’re committed to ensuring the transition benefits all Queenslanders, we’re ensuring local communities reap the reward by making social licence a race to the top.

“We’ve listened to key advocacy groups like the Queensland Farmers Federation and the Local Government Association Queensland, and have taken on feedback from those who know their local communities best.

“And, the message from the Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner in the independent Community Engagement Review is clear: communities must have a genuine seat at the table.

“We’ve dedicated $20 million seed funding for community legacy outcomes, and developers are encouraged to enhance the legacy outcomes from their projects,

“If developers want to be approved to connect to the Queensland SuperGrid, they’ll need to show that they can work in partnership with the local community – because locals know their area best.

“We already have stringent environmental assessments and approvals that must occur before any renewable energy project can get up and running. This code could help ensure social licence is at the forefront of these projects progressing.

“Queensland wants to set the benchmark globally for leading practice when it comes to the clean energy transition, and we are ensuring priority is given to communities, landholders and critically, environmental protections.”

Quotes attributable to Queensland Farmers’ Federation CEO Jo Sheppard:  
“There is no transition without successful engagement with regional and rural Queensland.

“The potential to see regional communities benefit appropriately from the significant amount of investment proposed can only be realised through the development and implementation of a transparent, effective and comprehensive process to enable community and industry engagement.

“QFF welcomes the code of conduct and the Local Energy Partnerships Initiative which are both important steps in setting standards for energy developer’s social licence requirements and supporting the priorities of regional communities.”

Quotes attributable to Local Government Association Queensland CEO, Alison Smith:
“If communities are hosting major renewable energy generation it’s only right that they benefit from their fair share of the economic and social benefits that will come from these large-scale projects.

“That means locking in social licence with upfront, detailed guarantees of improved liveability in these areas, with a focus on supporting local jobs, local businesses and understanding the impact on infrastructure such as housing, roads and water.

“Having this nation-leading code locked in also provides certainty and security for regional communities and their councils.”

Quotes attributable to WWF- Australia Senior Manager of Climate and Energy Policy, Ariane Wilkinson:
“WWF-Australia welcomes this new initiative and looks forward to participating in the process.”

"Initiatives like this are critical to support the urgent shift from fossil fuels to clean energy and reduce the catastrophic impacts, driven by climate change, that Queenslanders are suffering.

“Renewable energy developments need to earn the trust of communities and must be good for people and nature. A mandatory code of practice is a welcome opportunity to ensure that Queensland’s transition to renewables better delivers for communities, climate and nature.”

Quotes attributable to Queensland Renewable Energy Council CEO Katie Anne-Mulder:  
“We welcome the development of a code of practice for the renewable energy industry that provides clarity to developers of the expectations of both communities and government on what is required for meaningful and best practice engagement.

“Communities want a co-ordinated approach to managing local impacts and enduring regional benefits, while industry wants policy certainty and timely approvals.

“Queensland is at the forefront of the transition to renewable energy and we need to get landholder and community engagement right to realise the full potential of this exciting new industry.”

Quotes attributable to Smart Energy Council CEO, John Grimes:
“Queensland leads the nation in the roll out of smart energy policy, and it’s leading the nation in ensuring local communities benefit from the renewables rollout. 

“Renewable energy means jobs and investment in local communities and the renewable energy industry is committed to working with local communities to maximise those benefits.” 

Quotes attributable to Clean Energy Council CEO Kane Thornton: 
“Queensland has an enormous opportunity to become a global clean energy superpower, with vast investment in renewable energy projects that can deliver enormous benefits to communities right across the state.

“Australia needs to work together to build the renewable energy projects our system requires, and part of that team effort is ensuring communities are a part of and benefit from these projects.

“We look forward to working with the Queensland Government and other stakeholders to ensure the code meets the needs of communities and the businesses building the critical projects that will power Queensland’s future.”   

Quotes attributable to Iberdrola Australia Chairman and CEO, Ross Rolfe, AO: 
“Iberdrola Australia fully supports this code of conduct for renewable energy infrastructure development. A core principle of our business strategy is fairly sharing the benefits of the energy with regional Australia and regional Australians.

“Our business has twenty years of experience developing renewable projects in regional Australia and through that time we have learnt the importance of open communication, ongoing consultation and substantive, long-term contributions to the local economy, environmental protection and enhancement and community.

“The energy transition presents extensive opportunities for regional Australians to benefit from jobs, training and localisation of supply chains. We look forward to working with government, industry, small business and community to ensure these opportunities are widely shared by regional Australians.”


Queensland has among the most stringent and significant environmental approvals processes in the nation.

The Department of State Development, the Department of Planning, the Department of Energy and the Co-ordinator General work collaboratively to ensure all new significant projects adhere to relevant state and national environmental policies and regulations.

In developing the code, the Miles Government will aim to focus on social licence, and ensure existing environmental approvals remain a core-focus of Government and developers of renewable energy projects.


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