Advisory Council on Social Licence

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AEMO has established the Advisory Council on Social Licence to better understand broader community sentiment, execution challenges and possible opportunities presented by the construction of new energy infrastructure. An inability to secure community acceptance or ‘social licence’ for new projects could create significant delays, increase costs and threaten the delivery of infrastructure that is vital for Australia’s transition to net zero emissions by 2050. Such delays must be considered as part of the Integrated System Plan (ISP) development cycle. 

Peta Ashworth

Peta is the Director of Ash Research. Peta brings over thirty years' experience working in a range of senior management, consulting and research roles. She has extensive experience in community engagement and stakeholder management and has been researching public attitudes to energy and climate change. Peta co-authored the CSIRO Home Energy Saving Handbook to help Australian householders save money and reduce their overall energy use, and she has an interest in designing processes for engaging on complex and contested issues with a focus on science and technology innovations. She was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for her contribution to science in the area of sustainable energy.

Andrew Bray

Andrew has been the National Director of RE-Alliance since 2013, including the period until 2019 when the organisation operated as the Australian Wind Alliance. In that time, Andrew has built the organisation to become the leading voice advocating for regional communities in issues around the energy transition, especially transmission, community benefit sharing and addressing impacts on local communities. 

In 2021, Andrew was awarded the Clean Energy Council's Outstanding Contribution to Industry Award for his long-standing work in these areas. Based in one of New South Wales' prime wind districts, the Southern Tablelands, Andrew is passionate about the contribution renewable energy can make to rural and regional economies while helping Australia transition to a cleaner future.

Amanda Cahill

Amanda is the CEO of The Next Economy. She has spent over two decades working with inspiring people across Australia, Asia and the Pacific to create positive change on issues as diverse as economic development, public health, gender equality and climate adaptation.

The focus of her work at The Next Economy is to support communities, government, industry and others to develop a more resilient, just and regenerative economy. Most of this work involves supporting regional communities in Australia to strengthen their economies by embracing the transition to zero emissions. She is also widely sought after as a presenter and media commentator and has appeared in a number of books and films including the film 2040.

Amanda completed her PhD at the Australian National University on participatory action research approaches to economic development in the Philippines. She is an Adjunct Lecturer at The University of Queensland, an Industry Fellow at the Sydney Policy Lab at the University of Sydney, and a 2020 Churchill Fellow.

Russell Dunn

Russell is a Wiradjuri man and a member of the Wiradjuri elder’s council. He has been a ministerial appointee to several advisory committees.

Russell has over 30 years’ experience in the fields of Aboriginal issues, conservation and Land Use planning working with State and Federal governments, the private sector and Traditional Owners.

Gavin Dufty

Gavin has over 30 years of leadership experience in community welfare and advocacy, along with a comprehensive understanding of consumer protection issues related to energy and water.  He has participated in multiple high-level forums and working groups including the AEMC Reliability Panel and has contributed to the development of Victorian Retail Code and the National Consumer Energy Framework.

Darren Edwards

 Darren established Energy Grid Alliance after becoming acutely aware that regional communities were struggling to have their voices heard and understand how to actively participate in a transmission projects development to best shape its outcome. Darren lives live in the regional communities he supports but independence and objectivity are fundamental principles that underpin his approach to all discussions and engagement around renewable electricity transmission. 

Darren has been involved in examination of electricity transmission regulation and energy policy from environmental, socio-economic, and social licence perspectives. He has published with respect to energy regulatory frameworks and policy across complex issues, with current research focusing on the laws, policies, and objectives governing electricity transmission development. He is passionate about just and equitable transmission development for regional communities and has advised government, industry, local government, and non-government organisations on issues relating to the energy transition, energy regulation, and policy.

Darren works collaboratively with all stakeholders to help develop best practice planning guidelines, transmission development policy and framework that better facilitates delivery of new electricity transmission projects. He advocates the need for and importance of multi criteria analysis during route selection as well as early community and landholder involvement to help acquire and maintain social licence.

Warrick Jordan

Warrick Jordan is a Hunter Region local with twenty years’ experience in regional economic and environment issues across several states, including in relation to worker, employment and community aspects of the energy transition. He has worked for civil society, government and the private sector, and is currently the Coordinator of the Hunter Jobs Alliance, a union-environment alliance focused on regional structural change and energy in the Hunter.

Karrina Nolan

Karrina is the Executive Director of Original Power. Karrina is a descendant of the Yorta Yorta people. She is an experienced manager and organiser of complex programs and initiatives in Aboriginal communities and has worked as a facilitator, trainer, researcher and strategist alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, young people and communities for over 25 years. 

Most recently, Karrina has been building the capacity for self-determination in the context of economic development, climate change and clean energy. She supports communities’ capacity to organise, act decisively, share knowledge and make informed decisions which take into account long-term community needs as well as country and culture. As a Churchill Fellow, Karrina worked with First Nations women in Canada, the USA and Australia collating lessons to grow women's leadership capacity and engagement in community and civic life. She dedicated an Atlantic Fellowship to determining how to best build clean energy projects by and for First Nations people.

Andrew Richards

Andrew has over 30 years of energy industry and infrastructure development experience having held a variety of senior management roles in the areas of sales and marketing, public and stakeholder relations, media and communications, strategic planning, policy development, stakeholder engagement and political advocacy.

Andrew has been Chief Executive Officer of the Energy Users Association of Australia (EUAA) since the middle of 2016. The EUAA is the peak national body representing Australian commercial and industrial electricity and gas users. EUAA membership covers a broad cross-section of the Australian economy including significant retail, manufacturing, mining, materials and food processing industries.
With significant experience in energy policy, political advocacy and stakeholder engagement Andrew continues to play a key role in a range of forums.

Andrew is also deeply involved in ongoing engagement on behalf of energy users with the ACCC, AEMC, ESB, COAG Energy Council, AER and via numerous industry related customer reference groups.

Joy Thomas

Joy has over 30 years’ experience as an advisor to Government, industry and not-for-profit organisations. Her experience and expertise covers a wide range of key policy areas for rural and regional communities, including water and agriculture policy, energy policy and regulation, and regional development. 

From 2014 to 2022, Joy was Policy and Strategy Advisor at the National Irrigators’ Council. During that time, she led the work of the Agricultural Energy Taskforce, established by a group of peak agricultural bodies to advocate for affordable and reliable energy while seeking opportunities to enable the farming sector to transition to renewable technologies. 

Through the Taskforce’s work with the Energy Charter, Joy was a key part of the industry efforts to develop the #BetterTogether – Landholder and Community Social Licence Guidelines to provide a practical guide for co-existence between transmission infrastructure and agriculture to mitigate negative impacts and prioritise shared value through the energy transition.

Information on additional SLAC participants:

Andrew Dyer  

Andrew commenced in the role of National Wind Farm Commissioner in November 2015. The role and name of the Commissioner was expanded to the Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner on 26 March 2021. Andrew is an experienced executive, chairman and company director. He serves on a number of boards and advisory boards and is a Professorial Fellow at Monash University.

Previous board roles include Chairman of the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman Council and serving on the boards of the Transport Accident Commission, GWM Water, the East Grampians Health Service as well as the boards of various commercial and not-for-profit entities.

Andrew’s professional career includes executive and operational roles in the utilities, telecommunications, information technology and professional services industries, primarily in Australia and North America. He was also the Victorian Government Commissioner to the Americas, based in San Francisco.


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