Summary of Drop-in Sessions

The first community consultation sessions for the Dinawan Energy Hub were held at the townships of Coleambally on the 7 December, and Jerilderie on the 8 December 2021. Community members could drop in to engage with the Spark Renewables development team, read posters and FAQs about the proposed project, and provide feedback on the proposal via a survey.

The consultation sessions were advertised via local radio stations, newspapers, and mailbox letter drops. Around 30 individuals attended the sessions, including local residents, representatives of farming businesses and local organisations, as well as council staff.

Overall, feedback on the project was generally positive, with interest in the project size, technology, and mitigation of impacts. In terms of concerns, people wanted to understand how Spark Renewables would manage bushfire risk, impacts to native flora and fauna, and biodiversity. There were questions around the availability of workers during peak farming seasons, and plans for decommissioning and rehabilitation.

During the consultation, suggestions were made on potential community benefits, including improving telecommunications to enhance emergency communications, access to an electricity benefit sharing scheme, and a community fund that would provide funding for community projects over the life of the project.

Materials displayed at the consultation session are available here:

Community Values Questionnaire

Community members that attended the drop-in sessions were encouraged to fill out a survey to evaluate community values around the proposed Dinawan Energy Hub. There were 13 completed responses to the survey. While the sample size is relatively small, it provides insight into some of the priorities of local residents.

Survey responses indicated that the three most beneficial outcomes of the Dinawan Energy Hub would be: investment in the local community (69% of respondents or 9 people), road upgrades (62% or 8 respondents), and clean energy (54% or 7 respondents). One respondent (8%) considered increased tourism and another considered partnerships with Local Aboriginal Land Councils a beneficial outcome.

What aspects about the proposed project would you consider to be most beneficial?

Over half of the respondents (54% or 7 respondents) considered bushfire risk management as the most important concern relating to the project, with just under half of the respondents (46% or 6 respondents) also considering flora and fauna an important issue. Less than 1 in 4 people (23% or 3 respondents) would be concerned with the visual aspect, traffic and road safety, or land use impacts. 2 people (or 15% of respondents) considered noise an important concern and 2 people had no concerns about the project.

What aspects of the proposed project would you consider to be your main concerns?

Of all listed aspects, farming was considered most important by respondents (38% or 5 people), followed by landscape and native flora and fauna (23% or 3 respondents). One respondent considered community or family a valuable aspect in the area, and another respondent considered that to be work opportunities (8%). There were no responses for local history or cultural heritage.

What aspects do you value most in the area?

The survey will remain open and we will continue to collect feedback from the local community and stakeholders as development of the Dinawan Energy Hub proceeds. The survey can be accessed via this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DEH-Dec2021.