Leadership program to support regional Queensland communities through renewables transition

As many parts of regional Queensland transition to more renewables in their energy mix, the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation (ARLF) and Queensland Conservation Council (QCC) will help community stakeholders to work together more effectively towards more effective outcomes for their region.

It involves a leadership development program that equips them with communication, planning and advocacy skills, and tools to help drive change in the interest of their community.

Aptly called the Shape Your Energy Future, the program is targeting areas within the Southern Queensland Renewable Energy region, especially the Western Downs, Southern Downs and South Burnett.

With applications now open, it will be held over five days next February and designed with communities and regional industries front of mind. A collaborative and pro-active leadership network of these stakeholders would be one of the outcomes.

“The program is open to anyone in these areas grappling with the challenges and opportunities that accompany the development of renewable energy infrastructure. It will involve participants from a range of industries, backgrounds and points of view,” ARLF chief executive Matt Linnegar explains.

“Everyone has a part to play to help shape the energy future of your community and region, but the pathways and tools to influence change are not always clear. We understand the power of collective leadership in navigating such change and the potency of networks to support ideas and projects that make a difference.”

How it will benefit communities experiencing a transition to renewables

QCC director Dave Copeman adds: “If the energy transformation is going to affect you – whether you’re a landholder, someone involved in economic development or regional planning, or anyone passionate and interested to know more, this program is for you.

“Every community has different needs and visions that must be considered as renewable energy projects are developed. It’s the local leaders that are vital to ensuring the best outcomes for their own region and this program will support them to do that.”

Such as:

  • Expanding your networks and meet others who think similarly and differently to you.
  • Discovering opportunities and how you can leverage these for your community’s benefit.
  • Think towards the future and learn long-range planning skills to help set the vision for your community.
  • Leading change by being part of future-shaping conversations and engaging a wider pool of people from your community in these.
  • Having a say in what matters to your community – enhance your ability to advocate on ideas of importance.
  • Developing tangible projects that will drive positive adoption of renewables in a way that will benefit your region. 

What the locals say

“There are no simple solutions to the challenges we face however, together, I believe we can create a future that is ours. Now is your chance to part of the conversation,” South Burnett Regional Council councillor Kirstie Schumacher says.

Ben Lyons, locally-based director of Southern Queensland University’s Rural Economies Centre, adds: “I really hope we can approach this upcoming energy opportunity with inclusiveness and equity, and that will largely come from leadership from within the regions.”

Shape Your Energy Future is funded by Boundless Earth and will be delivered by experienced facilitators from the ARLF and QCC. Applications close on 4 December 2023.

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