community voices eoi
10 July, 2024 · 3 MIN READ

Queensland Hydro seeks more community voices to shape proposed Borumba Pumped Hydro Project.

An Expression of Interest is open for one of three community-based consultation groups.

Queensland Hydro is seeking additional input from local residents, businesses owners and community advocates to provide even more opportunities for their voices to be heard during the development of the proposed Borumba Pumped Hydro Project.

The game-changing project, which will require thousands of workers during peak construction and inject millions of dollars into the local economy, is targeting first power in 2030.

An Expression of Interest (EOI) is now open, asking interested community members to put their hand up for one of three initiatives: as a member on the reformed Stakeholder Reference Group, in one of the newly established focus groups, or on the Community Benefits Panel.

The Community Benefits Panel has been established after Queensland Hydro launched the draft Community Benefits Framework in February this year. The final Framework, due to be finalised this year, will underpin a community benefits package, which includes an initial $5 million to deliver local mountain bike and walking trails, progress proposed plans to build a second stage to the Mary Valley rail trail and support the development of an Imbil Master Plan.

Queensland Hydro CEO Kieran Cusack said earlier this year community feedback was sought on how to best deliver lasting, positive benefits through its programs and initiatives.

“We care about our communities and stakeholders and want them to have a say in the process to shape our proposed projects,” Mr Cusack said.

“We’ll work closely and transparently with the community to honour the diverse perspectives and local knowledge they bring. We want to be good neighbours, and this means listening to local communities so we can co-design our projects with their input.

“The community told us they wanted to be more involved in the decisions that impact their community. We have listened, and I’m pleased to announce we are providing even more opportunities for this to occur.”

The three initiatives include:

Stakeholder Reference Group (SRG)

The Borumba Project Stakeholder Reference Group (SRG) is a consultative group which aims to capture stakeholder feedback on the Project facilitating transparent, two-way community and stakeholder engagement. It is a core part of Queensland Hydro’s engagement with community, ensuring that stakeholder input informs the Project’s design, construction, and operation. SRG meetings provide a forum for discussions about wide ranging project topics such as environmental assessments, Project design, potential impacts, community benefits and more.

Focus Groups

While the SRG covers a broad range of topics and updates, focus groups are designed to capture community and stakeholder feedback through facilitated in-depth discussions on dedicated topics. While each focus group will have a membership that is tailored to the specific topic, Queensland Hydro will seek to distribute interests and skill sets across the focus groups to ensure a diversity of perspectives are shared.

Community Benefits Panel

The Community Benefits Panel will include members independent of Queensland Hydro. The Panel will review, assess, and recommend eligible applications for funding for endorsement by Queensland Hydro. This ensures that funding decisions are made for the community, by the community.

Each group has a unique opportunity to provide a significant contribution to the development of the proposed Borumba Project, partnering with Queensland Hydro to help ensure long-term benefits for the community.

Residents, businesses, not-for-profit organisations and other local community members are invited to submit their EOI by Sunday 21 July 2024 by completing an online registration form. Individuals will be asked to detail their local connections and expertise to ensure a balanced range of ages, backgrounds and interests.

The EOIs will be assessed by representatives from Queensland Hydro and an independent third-party facilitator to ensure the selection process is equitable.

Successful applicants will be contacted directly by Queensland Hydro.

First published 10 July 2024.