The National Farmers’ Federation supports the establishment of the Australian Local Power Agency as proposed by Federal Member for Indi, Dr Helen Haines and which will be the subject of an inquiry by the Environment and Energy Parliamentary Committee.
“Affordability and reliability of electricity is a significant barrier to effective regional and rural development,” NFF CEO Tony Mahar said.
“The proposed Local Power Agency will address this barrier by putting regional communities and stakeholders in the driver’s seat.”
Mr Mahar said the establishment of a central agency would offer financial assistance and provide technical expertise in the development of community energy projects, especially small and mid-scale energy projects.
“A city-centric approach to developing our electricity systems has simply created more cost for regional communities. Large scale generation and multi-billion-dollar transmission lines are not the only solution to our electricity problem, and certainly not to the benefit of regional communities.”
Mr Mahar said small and mid-scale renewable projects were the most cost-effective way to deliver electricity to regional and rural communities, and did not have the same land-use conflicts as large-scale projects.
In February 2021, the NFF launched its Regionalisation Agenda which provides a clear pathway for regional development, leveraging Australians heightened interest in working and living outside urban centres. The delivery of affordable and reliable energy for regional Australia is a key tenet of the agenda.
“There are untapped economic opportunities in the bush. The NFF and Dr Haines are on a unity ticket with respect to the Australian Local Power Agency and its role in solving the energy challenge that will facilitate these opportunities,” Mr Mahar said.