Community Benefits Sharing Program
Like any major infrastructure project, the North West Transmission Developments has the potential to impact on communities during construction and operation. Developing a community benefits sharing program is part of TasNetworks’ commitment to ensuring an ongoing and sustainable positive legacy for communities in North West Tasmania.
Following the close of the 2022 co-design process for the community benefits sharing program, the proposed benefits program framework and governance arrangements were endorsed by the TasNetworks Board in March 2023.
Developing a Community Benefits Sharing Program for North West Tasmania
During 2022, TasNetworks undertook a co-design process with the local community and stakeholders to develop, refine and finalise a proposed community benefits sharing program (benefits program) for the NWTD. This included engagement to collect feedback on program eligibility, funding, governance, and administration.
Using a co-design approach
A co-design process was used to develop the benefits program for the NWTD project to ensure that the benefits the program will deliver are the ones that the local community most value.
A key aspect of the process was the creation of a Youth Panel. Young people are the community members who will be living with the project for the longest, but they are very often completely absent from community engagement processes. Incorporating a Youth Panel within the process guaranteed the involvement of young people in the co-design of a benefits program.
The Youth Panel was asked to draft a community benefits sharing framework to ensure the values, concerns and priorities of the local community, and in particular young people in North West Tasmania, were reflected in the benefits the program will deliver.
The co-design process also involved local community members and stakeholders who were invited to share their feedback about the Youth Panel’s draft framework. Opportunities to provide feedback included community BBQ events, focus groups, stakeholder workshops, an online survey and during meetings of the NWTD Stakeholder Liaison Group. This collective feedback was considered by the Youth Panel before it delivered its final recommendations.
Governance of the benefits program
The final element of the co-design process was the involvement of local stakeholders in the development of the governance arrangements for the program’s implementation. Stakeholders with experience of, and an interest in, community grant programs shared their insights into the governance elements that are needed to effectively administer a benefits program. This included things like:
- How the program could be administered
- Who should assess and identify successful applications under the program
- The best ways to arrange funding to get maximum benefits.
This guidance was used to draft a range of governance options which were tested with stakeholders before they were finalised.
Utilising this iterative, co-design approach for both the development of the benefits program and how it will be implemented, ensures the program will deliver the benefits the North West community value and addresses local concerns, interests, and priorities.
Roles and responsibilities
TasNetworks will be responsible for the administration and governance of the community benefits sharing program. An independent community assessment panel will be responsible for reviewing and selecting successful initiatives for funding. Panel members will be drawn from the six local government areas that will be affected by the NWTD project in North West Tasmania.
The benefits program will provide a total of $10M for initiatives providing benefits to communities in the six local government areas affected by the NWTD, subject to final investment decision. The benefits program will commence alongside the construction of the NWTD. On that basis, the benefits program is expected to operate between 2025 and 2029, or until such time as the financial investment has been expended.
A formal evaluation of the efficacy of the benefits program and the assessment and panel processes will be undertaken following the first year or two of the program to allow for program improvements and refinements. This evaluation will be undertaken by TasNetworks in concert with the members of the independent community assessment panel and invited subject matter expert participants with relevant qualifications and experiences.
Framework - Community Benefits Sharing Program
Based on the co-design process, a framework for the community benefits sharing program was approved by the TasNetworks Board in March 2023.
Co-design Process Summary - Community Benefits Sharing Program
TasNetworks undertook a co-design process to develop the NWTD Community Benefits Sharing Framework.