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First Nations people

Increasing clean energy interest in First Nations Countries requires prioritising cultural safety, security and proficiency. If managed sensitively and respectfully, the energy transition offers a chance to bring meaningful outcomes for First Nations Peoples and revitalise their future.

First Nations’ Country is not simply an energy asset – rather, it embodies a complex system of interconnected relationships between People and Country, forming a cohesive BioCultural whole. Each Country contains a rich blend of natural, cultural, human, social, political, financial, and built capital, all of which are crucial for First Nations Communities’ self-determination and sustainable livelihoods, and to inform energy project developments.

Areas of focus

  • Cultural landscapes and energy transition  
  • BioCultural systems, heritage and biodiversity conservation 
  • Community engagement and collaborative project design  
  • Indigenous Traditional Knowledge and asset use  
  • Community development and sustainability 
  • United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 

Impact and outcomes

  • Contribution to First Nations Communities to document BioCultural systems, visions and aspirations and create a valuable framework to inform energy developments
  • Development of genuine co-designed research projects that can deliver concrete effective outcomes to First Nations Communities
  • Contribution to Australian State and Federal Governments to design Clean Energy Policies that incorporate First Nations demands 
  • Development of the Indigenous Energy Landscapes Research Network involving domestic and international organisations

Ongoing projects

Curtin University and the University of Queensland (Funded by Powerlink QLD)

Comparing High Voltage Overhead and Underground Transmission Infrastructure – First Nations Engagement

To build new renewable energy projects there is a need to upgrade or build new overhead or underground transmission lines, but each type has some challenges. Working with the University of Queensland, Curtin University gathered the latest information about the technical, economic (costs), environmental, social, and community considerations for new overhead or underground transmission lines. This project stage aims to share these findings with First Nations Communities, find out what they think about the differences between overhead lines and underground cables, and record how they would like cultural and heritage considerations included in project planning for transmission projects. It is also the project’s goal to identify any opportunities First Nations communities think might arise from such projects. The final goal is to make recommendations to help in the decision-making processes for new transmission line projects across Queensland.

Read the report here