The foundation chief executive of Victoria's Latrobe Valley Transition Authority says strong partnerships between government, industry and business were essential to successfully meeting the social and economic challenges associated with clean energy transition.
Karen Cain met with MPs and business and union representatives on Thursday to discuss the challenges and opportunities associated with transitioning the Hunter away from a fossil fuel-based economy.
"We are really trying to get an understanding of the current context of the Hunter Valley and have a conversation about what we have learned and where the Hunter is at. I hope we have been able to provide some insight into our experience after five years," she said.
Ms Cain is among those advocating for the establishment of a Hunter Valley Transition Authority, similar to what the Victorian government set up in 2016 to support the transition of workers, their families and the community following the closure of the Hazelwood Power Station and mine.
She said the NSW's government's 'expert panel' model also had merit, particularly in the early stages of the Hunter's transition journey.
"In an attempt to deal with funding through the communities, I think it's got potential. But we also know that once an authority gets established it's quite a different approach to that model," she said.
"I like to think that programs like this (expert panel) and ways of working can adapt over time because the circumstances will change. But I think there's good intention there."
An original $266 million investment kick-started the Latrobe Valley Authority's work and enabled hundreds of jobs to be created through construction of around $750 million worth of major projects.
Climate Energy Finance has called on the state government to introduce a progressive royalty system similar to one in place in Queensland. It argues the extra money could be used to support transition plans.
Ms Cain said governments needed to be open to considering future opportunities to fund transition.
"I think if we can learn from places like Queensland -how are those royalties contributing to transition? I think it's a conversation that is open and ongoing. One of the discussions we have been having is how do businesses who are involved in transition contribute to it," she said.
Hunter Jobs Alliance spokesman Warrick Jordan said the Hunter would benefit from the learnings of other regions.
"We really need to be paying attention to places that have been through this experience that have learned the importance of putting in the right authorities, the right strategies and programs," he said.
"It's really important that we are getting that evidence presented to this region and it's been well received."
IN OTHER NEWS:
WHAT DO YOU THINK? We've made it a whole lot easier for you to have your say. Our new comment platform requires only one log-in to access articles and to join the discussion on the Newcastle Herald website. Find out how to register so you can enjoy civil, friendly and engaging discussions. Sign up for a subscription here.