Community Advisory Group
G-REZ Community Advisory Group
As part of its commitment to involve the community in the development of the Gippsland Renewable Energy Zone™ (G-REZ™), AusNet has established a Community Advisory Group (GCAG).
GCAG will assist the team by providing local input and feedback about key elements of the project, supporting the development of the project’s community benefits scheme and creating an effective forum for discussion and exchange of ideas and views regarding the G-REZ transmission project.
The group meets every two months.
Read more about the members of GCAG below.
Click here to read more about the establishment of GCAG.
Dianne Best is a Giffard resident and agribusiness owner within the region. She was motivated to nominate for the GCAG to help facilitate the best outcomes for the community as the region becomes an area of significant interest for renewable energy development. Di is keen to ensure the region’s sustainable high-grade food and fibre production industries are protected and that the local community has a voice in any decisions regarding renewable energy and transmission infrastructure development going forward. In addition to her agribusiness interests, Di has also been a public servant, run small businesses, been a secretary and founding member of a local charity and sat on several committees of management.
Wendy Bezzina is Chairperson of the GCAG and was born and raised in Gippsland. With a keen interest in projects that will benefit the community and leave a positive legacy for the next generation, Wendy brings to the GCAG more than 25 years’ experience across a range of sectors including health, government, manufacturing, waste, social enterprise management and social procurement. She has a particular professional interest in generating positive social outcomes, improving supply chains through social procurement, implementing lean practices and setting transformational strategies.
Kirra Bott is a lifelong Gippsland resident and is passionate about the local area and the communities that reside within it. She is keen to play a role in ensuring that the transition to a renewable energy future occurs in a positive way for all members of the local community. As a local school teacher for the last 15 years, Kirra brings to the GCAG diverse experience in working with people from a range of different backgrounds as well as strong community connections within part of the preferred route for the G-REZ project.
Lorraine Bull has lived in Latrobe Valley for most of her life and observed the impacts of changes in policies and power generation. She is an active campaigner for climate preservation, renewable energy development and security of economic change through a just transition. She is treasurer and ex-president of Latrobe Valley Sustainability Group. She is a current Board member of Gippsland Climate Change Network and recent ex-secretary. In addition, Lorraine is a member of several community advisory groups, has strong connections to the local community, and is a member of many environmental organisations. She was a health administrator for many decades, and partner in a small beef farm.
Ian has his roots firmly planted in the Wellington Shire, being born and raised in Sale, as well as choosing to raise his family there. Having been an accountant for 31 years, Ian knows how important small businesses are to the local community. As Mayor of Wellington Shire Council, Ian is committed to working hard with local businesses and industries to ensure the future growth of the Wellington economy. Ian is an avid volunteer and can be regularly found assisting local clubs, organisations and committees and has always given back to the community.
Committee for Gippsland Chief Executive Officer Tony Cantwell has a lifelong connection to the region’s agriculture sector, growing up as part of a beef farming family in South Gippsland. Tony has worked across the private, government and not-for-profit sectors both locally and in Melbourne. He began his career as a journalist at a local Gippsland newspaper, before going on to study law and work as a commercial litigation lawyer with a full-service national commercial law firm based in Melbourne. Tony has served on the Board of the Royal Flying Doctors Service as part of their Directors First Program and is currently on the Committee at the Stony Creek Racing Club. He is also a graduate of the Gippsland Community Leadership Program.
Gippsland farmer Nick Dudley is a renewables consultant for Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation (GLaWAC), which is the Registered Aboriginal Party representing the Gunaikurnai people, the Traditional Owners of the country on which G-REZ is proposed. Nick has over 40 years of experience in the natural resource management and agricultural sectors, more recently working to assist farmers in recovery from drought, fire and flood emergencies.
Local farmer Hamilton Gerrand is a lifelong Stradbroke resident. He brings to the GCAG an in-depth knowledge of the local region along with a deep understanding of the community’s views and expectations regarding potential developments such as the G-REZ project. Hamilton also has a strong knowledge of the local agricultural sector and is president of the Sale branch of the Victorian Farmers Federation, as well as a member of the Stradbroke CFA and the Sale Vintage Tractor Club.
West Gippsland resident Ian Hill has 46 years’ experience in both transmission and distribution engineering. In addition to this experience and when he’s not running his beef farm, Ian is also actively involved in the Latrobe Catchment Landcare Network. Ian also volunteers at local community radio stations 3BBR FM and Gippsland FM, presenting local and rural news programs specifically for the print-handicapped.
Tess Ingram is a
local Hazelwood North resident and is a landowner proposed to host renewable
infrastructure as part of the G-REZ project. Tess is keen to help
shape the project to ensure it is developed and delivered in a consultative way
that is in alignment with the expectations of the community, and in particular,
landowners. Tess has experience
in hosting energy infrastructure on her property and brings this experience to
the CAG, to help provide a perspective as to how existing land uses may be able
to co-exist with transmission infrastructure. She has extensive specialist knowledge
and experience in Occupational Health and Safety garnered across a number of
roles within the Victorian Public Sector for more than two decades.
Gippsland resident Peter Mooney has a sound understanding of the local energy industry having been a local organiser for the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) for many years. He is keen to ensure the local community receives regular updates about the G-REZ project and is provided with opportunities to provide their input. In addition to his role with ETU locally, Peter also serves as an ETU State Councillor as well as Vice President of the Gippsland Trades and Labour Council. Peter is also a member of the Delburn Wind Farm’s Community and Stakeholder Consultative Committee and the Star of the South Community Advisory Group.
John Petrakos is the Manager of Regional City Planning at Latrobe City Council. He oversees Statutory Planning, Strategic Planning and Urban Growth which sees him exposed to a range of interesting matters that arise in the Latrobe Valley, namely: facilitating urban growth and business investment, infrastructure delivery, urban greening, urban beautification and several large-scale renewable energy-related projects. John is a passionate town planner with experience in state, local, private and non-for-profit sectors at various levels.
Flynn resident Graeme Stuckey is another lifelong Gippsland resident and is passionate about the local area, in particular the farming community. Graeme is keen to see a coordinated approach to the development of renewable energy within the region, including any transmission infrastructure that might be needed to support these new energy projects. Graeme has strong business management skills and well as expertise in local agricultural practices and is a member of the Flynn Farm Landcare Group, the Victorian Farmers Federation and the Latrobe Valley Tennis Association.
Mathias Wood is a third-generation Latrobe Valley power industry worker. He has a strong passion for the energy sector and is keen to contribute towards a positive renewable energy future for the region. He has extensive experience working in regional communities both in Victoria and in New South Wales. Mathias also brings to the GCAG a unique understanding of the challenges facing the region’s current energy industry workforce as it looks towards the future and potential jobs and employment opportunities in the renewable energy sector.
Colin Young is an Industry Advisor for the Gippsland region with the Industry Capability Network. He has more than four decades of experience in the local energy production industry, more recently supporting business across the supply chain. He is well connected within the local business community and lives in Traralgon.
GCAG Meeting #1 - 24 November 2022
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GCAG Meeting #2 - 9 February 2023
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GCAG Meeting #3 - 4 May 2023
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GCAG Meeting #4 - 8 June 2023
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GCAG Meeting #5 - 10 August 2023
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