THE state government is aiming to make community needs central to their decision-making for the New England Renewable Energy Zone (REZ).
Ten councils, seven Aboriginal land councils and four government agencies have been selected to sit on the newly announced New England REZ Regional Reference Group.
Its first meeting will take place in Armidale on Wednesday, and while not all groups will be attending, the ones that are will be tasked with guiding the initial stages of a program that is predicted to deliver $12.7 billion in direct investment and more than 1000 jobs to the region over the next decade.
Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall said it was important to make community consultation a key aspect of the program, so the region did not lose any of its unique assets.
He also believes it will help develop the renewable energy sector in the New England without negatively affecting any of the current industries.
Northern Regional Aboriginal Land councillor Charles Lynch said he was pleased his organisation was included in the reference group, and said he believes it can provide huge benefits to his community.
"It's about being on the front foot and looking out for the Aboriginal communities and businesses, and taking up procurement employment and training opportunities that will come with this sector's growth," he said.
With so many organisations and departments included in the program, agreeing on issues and finding a common focus may be difficult.
However, Mr Lynch said it is better to have everybody come together and discuss problems, rather than working separately and not having a clear understanding of each other's needs.
"[It's] important the right people are at the table for the initial discussions and laying those good platforms and being transparent, which sets up a good relationship," he said.
"There's always a lot of good intent and faith, but for me, it's about having the right people in the meetings initially - it is key to have transparency and accountability."
Tamworth Regional Council is also among the organisations which will take part in the project.
A spokesperson said it was exciting to be part of something that could deliver positive outcomes, both economically and environmentally.
"This investment and growth will lead to more jobs, less emissions, and an increased profile for our region, all of which are positives for everyone who lives here," the spokesperson said.
"The creation of the REZ Reference Group is a great step in the right direction for renewable energy in our region."
The participating councils are from Armidale, Clarence Valley, Glen Innes Severn, Inverell, Naomi joint organisation, New England joint organisation, Tamworth Regional, Tenterfield Shire, Uralla Shire and Walcha.
Government departments include the Department of Regional NSW, Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, Department of Primary Industries and Department of Premier and Cabinet.
The other groups involved are the Northern Region, Ashford, Glen Innes, Anaiwan, Guyra, Armidale and Amaroo local aboriginal land councils.
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