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Hydrogen Headstart information workshops for targeted First Nations communities

First Nations communities impacted by six potential new hydrogen projects in Australia have the opportunity to participate in a targeted information sharing workshop to find out what’s happening, the likely impacts, and how First Nations rights and interests may be exercised.

There are literally hundreds of new hydrogen projects being considered across Australia - including six large-scale projects shortlisted to receive financial support under the 2023-24 Federal government Hydrogen Headstart investment of up to AU$2 billion (a further $2 billion for an additional round of Hydrogen Headstart was announced in the 2024-25 Federal budget). 

Much of this hydrogen development is being undertaken without or with limited First Nations engagement. 

The First Nations Clean Energy Network aims to support First Nations communities to develop greater agency to engage with the hydrogen industry as employees, business owners, project owners and developers, and to manage risks (including to cultural heritage and the environment) and opportunities as local community members and Traditional Owners.

We have designed short capacity building workshops and information sessions to be delivered in the five regions where First Nations communities are at the forefront of new hydrogen development so that people have appropriate information to make informed decisions.

The ambition is to increase participation of First Nations communities and Traditional Owners in opportunities presented by the potential hydrogen projects.

The regions where the workshops are being delivered, and the six hydrogen projects proposed for those areas - amongst the largest renewable hydrogen projects in the world - are:

  1. New South Wales, Newcastle - Origin’s Hunter Valley Hydrogen Hub (250 megawatts*) 
  2. New South Wales, Newcastle - KEPCO’s Port of Newcastle Green Hydrogen Project (750 megawatts)
  3. Queensland, Gladstone- Stanwell’s Central Queensland Hydrogen Project (720 megawatts)
  4. Tasmania, Hampshire - HIF Tasmania eFuels Facility (144 megawatts)
  5. Western Australia, Kwinana - bp’s H2Kwinana Hydrogen Hub (105 megawatts)


  6. Western Australia, Kalbarri - Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners’s Murchison Green Hydrogen project (1625 megawatts)

Chris Croker, co-Chair of the First Nations Clean Energy Network is leading the engagement with community at the five sites, assisted by our PowerMakers 2023 alumni and respected First Nations negotiators Bec Halliday and Shirley McPherson.

Chris says it’s a real opportunity to push the hydrogen industry for better engagement.

“While government has a role to play, we need to convince industry to do better, to lift the bar.

“We want industry to start engaging with local Traditional Owners to seek consent, discuss co-benefits, and to start listening to Traditional Owners about rights, taking into account our concerns about water, local jobs happening now ahead of construction, and other matters.

“A lot of the projects are going to be built within city boundaries on industrial land already zoned, such as BP’s project in Kwinana, Western Australia which is extending the life of a hydrocarbon asset (an old oil refinery) and turning it into a hydrogen facility.

“In many cases, the company or the State already owns the land. But 50 years ago when that land was taken from us we didn’t have native title or other rights to draw upon. So what we’re saying is, this is a new industry and a new use of the land, and you’re receiving taxpayer funding, so you better start engaging with the local First Nations mob. There’s still important heritage compliance requirements that industry needs to take into account, even though the land is industrialised.

“If they don’t engage with us, in a practical sense, they shouldn’t be receiving government funding for these projects.

“In one of the workshops already held, the Traditional Owners told us their ancestors are buried at the site, and even though the site was bulldozed in the past, they don’t want it disturbed further. Some of the sites are also places holding deep cultural significance.

“So through these workshops we’re saying - this a new opportunity for resetting the bar, particularly as government funding is being injected into the industry.”

Workshops will be held during June and July 2024, with dates being finalised.

  • Register your interest in attending a Hydrogen Headstart workshop in Newcastle, Gladstone, Hampshire, Kwinana or Kalbarri

Map of hydrogen projects sourced from CSIRO 

* Kilowatts (kW), megawatts (MW) or gigawatts (GW) are all measures of capacity. Capacity is the maximum amount of electricity that a power station or multiple power stations are capable of producing. For example, 100 kilowatts (KW) of solar is enough to power around 30 homes, and 1 megawatt (MW) of solar is enough to power around 300 homes.