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Bailai, Gurang, Gooreng Gooreng and Taribelang Bunda peoples strike clean energy deal with H2U

Giovanni Torre -

The Hydrogen Utility® (H2U) and the First Nations Bailai, Gurang, Gooreng Gooreng, Taribelang Bunda Peoples Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC executed a Memorandum of Understanding on Wednesday in relation to H2U's H2-Hub™ Gladstone project, a multi-billion dollar renewable energy complex producing green hydrogen and green ammonia, proposed to be established in the Yarwun region of the Gladstone State Development Area.

Announced at the start of the inaugural summit of the First Nations Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the MOU marks the establishment of "a strategic collaboration where H2U and PBC will seek to leverage the scale, location, and timing of H2-Hub™ Gladstone to co-design a portfolio of initiatives delivering long-term economic benefits and participation opportunities for the First Nations Bailai, Gurang, Gooreng Gooreng, Taribelang Bunda Peoples", H2U said in a statement.

The First Nations Bailai, Gurang, Gooreng Gooreng, Taribelang Bunda Peoples Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC (PBC)

is the Registered Native Title Body Corporate and trustee of the native title rights of the four groups of Bailai, Gurang, Gooreng Gooreng, and Taribelang Bunda people together who make up the native title claim group.

Their collective Native Title Interest covers an area of approximately 19,430 square kilometers extending in the South from Burrum Heads to Raglan Creek in the North, in the East from the Coastline (High Water Mark) to Monto in the West, and includes Gladstone, Bundaberg as well as several islands, rocks and reefs within the Port Curtis Coral Coast Regional Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreement, for a combined Land and Sea area of approximately 26,510 square kilometres.

PBC chairman Matthew Cooke said the partnership with H2U represents "a step change" in the engagement between developers and Indigenous communities, and creates the opportunity for establishing a replicable model to foster First Nations participation in renewable energy and green hydrogen projects.

"The engagement with H2U goes beyond an acknowledgment of the cultural heritage of the Bailai, Gurang, Gooreng Gooreng, Taribelang Bunda Peoples, it is a new model where we partner in the co-design of cultural heritage management practices for the H2-Hub™ Gladstone and work together to identify and jointly select opportunities for shared benefits and participation arising from the project", Mr Cooke said.

"The key difference here is in the timing of our engagement with H2U, by kicking off our collaboration as early as the design phase of the project, H2U and PBC can learn from each other and together co-design a platform of initiatives that will be included as part of the final investment decision for H2-Hub™ Gladstone.

"This is a step-change from the experience with past projects in our region, where engagement has only occurred post-FID, leaving little room for developing initiatives of significance between the proponents and the BGGGTB People.

"We would like to commend H2U for their genuine interest in working with us and their commitment to leverage H2-Hub™ Gladstone as a platform to deliver shared benefits and participation opportunities for our People", said Mr Cooke.

Queensland Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing, Gladstone MP Glenn Butcher, welcomed the announcement and said the MOU demonstrated "the opportunities that hydrogen presents for economic development in regional Queensland and to foster participation from First Nations people in the green energy transition".

"In a timely development for Reconciliation Week, we witness the transformational opportunity the green energy transition brings to our regional communities with project proponents and First Nations working hand-in-hand to establish long-lasting shared benefits and participation opportunities", Mr Butcher said.

"These developments are yet another sign of the importance of the commitment we have made with our $62 billion Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan, investing into regions like Central Queensland and creating more good jobs in emerging industries like green hydrogen".

"I congratulate H2U and PBC on this ground-breaking partnership and look forward to witness other developments following their example", said Mr Butcher.

The H2-Hub™ Gladstone project is a proposed multi-billion industrial-scale green hydrogen and ammonia development, with a planned capacity of up to 3 gigawatts of electrolysis and up to 5,000 tonnes per day of green ammonia production.

Image: Luke Smart (Gumbulgan)

The proposed facility will use 100 per cent renewable energy from new-build solar and wind resources in the Queensland region of the National Electricity Market, contribute to improving the reliability of renewable electricity supply, with the integration of new renewable generation assets in Central Queensland, aligned with the objectives of the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan and the Integrated System Plan.

H2U estimates H2-Hub™ Gladstone has potential to create over 550 jobs during construction, over 140 ongoing operational jobs and approximately 1,900 indirect jobs and attract a $4.7 billion investment during its phased construction. The majority of these new jobs will be in Gladstone and Central Queensland.

H2U Founder and chief executive, Dr Attilio Pigneri, said the partnership with PBC is a key milestone in the development of the H2-Hub™ Gladstone project.

"Green hydrogen and renewable energy bring the opportunity to create new, highly skilled jobs across a wide spectrum of engineering, technical, environmental, and business disciplines, particularly in regional communities, where green hydrogen infrastructure projects are more likely to develop as a function of renewable energy, and market access", said Dr Pigneri.

"Leveraging our projects to deliver economic benefits in regional communities is one of H2U's strongest motivations, and one that we are particularly proud to deliver in partnership with indigenous and traditional owners".

"I would like to thank PBC and through them the Bailai, Gurang Goorend Gooreng and Taribelang Bunda People for trusting us in the delivery of a globally significant project on their traditional lands, and for helping us in designing the project so as to deliver long-term benefits to their community", Dr Pigneri said.

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