Hydro Tasmania has a strong focus on the communities in which it operates. Historically its operations have touched every Tasmanian household through the generation of electricity.
Stakeholder and Community Engagement
Hydro Tasmania has been involved in the wider Tasmanian community throughout its history. This affects the nature of our relationships with stakeholders. In a business survey undertaken by senior management and a facilitator early in the reporting year, stakeholders reported that while we have good listening skills, we tend to be adversarial, paternalistic and inconsistent in our messages. Our sustainability as a business depends on how we improve these relationships in the long-term.
Parallel with this survey and as a significant initiative, Hydro Tasmania introduced a relationship-based engagement model to facilitate a shift in the way we think about, and engage with, stakeholders away from the traditional, organisation-centred view towards open dialogue and a shared issue approach.
Internal dialogue on the model and other efforts towards relationship-based engagement began to get traction late in the reporting period as a number of key relationship managers in the organisation demonstrated greater willingness to listen to and work with others, notably on key water resource management and heritage issues.
This built on efforts of collaboration already being undertaken with stakeholders, such as for recreational use of facilities.
This willingness to engage in a more open way with greater understanding of the stakeholders’ positions by those who adopted the model suggests that as the model is more widely implemented we can improve the effectiveness with which we resolve our shared issues.
The closure of the Lake Margaret Power Station near Queenstown on 1 July 2006 had raised concerns in the community about the future use of the facility in the previous reporting period while meetings with the Lake Margaret Community Liaison Group had been hostile at times. A change in approach this year produced a more respectful dialogue, concessions by Hydro Tasmania on some heritage issues and a collaborative way forward on projects associated with the future of the site.
Community capacity building
Hydro Tasmania’s partnership with Greening Australia is to support the River Recovery initiative in the Derwent catchment. Hydro Tasmania’s contribution for 2006/07 was consistent with the partnership agreement of $150,000 for the three years from 2005/07 to 2007/08.
||Nick Jatan has his head shaved by Tassie Devils footballer Oliver Di Venuto for the Leukaemia Foundation’s World’s Greatest Shave
Sponsorship plays a key role in Hydro Tasmania’s corporate citizenship. Hydro Tasmania maintained its major existing partnerships with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, the Ten Days on the Island festival, the Three Peaks Race, Clean Up Australia, Junior Surf Lifesaving and Arts@Work. The corporate sponsorship program was not fully spent this year with only $252,000 provided from a budget allocation of $280,000 as part of a business-wide effort to rein in costs.
The employee donation assistance program, piloted last year to aid employee volunteering activities, continued but with less funds spent.
Staff across the State put in a significant effort to charity events for the year, notably raising $11,766 for the Leukaemia Foundation’s event, World’s Greatest Shave, and $5,300 for the Cancer Council Relay for Life. Hydro Tasmania added to the efforts by contributing a further $2,000 to each cause.
Hands On Energy Discovery Centre
The Hands On Energy Discovery Centre is Hydro Tasmania’s corporate showcase and education facility. It tells the story of Tasmanian electricity production and promotes the benefits of renewable energy, environmental responsibility, sustainable living and safety and attracts international visitors, energy industry stakeholders, primary, secondary and tertiary students, as well as community groups. The Hands On website has a wealth of information of interest to students.
This year a total of 4,967 students and teachers visited the centre and an additional 143 community and special interest groups enjoyed the experience. Hydro Tasmania provided a total of $13,263 to subsidise schools outside the greater Hobart area to travel to the Centre by bus. Hands On also sponsors and provides in-kind contribution to community programs such as Migrant Education, the Science Teachers Association of Tasmania, the Science Talent Search, and the Tasmanian Solar Car Challenge.
The Centre has formed a partnership with CSIRO Discovery in Canberra to provide part of the interactive Energy Exhibit which focuses on renewable energy and future energy options for Australia. This year approximately 26,000 students and teachers passed through the exhibit.
Multiple Use Benefits
Reduced lake levels have changed access to lakes for recreational use, with many boat ramps closed where water levels have fallen below safe use. At Great Lake, a low-level access ramp remained open and was continually assessed and maintained to provide safe access for anglers and emergency crews.
Hydro Tasmania is collaborating with stakeholders around the development and management of recreational activities to cover issues such as the impact of recreational use on environmental and cultural values, and managing camping ground use, vehicle use and access to sensitive sites, safety warnings, and navigational aids.
In 2006/07, plans were implemented for Brumbys Creek and developed for Penstock Lagoon.
A Recreational Management Steering Committee, in which Hydro Tasmania participates, addresses integrated management across government agencies, such as Parks and Wildlife Service, Inland Fisheries Service, MAST, Tourism Tasmania and municipal councils, and recreational and interest groups, such as Angling Alliance Tasmania and the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association. Together, these stakeholders with an interest in water and land management can develop systems that meet the needs of all stakeholders.
People with an interest in recreational use of Hydro Tasmania land receive information through recreational associations, public notices in local newspapers and signage. Hydro Tasmania’s website has a daily update of lake and river levels.
The former Waddamana A Power Station, which was commissioned in 1916, has been faithfully restored as a museum to celebrate the beginnings of Tasmania’s unique integrated hydropower system and provide visitors with a sense of life back in the construction years of the 1900s. This financial year, 5,079 visitors took the opportunity to tour the museum and surrounds. Visits to the museum are free of charge.
Overlooking the spectacular Gordon Dam and lake in the Tasmanian World Heritage Area, the Gordon Visitor Information Centre provides information and displays on the Gordon River power development. Visits to the centre are free of charge. In the last year the centre hosted 11,814 visitors. This was significantly down on previous years, largely due to problems staffing in this remote area.