Thesis Proposal review: securing the energy rights of remote First Nations households

Crawford School of Public Policy
Powerlines at sunset

Event details

RE&D Research Seminar

Date & time

Thursday 18 April 2024


ANU Online Zoom


Sally Wilson


Simon West

Household prepayment requires payment in advance for electricity services and is ubiquitous in remote First Nations communities yet banned in most populous regions of Australia due to the disruption it causes vulnerable groups. In remote communities, prepay is associated with high risks of household energy insecurity and fewer household rights and protections than are afforded to other Australian households, demonstrating that the essential energy needs of these communities are being chronically neglected. The potential for further marginalization is exacerbated in the context of climate change and Australia’s energy transition, as reliance upon household heating and cooling grows with increasing temperature extremes, and First Nations communities struggle to have their interests recognised and served by settler colonial states. While existing energy policies operate to entrench disparities faced by communities, there are also opportunities for change evident in the advocacy work of community-led organisations and national and sub-national policy agendas such as the First Nations Clean Energy Strategy.

This PhD research seeks to interrogate how rapidly changing energy policies in Australia are serving or undermining the energy needs of remote First Nations communities. It is being conducted in partnership with First Nations organisations, whose work interfaces with the energy, social and health needs of their communities. Through mixed methods, the research seeks to identify how policy can best support household energy access in remote First Nations communities and future energy systems that align with community priorities and needs. This TPR seminar provides a first opportunity to present the conceptual framework for the research based in intersecting theories of decoloniality, energy justice, energy sovereignty and the right to energy and to explore the four primary studies which will contribute to the active policy work of partner organisations and form the basis for a thesis by compilation output with policy impact.

Sally Wilson is a PhD candidate at the Crawford School of Public Policy with prior experience as a lawyer. Most recently she has been working as part of an interdisciplinary research team at the Australian National University focusing on energy insecurity and related issues in the energy transition. Her research interests focus on energy justice issues. In 2022, Sally was awarded the Garnaut Prize for highest achievement in the Master of Climate Change.

Updated:  25 April 2024/Responsible Officer:  Crawford Engagement/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team