The Ethnic Communities’ Council of NSW pushes for diversity within the Energy Industry

by Esther Lozano - Tuesday, 14 July 2020

The Ethnic Communities’ Council of NSW (ECCNSW) found that culturally and linguistically diverse communities (CALD) face structural and institutional challenges in negotiating the energy market and often they do not complain (or their complaints are not heard) and so they are ignored.
 
There is also a need to implement specific mechanisms within the energy market to ensure that their interests are taken into account as business-as-usual practice.
 
For these reasons, ECCNSW initiated a three-year’s project to monitor, evaluate and assist energy businesses, agencies, regulators and ombudsman schemes as they conducted projects directed specifically to CALD energy consumers. 
 
ECCNSW emphasised 
 
The necessity of maintaining energy advocacy for CALD consumers
 
The necessity to secure and on-going financial support for wide CALD advocacy across the energy market
 
The project, funded by Energy Consumers Australia, has concluded with its final report – Continuing Cultural Connections: CALD best practice in a consumer centric energy market
 
On the publication of the report, the Chief Executive Officer of ECCNSW, Mary Karras, said “This project has been a most important initiative in providing opportunities for our constituency to engage with the often complex and confusing energy market. 
 
People who speak a language other than English at home make up 22% of the Australian population, rising to more than 40% in some areas of Sydney and Melbourne.”
 
She said “this project looked at the use of the ECCNSW 2016 guidelines Cultural Connections: Engaging CALD energy consumers to gain an understanding of how they are being utilised within the sector and what benefits they have provided to how the energy sector reaches out to the CALD communities.”
 
A wide cross-section of businesses and agencies in the National Energy Market participated in the project, providing information about their CALD programs and the changes to their policies. 
 
Ms Karras said “in addition to providing details of the long term project the final report also highlights nine case studies by participants that move the energy sector towards CALD best practice engagement and consultation”.