Hawkesdale Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund provides first grants to local community

GPG Australia celebrates the completion of five community projects funded by the Hawkesdale Township Community Grant Program

Based on best practices, GPG Australia establishes Community Engagement and Benefit Sharing Plans for all their projects including wind and solar farms as well as battery projects. As part of those plans, one of the main ways for the company to share the benefits of their ventures is through the implementation of community benefit fund along with neighbour benefit sharing programsdonations to local organisations, sponsorship of events and other opportunities that may arise.


In most cases, these community benefit funds provided by GPG Australia are being managed and administered by the local shire councils in coordination with the company, but the Hawkesdale Community Benefit Fund (HCBF) is the first one that has been completely managed by a committee established by GPG Australia last year, comprised of eight local community representatives resident in Hawkesdale and two representatives from GPG Australia. When forming the committee, the selection criteria aimed to attract on board select applicants who met an inclusive cross section of the local community. Consideration was given to age, gender, general interests, community experience and that they resided close to the township, ensuring the diversity of the community is well represented.


The Community Engagement and Benefit Sharing Plan for the Hawkesdale Wind Farm aims to engage and empower the local community to realise positive social outcomes associated with the wind farm. With that purpose, the Hawkesdale Community Benefit Fund has been designed based on two individual grant programs:


  • Hawkesdale Township Grant Program: $100,000 annually targeting the needs of the Hawkesdale township, available during the construction and operation of the wind farm.
  • Hawkesdale District Grant Program: $57,500+ annually during the operation of the wind farm, available to the broader Hawkesdale district community at the commencement of operation.


Numerous meetings were held since early 2023 to consolidate the committee and design the grant process, the guidelines, the application forms and the evaluation criteria for deciding on the successful applicants. The GPG Australia representatives on the committee have a right to vote on all decisions but their role is primarily facilitating the whole process.


The first round of funding available in 2023 resulted in five successful projects being awarded . The projects, now all completed, will make a long term contribution to the local community:


  • Hawkesdale Macarthur Football Netball Club: Resurfacing of the netball courts at Hawkesdale Recreation Reserve.
  • Hawkesdale Cricket Club: Concrete footpath beside practice nets.
  • Hawkesdale Cemetery Trust: Removal and trimming of large cyprus trees on cemetery boundary.
  • Hawkesdale Racecourse Reserve: Purchase of a heavy duty, wide cut lawnmower to maintain the recently reformed golf course.
  • Hawkesdale Family Services: Acquisition of new play equipment for the kindergarten and day care centre.


Learn more about the community projects awarded in the first round of the Hawkesdale Community Grant Program:


Hawkesdale Macarthur Football Netball Club

Local football netball clubs are the centre of activity in rural towns across Australia during the colder months of the year. Australian Rules Football, or colloquially called footy, is played by most young boys from the age of 12 and continues into their adult lifeNetball is generally played by females and also starts from the age of 12 for junior competitions. These young girls also continue to play into the teens and adult life. Young women are also moving towards playing football and most clubs are fostering and developing teams for the women’s league. The combination of the two sports and the broad age range, creates a family atmosphere in the clubs. It is important to the Hawkesdale community that the facilities for these sports are maintained to the highest standard possible to continue to attract and keep players locally. GPG Australia is pleased to have contributed to the upgrade and look forward to watching a game during this season.


Hawkesdale Cricket Club 

Like the Football Netball Club, the Cricket Club also plays a huge role in the community. Cricket is one of the summer sports played by both men and women across Australia. It becomes the gathering point for families during summer as, like the winter sports in a small rural community, it is the centre of social activities. The Hawkesdale Cricket Club built practice nets as the first stage of their improvements. When these were completed the second stage was to concrete a footpath beside the nets, not only for access, but also to provide a safe space between the nets and the carpark.

Hawkesdale Cemetery Trust

Hawkesdale is a small community and relies on the local volunteers to be generous with their time and resources. The local cemetery is no exception. The grounds are kept clean and mowed by a group of locals but at times the large tasks are beyond their reach to do safely. The cemetery is quite old and the trees planted originally for privacy and protection from the wind have become dangerous and causing the grounds to become unstable. GPG Australia provided funding to remove the old trees and to trim those remaining. A more suitable native plantation will be planted in the future.

Hawkesdale Racecourse Reserve

When horse racing ceased in Hawkesdale, the reserve was converted to a golf course which also closed some years ago. A newly formed committee has rebuilt the golf course and developed a haven for native wildlife and birds. This facility, set in bushland, is quickly becoming a beautiful venue for gatherings and community functions. The dedicated local volunteers have spent many hours cleaning and trimming the reserve using old, outdated and quite unsafe equipment. GPG Australia has provided the funds for a new, industrial standard mower to maintain the grounds. The time the volunteers spend maintain the reserve has been drastically reduced using the new equipment.

Hawkesdale Family Services

The Hawkesdale Family Services incorporates the kindergarten and family day care services. The centre was built in 2006 and since that time there has been little opportunity for funding the purchase of some of the larger pieces of equipment. GPG Australia is delighted to see the younger residents of the Hawkesdale community having fun and developing skills using the new equipment. The cubby houseclimbing equipment and scooters teach lessons in coordination and confidence as well as developing positive interactions with the other children.