Federal Member for Flynn, Colin Boyce this week visited local graziers in Central Queensland to see first-hand the impact renewable projects will have on the region’s environment and communities.
It comes amid concerns that projects such as the Smoky Creek solar factory will have the potential to ruin the livelihoods of local communities.
Mr Boyce’s visits included meeting with food producers and graziers affected by the Smoky Creek project as well as a tour of a property at Ulogie situated near the Mount Hopeful project which is proposing the installation of 170 wind turbines.
“Minister Plibersek’s and the EPBC (Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act) decision to approve the Smoky Creek solar factory is a major disappointment for the local community,” Mr Boyce said.
“The renewable energy sector is not governed by any legislation including reef regulations, tree clearing guidelines or environmental protocols that are placed on the agricultural and mining and resources sector.
“We are calling for both State and Federal Governments to introduce legislation that governs all the regulations for renewable energy projects just like the proposed solar factory at Smoky Creek.
“All of these projects directly correlate with the fact that the renewable energy sector is proposing huge infrastructure projects to meet Minister Bowen’s 82 per cent renewable energy target by 2030.”
Ten food producers of Smoky Creek in Central Queensland have been trying to block the Smoky Creek solar project that has been approved amid a rich food producing community on a 9000-acre lease.
Local grazier Therese Creed said Smoky Creek locals are wondering how this project, with the huge number of environmental red flags that have been raised with Local, State and Federal Governments, (more than 400 letters since 2018) has been approved under the Environment Protection Biosecurity Conservation Act.
“75 detailed submissions were made to Minister Plibersek and the EPBC department, including submissions from emergency service officers, an Electromagnetic Radiation Expert, environmental scientists, and local members of parliament highlighting the massive safety and environmental risks posed by this development,” Mrs Creed said.
“We do not believe that the Smoky Creek project can be classed as a ‘clean energy’ development when it has such potential to cause environmental damage in an area of fertile food producing soil and surface stock water.”
Mr Boyce commented on the irony of the Smoky Creek solar factory being approved on the same day that the Bouldercombe Battery project caught on fire.
“These are exactly the dangers that we have highlighted to the Minister,” Mr Boyce said.
“The Smoky Creek project is situated at the head of a major watershed that flows into the Fitzroy River, (Rockhampton’s water supply) and the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Conservation area.
“How is this environmentally appropriate?”