April 11, 2012
One of the first priorities of a post-election South Burnett Regional Council would be to start driving the process surrounding the proposed AGL wind farm at Coopers Gap, Mayor-elect Wayne Kratzmann said today.
Mr Kratzmann, who will be sworn in as mayor after the April 28 council elections, said people in the Coopers Gap area have had to put their lives and farms on hold because of the project.
“No one can tell them where it’s at, when or if it’s going to happen,” he said.
“I will be putting this on the agenda for our first meeting in May.”
Cr Cheryl Dalton, whose Division covers the proposed wind farm site, confirmed that no development application for the project had been received yet by the South Burnett Regional Council.
However she said this was because AGL was seeking Community Infrastructure Designation (CID) for the project. If the project achieved this status, the planning process would then go straight to the State Government rather than the local council.
The proposed wind farm straddles the border between the Western Downs Regional Council and the South Burnett Regional Council areas. Early in the planning process, the SBRC was nominated as the “assessment manager” for the project, so if the CID application fails – which Cr Dalton believes is possible – responsibility for the decision-making will return to the SBRC.
A spokesman for AGL acknowledged today there were existing community concerns regarding the development of the wind farm.
“AGL is currently establishing a Community Consultative Committee to increase opportunities for dialogue within the Coopers Gap region. It is anticipated that the first meeting will be held in May 2012,” the spokesman said.
“AGL released the initial assessment report for the Coopers Gap Wind Farm in March 2011, which included a range of information and studies. The Community Consultative Committee will provide an opportunity for AGL to seek input from the community, and ensure that issues are appropriately addressed in the final assessment report.”