South Burnett residents John Armstrong and Neil Labuschewski with Mayor Brett Otto examine plans for the Kingaroy Solar Farm at a recent meeting organised by opponents to the project held at the 1913 Council Chambers in Kingaroy

August 4, 2022

A group of local residents opposed to the construction of a solar farm on the outskirts of Kingaroy has launched a petition calling for a change in solar farm guidelines.

The residents claim the current State Government guidelines are not supported by law so there is no way to hold any project proponent to account for the way in which they engage with the host community.

Work to construct the Kingaroy Solar Farm, on Kingaroy-Barkers Creek Road, is now due to begin at the end of September and be completed by August next year.

The work schedule, and plans to mitigate disruptions to local property owners, were discussed at a public meeting in Kingaroy organised by project developer Mytilineos in early June.

Since then opponents to the project have held several meetings themselves, with another planned at the 1913 Council Chambers in Edward Street, Kingaroy, from 5:00pm on August 11.

Their latest move has been to set up a petition and distribute paper petitions around the community.

As at August 4, 173 people had signed the online version.

The opponents claim the solar farm will increase traffic and create issues with water run-off.

They also claim their property values could suffer and are seeking support for “compensation / buyout / assistance to rental losses”.

The Kingaroy Solar Farm project, initiated by Terrain Solar, has had a chequered history.

The proposal was initially rejected by the South Burnett Regional Council in 2018 but the decision was challenged in the Planning and Environment Court.

The final judgment in the appeal case was handed down by Judge Michael Williamson, QC, in June 2019.

After discussions between the parties, Terrain Solar proposed to make slight changes to its Development Application, which were accepted by Council.

They included revised vegetation screening, changes to the location of some fencing and a maintenance track, as well as revised landscape buffer zones.

Metka EGN, a subsidiary of Mytilineos, acquired the project in 2019.

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South Burnett Regional Council has put forward several motions in regards to renewable energy developments for discussion at the Local Government Association of Queensland conference in October:

  • That the State Government amend the Windfarm Code 23 and Solar Farm Code guidelines to regulate broader community consultation and social licence to operate requirements.
  • That the State Government seek a suitable decommissioning bond that will be held in trust for the eventual rehabilitation of renewable energy sites; that this condition be met prior to the commencement of any construction; and the bond not be discharged without consultation with the relevant council.
  • That the State Government ensure developers of energy projects have to demonstrate authentic community engagement that seeks to actively involve community members in the design and decision-making process around new developments, including liaising with council as to appropriate sites and discussions occurring in the community.
  • That the State Government seek a community contribution fee to be paid by the developers of energy projects to provide a community benefit contribution to a common fund established and solely managed by the individual council; and that this community contribution should be 1.5 per cent of the build cost of the project.

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2 Responses to "Residents Launch Solar Farm Petition"

  1. It’s unfortunate but under the current guidelines and push for more solar and renewable energy, companies take their projects to the land and environment court and win. The council has no or very little power to do anything except voice their disapproval or opposition, unfortunately.

  2. Seems to me that with most of these kind of projects the majority of residents are generally positive however its the neighbours of the development that take issue with the proposal. Not saying I blame them, I personally think the solar farm is a great idea but then I don’t have to live next to it. I am by no means an expert but would genuinely be interested to know if this development will cause environmental and/or drainage issues or is it really the cosmetic impact it will cause?

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