South Burnett Mayor Kathy Duff has called for a moratorium on renewable energy projects (Photo: Maggie O’Shannessy)

May 29, 2024

Gympie Regional Council has refused to support a proposed moratorium on renewable energy projects in the region, despite being asked to do so by the South Burnett Regional Council.

The 8-1 vote on Wednesday by GRC councillors means Gympie will not be supporting a push to get the Wide Bay Burnett Regional Organisation of Councils (WBBROC) to back a moratorium across the region.

The Wide Bay-Burnett has been identified by the State Government as a “Renewable Energy Zone” and there are multiple renewable plans on the drawing board, including the Borumba Dam pumped hydro project.

WBBROC, which has only just reformed after being in mothballs for much of 2022-23, consists of representatives from the North Burnett, South Burnett, Cherbourg, Fraser Coast and Gympie councils.

Bundaberg Regional Council was formerly a member, and may rejoin the umbrella group which advocates to the State and Federal gpvernments on behalf of its member councils.

Earlier this month, SBRC councillors unanimously endorsed a motion by Mayor Kathy Duff that a moratorium of all large-scale wind, solar, battery energy storage systems, pumped hydro and related transmission projects be imposed until:

1.  A bond is held from start of any renewables project with guaranteed finance in place to cover decommissioning and full project removal, disposal and rehabilitation costs at end-of-life;

2. Appropriate regulations are in place to protect threatened and endangered species;

3. Large-scale renewable projects be subject to full State Government approval processes and be made impact-assessable not code-assessable;

4. An appropriate land access framework to protect the environment, cultural heritage, existing land users and local roads and infrastructure is established;

5. Minimal impact upon existing ratepayers is negotiated;

6. Australia’s food security is protected by prohibiting large-scale renewable projects on prime agricultural land; (See Paris Agreement Article 2 (1) (b));

7. All large-scale renewable projects comply with the same regulations that apply to agriculture and mining;

8. Large-scale renewable projects are added as a trigger to the EPBC Act;

9. A mandatory code of conduct is established to govern the renewable energy sector and renewable energy proponents’ conduct with affected communities, including notifying the relevant Local Government of potential projects.

10. Owners of large-scale renewable developments indemnify adjoining private landowners from any public liability risk;

11. Where Local Government is the assessment agency, that appropriate mechanisms are incorporated in local government planning schemes to allow Council to apply conditions that protect local roads and infrastructure and other key assets.

WBBROC is due to meet on Friday, and the lack of time ahead of this meeting was one of the concerns stated by GRC councillors.

Another was the fact that a moratorium could have unintended consequences, including delaying key environmental reports.

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4 Responses to "Gympie Votes Down Moratorium Call"

  1. Why would anyone not be supportive of a moratorium which looks out for the safety of the environment and the land owners? Refusing to support this implies a desire to fast track developments, some of which utilise untried technologies and could become a source of great regret in decades to come. Congratulations to the SBR councillors for having the courage and foresight to put this forward.

  2. The hypocrisy of some of the opponents to renewable energy is mind-boggling. They are complaining about proposed transmission lines being put in native bushland after they opposed them being placed on already-cleared farmland which they were using for “lifestyle” purposes, ie. small acreage blocks.

    The NIMBYs told Powerlink to stick their towers in the government-owned land. They didn’t care that it would destroy habitat for sugar gliders and koalas in native forests because it meant the proposed routes would miss most of their blocks.

    These transmission lines should be located on ALREADY CLEARED land, as they have in hundreds of other places. Haven’t any of you driven down the Brisbane Valley and seen the transmission lines passing harmlessly over the farms in that area?

    If they were honest, the protesters would admit they want the projects stopped because they have been influenced by the thousands of social media posts telling them about “harms” or a supposed One World Government. Some of their leaders are revelling in their new social media fame.

    Yes “DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH”. The windtower concrete bases can be reused. The windtowers can be reused – only the actual generating turbines will have to be replaced in 20 or 30 years. The powerlines and substations can be reused. Solar farm infrastructure can be reused. New panels can be installed and the old ones recycled.

    The land underneath solar or wind power is not harmed like a coal mine or nuclear waste. Stop listening to voices paid for by mining companies eager to keep on digging up coal or uranium for as long as possible.

  3. The reputation of the South Burnett Regional Council is at risk. Thank goodness for the sensible vote by Gympie Regional Council. Trust Hervey Bay, Bundaberg and North Burnett will also apply a sensible approach. The safety of the environment and land-owners is always a condition of approval. We’re living in the times of renewable energy – it’s a time of change.

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