Cr Ros Heit, Cr Linda Little and South Burnett Mayor Kathy Duff in Canberra this week (Photo: Facebook)

July 3, 2024

South Burnett Regional Council has taken its call for a moratorium on all renewable energy projects to the national stage.

The SBRC submitted a motion (see below) for debate at the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) National General Assembly in Canberra this week.

Mayor Kathy Duff and two councillors, Cr Ros Heit (Division 6) and Cr Linda Little (Division 2), are representing the SBRC at the national convention.

The call for a moratorium lists conditions sought before projects could proceed, and highlights the impact on local roads during the construction phase of projects:

The SBRC motion states:

This National General Assembly calls on the Australian Government to call for a moratorium on renewable energy and regulate by:

a. Holding a bond from the start of a project with guaranteed finance in place to cover decommissioning and full project removal, disposal and rehabilitation of costs at end of life;

b. Ensuring appropriate regulations are in place to protect threatened and endangered species;

c. Ensuring large-scale renewable projects are subject to full State Government approval processes and be made impact-assessable not code-assessable;

d. Ensuring an appropriate land access framework to protect the environment, cultural heritage and existing land users is established;

e. Ensuring minimal impact upon existing rate payers is negotiated;

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

g. Ensuring all large-scale renewable projects comply with the same regulations that apply to agriculture, mining and gas;

h. Ensuring large scale renewable projects are added as a trigger to the EPBC Act;

i. Ensuring a mandatory code of conduct is established to govern the renewable energy sector and renewable energy proponents’ conduct with affected communities; and

j. Ensuring that local council be notified prior to negotiations along with all interested parties of any renewable projects within their region

In 2022, 32% of Australia’s total electricity generation was from renewable energy sources, including solar (14%), wind (11%) and hydro (6%). The share of renewables in total electricity generation in 2022 was the highest on record, a share 1 percentage point higher than the earlier 2021-22 financial year.

As a consequence of the current assessment government policy and approval frameworks, new renewable energy projects are having a substantial and unsustainable impact on lower order roads in regional local government areas along with other resources including water resources.

For example, due to the size and weight of the wind turbine components as well as the significant quantity of raw materials carted to site, the construction phase for wind farm developments impact on local roads in a way is more akin to a mine than other development generally assessed under the Planning Act. Historical methods of pavement design on these lower order roads would not have accounted for intensive projects such and the proponents need to be able to contribute to the road profile to not diminish its level of service to other users.

There is significant community disruption from these projects and a fragmentation of prime agricultural land.

The decision to take the motion to the ALGA conference follows a similar motion, moved at a South Burnett Regional Council meeting on May 15 by Mayor Kathy Duff and carried unanimously, which set out 11 conditions the SBRC would like all renewable projects to meet.

The SBRC then sought to have a similar moratorium adopted throughout the Wide Bay-Burnett region.

Gympie Regional Council refused to back the moratorium in a split vote, but a day later the Wide Bay Burnett Regional Organisation of Councils (WBBROC) resolved to write to the State Government requesting improved regulation on large-scale wind, solar, nuclear, battery energy storage systems, pumped hydro and related transmission projects to ensure that local communities have a say and were not adversely affected by their construction and ongoing activities.

Related articles:

* * *

The call for a renewables moratorium is one of five motions submitted by the SBRC at the conference. 

Council has also asked the ALGA to urge the Federal Government:

  • To develop an infrastructure program for housing support to address ageing infrastructure that is stifling residential development opportunities,
  • To support a funding program for the development of the circular economy precincts in regional areas,
  • To conduct a national campaign for dedicated support for local government councillors (to build community trust in councils), and
  • For assistance with urban water supply (to increase access to water allocations and establish infrastructure that provides for improved water security across urban and rural water supplies)


One Response to "Moratorium Taken To Canberra"

  1. In February ’23, the then SBRC made a decision to “knock back” the proposed Telstra 5G mobile phone tower. How much has that decision cost ratepayers?

    This “call for a moratorium on all renewable energy projects” seems like a simlilar waste of time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.