Bev McQuaker (pictured) said he would rather focus on planting crops and fattening cattle than “waste” his time on mountainous paperwork.
So when only 15 days was provided by AGL to lodge a submission against a wind farm project he believes will threaten the viability of his operation, Mr McQuaker made the decision not to respond to the company’s “invitation”.
Despite this, he said he has no regrets. “There is no benefit whatsoever for me in AGL building this wind farm,” he said. “But I don’t even think they read these submissions.”
The proposal to place 114 turbines in a six kilometre radius has divided the Cooranga North, near Dalby, with about 40 landholders expected to be impacted.
Under the legislation, AGL does not have to reach negotiated settlements with neighbouring properties to construct the infrastructure.
Many in the community are concerned about the potential risks to land values and associated health risks from the noise, both claims which AGL denies.
And while Mr McQuaker – a lifelong dairy and beef producer at the family property, Knockjarder – “strongly” opposes the project. He believes his time is better spent focusing on his own operation. During the past decade he has seen power, gas and water companies attempt to construct infrastructure through his property.
He said AGL proposes to construct six turbines on neighbouring properties.
And he has doubts about the validity of the submission process.
“I have been through this before with other companies and our submissions make no difference; these companies just do as they wish,” he said.
“I had jobs to do at my property and even if I had filled out all their proposal forms I still would have needed to get those other jobs done. I think I would need professional advice to be able to fill out these submissions and I can’t afford that.”
According to Cooranga North Concerned Citizens spokesperson Bryan Lyons, encouraging landholders to provide submissions within the short time frame set by AGL has been a common issue. He said it had forced affected landholders to ask themselves ? do they neglect their operations in the short term to focus their efforts on the AGL submission process?
“We have 15 days to respond to the initial assessment report which is not a lot of time given that people have to run their own businesses and AGL have been working on their report for months,” he said.
AGL has been clear in the rules surrounding the submission process.
Certain criteria must be included and addressed or else it cancels out the application. Submissions close on April 21.
Mr Lyons said a written submission listing the wider community concerns and signed by 30 landholders will be lodged with AGL this week.
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