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Tableland wind farm plan generates ire of farmers

A group of farmers near Walkamin, on the Atherton Tableland, has come out against a proposed wind farm near their properties at Mt Emerald.

Yesterday, about 10 growers met Tablelands Regional councillors and Dalrymple MP Shane Knuth at a property near the proposed site.

Among them was Bruce Watkins from Mt Uncle Farming and Distillery who has about 323ha 800 acres mostly in bananas and avocados.

“I was born and bred here and quite frankly I don’t want to see wind mills on the top of the hill,” Mr Watkins said.

He said he was against the proposal and he believed most others in the area were too.

Others cited noise, the impacts on aerial spraying and the effect on day and night temperatures from the turbines.

Ratch Australia has an application in the pipeline to build 75-79 turbines at the site.

The TRC wants the Government to sign an amendment to the Mareeba Shire Planning Scheme, giving it more powers to impose conditions on the wind farm.

Mayor Rosa Lee Long has written to the minister for urgent action as a Temporary Local Planning Instrument relating to wind farms, which was signed by the last Labor administration, runs out on October 7.

After that date any proposal would be dealt with under the existing Mareeba Shire Planning Scheme, which the council has told the minister was “deficient and inadequate” for assessing wind farms.

Mr Knuth said he intended raising the issue with the minister in parliament.