Education Queensland says a Tablelands school, west of Cairns in the state’s far north, has done the right thing in turning down a donation from a proposed wind farm developer.
RATCH Australia is seeking approval to build 75 large turbines at Mount Emerald near Walkamin.
It offered $10,000 to the Tolga State School, but the Parents and Citizens Association declined the donation.
EQ regional spokesman Graham Fuller says state schools “are places for teaching and learning”.
“They are not to be seen as advocates or otherwise for development applications, individual products, services or commercial enterprise,” he said in a statement.
“The school has acted entirely appropriately by declining the offer of a donation.”
However, RATCH Australia spokesman Geoff Dutton says the company has acted appropriately.
“We understand them not wanting to be political at this time and that’s acceptable to us,” he said.
“We don’t see the wind farm as very controversial and we think that the majority of people really want the wind farm.
“We think it’s inappropriate that people who are against a wind farm – the very minority of people against this wind farm – should stop the community from being supported by the very generous offers that we’ve made.”
Mr Dutton says it wants to give back to the community it is already working in.
“It’s just a lack of understanding by people as to how large corporate people work in the regions where they invest money,” he said.
“We consider ourselves a citizen of the country – same as everybody else – and we’re aware that by our support we can add value into a community.”
But Steve Lavis, from the Tablelands Wind Turbine Action Group, says the company is trying to buy community support.
“I believe the public are smarter than that – I believe they’ll see through this – it just doesn’t sound right to me,” he said.
“It sounds like we’ve got dirty money here that we want to launder and make someone feel good.
“The development hasn’t been approved so they’re going to be using this in their promotion to gain approval, I feel.”
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