The State Government is under pressure to protect far north Queensland roads that may be at risk of damage if Queensland’s largest wind farm goes ahead.
RATCH Australia is proposing to build up to 70 large turbines at Mount Emerald on the Atherton Tablelands and submissions closed on the project’s draft environmental impact statement (EIS) earlier this month.
The State Government has taken over the approvals process for the wind farm, near Mareeba, with a decision expected later this year.
Tablelands’ councillor Marjorie Pagani says she wants the Government to impose conditions, including that all construction traffic be required to use Hansen Road.
“It’s really up to the State Government to protect us by way of bonds,” she said.
“Mount Emerald, the developer is a $2 company so we would be looking to the State Government to include conditions such as withholding of substantial bonds in the event that the company went into receivership or similar status,” she said.
She says the council is asking the Government to audit road conditions before construction materials are brought in.
“We are also calling upon the developer to tell us where is the proposed route,” she said.
“They’re right at the end stage of their proposals, they’ve done their EIS, they’ve had responses to their EIS and still they haven’t told anybody where they propose to haul these 24,000 vehicle movements.”
In a statement, Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney says independent assessments will be undertaken to evaluate the project’s economic, environmental and community impacts.
He says the Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning will use that information and consider the wind farm application against the relevant planning instruments before making its recommendation.