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Wind farm protests at Mareeba Community Cabinet

Opposers of a proposed Tableland wind farm have claimed to be among the big winners emerging from the latest Community Cabinet meet, which drew record crowds in Mareeba yesterday.

State ministers, led by Premier Campbell Newman, pushed through about 200 meetings with Far Northern residents who travelled from as far as Cape York for the event at the Mareeba International Club, while protesters waved placards outside.

About 100 CSG Free NQ representatives rallied beside the club’s driveway against coal seam gas exploration proposed on the Tableland, while 40 Electrical Trades Union campaigners protested across the road against asset sales.

Inside the meet, Tableland Wind Turbine Action Group members requested for Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney to listen to residents they say would be negatively impacted by the Mt Emerald Wind Farm near Mareeba.

They walked away with a promised personal visit from Mr Seeney to one of their members’ properties this morning to “see for himself” the area where the $380 million development would be stationed and “gather more information” to aid his decision on whether to approve it.

“The development application said there was no one within 2km of where it would be, but there are over 70 residents in that space, including us, and 2500 people within 5km,” said Walkamin’s Jenny Disley.

Ms Disley said the group were “absolutely thrilled” that Mr Seeney had vowed to pay “special attention” to their case.

“He said to us a couple of times ‘I have not signed off on this yet’, so it’s a momentous decision on his part that he is going to take the time to learn more about it and realise our concerns,” she said.

Mr Seeney has in the past promised not to make a decision on the wind farm until meeting residents at the Community Cabinet weekend.

But Ms Disley said her group yesterday urged him to delay his decision until mid-next year when a recently-launched Senate inquiry into the effectiveness of wind farms was due for completion.

A spokeswoman for Mr Seeney said he would make further comment on the issue after visiting Walkamin today.