March 28, 2015

Deputy premier Jackie Trad visits Mt Emerald wind farm site and promises a decision soon

Andrea Falvo | Tablelands Advertiser | March 23, 2015 |

Deputy Premier Jackie Trad has promised to make a decision soon on the controversial proposed Mt Emerald wind farm on the Atherton Tableland.

Jackie Trad flew in by private jet on Saturday to meet residents and hear their views on the development.

The Infrastructure, Planning and State Development Minister said the proposed development was called in on June 11 last year following a request from Mareeba Shire Council.

“I had postponed the decision on the Mt Emerald Wind Farm on March 13 this year as part of this government’s commitment to transparent and informed planning and development processes,” Ms Trad said.

“It’s been a long road for those involved in this proposed development but I want to meet with Mareeba residents to ensure I am making the best decision for the region’s future.”

Tablelands Wind Turbine Action group member, Bruce Watkins believed “everyone on the Tablelands should be aware of the impact the project will have”.

“We couldn’t be happier with how the meeting went with the Deputy Premier,” he said.

“Her response was quicker than any other government previously.

“She’s very attentive and listened to all our points.

“There are question marks over Ratch’s proposal in my opinion.

“Above all she’s very receptive and is aware of Tully Millstream hydroelectric dam scheme.

“It’s the viable alternative that would generate green power for a lifetime.”

Mr Watkins said the group was concerned about the impact the turbines could have on the Lotus Glen prison community.

“Lotus Glen prison is right in the firing line. The turbines are equivalent to 40 storeys high.

“Our major concern is for the wellbeing of the prison community and the ongoing health issues that may occur. People will be affected, there’s no doubt about it.”

Member for Dalrymple Shane Knuth expressed concern about the size of the proposed operation in a residential area.

He said the Tully Millstream would produce 10 times more power, and would be a “very affordable” operation.

“The locals appreciated that the minster was able to get there in short notice and how she acted very quickly,” Mr Knuth said.

“It took almost three years to get the LNP to get out there and have a look.

“There were a number of issues that were raised including the close vicinity of the wind farm to residents, the massive scale of the operation and concerns of noise and infrasound.

“We believe that the Deputy Premier had the chance to see for herself the issues that have been raised in the submissions.”

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