News

Loss of agricultural land a 'massive concern'

LOSS OF LAND: Wandoan landholder Cecilia Donohue says a balance between agriculture and renewable energy must be found.
LOSS OF LAND: Wandoan landholder Cecilia Donohue says a balance between agriculture and renewable energy must be found. Contributed

THE REGION is on its way to becoming the energy capital of Australia after the Western Downs Council announced it will become home to one of the biggest solar farms in the world.

Equis Energy's $1.5 billion Wandoan South Solar Project will rank among the largest in the world and is touted to create up to 600 jobs across three stages of development over 10 years.

Located 21km south-west of Wandoan at Woleebee, the 1000MW solar farm will cover almost 1500ha.

Mayor Paul McVeigh said the project was further evidence of the council's commitment to renewable energy in the region.

"We are serious about cementing the Western Downs as the energy capital of Australia and securing the enormous economic and community benefits that will bring to our region,” he said.

"Equis has expressed its desire to be proactive in their consultation with neighbours of this project site, and that aligns with the business model we are promoting for renewable energy projects.”

Despite council enthusiasm for the project, Wandoan landowner Cecilia Donohue said there has been little consultation and while she supported the council's investment in renewable energy she held concerns about prime agricultural land making way for the solar industry.

The solar plant will be constructed on the northern side of Gadsby Rd, running parallel to Nevasa, a cattle property owned by Cecilia Donohue for 68 years.

She first heard of plans for the solar farm when Equis Energy contacted her last week.

"My property runs all the way along Gadsby Rd, the distance from my property is the width of the road,” Mrs Donohue said.

"I found out about it last week, when they rang and said they wanted to come and see me.

"There was no consultation. I asked them when they were here when they were going to have a community consultation and they said they're not.

"It's a massive concern because of council planning, they don't have to go out to public consultation, because it's code assessable, not impact assessable - it's not right.

"I'm not happy, my concern is its 5000 acres of agricultural land that's been taken out of production... it's served the cattle industry well for many many years,” she said.

Mrs Donohue said a balance between agriculture and renewable energy must be found.

"I just feel in 50 years when these solar farms are decommissioned this land will be useless because the land will be shaded by the panels and degradated because of the water run-off,” she said.

"We need a long-term plan in place for the area. If we get the balance right, then we can co-exist. If they are going to take up the good land and just leave the rubbish then it won't work.

"So we need to have a conversation.”

Cr McVeigh said while the council was committed to its renewable energy initiative, it "takes into account” good agricultural land.

"One of the key benefits of the development of the solar industry... if it needs to be replaced and taken away, the solar farm can be picked up and you can go back to doing what you were doing.... it doesn't destroy prime agricultural land,” he said.


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Remarkable ring recoveries inspire woman's own plea

APPEAL: Inspired by miraculous recovery stories, Dalby's Katrina Reed has gone public with an appeal to find her husband Scott Reed's ring (inset).

And now she's turning to social media for help

Tara cadets standing proud

JOB WELL DONE: Tara Emergency Cadets at the Tara Festival of Culture and Camel Races.

Cadets recognised for a job well done

Dawn just loves to dance

POISE AND GRACE: 14-year-old Dawn Love has been learning ballet for two years and recently excelled during her AOTD exams.

Miles teen aces dance exams.

Local Partners

On the road to glory

Chinchilla's Dan and Tara Czislowski have been racing for just a year, but they're on the verge of being crowned Australia's offroad superlite king and queen.

Jemma's bewitching voice

STAGE PRESENCE: Suzie Mathers and Jemma Rix in a scene from Wicked The Musical.

Wicked musical theatre star Jemma Rix has released her debut album.

This laughter yoga video will have you in fits of giggles

BEST MEDICINE: Karen Flannery is spreading happiness through laughter throughout Hervey Bay.

New members needed for a laughing good time

Dancers show off skills at Toowoomba Eisteddfod

Milla Rowbotham and Rebecca Gill from All Star Dance Academy .Toowoomba Eisteddfod, Empire Theatre. August 2017

Poems and dances dominated the 72nd City of Toowoomba Eisteddfod

Taylor Swift wipes presence off social media

TAYLOR Swift has completely disappeared off social media — and her fans don’t know what to think.

Swedish TV drama turns up heat

Louise Nyvall stars in the Swedish TV series Farang.

Scandinavian crime thriller goes troppo

Aboriginal artists' call to action

Anwar Young, winner of this year's overall prize and last year's young artist prize.

Important messages of survival and healing

Radio host Matt Okine leaps to small screen

Valene Kane, Matt Okine and Harriet Dyer star in the TV series The Other Guy.

First foray into acting a long time in the making

Hollywood’s new highest paid actress

Jennifer Lawrence had to settle for third this year behind Emma Stone and Jennifer Aniston.

CAN you guess who has dethroned Jennifer Lawrence?

Movie trailer dubbed too racy for TV

Alicia Vikander stars in Tulip Fever.

THE trailer for Tulip Fever is so saucy some networks have banned it

Liz Hurley, 52, has never looked better

She’s definitely not shy to pose in a bikini.

Life in your 50s has never looked as good as it does on Liz Hurley.

EXPLAINED: What the 'Costco effect' means for Ipswich

PRICE WARS: A Costco store similar to this one in Canberra, is planned for Ipswich.

Exclusive 'cult' about to change how families do grocery shopping

4800 homes to be built in massive new Coast estate

Masterplanned community full steam ahead - it's not Caloundra South

Open for inspection homes August 17 - 23

Check out this weekend's homes open for inspection.

Airbnb, Stayz and co tipped to squeeze Coast housing market

HOLIDAY BOOM: Airbnb letting is putting a further squeeze on long-term rentals.

Councils exploring options to manage the industry

How we got a rental straight away on the Coast

Rita and David Allara, moved down from Townsville, paid three months up front rent to secure the place at flash new unit block in Kings Beach.

Genius move helps secure rental property

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!