State accused of keeping $2B project secret for three years
TWO members of a group investigating a controversial $2 billion Toolara wind farm proposal have accused the State Government of secretly working on the project for three years.
LNP MPs Jon Krause and Mark Boothman, who were part of the State Development, Tourism, Innovation and Manufacturing Committee tasked with reporting on a proposed development bill for the wind farm, said the group's investigations revealed work was underway on the project long before the community was asked for input.
They said the proposed bill, which the committee said should be passed, was being presented to parliament with the decision already in the bag.
"Any project of this scale and impact needs to be undertaken with the support of the local community," the pair's statement said in a statement of reservation accompanying the parliamentary report.
"Unfortunately, instead of working with the community, it is our opinion thecommittee's consideration of the proposed Bill has revealed that the Palaszczuk Labor Government has been progressing this project for three years in secret."
But instead of keeping landholders informed and involved in this time "the committee heard from residents that their first in person meeting was only held at the start of 2020".
"Concerningly … even the consultation that was undertaken left residents feeling disengaged."
They said although the proponent "may profess that there is still a process to go in their consultation program before construction starts, the reality is that the Palaszczuk Labor Government is introducing this bill with what appears to be a predetermined approval outcome.
"This is just one example of many where regional Queensland communities are ridden roughshod over by a Brisbane centric Labor Government."
They said at least one key detail was still missing from the proposal.
Where the transmissions lines will run through private properties "is still yet to be agreed to" and "neither the project proponent or the potential landowners appear to have any clear idea of what properties will be impacted and what compensation will be offered".
"Unsurprisingly this bungled consultation process from the Palaszczuk Labor Government is a product of their 'Exclusive Transactions' process," they said.
"The same process which was established after the former Labor Minister and current Treasurer's Cameron Dick MP monumental market led proposal failure.
"Labor's market led proposal program was slammed by the Queensland Auditor General for creating 'undue pressure' to push projects that haven't cleared the most basic of hurdles."