Greymare residents rally against proposed wind farm project

Several landholders in Greymare have been approached by two different energy companies to assess interest in hosting wind turbines.

By Lucy Waldron

Residents of Greymare have united to voice their concerns over a proposed wind farm project that has recently been presented to them.

Representatives from overseas companies Private Energy Partners (PEP) and Tallbox Energy have been approaching local landholders to gauge interest in hosting turbines on their land.

While some landholders are contemplating the attractive offers, the majority of residents at the community meeting on Friday 17 May were firmly against the idea of having turbines in their backyards.

Rosemary Uwins, a Greymare landholder, organised the meeting to bring community concerns to the attention of LNP Member for Southern Downs James Lister, as well as Southern Downs Regional Council members Cr Ross Bartley, Joel Richters, and Russell Wantling.

Ms Uwins highlighted the vulnerability of the area, situated within the Southern Queensland Renewable Energy Zone, to such proposals.

“They are looking for interest now, but before you know it, the proposal is already in and we can’t do anything about it,” she said.

With the MacIntyre wind farm in Karara and the Captains Moutain wind farm in Millmerran, the community feels increasingly surrounded by turbines.

Ms Uwins expressed concerns about decreased land values, increased insurance costs, unsightly landscapes, destruction of native habitats and grazing land, noise from construction and operation, and increased traffic.

“I think we have done our fair share in our area already with the solar farm and the current turbines,” Ms Uwins said.

Despite the prevalent opposition, a few residents are considering the offer.

Long-time Greymare resident David Lawler shared his insights after speaking with company representatives.

“Certainly, the property owner gets well funded for it, but the community as a whole also benefits with reduced rates,” Mr. Lawler said.

He noted that the turbines last approximately 30 years and that the energy company is responsible for decommissioning them, though his comments fell on deaf ears.

Southern Downs MP James Lister pledged to take the community’s consensus to parliament. With most attendees raising their hands against the wind farm proposal, the opposition was clear.

“It is obvious to me that the majority of this community is opposed to a wind farm project here, so I will go to the government, ask what they know and express the concerns heard tonight,” Mr Lister said.

“I am concerned that communities don’t get the proper consultation and that stakeholders don’t have seats at the table under the way the law works now.

“Renewable energy zones and projects like this can effectively be prompted through with very little local input.”

The community hopes to replicate the success of Allora, where strong opposition forced a company to look elsewhere for wind farm development.

Mr Lister believes the project is still a few years away, giving the community time to organise and potentially influence the outcome.

The meeting concluded with plans to form a committee and create a petition against the wind turbine development.

Although PEP and Tallbox Energy representatives have scheduled further discussions with landholders, they were not invited to the community meeting.

A request to comment was sent to Private Energy Partners but they are yet to respond.