Independent Member for Shepparton District Suzanna Sheed says many in her community are devastated by today’s approval by Planning Minister Richard Wynne of three solar farms at Lemnos, Tatura East and Tallygaroopna.
“Few would argue against the merits of new solar farms, but these farms are in the wrong place, located as all three are, on the irrigation back-bone and prime agricultural land. I am very disappointed by this announcement,” Ms Sheed said.
The approvals run counter to draft guidelines released last month that stipulate irrigation and agricultural suitability must be taken into account when deciding whether to approve new solar farms.
“It’s a big state – we have a lot of land far more suitable to the establishment of these kind of projects, land that has not been improved in terms of irrigation infrastructure at considerable expense and land that is not highly suitable for agriculture.”
Conceding there are some benefits to the approvals, Ms Sheed said she hoped in future the Andrews Government would stick to its own rules and expected the City of Greater Shepparton to do the same.
“600 new jobs is a silver lining on this cloud, as is the prospect of 175 megawatts of sustainable energy being fed into the grid, but surely this result could have been achieved in a different location in our region,” Ms Sheed said.
“I call on the Andrews Government to ratify the guidelines immediately so there is certainty going forward for farmers, energy providers and planners in where future solar farms will be approved.”
Myles Peterson 0467 035 840│email@example.com