Community consultation skipped by rushed Government green agenda

Hinchinbrook MP and KAP Deputy Leader, Nick Dametto.

22 February 2024

The Queensland Governments’ rapid pursuit of renewable energy targets now align with the Federal goal to reach 82 per cent renewables by 2030.

This aggressive target is said be achieved through the construction of solar and wind farms and battery installations across the country. However, amidst the urgency to meet such unreasonable targets, grave concerns have emerged regarding the lack of community consultation in the approval process, particularly in regional Queensland.

The accelerated pace at which wind farm and Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESSs) are being approved, often under code assessment mechanisms, have raised alarm bells amongst environmentalists, local governments and those who have to live next to the industrial electrical generators.

Hinchinbrook MP and Katter’s Australian Party Deputy Leader, Nick Dametto said that his electorate was learning firsthand just how easy it had become for companies to steamroll ahead with approval for major projects without local communities, residents or even neighbours being aware.

“The Mount Fox Energy Park is a glaring example where residents and even myself, have just recently learnt that a wind farm was approved in the Mount Fox area 18 months ago,” Mr Dametto said.

“Project approvals like this are being slipped through under the radar by being code assessed. Code assessments, by definition ‘help to deliver expected developments without undue delay’ and ‘Public consultation is not required’ which in layman terms is ramming through the objective of the government without consideration for anything or anybody.

“Queenslanders are right to be furious that they now have very little say as to where these large, industrial and invasive structures will be built, and the best government has to offer in response to that is that developers are strongly recommended to engage in community consultation however there is no legal requirement that they do so.

“Renewables are a way for city folk to do away with their environmental guilt, they want these projects to power metropolises like Brisbane and Sydney but couldn’t care less about the rural communities they ruin and the landscapes they destroy. Code assessments are designed to shield controversial developments from public scrutiny and the typically rigorous approvals required for large construction projects.

“Blind Willy could see what’s going on here. Open and transparent development applications would interfere with the Government’s aggressive approach towards renewables, and to get around that they simply decided to re-route the legal pathway.

“The absence of important steps such as public consultation denies residents and local government representatives the opportunity to voice their concerns and participate in decisions regarding infrastructure projects that directly effect their lives, livelihoods, and that of the greater rate payer base. It is for that reason the residents of Mount Fox and the Hinchinbrook Shire have had every right to object to this project.

“It is important to note this is not the first controversial project that has snuck through the back door by way of a code assessment, the Chalumbin Wind Farm up on the Tablelands is a perfect example of a project gone wrong after it sparked widespread public outrage.

“Any development that has the potential to jeopardize the region’s ecosystem, negatively impact the property or livelihood of others, or impact council-controlled infrastructure such as roads, should require mandatory community consultation along with a stringent approvals process.

“Regional communities matter and deserve better”.


Nick Dametto MP