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Concealed Community Engagement Review shows federal Labor government lack of transparency on renewable projects impact on agriculture

Littleproud emphasises the necessity of disclosing the Community Engagement Review on renewable projects, expressing concerns about Labor's 82% renewables target, its impact on agriculture, and lack of transparency.

By news@gippsland - 23rd January 2024 - Back to News

Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said Labor is refusing to be transparent about the impact of renewable projects on productive agriculture land and regional communities, by failing to release its promised Community Engagement Review into the issue. Mr Littleproud said the cost-of-living crisis was the biggest issue facing Australia, yet a review into renewables, their costs and impact on food production, which, in turn, would impact prices at the checkout, was being hidden.

The Community Engagement Review on renewables, expresses concerns about Labor's 82% target and transparency issues in agriculture. Labor's oversight of environmental, social, and financial consequences is evident

The Community Engagement Review on renewables, expresses concerns about Labor's 82% target and transparency issues in agriculture. Labor's oversight of environmental, social, and financial consequences is evident

Community engagement review

Mr Littleproud said, "Disclosure of the review is crucial because it's about the future of our farming communities and how this will impact the price of food. The review looks at the impact on agricultural land and farmers, the treatment and rights of landowners and regional communities for renewable energy projects including wind turbines, solar panels, hydrogen and transmission lines."

The Community Engagement Review, investigating renewable projects and infrastructure, was announced by Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen on July 4, 2023, and is being led by Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner Andrew Dyer. It was presented to the Minister at the end of 2023.

Criticising Labor's target

Mr Littleproud is now seeking access to the report under the Freedom of Information Act. "Labor is pursuing a reckless 82 per cent renewables target by 2030, which is driving up costs and threatening productive agricultural land and regional communities. Minister Bowen has previously stated Labor needs to install 22,000 solar panels every day, or 60 million panels by 2030, and 40 wind turbines every month to reach its target."

"Labor will also require 34 times the current amount of utility-scale variable renewable energy in the national electricity market to meet its hydrogen ambitions, on top of 28,000 kilometres of transmission lines," he said.

Threat to farm livelihoods

Victorian farmer Ben Duxson, who has 8500 merino sheep as well as canola, barley and wheat on his 5500-acre farm in Kanya, Southern Wimmera, said there was no need for Labor's planned transmission lines, which would go straight through his own farm.

"No one in our area wants anything to do with wind farms, solar or transmission lines, because we are farmers of food and fibre, not energy. Labor has to go back and re-plan. They are not thinking about the environment or the social or financial impact and my message to Labor is 'start again'. Food and fibre security, sustainability and affordability are all in jeopardy if this plan goes ahead."

"Transmission lines through this area would lead to multi-generational farmers getting up and leaving due to constraints placed on our businesses and the way we farm. We will fight against the reckless plan Labor has for Australia's energy sector. Farmers will have to do the heavy lifting for a failed short-term plan that will increase the cost-of-living for all Australians," Mr Duxson said.

Calls for transparency

Mr Littleproud added Labor's refusal to release the document shows despite having a reckless target, it has no plan to deliver and is hiding behind secrecy, because Labor knows local communities such as Mr Duxson's will be steamrolled.

"We need to know how much productive agricultural land is earmarked, where is it earmarked and when will the projects be forced onto local communities? We also need to know how much these projects will cost taxpayers and what are the protection rights of property owners?"

"We have time to pause, to plan and to use common sense. Sadly, it's becoming obvious that renewables are losing their social licence because they are destroying the very thing they were designed to protect," Mr Littleproud said.

Pictures from Wikipedia website.


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