Minister to rule on solar project
THE State Government has stepped in to resolve a potentially drawn- out planning dispute over a $ 400 million solar farm development at Clare.
Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said the Government would consider a ministerial “call in” of the proposed Burdekin develop-ment, which would cover up to 340ha and be the largest solar farm in Australia.
Burdekin Shire Council approved the development in May but it was appealed by Wilmar Sugar and Lawrence and Patricia Brotto on July 2.
Burdekin Mayor Bill Lowis said council had requested the intervention to avoid a long and costly dispute in the Planning and Environment Court.
“It’s a great project and we don’t want to lose it,” he said.
Ms Trad, also Local Government and Planning Minister, said she was using powers under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 to issue a proposed “call in” notice for the solar farm development.
Relevant parties have until August 19 to have their say on whether the development should be called in, which would effectively give the State Government final approval.
“I will consider the development application in relation to the economic and environmental interests, and ongoing sustainable development of the State,” Ms Trad said.
She will make a decision on whether the project is called in by September 10.
Fotowatio Renewable Ventures ( FRV) Australia plans to lease privately- owned cane land near the Clare substation, about 35km southwest of Ayr, for the solar farm.
Wilmar Sugar has objected on the grounds it would take high- value agricultural land out of production.