Westlink decision is common sense
FINALLY a decision by the Planning and Environment Court has vindicated the proposed Westlink Power station. The decision demonstrates Lockyer Valley Regional Councillors had no real basis to continually deny conditional approval to the proposal, except, it seems, to placate a small special interest group. Under our current local government system in the LVRC of non-divisional representation, it seems no councillors will vote for any project that may lose them a couple of hundred votes, which on the last local government election figures may well have meant the difference between winning and losing a seat on council. Under divisional representation, I believe most councillors would have voted on the project based on the proposals own merits, as councillors who did not represent the divison that would include Adare would not necessarily have lost votes because of it. Most appalling is the huge amount of ratepayers’ funds this council has used in legal costs, conducting a campaign on behalf of a special interest group. I applaud wholeheartedly the decision to grant conditional approval to this development. The Lockyer Valley needs sustainable development if it is to attract and retain the type of highly skilled workers that this project will employ. Further, young residents can be encouraged to pursue high-skilled jobs in the local area rather than to have to look elsewhere, as this low-emission peak station will utilise a highly-skilled, educated workforce. The natural gas fired low-emission peak station proposed by Westlink would improve energy supply and security at times of peak usage across the South East. According to Westlink, the plant would “have a Greenhouse Gas intensity 20-30% lower than a coal-fired plant”, while working to increase supply through peak usage times, investing $150 million in the first stage and creating 200 jobs. On current consumption trends, the plant may only run 20% of the time to meet peak demand. The court’s decision acknowledges the benefits to “closed for business” to organisations looking to invest capital and employ local residents in exciting and sustainable projects like this and others that have been denied by the council. Councillors should think more about the future of the region and less about their
I applaud wholeheartedly the decision to grant conditional approval to this development (Westlink)
the local community. How can a council elected to represent the best interests of the community, have continually fought against such a project? While I acknowledge that primary industry is still, and will remain, the region’s most important industry, we must look to diversify our local economy by supporting sustainable industrial developments. There is no reason the agriculture and energy sectors cannot co-exist, if the council shows support for the project and assists in its development, rather than acting as a road-block for growth. The Lockyer Valley Regional Council looks very much to be immediate re-election if we are, as a region, to grow going forward.