Building Renewables to Benefit Nature and Communities

Sheep graze amongst solar panels

Today the Queensland Conservation Council, alongside nine Queensland regional environmental and conservation groups, have united in support of a well-planned roll out of renewable energy.

The groups have put forward a five-point plan for getting the rollout of renewable energy right, pointing to the positive outcomes that the energy transformation can have for the environment, regional and First Nations communities if delivered well.

Queensland Conservation Council campaigner Stephanie Gray said:

“Queenslanders love our natural environment. We have places and biodiversity unlike anywhere else in the world. To make sure our natural wonders thrive long into the future we need to act on climate change and that means building renewable energy in the right places.

“Climate action also looks like protecting the critical biodiversity we have left. That’s why we’re calling for the state and federal governments to work with local communities and First Nations people to publish regional environmental mapping, so renewable energy developers have guidance on where to build new projects.

“We know with good planning as well as landholder and community engagement that renewable energy projects can be co-located with agriculture to provide another revenue stream for farmers.

“We welcomed the Queensland Government’s Renewable Energy Zone Roadmap which committed to establishing community reference groups. These need to be urgently set up around the state so that regional communities and First Nations people can guide developers and government on how best to deliver long term employment and other benefits for their communities.

“We’ve seen community members justifiably raise concerns about certain renewable projects. The issue here is not solar or wind, it’s another example of poor planning and a lack of adequate regulation for any type of development.”

Alongside advocating for governments to urgently deliver land-use, biodiversity and Cultural Heritage mapping to guide Renewable Energy Zone development, the groups are calling for stronger environmental planning laws.

North Queensland Conservation Council coordinator Crystal Falknau said:

“Regional communities stand to benefit through long-term jobs and economic activity if Queensland’s energy transformation is well-planned and regional Queenslanders are at the forefront of decision making. 

“Most regional Queenslanders want renewable energy. We just want projects built in the best
places and we want to be listened to during the process.”

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  • Crystal Falknau