Llew O'Brien. Photo Patrick Woods / Sunshine Coast Daily.
Llew O'Brien. Photo Patrick Woods / Sunshine Coast Daily.

Wide Bay MP expresses concerns over M’boro wind farm

Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien has expressed reservations about a mega wind farm set to be constructed near Maryborough after legislation that would allow it to be built on forestry land was introduced to the state parliament.

The $2 billion dollar Forest Wind project is set to be the largest wind farm in Queensland and one of the largest in the southern hemisphere when it goes ahead.

Last week the Forest Wind Development Bill 2020 was introduced, which would allow Forest Wind Holdings to obtain tenure to access, occupy, develop and manage the land for the purpose of the project, and limit the construction and operation of the wind farm to the Toolara, Tuan and Neerdie State Forests.

"From its inception this project has been shrouded in State Government enforced secrecy so initially it was difficult to make any assessment," Mr O'Brien said.

"When it comes to electricity generation sources I'm agnostic.

"But Maryborough's heavy industry needs reliable base load power to support local jobs, and households want affordable and reliable electricity."

Mr O'Brien said he didn't support Australian taxpayer subsidies going to foreign investors, "distorting the electricity market and shifting production costs onto taxpayers".

"This project raises many valid concerns. We've just gone through one of the worst bushfire seasons ever and the placement of giant wind turbines over State forestry comes with a whole range of risks," he said,

"The State Government is responsible for its own laws, electricity generation, and the management of its forests, so they need to ensure the project stacks up economically and environmentally, that it doesn't harm wildlife and primary production, and that it has community support.

"At this stage I think the State Government has a lot of work to do."