Media Releases

Sheed calls on Planning Minister to decide fate of solar farms

July 12, 2019

The Independent Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed is calling on the Victorian State Government to make a decision in relation to the three outstanding solar farm applications in the Shepparton district.

The member for Shepparton together with other concerned members of the community made submissions to the Victorian government to ensure that local concerns regarding land use were taken into account. They were led to believe that the decisions would be made and final guidelines released by 30 June 2019.

“The Greater Shepparton City Council referred this matter to the Minister’s office for decision because of the sensitivities associated with using the proposed land for solar farms. While there is widespread desire for renewable energy projects in our region, appropriate planning procedures must be applied and the guidelines being created should be applied to these applications currently with the Minister,” Ms Sheed said.

“It would be ridiculous to approve these three solar farm applications considering none would pass the draft guidelines released for public comment.”

Ms Sheed said that it is entirely inappropriate to locate solar farms on highly valuable and modernised irrigation land within the irrigation district.

“To use land as a solar farm that is located on the irrigation backbone and has been invested in so as to make it capable of being used for high-value food production simply does not make sense.

“The government needs to make a decision and make it now. The community is calling for some finality. There are important planning issues at stake here and all relevant government departments have now had an opportunity to have their input. The Water Minister in particular has been made well aware of the importance of maintaining irrigation land for food production purposes and I believe the decision should reflect this.  There are ample opportunities for these multinational solar companies to locate their developments in areas other than on modernised irrigated land,” Ms Sheed said.

“I hope the Victorian government will be prepared to make the decision to reject the three outstanding applications and not be influenced by threats of legal action from multinational companies that could easily locate their solar developments in other more suitable areas.”

ENDS

Media contact

Myles Peterson 0467 035 840│myles.peterson@parliament.vic.gov.au

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