Families in the Eungella and Pioneer Valley are facing an uncertain future as the Queensland Labor Government is forging ahead with plans to flood the region, in an attempt to build the ‘world’s biggest hydro project’.
Federal Member for Capricornia, Michelle Landry, was today joined by Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minister for Agriculture, David Littleproud, to tour some of the properties that are set to be affected by the five-gigawatt, large-scale, long-duration Pioneer-Burdekin Pumped Hydro Energy Storage (PHES).
The project’s estimated construction cost is $12 billion, with the State Labor Government pushing the Federal Labor Government to fund it.
Following the Queensland Premier’s announcement in September 2022 that they had identified the Eungella and Netherdale communities as the ideal location for a hydro plant, locals in the region had started action to campaign against the project.
With 79 properties expected to be affected, Ms Landry said families were reaching breaking point as they grapple with Labor’s plans to inundate their properties for renewable energy.
“This is the third visit I’ve made to the Eungella community since the Premier made a flying visit to Mackay to announce Labor’s plan to inundate prime agriculture land and pristine rainforest,” Ms Landry said.
“I have met with families who have broken down in tears and asked me what do they do with their lives if they’re forced off their land. Many of the properties have been in their family for generations. It’s heartbreaking.
“The community needed a voice and that’s why I have brought my colleague, David Littleproud, to Eungella and Pioneer Valley to see firsthand what is at stake if this project gets the go ahead.
“It’s hypocritical of the Labor and Greens parties to scrutinise the resources industry when they are more than willing to sacrifice the environment in the name of renewable energy.”
Eungella, best known for its pristine rainforests and platypus which inhabit the rivers and creeks, will be inundated with two dams forming the top reservoirs.
While at the bottom of the Eungella range, a 60-metre-high dam wall will be constructed to allow the prime farming land to go under for the lower dam. Furthermore, the energy required to power the hydro plant will require wind turbines and a solar field to be built, to assist in the function of the dams to create energy.
Mr Littleproud said the community felt helpless.
“Labor’s ideology doesn’t match the practical reality and sadly it’s at the expense of Eungella locals,” Mr Littleproud said.
“It is senseless to destroy prime agriculture land and rainforest in this special part of Queensland. I urge Labor to listen to locals and to scrutinise this project properly, before it’s too late.”