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Farmers Forced Off Land for Renewables

Hard working Federal Member for Capricornia, Michelle Landry, has taken the fight to save the Pioneer Valley from being sacrificed for renewables to Parliament.

This week, Member for Capricornia, Michelle Landry, presented a speech to the House to make Parliament aware of the dire situation farmers and locals of the Pioneer Valley are finding themselves in.

The Queensland Premier flew to Mackay and announced in September 2023 they were committing $12 billion to construct the world’s largest hydro scheme. This forms a part of the Labor State Government’s plan to reach their climate target objectives by 2035.

As part of this scheme, Labor is planning on building three dams in the scenic Pioneer Valley and Eungella region. These dams will flood pristine sub-tropical rainforest areas and force farmers and locals off their land.

Two reservoirs will be located at Eungella in the Burdekin River Catchment, and the third reservoir will be situated in the Pioneer River Catchment at Netherdale with a 60-metre-high wall.

Not only will there be three dams but due to the lack of energy in the area to operate the hydro plant, solar fields and wind turbines will also be constructed to power the facility.

Residents reported that they were unaware of plans for this scheme, with no consultation from the State Government prior to the announcement.

Ms Landry said that this lack of communication with locals is atrocious but not surprising.

“As is the case with most announcements from the Labor Government, it came out of nowhere with little to no research and not one resident from the Pioneer Valley consulted.

“How devastating to hear that your home, that many have had for generations, will be acquired by the government and inundated with water. Many of the residents are suffering great mental angst through this announcement.

“Prime agricultural land and pristine wilderness will be destroyed,” Ms Landry said.

79 properties will be flooded and businesses in the region brought to their knees through loss of tourism.

Just to defy logic even more, this project is for energy production only.

“The proposed hydro scheme has not been designed to hold a single drop of water to provide the water security vital to Central Queensland. There will be no water for agriculture, tourism or urban use,” Ms Landry said.

However, there is another alternative – Urannah Dam.

Urannah Dam will not only be able to be utilised for hydro power, but also for agriculture, tourism, resources and urban use.

“I have lobbied for Urannah Dam for Years. When in Government the Coalition committed $483 million to the Urannah Dam project which will transform the north and provide water security for the nearby towns and dozens of resource projects,” Ms Landry said.

Ms Landry stated that Central and Northern Queensland need a reliable action plan for future water storage, farm irrigation and hydro pumped clean energy.

“The groundwork is done on the Urannah Dam project. It ticks every box and most importantly, it will not cause the emotional upheaval to our valued local community of the Pioneer Valley,” Ms Landry said.

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