The Victorian government will decide on planning applications for four solar farms in the Greater Shepparton region..
The City of Greater Shepparton handed over the responsibility and last week the Victorian government agreed to call in the applications at Congupna, Lemnos, Tallygaroopna and Tatura East, for an independent panel.
Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed said while it was usually preferable for councils to determine planning applications in their own municipality, the complexity of assessing solar projects in agricultural districts called for additional support.
Ms Sheed said she had raised her concerns with the Minister and urged the Government to address the lack of relevant guidelines.
“While the Greater Shepparton area enjoys plentiful sunshine year round, making it an ideal location for solar farms, it is also home to the prime agricultural land at the heart of our economy,” Ms Sheed said.
“It is important that we find a balance between renewable energy investment and the sustainable future of our farming industry.
“An independent panel will bring welcome expertise to the decision-making process and enable all parties to be heard in an appropriate forum.”
Ms Sheed said she was pleased the panel would also provide broader advice on how future solar farm projects would be assessed in Victoria.