Wynne hears solar concerns

By Rodney Woods

A group of Goulburn Valley solar farm objectors met with Victorian Planning Minister Richard Wynne last month to express their concerns directly to the government.

The meeting was arranged by State Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed, and Tallygaroopna’s Natalie Akers said it was worthwhile.

‘‘It was a very productive meeting, where the minister and his staff acknowledged our concerns,’’ Ms Akers said.

‘‘We highlighted that we are not against solar developments, but establishing solar farms on the modernised irrigation backbone where the government had just invested over $2billion was not a good outcome for the region.’’

Also attending the meeting were Peter Hall of Mooroopna and Lynne and Jim Evans of Lemnos.

Ms Akers said the fact the government was listening to their concerns about guidelines was positive.

‘‘It was pleasing to hear that our concerns regarding a lack of guidelines has been heard and the government are in the process of finalising a draft for community feedback,’’ she said.

A government spokesperson confirmed the planning panel’s findings would inform the new guidelines.

Mr Hall said it was important the minister took into account Shepparton’s irrigation layout.

‘‘Our area is unique,’’ he said.

‘‘Because we are intensively irrigated, we are more likely to have conflict (with solar farms on irrigated land) in our region than others and he understood that.

‘‘The fact he was willing to see us was a real positive.’’