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Chalumbin Wind Farm Development

The Chalumbin wind farm is a major development project which is proposed on the boarder of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, close to Ravenshoe on the Atherton Tablelands.

The proponent of the Chalumbin wind farm is Epuron, which was recently acquired by Korea Zinc. The proposal consists of 94 wind turbine generators across two properties Glen Gordon and Wooroona station. 

The Issue

The Chalumbin Wind farm is proposed in a heavily vegetated landscape, containing threatened species and in close proximity to the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. 

The project will set a precedent for the kind of renewable energy development in Queensland that the community can expect to see with the transition away from the fossil fuel industry.

Currently the Queensland Renewable Energy Zones (QREZ) have not been mapped to understand the high value biodiversity and renewable energy resources (wind and solar). This mapping is essential for knowing where renewable energy projects should be located, ensuring that we are not clearing essential habitat and losing biodiversity as a result. 

Until the planning and mapping QREZ’s is complete, we can not be confident that the Chalumbin wind farm is not resulting in the loss of essential habitats and biodiversity.

No amount of minimising, offsetting, rehabilitation, will account for poorly placed, and poorly planned development. 

    We know that the rapid rollout of renewable energy is essential to secure a safe climate future. No one knows that better than the stewards of the reef and rainforest. However we also know that we cannot afford to prepetuate the extinction crisis and biodiveristy loss through renewable energy development. 

    This is our opportunity to get it right early! – Lucy, Director, CAFNEC

    CAFNEC acknowledge the Jirrbal Peoples as the first peoples of the land of the proposed site of the Chalumbin wind farm. We acknowledge that soveriegnty was never ceded and pay respects to elders.

    The Solution

    The Guidelines for the content of a draft public environment report provided by the federal environment department require that the proponent describe any feasible alternatives. We argue that until the planning for the QREZ’s is complete, it is not possible to properly consider or describe the feasible alternatives.

    Chalumbin wind farm is demonstrably uncoordinated development that will likely have significant impact on a broad diversity of Matters of National Environmental Significance. There are likely many feasible alternatives to this wind farm, however it is unlikely that a developer is likely to understand them without the QREZ planning complete.

    The Solution: Chalumbin assessments process is paused until planning and mapping of QREZs is complete, and there is a clear coordination of where development of renewable energy should happen that protects biodiversity and secures emissions reduction.

     

    Listen to the Background Briefing Story (2021)

    What Is At Risk?

    Below are the Matters of Environmental Significance identified as potentially being significantly impacted by the proposed action. More than 20 different threatened species:

     

    1. Magnificent Brood Frog (Pseudophryne covacevichae) – vulnerable;
    2. Greater Glider (Petauroides volans) – vulnerable; 
    3. Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) – vulnerable;
    4. Red Goshawk (Erythrotriorchis radiatus) – vulnerable;
    5. White-throated Needletail (Hirundapus caudacutus) – migratory, vulnerable, marine; 
    6. Masked owl (northern) (Tyto novaehollandiae kimberli) – vulnerable;
    7. Mountain Mist Frog (Litoria nyakalensis) – critically endangered;
    8. Lace-eyed Tree Frog (Litoria dayi ) – vulnerable;
    9. Southern cassowary southern population (Casuarius casuarius johnsonii) – endangered;
    10. Spotted tail quoll (North Queensland subspecies) (Dasyurus maculatus gracilis) – endangered;
    11. Northern Quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus) – endangered;
    12. Yellow-bellied Glider (Wet Tropics) (Petaurus australis Wet Tropics subspecies) – endangered;
    13. Spectacled Flying-fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) – endangered;
    14. Ghost bat (Macroderma gigas) – vulnerable;
    15. Aponogeton bullosus – endangered;
    16. Prostanthera clotteniana – critically endangered; 
    17. Homoranthus porteri – vulnerable; 
    18. Triplarina nitchaga – vulnerable; PER Guidelines – Chalumbin Wind Farm 
    19. Mabi Forest (Complex Notophyll Vine Forest 5b) Threatened Ecological Community– critically endangered.
    20. Listed Migratory species Fork-tailed Swift (Apus pacificus)
    21. Black-faced monarch (Monarcha melanopsis
    22. Latham’s snipe (Gallinago hardwickii) 
    23. Wet Tropics of Queensland values (d) National Heritage Place • Wet Tropics of Queensland values

    THE ASSESSMENT PROCESS

     Chalumbin Public Environment Report 

    On the 7th of November the Public Environment Report for the Chalumbin Windfarm was released to the public as required under the EPBC Act. 

    Public materials will be on display in hard copy for a minimum of 30 business days between Monday, 7 November 2022 and Friday 16 December 2022 at the following locations:

     Ravenshoe Library (Public Reading Area), 24 Moore St Ravenshoe, Qld 4888.

    Tablelands Regional Council (Front Reception), 45 Mabel Street, Atherton, QLD 4883.

    State Library of Queensland (John Oxley Library – Level 4), Stanley Place, South Brisbane, QLD 4101.

    Public Environment Report materials are also available online for a minimum of 30 business days between Monday, 7 November 2022 and Friday 16 December 2022 on Ark Energy’s Website: 

    https://arkenergy.com.au/news/2022/11/7/321-invitation-for-comment-epbc-act-draft-public-environment-report/

    CAFNEC is in the process of preparing both a template submission for community members and a detailed submission on behalf of the organisation. 

    Please sign up to the email list above if you wish to receive updates or hear when we have update this page. 

     

    EPBC Assessment Process

    The Federal Environment Department has chosen to assess the Chalumbin Windfarm through an assessment process that uses a Public Environment Report. The basic steps are:

    1. Federal Department provides guidelines to Ark Energy

    2. Ark Energy produces a Public Evironment Report in alignment with those guidelines

    3. The Federal Department approves the Public Environment Report and tells Ark Energy the public comment period

    4. The community submits public comment on the Public Environment Report to Ark Energy directly (We are here)

    5. Public Comment closes and Ark Energy must finalise the Public Environment Report, considering community comment

    6. The final report and all public comment must be provided to the Federal Department

    7. The Federal Department makes a reccomendation to the Environment Minister for decision

    8. Decision is made

    Community Messages on Chalumbin

    The videos above have been produced by community members and traditional owners who are raising concerns regarding the development. Despite Epuron continuing to progress engagement with Wabubadda Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC, we are still seeing Jirrbal Elders and Traditional Custodians raising concerns in public forums.

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