Ryan turns up the heat over solar farm confusion

20 June 2018

The Nationals have renewed pressure on the Andrews Labor Government to urgently develop guidelines on how applications for solar farms should be considered under Victoria’s planning framework.

Today in Parliament The Nationals put questions to Planning Minister Richard Wynne on his failure to put in place any state planning guidelines to regulate the placement of solar developments, particularly on high value agricultural land.

The questions follow efforts by Member for Euroa and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan earlier in the year to get Planning Minister Richard Wynne to provide better guidance to councils on the matter.

“While it’s good to see forms of renewable energy coming online, I am concerned that the Andrews Government has been too slow to give clarity to councils on how these applications should be dealt with,” Ms Ryan said.

“Without any direction or guidance from the state government, Benalla Rural City Council has been forced to wave through several applications without proper consideration of community concerns.”

Ms Ryan said the government’s plan to release draft guidelines for comment in late 2018 was far too late.

 “Benalla is dealing with applications now and the government needs to provide clarity now, instead of kicking the issue down the road,” Ms Ryan said.

“The guidelines presently allow solar farms to be approved almost anywhere within the farm zone and they are silent about where such a development might be inappropriate.

“It is not possible for council to give solar farm applications the thorough consideration the community would expect under the current guidelines.

“Some applications have already been rushed through because there’s nothing to advise council planning department staff and councillors on how to deal with solar farms.

“While it’s great to see proposals for renewable energy projects coming forward, they need to be handled properly and with due sensitivity to other activities in the region.

“Clear guidance must be provided by the Andrews Government to give clarity to councils so the community can have a greater say on the location of solar farms.”

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