Mt Emerald gets greenlight, but opponents to fight on

The Queensland Government has approved Ratch Australia’s $380 million Mount Emerald wind farm project in Far North Queensland, but locals are exploring legal action to stop the development.

Ratch Australia has been seeking approval to build the 63 turbine wind farm at Mount Emerald, near Mareeba, for more than four years.

The Queensland Government approved the project and said it would have strict conditions, including day and night noise limits.

Tablelands Wind Turbine Action Group spokeswoman Lee Schwerdtfeger said the development still needed Federal Government approval.

“We’ve got 2500 people living within five kilometres,” she told ABC News.

“We’ve got people in other states reporting major problems out to 10km, so that’s to do with sleep and all sorts of health issues. It’s just too big for an area that’s as intensively farmed as ours.”

Deputy Premier Jackie Trad is standing by her decision to approve the development saying she is aware of all the concerns and issues raised by opponents and highlighting she has struck the right balance.

Mareeba Mayor Tom Gilmore said he was relieved the state government had made a decision and the majority of the community was most likely supportive.

“The important thing… from my perspective, is the widening of the economic base for our Tablelands region and for the Mareeba Shire Council in particular,” he said.