FARMERS across New South Wales say the state government’s Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap will create a more resilient, productive, and prosperous agriculture sector.
“This is fantastic news for farmers and regional communities,” said Charlie Prell, Crookwell sheep farmer and newly appointed chair of Farmers for Climate Action.
“Large-scale renewables have already helped drought proof hundreds of farmers by providing a reliable, off-farm income stream, while also reducing emissions. Hosting wind turbines on my own farm has given me and my family a life-line as we battle the droughts and floods that are being exacerbated by climate change.
“New income from hosting renewables will allow farmers to improve their farming operations, create new jobs, and improve biodiversity and ecological resilience in a changing climate. This increases our contribution to the local economy when we spend in local communities.
“Access to cheaper electricity will attract agricultural industries back to the small regional towns, to tap into affordable, locally produced electricity.
“We must embrace this historic opportunity to re-energise and revitalise regional Australia, while also ensuring that this boom is shared with everyone in small regional Australian communities,” said Mr Prell.
Karin Stark, Narromine farmer and Farm Renewables Consulting director, said: “Renewable Energy Zones will directly deliver economic benefits to the people who grow Australia’s food and fibre, while tackling climate change. There are opportunities for combining grazing or cropping with energy generation, delivering multiple value for landholders.
“It will also deliver many benefits to the wider regional community through Community Enhancement Funds. Governments and developers must consult closely with local communities to ensure that they are the ones shaping the outcomes, and that benefits of renewable energy projects are equitably shared.
“Farmers and regional NSW communities welcome this smart, sensible leadership. It’s exactly what we need in order to recover from COVID-19. We urge the Federal Government to follow suit and take credible action on climate change,” said Ms Stark.