Environmental, agriculture, community groups and Traditional Owners have joined the recently formed Borumba Pumped Hydro Project Stakeholder Reference Group, with the first meeting scheduled for 21 April 2022 in Gympie.
Queensland Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen, Mick de Brenni, said up to 19 members would provide essential direction for the project’s next steps.
“While this project could be a game-changer for Queensland’s clean energy future and our emissions targets it is essential we consult to ensure we balance the interests of all stakeholders,” Mr de Brenni said.
“With estimates Lake Borumba’s pumped storage could power two million homes, the Palaszczuk Government is investing in more jobs and more industries as part of Queensland’s plan for economic recovery.
“Representatives from the land’s traditional owners the Kabi Kabi First Nations Native Title Claimant Group, as well as local landholders, are priority stakeholders to ensure the project properly acknowledges their deep and longstanding connections.”
In addition, the following groups have been invited to join the Powerlink run Stakeholder Reference Group:
- Mary River Catchment Coordinating Committee
- Sunshine Coast Environmental Council
- Save the Mary River Coordinating Group
- Wide Bay Burnett Environmental Council
- Queensland Conservation Council
- Hinterland Bush Links
Economic Development & Industry Representatives:
- Gympie District Beef Liaison Group
- Australian Ginger Growers’ Association
- Gympie Chamber of Commerce
- Mary Valley Chamber of Commerce
- Wide Bay Burnett Regional Development Australia
- Queensland Council of Unions
- Lake Borumba Fish Stocking Association
- Imbil Crime Watch
The hydro facility at Lake Borumba will be a multi-billion-dollar project with the potential to generate billions more in clean energy investment.
The facility has the potential to create 2,000 jobs for Gympie and the Sunshine Coast during construction and would generate around 48GWh, taking the rooftop solar and storing it until needed when the sun goes down, which starts to get to the scale of the Snowy Hydro.
“We are doing the work to ensure high levels of environmental protections and community consultation will play a critical role to ensure that,” Mr de Brenni said.
“I’ve met members of the community and stakeholders and heard their priorities and design thresholds about no off-river storage created on the Mary to feed the Borumba fill and maintain current environmental flows from the dam.
“And we heard what the community wants out of it – not just the construction jobs, but ideas for how we can build a legacy too, a long term benefit across the town and region.”
The stakeholder group will be tasked with looking at specific studies including environmental, hydrological, social and recreational impact assessments and will provide another avenue to ensure stakeholders better understand the project.
Meetings will also include representatives from Powerlink, Department of Regional Development Manufacturing and the Water and Department of Energy and Public Works.
150 locals and members of the public have attended previous information sessions in Imbil and Gympie, with more sessions to come.
Powerlink Project Director Pumped Hydro Developments, Chris Evans, said the community has been heavily involved to date, providing some great local knowledge and insights.
“We have received a range of stakeholder feedback from community engagement to date, with the top three themes centred on hydrological modelling and water allocations, flora and fauna, and community impacts from construction,” Mr Evans said.
“We will continue to explore these and other topics at the first meeting of our Stakeholder Reference Group and the next round of community information sessions.
“We have received positive feedback from the community on the engagement undertaken to date and we want to keep that going.”
Borumba Pumped Hydro Project Reference Group will meet quarterly. The next round of public information sessions will be in Imbil on 20 April and Gympie on 21 April.