Windlab has announced a historic environmental management agreement with native title holders, for its 600MW Upper Burdekin Wind Farm project.
The organisation will collaborate with Gugu Badhun people, who will lead the delivery of the wind farm’s conservation and development initiatives using traditional land management techniques.
Located on pastoral land near the rural locality of Mount Fox, south-west of Ingham, the Upper Burdekin Wind Farm site contains some of Australia’s most significant critical renewable wind resources. It is also close to some of Queensland’s most valuable bioregions.
It is estimated that upon completion, it will have the capacity to provide clean, renewable energy to around 300,000 Australian homes.
After three years of collaboration between both parties, the Gugu Badhun-Windlab Indigenous Land Use Agreement will create numerous environmental protection, education and employment opportunities for the region’s Traditional Owners.
The Gugu Badhun will also re-name the project in traditional language.
Windlab’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), John Martin, said the partnership provides vital recognition to the traditional owners of the land on which it is being developed.
“This ILUA honours the deep and enduring connection of the Gugu Badhun to their traditional lands and we are looking forward to working with the Gugu Badhun on environmental management as well as cultural, employment and enterprise outcomes that deliver sustainable benefits to Traditional Owners, building a lasting legacy in north Queensland,” Mr Martin said.
“For us, producing renewable energy alone isn’t enough – we recognise the potential for any new development to have an impact and we are committed to being proactive and working with all our stakeholders to ensure a balanced, positive outcome.”
A spokesperson for the Gugu Badhun said close collaboration between Windlab contractors and Traditional Owners will help to minimise the impacts of the project.
“Gugu Badhun People’s cultural heritage was [at the] forefront of negotiations and early on a comprehensive Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Agreement was negotiated which provides for surveys, monitoring and mitigation measures to best protect Gugu Badhun People’s cultural heritage,” the spokesperson said.
“The agreement also sets out a strong framework for Gugu Badhun People to be involved in the project through employment, contracting and then on an ongoing basis through cadetships so that Gugu Badhun People have opportunities into the future to shape the direction of renewable energy developments on country.
“Gugu Badhun People consider the environment to be very closely aligned with our cultural heritage and the ILUA with Windlab provides for robust environmental provisions and the sharing of information which is critical for Gugu Badhun People to be informed about what is happening on our country.”