Page 841 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 27 February 2013
relevant. I have been a bit of a stickler for being directly relevant because I think that we instituted this standing order and I think that it should be observed as much as possible.
Royalla solar farm
MRS JONES: My question is to the Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development. You have been on the record, regarding the solar farm in Royalla, as saying:
Once people see the details of the proposal, understand exactly what it will look like and how it works they will see that solar farms are good neighbours.
However, residents in Royalla have characterised the farm as a “solar monstrosity”. Minister, what discussions did the government have with local residents prior to awarding the contract to FRV to develop the solar farm?
MR CORBELL: I thank Mrs Jones for the question. The development of the solar farm at Royalla is a private development which is supported by the allocation of feed-in tariff support under the relevant government legislation. To that extent, the siting decisions and the location decisions are not a matter for the government; they are a matter for the private developer, in this case the company FRV.
FRV will, as part of its development application process, have to engage with all potentially affected stakeholders, explain the proposal to them and listen and respond to feedback received from those parties, including people who are resident in nearby Royalla.
For that reason, the government is not directly engaged in that process except through the work of the Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate when it assesses a development application when it is lodged by FRV. FRV have not yet lodged a development application.
MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mrs Jones.
MRS JONES: Minister, given that this is a private development, as you have outlined, did you nonetheless receive an invitation at any stage to meet with concerned residents? If you did—or if you do—did you attend?
MR CORBELL: I am aware that a letter was sent to me from a resident who I think purported to represent what I think was called the Royalla residents committee. That letter was sent to me during the caretaker period last year. Consistent with convention, the letter was referred to my then director-general for response. All correspondence to ministers on those matters was dealt with by directors-general and not by ministers. So I was not aware of the invitation at that time. Obviously, given it was the caretaker period, the director-general responded as best he could given those circumstances. I have not since that time received a subsequent invitation. However, if I do, I will be more than happy to accept it.