Kilkivan’s open letter: ‘Lines will have a catastrophic effect’

Signs like this one are up all around Kilkivan. PICTURE: CONTRIBUTED

Open letter to Australian Senators regarding transmision line installation throughout rural Queensland – specifically Kilkivan region

12 June 2023

To Australian Senators,

Kilkivan Action Group is currently fighting the proposed Borumba Pumped Hydro Transmission Line which if constructed, will run from Borumba National Park to Woolooga and traverse the countryside of Manumbar, Kinbombi, Blacksnake, Kilkivan, Oakview and Woolooga.

These lines will have catastrophic effects on the wildlife and plantlife that lives in this corridor, on the local economy and most importantly on the mental health of the landholders in this region.

The majority of the chosen path of this line runs through country where populations of Koala, Phascogale, Sugar Glider, Echidna, Quoll, Brush Tail Wallaby, Wedge Tail Eagle, Peregrine Falcon and hundreds more birds, mammals, reptiles and a number of endangered plants such as the Macrozamia, all live in a very healthy state. Most of these populations have not been counted and their numbers are not available in formal reports – you need to come and see this landscape in person to see this. These animals and plants thrive in these locations because they are benefiting from living in stands of remnant vegetation which the landholders are protecting and managing.

The nearby National Parks contain declared weeds, wild dogs/dingo, wild cats, deer and wild pigs and hence the native animals have moved onto the privately held land where they are protected from the daily challenge of being savaged and killed or pigrooted up by wild dogs, pigs, deer and cats.

It is clear to our group that the information which is being provided to the public does not properly represent the true state of the area intended for these lines. There are numerous properties which contain protected vegetation which the landholders are rightfully not allowed to disturb, but the construction of the lines will see these areas bulldozed and obliterated. The animals and plants we have listed above will not survive. They will not survive, even if a rehabilitation program is committed to in the aftermath of the transmission line installation.

Furthermore, the process in which the proposal has been conducted has caused unnecessary stress, anguish and mental trauma to all the landholders within the area. What we have seen wrought upon our community can only be described as callous and heartless. Why has the mental health and property rights of hard-working, tax-paying Queenslanders been swept aside? Imagine if 86 kilometres of backyards of Brisbane homes were destined to have 90 metre high towers carrying 500kv power lines with a 60 metre square concrete base placed 100 metres away from their kitchen window, backyard vegie patch or kids swing set. Do you think that city residents would accept this? Our rural lands not only provide much needed protected homes to all the plants and animals listed above, they are also the homes of the hard-working, tax-paying people who live on this land. At what point do the humans get added into the equations which politicians and government employees are currently working on? We have heard over and over that the economic, environmental and social impacts have been considered. Really?

On behalf of the 200 plus members that Kilkivan Action Group represents, we demand that a Senate Inquiry into the roll-out of transmission lines and the installation of renewable energy projects in our Region be held and that the true state of the environment in our Region be put on display for all of Australia to see.

We invite you all individually, to come to our Region so that we may show you the reality of what is being proposed here. It would be an opportunity for you to also see the Woolooga Solar Industrial complex which has already been destroyed by it’s first hail storm and seen several semi-trailer loads of new solar panels installed. Senators, do you know where all those thousands of destroyed panels are headed? Our understanding is that they are destined for landfill. We can also show you the before and after photos of the old growth Blue Gums that were bulldozed and burned to make way for the panels.

We urge you to see the reality of this situation and make the only sensible, moral and ethical decision which can be made in this instance and support a Senate Inquiry into these matters before we lose more precious areas of our environment and before we see the mental health of landholders pushed to the point that (God forbid) tragic events such as suicide occur.

With Regards,

Kilkivan Action Group (Working Group Members)