Mount Emerald Wind Farm
Building stronger communities
The Regional community surrounding Mt Emerald Wind Farm will become stronger and more resilient through:
- Local and regional investment, as part of the $380M project.
- The creation of new and permanent jobs
- Provision of locally generated renewable energy which enables the community to more rapidly respond to energy demand.
Our Focus – Maintaining our “Social Licence to Operate”
A ‘Social Licence to operate’ is the level of acceptance that a community and other stakeholders provide for a development. RATCH-Australia will use its Integrated Management System (IMS) to meet its Corporate Social Responsibility commitments, and ensure its Social Licence to Operate by:
- Being a ‘good neighbour’ that welcomes and is welcomed by the community and working with all levels of Government
- Promoting community development and sustainable quality of life by contributing to the local economy and community and ensuring local purchases are made where possible
- Providing a safe workplace for our staff and the surrounding communities, and responding appropriately and effectively should incidents occur.
- Promoting conservation and protection of Indigenous and European cultural heritage by respecting, protecting and encouraging indigenous involvement in local projects
- Enhancing social equity and productivity by ensuring our community’s and Staff benefit by our contribution to the region
- Preservation and restoration of environmental quality for balance of nature and life.
Community Consultative Committee
RATCH Australia Corporation has set up a Community Consultation Committee for Mt Emerald Wind Farm to promote local feedback and ensure the project’s long term success.
RATCH formed the 10-member committee in September 2016 after receiving 20 applications. It comprises local Independent Chair, Professor Steve Turton and Project Secretariat and eight community representatives. Cairns based RATCH Community Relations Manager Kim Forde is joined by locals representing their communities surrounding the Mt Emerald Wind Farm:
|Mareeba Chamber of Commerce||Sam Musumeci|
|Atherton Chamber of Commerce||Albi Homann|
|Canegrowers – Tablelands||Bronwyn Dwyer|
|Oaky Creek||Jim Carey|
|Channel Road||John Parmenter|
|Tablelands Wind Action Group||Steve Lavis|
The Committee held its first meeting on September 29, 2016 at the Mareeba RSL Club. A site visit was subsequently conducted on October 14.
The purpose of the Committee is to provide a forum for open discussion between RATCH and the community on issues directly relating to the construction and operation of the wind farm, of its environmental performance and community relations.
The company is very much committed to engaging local people to ensure the project observes best practice, responds to issues as they arise and more importantly, to keep the community informed on these matters. The Committee comprises a balanced mix of people and attitudes to the project who have a strong record of civic service and are representative of the wider community and can provide feedback of value to this project.
Photo: L-R: Project Manager, Terry Johannesen, Sam Musumeci, David Reynolds, Bronwyn Dwyer, John Parmenter, Prof. Steve Turton, John Hardy, Jim Carey, Kim Forde and Steve Lavis.
Minutes of the CCC Meetings can be downloaded here:
Community Benefit Fund
$200,000 per year
The Mt Emerald Wind Farm (MEWF) will provide many opportunities for the local community through employment, tourism and use of local businesses.
Once operations commence, in 2019, the owners of the Mt Emerald Wind Farm will also establish an annual $200 000 Community Benefit Fund to share further benefits from the wind farm to the wider local community.
The Community Benefit Fund is intended to sponsor community projects and educational initiatives that benefit the local community. It will be managed through a Community Trust. The Trust Management committee will comprise selected community representatives and will administer the Fund.
The Community Trust would be responsible for determining suitable uses for the funds, but these could include projects such as:
- Funding for scholarships for local children to attend school, college or university;
- Grants to support local apprenticeships or traineeships;
- Provision of community education such as first aid courses, sustainable farming techniques or other appropriate subjects;
- Sponsorship of local sporting or social clubs;
- Sponsorship of local festivals or fetes;
- Grants for sporting, musical or educational equipment for local schools and colleges;
- Grants for equipment for local emergency services organisations;
- Grants for appropriate community projects.
Site Visits and Visitors
RATCH Australia has over the past four years organised many site visits for members of the community, government representatives and approval agencies. Most recent visits, in 2016 include Councillors from Mareeba and Tablelands Councils and the Community Consultative Committee. All had their questions answered and were able to understand more clearly the likely impacts, views and size of the project. More than 80% indicated a more positive feeling about the project as a result of learning more and seeing the site for themselves.
Site Visitors – Sept 2016. Viewing by Helicopter to appreciate the size and location of the Wind Farm
Local procurement has commenced, with: • Koppens and Mareeba Crane Hire constructing the concrete culvert to protect the irrigation channel during December 2016. • A new vehicle purchased from Mareeba Toyota, January 2017 • Contracting of the MBarBarrum Aboriginal Corporation to undertake Cultural Heritage surveys and assist with environmental surveys during the entire construction period.…
Project and Compliance Updates
Early works commenced February 14th on the transport depot laydown area at the base of the site. All pre-start UXO, Cultural Heritage and Environmental surveys have been conducted to verify the site is ‘ready to go’. Flagging of works area has occurred to limit the extent of clearing, in preparation for pad establishment. Letters of…