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:
- Meeting 1: September 2016
- Meeting 2: Site visit – no minutes
- Meeting 3: November 2016
- CCC Feb 2017 Update
- Meeting 4: Feb 2017
- Meeting 5: May 2017
- Meeting 6: July 2017
Community Benefit Fund
Ratch-Australia will donate $200,000 every year of the wind farm’s working life into a fund to support local projects and initiatives.
The fund is designed to share the financial benefits of the wind farm with not-for-profit groups, associations and clubs that make a positive difference to the local community.
This contribution will rise in line with inflation to ensure a meaningful sum is available to support good local causes for as long as the wind farm is generating clean energy.
Organisations with projects within a 50km radius of the wind farm are eligible to apply for a grant from the fund.
Successful applications will be chosen twice a year by a committee comprising local volunteers.
Applications will be accepted all year round, preferably via email to email@example.com
The deadlines for applications to be considered in the following round of funding are 31 January and 31 July.
Download an application form and guidelines for applicants below.
Projects chosen for support from the fund to date are:
- Atherton Cricket Association – two new pitches
- Biboohra State School – multicultural mural project
- Helpful Hearts community project – new fridge
- Kairi State School P&C – sustainable garden project
- Malanda Bowls Club – ride-on mower
- Mareeba Pony Club – six new outdoor tables
- Mount Molloy State School – upgrade to outdoor classroom
- Tolga State School P&C – new shade structure
- Walkamin State School – new kitchen
Once the deadline has been reached, applications are collated, checked and passed to the advisory committee for their review and recommendations.
The committee is chaired by Magistrate Tom Braes. Following an expression of interest process, three volunteers were also chosen to help assess and decide on applications. Each volunteer will serve a fixed term and the positions will be readvertised as they become available.
Volunteer committee members are Norma Moloney from Mareeba, Don Geyer from Atherton and Neil Setford from Tolga. The wind farm site manager Paul McDonald represents Ratch-Australia on the committee. We are very grateful for their hard work in reading all the applications and making the difficult decisions about which projects to support.
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…