On 4 May 2023, eleven local community and community groups attended the first meeting of the new Stakeholder Reference Group (SRG) for the Pioneer-Burdekin Pumped Hydro Project at Finch Hatton.
The Queensland Government and Queensland Hydro are working together to deliver the proposed Pioneer-Burdekin Pumped Hydro Project, which is proposed to generate 5000MW for 24 hours, equivalent to around half of the entire state’s peak usage.
The Pioneer-Burdekin Pumped Hydro Project aims to provide reliable power for a clean energy economy, storing renewable energy, and providing on-demand power when needed.
Member for Mackay, Julieanne Gilbert, said, “Community consultation like this SRG is essential to ensure the Pioneer-Burdekin Pumped Hydro Project balances the interests of all stakeholders and delivers the best possible result for our mighty Mackay region.
“This is an exciting major project for the region that will mean business opportunities for local companies and thousands of jobs for locals – whether it’s electricians and technicians, suppliers of building materials, builders or engineers.
“So many businesses, workers and community organisations in Mackay can benefit from the investment from this major project, the biggest public project in Queensland’s history.”
The Pioneer-Burdekin Pumped Hydro Project SRG has been created to ensure that community feedback and interests are represented and considered throughout all phases of the proposed pumped hydro project.
Queensland Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen, Mick de Brenni, said, the Queensland Government and Queensland Hydro recognise that meaningful, and ongoing engagement with the community is a key factor in the progress of the proposed Pioneer-Burdekin pumped hydro project.
“We are listening to the experts and local communities as we advance the socio-economic and environmental assessments, to ensure we deliver great benefits to the economy and our climate, so the importance of this SRG cannot be understated,” Mr de Brenni said.
“But we can only progress with projects like this if they stack up against all of the stringent environmental and technical benchmarks, which is why we’re already seeing very strong community support on the Borumba Pumped Hydro Project in the Sunshine Coast hinterland.”
The SRG will play a consultative role in the project to help enable the development of comprehensive analytical studies and a well-informed business case.
Queensland Hydro Interim CEO, Chris Evans, said the formation of the SRG is an important step and milestone for Queensland Hydro and is a sign of the important role that the local community in the Pioneer Valley and Mackay regions can play and will play in providing feedback and input to the project.
“Members of the SRG have been invited on the basis of their knowledge, experience and their capacity to fairly and objectively represent the views of their particular area of knowledge in relation to the proposed Pioneer-Burdekin pumped hydro project,” Mr Evans said.
“We’ve invited a range of groups such as the Mackay Conservation Group, Finch Hatton Progress Association, Eungella Progress Association, No Pumped Hydro Pioneer Valley community group and Greater Whitsunday Alliance as well as some individual landowner and business and union representatives to be on the SRG.”
Invitations to join the SRG were extended to organisations and individuals covering landowners, business, environment, Traditional Owner groups (both the Yuwi and Widi groups), community and recreation groups in the Pioneer Valley and Mackay regions.
SRG members are invited to join as volunteers and no financial remuneration will be paid to members.