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Community Consultation Sessions show Queensland Hydro really don't care

Queensland Hydro's Community Consultation Sessions, arranged after the controversial announcement of a $12 billion pumped hydro project, have been met with criticism from concerned community members and landowners. The sessions were meant to provide an opportunity for Queensland Hydro to discuss the project with the community and address any concerns, but attendees have reported an unprepared and dismissive attitude from the company.

One community member who attended the first session, held on October 6th, 2022, at the Finch Hatton Show Hall, described a disorganised and uncomfortable environment with no seating or air-conditioning. Queensland Hydro staffers gave vague statements that varied from one to the other, and when discussions got heated, State Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert reportedly stormed out, saying "this has been highjacked", lashing out and verbally abusing some community members.

People standing around at the Queensland Hyrdro Community Consultation Session
Photo from the Queensland Hyrdro Community Consultation Session

At the second session held on October 11th, 2022, at the Broken River Mountain Resort, attendees reported a similarly unprepared and disorganised situation, with no seating or air-conditioning, and varying information given by Queensland Hydro staffers. CEO Chris Evans made statements that were contradicted by others, and he even contradicted himself at one point, claiming the dam wall had a "gate," only to be corrected by another staffer that they are called "valves." Evans also claimed that the water would be released from the "valve" in a controlled manner to meet existing water flow requirements and would need to be treated to maintain existing water quality. However, he later stated on ABC radio that the water would not be treated.

These sessions have raised serious concerns about the project's planning and research, with little factual information provided by Queensland Hydro. The community has expressed frustration with the lack of transparency and apparent disregard for their concerns. It is clear that Queensland Hydro was unprepared for these sessions and are not taking community concerns seriously.

The multi-billion dollar project has caused widespread controversy, with landowners being blindsided by the announcement and no consultation prior to it. The lack of research and planning before the announcement has only fueled the skepticism surrounding the project. The community is demanding more transparency and factual information from Queensland Hydro before they will consider supporting the project.

It remains to be seen how Queensland Hydro will respond to the criticism and concerns raised during the Community Consultation Sessions.



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