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The Human Cost of the Pioneer-Burdekin Project

In a recent exposé by Ashleigh Bagshaw, aired on ABC Radio Tropical North's Breakfast Show with Meecham Philpott, the profound human toll of the Pioneer-Burdekin pumped hydro proposal has been brought into sharp focus. Titled "Pioneer-Burdekin pumped hydro proposal for Pioneer Valley leaves north Queensland residents living in limbo," this piece reveals the unsettling reality faced by residents of the Pioneer Valley.


The story paints a vivid picture of a community caught in the crosshairs of progress and preservation. Residents, who have called this verdant valley their home for generations, are now faced with an uncertain future due to the looming Pioneer-Burdekin pumped hydro project. This project, part of a broader push towards renewable energy, threatens to uproot lives, disrupt communities, and irreversibly alter the landscape they hold dear.


As Bagshaw's report highlights, the emotional and psychological impact on the residents is palpable. People are living in a state of "limbo," unable to make decisions about their futures. There's a constant undercurrent of anxiety, with questions looming large: Will their homes be requisitioned? Will their community be fragmented? What happens to their land and the legacy they hoped to leave for future generations?

Douglas Cannon holds his daughter in his arms, with his son wearing a helmet standing beside him. They are in a lush garden with ferns and a palm tree, indicative of a peaceful domestic setting. Behind them is their family home.
Like many other residents living near Eungella and the Pioneer Valley, the Cannon family is living in a state of limbo.(ABC Tropical North: Ashleigh Bagshaw)

This story is not just about the environmental implications of a large-scale renewable energy project – significant as they are. It's about the human element often overlooked in the grand narrative of 'nation-building' projects. It's a reminder that behind every statistic, every line on a blueprint, there are real people with real lives, histories, and hopes.


The report by Bagshaw on ABC Radio Tropical North underscores a critical aspect of our fight at Save Eungella. It’s not merely a battle to protect the environment; it’s a fight for the rights and lives of the people who make up our community. It’s about ensuring that voices are heard, that the social fabric of our communities is respected, and that progress does not come at an unacceptable human cost.


What's unfolding in the Pioneer Valley is a microcosm of a larger issue that spans the globe. As we race towards a future powered by renewable energy, we must pause and consider the ramifications of our choices. We must ask ourselves: Are we willing to sacrifice the well-being of communities for the sake of development? Is there a way to achieve our environmental goals without leaving a trail of human casualties?


At Save Eungella, we stand with the residents of Eungella and the Pioneer Valley. We share their concerns and echo their call for a more considerate, humane approach to renewable energy development. This story by Ashleigh Bagshaw is a stark reminder of the real-life consequences of policy decisions and a clarion call for more empathetic, community-inclusive planning.


As we continue to advocate for responsible environmental stewardship, let’s also champion the cause of those whose lives are being turned upside down. Their stories deserve to be told, their concerns deserve to be addressed, and their rights deserve to be protected.


Read the original ABC story here.

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