NSW Farmers and the NSW Department of Planning and Environment will hold a forum in Armidale on Wednesday, June 26, to address concerns around large-scale solar development proposals in the area.
NSW Farmers President James Jackson said members have highlighted significant concerns with the roll-out of large-scale projects, including potential devaluation of property prices, the loss of prime agricultural lands, and adverse impacts on the region's social and economic capacity.
The forum, at the Powerhouse Hotel from 6.30 to 8.30pm, will be an opportunity for the NSW Government to hear and address these concerns.
"I urge farmers, landowners, and members to come along and make their voices heard to the NSW Government, whether they have concerns, or whether they want to highlight the potential benefits for landowners of some of these projects," Mr Jackson said.
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"Like any discussion on major developments, it is important to separate the fact from fiction. These forums will provide a key opportunity to narrow down the real issues that must be properly addressed in the planning process when deciding whether or not major solar developments should proceed, and the terms on which projects are developed.
"It is important to note that we have members who are gravely concerned about the roll out of these projects, and we have members who have or are considering leasing out land as a way to diversify their income sources, which is an important endeavour in times of drought.
"This is a rare opportunity to gain direct access to decision-makers, and show that regional and rural communities deserve a better level of engagement on local land planning issues. In the end, if we as farmers don't attend, we will not get our voices heard."
"I dare say if parts of Darlinghurst or Double Bay were being converted into renewable energy zones, those residents would hold similar concerns, and would be loud and forthright in raising those concerns with the government and the media."