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  • Rikki Lambert

Canavan pursues inquiry into fallen energy 'angels' impact on farmland

The Nationals senator who moved the motion to re-install Barnaby Joyce as Deputy Prime Minister has told FlowNews24 he is pursuing inquiries into the impact energy companies have on Australia's prime agricultural land.

Queensland Senator Matt Canavan singled out renewable energy companies, saying they were no angels in how they operate:

“The angel right now in our society is renewable energy, they’re the saviour, they’re the messiah, and it’s often those groups that feel like they can get away with more.
“I must say my dealings with renewable energy companies, they leave a lot to be desired.
“Renewable energy companies feel like they can get away with ‘blue murder’ so often they try it."

The full interview is available in the podcast player below. The article follows further below.

On Friday, two of four wind farm corporations were fined a collective $1.5 million for failing to meet supply obligations during the 2016 South Australian blackout, with a third previously fined and a fourth awaiting an outcome.

The deputy leader of the Nationals in the Senate said a federal inquiry was necessary to explore the impact energy companies had in regional areas:

“It’s not just the wind turbines and the solar panels, it’s also the massive transmission lines that need to be built to hook-up these places, there’s a lot of growing opposition in parts like rural Victoria to these schemes."

Senator Canavan also expressed concern about solar 'farms' covering up prime agricultural land, saying that whilst Queensland had guidelines to prevent it occurring, the rule was rarely enforced:

“There’s a proposal near where I am to lock up two-thousand hectares of land to put solar panels on it.
“Some of it is good, black soil, agricultural land, why would you put bits of glass over the top of that, when it’s just beautiful soil and can grow food for everybody."

The former resources minister was also wary of carbon sequestration schemes as a money-spinner for farms, as they redirected Australian agricultural priorities and took agricultural land out of production:

“I don’t think we want our production planned by governments or state actors, that’s communism, and that doesn’t work.
“It’s really risky for business too, I think you’ve got to be really worried about if your business model is based on laws passed in Canberra."

The Nationals backbencher remains defiant about keeping agriculture out of strong commitments towards 'net zero' carbon emissions targets by 2050, saying agriculture had already done some heavy lifting:

“The reason we’re meeting our carbon emission targets is because we have locked up so much land and taken property rights off farmers.
“If you have a look since 1990, every sector of our economy has increased its emissions; electricity, industry, transport.
“The only sector that’s reduced its emissions is what’s called land use, and that means farmers have reduced their emissions."


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