Residents in the beautiful Pioneer Valley inland from Mackay have been thrown a curve ball this week, following the announcement of the Queensland government’s proposed Pioneer-Burdekin pumped hydro project.
As is often the case with projects of this nature and scale, the apprehension, uncertainty and sometimes misinformation circulating can compound the trauma which is already being experienced by those who are being impacted.
We have worked with landholders affected by infrastructure development for many years, and we have the following ‘To Do List’ for you to keep in mind, to support you to get things right from the start:
1. Gather information
Your local State or Federal member should be a good point of contact for being able to keep up to date with when and where Community Information Sessions are going to be held. Attend those and ask questions. Meet the stakeholders and introduce yourself. Collect any brochures or information that is made available to you. Sign up to information emails that will be distributed from time to time. Set a google alert to notify you every time there is media about the project. Social media is a good platform to get information. Knowledge is power.
2. Keep records
Keep a record of all the time you spend on attending community sessions, communicating with stakeholders and attending other meetings. This may be information that you need later. It will also assist you, as the years weary, us to recall with more accuracy, representations that were made in the early days.
3. Don’t burn bridges
Keep your smarts about you and keep relationships open with stakeholders. Whilst you are probably frustrated, disappointed, angry or any other combination of emotions, burning bridges will get you nowhere and only serve to make life harder for yourself. Play your cards right and keep the conversation going, no matter how hard it is to keep your cool.
4. Get some good legal advice
Any lawyer worth your time, will give you their time. There is specific legislation that applies to the acquisition of land in Queensland, and you may be entitled to compensation. Donaldson Law are able to provide you with some preliminary advice free of charge.
5. Check in on your mental health
Projects such as the Pioneer-Burdekin hydro can take time and become part of a lengthy approvals process. You will need your stamina to get through it. Make sure you take special care of yourself at this time, and know that you are not alone.
If you do it right from the start, you’ll give yourself the best chance to make the most of a situation that you never saw coming your way, but will equip you with the resources to start the next chapter in a good position.