The southern Great Barrier Reef is being targeted for massive Offshore Wind ‘Farm’ developments.

If the current known proposal is approved, it will set a precedent for additional offshore wind installations within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park World Heritage Area.

Coastlines adjacent to Mackay, Townsville, and Cairns as well as the southern Great Barrier Reef would be particularly vulnerable.

The company in question does not have official government approval for this venture yet.

However, the extent of its planning (approaching 2 years) strongly suggests it has been encouraged by government into believing such an approval would be forthcoming.

An offshore installation in this location would be contemptible and completely out of character with the concept of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park which is an internationally renowned World Heritage Area.

This proposal is in direct conflict with the responsibilities of all Great Barrier Reef custodians to maintain its outstanding universal values.

Justifiable accusations of government hypocrisy should be levelled at the federal Minister for the Environment and Water and the Queensland Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef.

These people claim that the Great Barrier Reef must be protected at all costs.

Consequently, they establish mountains of regulations and green tape to ensure those in farming, commercial fishing and tourism industries comply with strict guidelines.

Our political class relentlessly promote the importance of keeping the Great Barrier Reef in pristine condition.

To this end, they use contrived reasoning to erode the rights and livelihoods of commercial fishers in river mouths many kilometres away.

Only this last week, an abrupt and devastating regulatory move will see some commercial fishing banned on the other side of Cape York, in the Gulf of Carpentaria.

The authorities claim that this will help to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

Meanwhile, farmers at the very far reaches of minor tributaries that connect through waterways to the Great Barrier Reef, are monitored by satellite.

They face intrusive farm inspections if they are found to have an area the size of a dining table without vegetation on it.

Yet onshore wind infrastructure can level ridge tops and push huge amounts of loose soil over the edge.

It is this same hypocrisy will allow offshore wind towers much closer to the reef.

What will become of “pristine” Great Barrier Reef vistas as tourists and boaties travel across the Curtis Channel on their way to tourist meccas such as Heron, Wilson, North-West, Masthead and Lady Musgrave coral cays?

Could migrating humpback whales and their calves be obliged to undertake ‘slalom runs’ as they navigate through the 400+ wind turbine monopiles/anchoring structures that may be installed?

Meanwhile the hub (blade rotating point) of each wind turbine is 150m above sea level and would be clearly visible from east facing residential sites and viewing platforms in Gladstone and the Capricorn Coast.

They would be especially jarring at night when boat and air traffic warning lights on each turbine’s hub are switched on.

These large offshore wind farm developments would require approximately 2,000 tonnes of concrete and 160 tonnes of steel reinforcing to be laid on the Curtis Channel seabed for each individual turbine.

Therefore, for 400+ wind turbines there would be around 800,000 tonnes of concrete anchoring.

What impact would this huge amount of installed concrete have on the extensive seagrass beds recorded in this channel? We know seagrass beds are a prime food source for ‘vulnerable’ dugongs and turtles.

There is an ongoing threat of weather extremes such as Cyclone Marcia which was a very severe tropical cyclone that crossed the Shoalwater Bay coast in 2015, not far from the proposed offshore wind ‘farm’ sites.

This reality indicates that the proposed offshore wind farms would require very strong foundations amplifying seabed disturbance during turbine installation and leading to unknown loss of seagrass habitat.

Let’s rethink renewables. We need a Senate inquiry to ensure we are planning and delivering our energy transition so that it is secure, reliable, affordable, competitive and has limited adverse effects on our environment, communities, and food production systems.

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Jim Willmott is the Chairman of Property Rights Australia and a long-term defender of the rights of regional communities. Inspired by his love of rural Queensland, Jim has led many successful initiatives protecting the rights of farmers and their properties. He has played an active role in many organisations, standing up to government and commercial entities that ride rough shot over people’s livelihoods and property rights.