Government to appeal solar farms ruling, workers safety paramount

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Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace has announced that the State Government will lodge an appeal against a Supreme Court of Queensland judgement to invalidate recently introduced regulations relating to solar farms.

Ms Grace said the government would, at the same time, apply for a stay of the decision pending the outcome of the appeal so that while the technical legal matters are resolved, the safety measures that form the regulations are maintained.

“My department and their legal advisors have reviewed the written judgement overnight and advised me that there are solid grounds for appealing the decision,” Ms Grace said.

Ms Grace said the appeal is based on legal technicalities and has nothing to do with the safety argument.

She said the regulations were developed following advice from Crown Law and drafted by the Office of Queensland Parliamentary Counsel, which was the general process for the introduction of all regulations.

“We introduced these regulations following advice from an expert panel, including the Electrical Safety Commissioner, to ensure Queensland has the highest-possible electrical safety standards for its rapidly-growing solar electricity generation industry,” she said.

“When it comes to electrical safety there are no second chances. The safety of workers in this industry was the government’s motivation for developing these regulations and remains our motivation for appealing yesterday’s decision.”

Electrical Safety Commissioner Greg Skyring welcomed the government’s decision to appeal the decision.

“The Supreme Court decision deals with technical legal issues in relation to the new regulations,” Commissioner Skyring said.

“However, I remain concerned about the safety risks workers installing solar panels at these large-scale solar electricity generating farms face, such as electrical shock and fire. Contrary to some of the commentary I’ve seen in the media, these risks are very real and very serious and they need to be addressed.”

Minister for Education and Minister for Industrial Relations
The Honourable Grace Grace

 
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