Thousands of native trees and shrubs will be planted on more than 60 acres of land across the Sunshine Coast to offset clearing for a $100-plus million transmission line.
Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham joined Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson and independent Member for Noosa Sandy Bolton at Doonan today to inspect the first of four sites to benefit.
Dr Lynham said Energex and Sunshine Coast Council had partnered on the $1.5 million program, which will see a mix of tree planting and bushland regeneration in the council-held locations.
“This will mean significant ecological restoration work across the region to offset the necessary clearing for essential infrastructure,” Dr Lynham said.
“Construction of the 132KV powerline between Palmwoods and the West Maroochydore substation is underway with three of the eight sections of the project well advanced and full completion expected late 2020.
“The powerline project is supporting dozens of jobs and is critical to keeping up with the energy needs of a growing Sunshine Coast.
“The corridor required some clearing, but Energex is making a significant commitment to restoring and offsetting those environmental impacts with this joint initiative with council.”
The offset works will support up to six jobs during the planting period and then continue to assist with employment over the next five years.
Areas to benefit from the environmental restoration project include the Doonan Creek Environmental Reserve, South Eudlo Creek Environmental Reserve, Coes Creek Riparian Reserve and Paynters Creek Riparian Area.
Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said partnerships like this are one way of enabling the region to accommodate growth in a manner that is sensitive to the natural environment and preserves the region’s enviable lifestyle.
“Ensuring our outstanding environmental assets and the community’s lifestyle are preserved well into the future are major priorities for our Council and this is why this environmental offset partnership with Energex is so important,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“Our Council is pleased to facilitate and manage the on-ground delivery of these environmental offsets, in partnership with Energex, over the next five years.
“Through both bush regeneration and revegetation, we will work with Energex to restore essential habitats for several threatened native species including koalas, tusked frogs and the Richmond birdwing butterfly.
“The restored vegetation in these reserves will also help to build habitat corridors, so wildlife can move amongst these reserves and better adapt to their living environment.”
On-ground work for the five-year project will commence later this year.
Sunshine Coast Council and Energex previously joined forces in 2013 to restore a 30-hectare pocket of degraded bushland in the London Creek Environmental Reserve at Peachester.