Liberal candidate's family stands to win from solar farm
A LIBERAL candidate who has attacked government subsidies for renewable energy stands to make a huge sum from a $150 million solar farm on her family's property.
A proposal for an 800,000-panel solar farm on Beverley McArthur's property in western Victoria could also be at odds with the state Coalition's new renewable energy policy.
Ms McArthur, who has been preselected for the Coalition's No.1 spot in the Legislative Council region of Western Victoria and is practically assured a seat in state parliament after November's election, has previously slammed government subsidies for renewables as a waste of money for "inefficient energy generation'' that only benefits overseas companies.
But the proposed 200-megawatt farm on her husband's Camperdown farm is backed by UK energy company Infinergy Limited.
Last week, the Coalition released a policy that requires all renewable energy projects over $50 million to have 75 per cent local Victorian content.
It is not clear if the Bookaar Solar Farm, which was submitted to Corangamite Shire Council by Infinergy Pacific - the Australian arm of the UK company - would meet the party's requirement.
While her family would make a fortune from the solar farm if it is approved, Ms McArthur has fuelled internal Liberal Party calls to dump government subsidies for renewable energy generation.
At this year's Liberal state council, she spoke on a motion which called on the federal government to abolish the Renewable Energy Target because it delivered "massive subsidies'' 'to "foreign companies to generate inefficient and expensive power which is destroying Australian business''.
"We must immediately commence building an alternative source of power; a coal-fired power station or preferably nuclear," it said.
Energy Minister Lily D'Ambrosio called the Liberals hypocrites.
"Opposition Leader Matthew Guy has solar panels on his roof and one of his candidates wants a solar farm on her family's property - despite the Liberal Party's ongoing efforts to cripple our solar industry," she said.
Corangamite Shire Council will hear the solar farm application this month.
Ms McArthur is also a sitting Corangamite councillor, but it is understood she has excused herself from all council discussions involving the solar farm application.
Neighbours have objected to the 6sq km farm, saying it would create a loss of primary agricultural land and be an eyesore.