General News

27 February, 2024

Kealy backs farmer pleas

Farmers near large-scale solar and renewable energy projects could face potential "skyrocketing" insurance premiums, according to Member for Lowan Emma Kealy.

By Wimmera Mallee News

Member for Lowan Emma Kealy.
Member for Lowan Emma Kealy.

“Farmers from across Victoria have been contacting their local members expressing concerns about local renewable energy projects, particularly in relation to insurance and liability challenges,” Ms Kealy said.

“It is essential that farmers are supported as renewable energy projects continue to be developed around the state.

“If a farmer was found to have started a fire with a chainsaw, slasher or grinder and it spread and caused damage to a neighbouring property, they could lose everything if they were found negligent."

The Nationals Shadow Minister for Agriculture, born and raised in Edenhope, where six generations of her family have worked as farmers, said some might be priced out of the domestic insurance market. 

“With current farm insurance usually somewhere between $10 million and $20 million, some farmers have been told they may need to look overseas to find higher levels of insurance," Ms Kealy said.

“When you consider some proposed renewable energy projects have a value of up to $750 million, farmers' existing cover is clearly not enough, and some have been told they may be facing a $50,000 rise in premiums each year.”

Ms Kealy said the Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner’s 2022 Annual Report suggests a renewable energy developer could create a "neighbour agreement", which could include reimbursement for increased public liability insurance premiums levied at a neighbouring landowner due to the presence of a wind or solar farm.

“Insurance issues are causing a lot of angst across Victoria as plans for renewable energy projects are made public and coming to fruition,” Ms Kealy said.

She said the issue was a "policy black hole" and appealed to the state government to address it "as a matter of urgency to ensure our farmers are not financially disadvantaged".


Most Popular