25 January 2022

Wind farm generates funding boost for Grabben Gullen community

| Sally Hopman
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Three people in front of shed.

Scott Montgomery from the Grabben Gullen Community Progress Association, left, Gina Hill from the Recreation and Land Manager Committee and Barry Kennedy from the volunteer bushfire brigade. Their organisations are the first recipients of the Biala Wind Farm grants. Photo: Supplied.

Grabben Gullen will be better placed to fight bushfires thanks to a $90,000 grant from the Biala Wind Farm – the first in a series of grants Biala will give to community groups during its working life in the region.

The 31-turbine wind farm is located 5km outside Grabben Gullen and about 15km from Crookwell.

The first $90,000 grant will be shared by three community groups – the Grabben Gullen Volunteer Bushfire Brigade, Recreation and Land Manager Committee and the Community Progress Association. It will fund a new water tank and a fast-fill standpipe at the local hall, improved vehicle access and new storage facilities.

Grabben Gullen Recreation and Land Manager Committee president Gina Hill said it had been hard for community groups recently, so such an injection of funds locally was a welcome boost.

“The last couple of years with the pandemic have been tough for community groups so this is great news for us,” she said.

“We can’t wait to get stuck in and get this project moving.

“Another very positive aspect of this application is the way three local groups worked together to make sure the benefits are shared. We also plan to use local contractors for all the work, so this is a win for small businesses in the area as well.”

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Construction of the Biala Wind Farm began in 2019, with the first energy generated the following year. It is owned by BJCE Australia, which also owns Gullen Range Wind Farm and Gullen Solar Farm, also located in the Upper Lachlan Shire.

Deputy Managing Director of BJCE Australia Derek Powell described applications for the first round of grants as “excellent”.

He said he was particularly pleased that the closest neighbouring community to the wind farm was the first to benefit.

“We are also very grateful for the efforts of the volunteer committee members who took the time to study the submissions and agree on this recommendation.

“We look forward to seeing this project take shape and hearing about more exciting ideas and initiatives in the coming years. ”

The fund is open to applications from community groups within a 20km radius of the wind farm, with priority given to projects within 5km in the first three years. It is administered by the Upper Lachlan Shire Council with applications assessed by a panel of two local volunteers, two council nominees and a wind farm representative.

More information on the fund is available on the website.

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Dear Editor

Given housing affordability and rents are rising in regional areas, I would encourage large scale regional investors to look at ways of underwriting domestic housing.

There are many possibilities in this space and it’s clear from a rising tide of voices from politics and the populace, that a fair provision of housing is a matter of great debate and a goal for many.

On the eve of Australia Day, I propose that as many great ideas for the financing of affordable housing will be floated and begun to be implimented in the coming year.

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