BIG BOOST FOR REGION: Infrastructure and Planning minister Cameron Dick, Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher with Acciona Energy managing director Brett Wickham in Gladstone last month.
BIG BOOST FOR REGION: Infrastructure and Planning minister Cameron Dick, Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher with Acciona Energy managing director Brett Wickham in Gladstone last month. Mike Richards GLA130418SLAR

Company building solar farm involved in safety woes, lawsuit

THE Spanish company preparing to build a $500 million solar farm in Gladstone is embroiled in controversy.

Acciona, which was confirmed as the successful company to transform part of Gladstone's State Development Area into a renewable hub, has filed a $1.2 billion lawsuit against the New South Wales Government.

The company is claiming damages for "misleading conduct" in relation to the light rail project it is building in Sydney.

Meanwhile Acciona Infrastructure Australia was found to be part of the consortium that was forced to stop work last week on parts of a major road project in Toowoomba because of major safety concerns.

Acciona Infrastructure and Nexus Infrastructure consortium were pulled off crucial sections of the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing project for a week after two safety incidents.

Brisbane Times claimed this followed a series of incidents which were already being investigated by Queensland Workplace Health and Safety.

Speaking to The Observer after marching for workers' rights for Labour Day, Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher said it was important the company treated its workers right when it begins construction on the Aldoga solar farm.

Acciona Energy was chosen out of 16 proponents to transform 1250ha of state land into a renewable hub.

"If they don't do what they're supposed to do by looking out for the workers, we'll be all over them," he said.

Mr Butcher said the Sydney and Toowoomba projects were "totally different" to the solar farm Acciona is expected to start building next year at Aldoga.

"These big projects are critical for Gladstone, we need to make sure people get work but we also need to make sure we don't just throw the baby out with the bathwater and give the work to companies that don't look after their people," he said.

An Acciona Australia spokesperson said its energy business operated almost entirely independently from its infrastructure business, with different site personnel and management teams.

They said the energy business was accredited by the Office of the Federal Safety Commissioner and had its processes and construction performance regularly accredited.

"This ongoing accreditation demonstrates that Acciona Energy has a robust approach to workplace health and safety, and reinforces the business's credentials regarding future construction work in Gladstone," they said.

Last month Acciona signed a 30-year agreement with the Queensland Government to build and operate the solar farm that is expected to create 240 construction jobs.



Pest plants to be monitored by Council

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'It is integral that Council monitors these pests'