VICTORIA’S first solar farm wholly-owned and operated by an Aboriginal corporation has received $1 million in state funding.
Sale’s Ramahyuck District Aboriginal Corporation was allocated $1 million for construction of a 4.9 megawatt solar farm on 16 hectares the organisation already owns in Longford.
Construction is on track to begin mid-next year.
Electricity sales from the solar farm will ensure a sustainable income stream for the corporation for 20 or more years, which will fund secondary school and tertiary scholarships, the corporation’s Aboriginal employee training requirements, and
the employment of Aboriginal health practitioners, such as mental health workers and dentists.
The farm will also benefit Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment and training opportunities in the renewable energy sector, and increase Aboriginal self-determination through control over income stream from investment in Aboriginal-owned land.
It is expected to create at least 40 jobs during construction and 14 ongoing roles, and reduce grid electricity greenhouse gas emissions by about 12,000 tonnes per annum.
Ramahyuck’s general manager of economic development, Andrew Dimarco, said the organisation was thrilled to receive the state government’s funding support, which would allow it to undertake some key project stages sooner.
“Ramahyuck will have access to untied funds to enhance its current service provision, and provide further employment and training opportunities to local Aboriginal people,” he said.
“Excitedly, the project has the potential to be a template for other Aboriginal organisations
around the country.
“The project has generated a lot of interest from around the country, and we are currently
speaking with a number of large organisations, who are very interested in purchasing the power once it’s operational.
“Many of whom have social responsibility and Indigenous procurement targets they are keen to meet.”
Eastern Victoria MLC Jane Garret said she was delighted to see the corporation receive support for the first solar farm on Aboriginalowned land in Victoria – “a project that means self-determination on renewable energy and jobs for the community”.
Ramahyuck was one of five local community groups to share in more than $1 million in
grants through the Latrobe Valley Energy and Growth Program, which funds communities to take control of energy costs, support local jobs and reduce emissions.
Another $26,000 in state government funding has been allocated to install solar panels on
the Heyfield and District Museum, Coongulla Community Hall, Heyfield Golf Club and Heyfield Tennis Club.
Stage two of the program has now been launched for new renewable energy projects in
the Latrobe City, and Baw Baw and Wellington shires, with round two applications closing
To apply, click here.