Winds of progress blowing through Musselroe Thu 3 May 2012 Lara Giddings Premier Bryan Green Deputy Premier The $400 million Musselroe wind farm is taking shape, with foundations for the massive project now being poured. The Premier, Lara Giddings, and Deputy Premier, Bryan Green, today visited the remote site, which will be home to 56 turbines, generating 168 megawatts of clean wind power. "Not only will this this exciting project boost our international reputation for renewable energy, it will also create 200 jobs in the North East region during the 18 month construction period," Ms Giddings said. "Around 130 of these workers will be based on site or in accommodation at Gladstone, creating a direct economic benefit for an area that has been hit hard in recent times by the downturn in the forest industry and the loss of vegetable processing facilities. "A number of workers had been displaced as a result of the downturn in the local forest industry and this project has been important in ensuring that their skills and expertise are retained in the region." Ms Giddings said around 30 local companies are being used to provide services as varied as accommodation, catering, welding, concrete pouring, pest control, waste management, security services, and transport. Tasmanian company Hazell Brothers has been appointed as the main civil contractor for the project and towers for the turbines are being fabricated by Haywards in Launceston. Ms Giddings said careful planning had gone into managing the cultural and environmental impacts of the project. A comprehensive bird monitoring program will continue throughout the construction period and the footprint of towers and roads has been planned to avoid areas where Aboriginal artefacts have been discovered. The Deputy Premier, Bryan Green, said the State Government is committed to supporting the economic transition in the North East. "We want to revitalise this region's economy and that's why we are investing in irrigation in the North East, supporting the agriculture sector and focussing on research and development," Mr Green said. "Through our irrigation development program and the Tasmanian Forest Agreement, we are seeing substantial investment going into the North-East that is helping to diversify and create new opportunities for the local economy. "Between the Headquarters Road Dam and Winnaleah and Upper Ringarooma Irrigation Schemes alone, we will see almost $30 million of Government investment to expand agricultural production and create additional direct and indirect jobs in the region. "Together with the Federal Government, we have also announced funding of $376,000 from the Tasmanian Forests Agreement for studies into a Defence Centre for Food Innovation and new innovation opportunities within the forest industry."