Cost of government’s bungled solar laws


TAXPAYERS forked out almost $167,000 in court costs for the Palaszczuk Government's failed solar regulations.

The controversial regulations, which allowed only licensed electricians to mount, locate, fix or remove solar panels on farms larger than 100kW, ended up in the Supreme Court after Maryborough Solar Pty Ltd challenged them.

After the court deemed the regulations invalid, the Government appealed the decision which it also lost.

In a question on notice released this morning, Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace revealed the total cost of legal fees was $30,031.40, with the Government having to pay Maryborough Solar $136,363.

"The decision to appeal the Supreme Court decision was made following legal advice there were solid grounds for this course of action," Ms Grace said.

"Safety is paramount and because of the often fatal nature of workplace incidents involving electricity and concerns around the rapid pace of construction in the solar farm industry, the Government considered it was necessary to defend the regulation and appeal the Supreme Court's decision to ensure clarity on this important matter.

"It was important to get clarity on this matter to inform possible future legislative and regulation making requirements."

The Courier-Mail revealed earlier this year the Government never obtained a regulatory impact statement (RIS) for its regulations and that no one has ever died on a Queensland solar farm as a direct result of electrocution.

An RIS is not mandatory, but is recommended.