The Federal Agriculture Minister Peter McGauran has attacked the wind farm industry, describing it as a fraud relying on taxpayer subsidies.
Mr McGauran made the comments while addressing a group of dairy farmers.
He says wind farms are not a cleaner alternative to coal fired power stations and should only be allowed in places where the community wants them.
“Wind farms don’t live up to the hype that they are an environmental saviour and a serious alternate energy source and the effect they can have on their neighbours are so serious it means they should not be allowed to get away with the exaggerated claims, their claims are fraudulent,” he said.
Mr McGauran says community concerns that wind farms are unsightly and cause property values to decrease should be taken into account.
“These wind farms are not producing any electricity of any measurable amount and because they’re having such an effect on rural communities, they should only be permitted where the community is firstly, engaged, and secondly, accepting of them.”
Susan Jeanes from the Renewable Energy Generators’ of Australia says the comments are disappointing.
“I suspect that it’s better that we let the Environment Minister comment on matters relating to renewable energy and climate change and let the Agriculture Minister comment on matters relating to agriculture,” she said.
Ms Jeanes says the entire national electricity market was built with Government money.
“Scientists around the world have predicted that we need to reduce emissions by up to 60 per cent by 2050, emissions from Australia’s electricity sector are predicted to be at 250 per cent above 1990 levels by 2050,” she said.
“You can not do nothing and just sit back and just wait for a solution because it’s not going to come without some form of assistance.”
Six hundred wind farms have so far been built or been approved in Australia under the Coalition Government.
29 June 2006
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