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Community divided over Bald Hills wind farm

Victorian Nationals leader Peter Ryan says the approval of the Bald Hills wind farm in South Gippsland has divided the community.

Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell has changed his previous decision to block the project.

Senator Campbell originally withdrew approval for the wind farm, saying it could threaten the orange-bellied parrot.

Mr Ryan says Bald Hills is an inappropriate location and it is up to the State Government to create a better planning scheme for wind farms.

“We have a planning minister now who has a background as an architect, he should be able to engage country communities to create a mechanism of having these things developed in a manner which does not cause the division we presently see,” Mr Ryan said.

“I think it’s an implicit responsibility on the Government in this term to see that sort of a program developed.”

Senator Campbell says the company behind the project has addressed his concerns by moving six of the turbines that were near the coastline.

But Victorian Planning Minister Justin Madden says the timing of the announcement proves the original decision was politically motivated.

“Well, if you were a sceptic you’d believe that the federal Minister, Senator Campbell, was hiding behind Santa Claus and Shane Warne, but we’re just pleased to note that this is a decision that complies eventually with due process,” he said.