National guidelines need to be set for wind farm development, according to Opposition Planning Minister Matthew Guy.
Mr Guy visited the proposed Tuki wind farm site north of Smeaton yesterday where he met with Community Reference Group members.
Wind Power wants to build a 19-turbine wind farm at the site, but is yet to lodge a planning application with Hepburn Shire Council.
Mr Guy said while the Liberal Party supported wind farms, there was significant community opposition to the proposal.
“The Liberal Party is supportive of wind energy in areas with broad community support and not major destruction of environmental or aesthetic grounds,” Mr Guy said.
“We are talking about a proposal in Spa Country Australia, one of our biggest tourist attractions and this is clearly going to impact on that area – the Minister for Planning needs to consider that.”
Mr Guy said there needed to be national guidelines set, giving a more consistent approach to wind farms across Australia.
A spokesman for the Minister for Planning said the Bracks Government was committed to renewable energy, but aimed to ensure individual wind farms were only approved after taking environmental and tourism concerns into account.
Meanwhile, a community meeting last week over the proposal has been labelled a farce by one of its detractors.
But some members of the Community Reference Group and Wind Power said there were positive outcomes.
Spa Country Landscape Guardians Group spokesman Will Elsworth said the meeting had been a complete farce and many of the questions the group had asked of Wind Power went unanswered.
But another reference group member, Rob Talbot, said despite a few “heated” moments people now knew everybody’s feelings.
Wind Power director Andrew Newbold said he wasn’t at the meeting, but from feedback received, there had been positive suggestions from the panel about what needed to be done.
24 July 2007
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