It will soon be easier for rural property buyers to find out if a wind farm is planned for next door.
The Victorian Government this week agreed to let buyers know where they can get information on current wind farm proposals.
Until now, prospective buyers were in the dark over how to get the information.
A spokeswoman for Planning Minister Justin Madden said new guidelines would “state where information can be obtained regarding current wind-farm proposals including planning permit applications and decisions on the need for an Environmental Effects Statement.”
The move followed calls by Nationals MP Peter Hall for more transparency on wind-farm proposals.
Mr. Hall said property buyers had little hope of finding information about new wind farms, dozens of which are proposed for Victoria.
“They (the buyers) should be able to find out if a planning permit or a wind farm is being proposed for an adjoining property,” Mr. Hall said.
He said he was contacted by a couple from Rye, who put a deposit on a Western District property only to discover just days later plans for a nearby wind farm.
The buyer, Allan Schafer, said a 100-turbine wind farm was awaiting approval for land near his Berrybank property and he had written to Mr. Madden about the issue.
The turbines could be installed only 300 metres from his home and would cast a shadow as the sun set, Mr. Schafer said.
He said the real estate agent council and vendors told him they were unaware of the proposal.
Real Estate Institute of Victoria president Neil Laws said if an agent was aware of an approved neighbouring wind farm and was aware of an approved neighbouring wind farm and was asked, they would have the responsibility to tell.
“However, in response to a question about a formal mechanism, the REIV would be interested in the view of the Minister as it is not aware of one,” Mr. Laws said.
Information from the Clean Energy Council showed that local councils were often contracted early in the planning process to discuss policies and nearby landowners were often notified by developers once a site was selected.
By Lyndal Reading
19 March 2008
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