Opponents of a proposed wind farm at The Sisters hold faint hopes that new Baillieu government planning guidelines will block the controversial project.
The proposal, which has dragged on for several years, has been before the Victorian and Civil Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) and is now awaiting an appeal application ruling by a Supreme Court judge after being initially refused a planning permit by Moyne Shire Council.
It is understood legal advisers for the shire and proponents, Wind Farm Developments Australia, have recommended the case not proceed to an appeal, but go back to VCAT.
The Sisters resident Linda Kenna told The Standard yesterday opponents hoped the tighter planning guidelines of the new Coalition government would influence any fresh planning permit application by the company.
“I couldn’t see that if the new policy is in place how a decision could be made to approve this project,” she said.
However, member for South West Coast and new Regional Development Minister Denis Napthine said he held minimal hope the project would be blocked under the new policy, which is designed to keep wind turbines at least two kilometres from residences.
At The Sisters, the turbines would be less than 500 metres from homes.
Dr Napthine said the new policies would apply only to future projects and not be used retrospectively.
“My understanding is that The Sisters project reviews relate to rules that applied at the time of application,” he said.
“The new guidelines will apply to any new applications.
“We will be talking to municipal councils with a number of wind farm applications before them and see if they need additional staffing resources.
“Our new guidelines will give greater certainty for proponents and residents. We certainly are not opposed to renewable energy, we just believe there needed to be more certainty on planning rules.”
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