January 13, 2011

Legal action against Moorabool wind farm dropped

Brendan Gullifer, The Courier, www.thecourier.com.au 14 January 2011

Last-resort legal action against the Moorabool wind farm has been dropped because residents say it will cost too much.

Dianne Kirk of Mt Wallace said she had received advice the Supreme Court had the jurisdiction to set aside the decision by former Planning Minister Justin Madden.

“The court can say that granting the permit was the wrong thing,” Ms Kirk said. “And with the change in government, then it is possible that another permit would be refused, or re-issued under new Liberal government guidelines.”

But the estimated cost of legal action could exceed $50,000, Ms Kirk said.

“It’s simply beyond us and that is extraordinarily disappointing,” she said. “This has been a major miscarriage of justice.

“The minister passed this wind farm purely for political reasons just before the election and we’ve all been left out to dry.”

Ms Kirk said the Moorabool wind farm was approved using 1998 New Zealand noise-measurement standards. She said this was “inadequate” for the proposed much taller turbines that would be operated locally.

Under the plan, five turbines will be located less than two kilometres from Ms Kirk’s property, with 26 less than three kilometres.

The Moorabool wind farm, comprising 107 turbines, and the 14-turbine Yaloak South wind farm were both given the green light by the former Victorian government on November 1, the day before the state went into caretaker mode for the election.

Mr Madden appointed a delegate to sign off on the project on his behalf because his relatives own property in the area. His aunt by marriage will reportedly be hosting turbines on her property.

Ms Kirk said a group of residents had already explored taking the matter to the Victorian Civil and Administration Tribunal, but this was not possible because the minister had “called in” the application.

A spokesman for Planning Minister Matthew Guy yesterday confirmed the new government had no power to change or alter the plans, despite a two-kilometre turbine set-back policy.

Ms Kirk has lived at the property for almost 30 years.

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2011/01/13/legal-action-against-moorabool-wind-farm-dropped/