The NSW Government should immediately halt further wind turbine planning, approvals and development in NSW pending the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry into this industry, according to Member for Hume Alby Schultz.
The outspoken MP has called on the NSW State Government to immediately implement an independent and transparent policy looking into the reality of wind turbine construction throughout rural and regional NSW.
“In the Hume electorate the scale of planned and proposed wind turbines is staggering. There are 730 wind turbines, or around half of all proposed wind turbines for NSW planned for construction within a 90km radius of Goulburn.
“We have something akin to bestpractice already in place in Victoria. For example, the NSW Government should be following the Victorian Liberal Government’s lead and enforce a minimum 2km buffer zone between wind turbines and residential properties,” Mr Schultz said.
“The terms of reference for the Commission of Inquiry will need to ensure that any new regulatory framework implemented in NSW addresses a range of impacts including health risks, aerial fire-bombing and the removal of individual landholders’ rights.”
Mr Schultz proposed the following guidelines to regulate wind turbine development:
1. Implement an immediate moratorium on all wind turbine planning, approval and development in NSW pending the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry into the industry;
2. Establish a Commission of Inquiry into the impacts of wind turbines and the commercial practices of wind turbines developers.
3. Provide for wind turbine-specific regulations covering planning, approval and development in NSW reinstating the democratic rights of landholders.
4. Implement and enforce a minimum 2km or greater buffer zone between wind turbines and residential properties.
5. Mandatory provisions to shut down wind turbines during periods of high-fire danger.
“This desire to promote so-called energy-efficient green technology, or to meet some arbitrary carbon emissions target set by the Federal Government at the expense of the democratic property rights of existing landholders is appalling and must simply stop,” Mr Schultz said.
However, the Clean Energy Council (CEC) has said that Mr Schultz’s proposed guidelines for the wind industry effectively appears to be short-sighted and unfounded.
“His proposal would effectively restrict opportunities to invest into regional Australia and dramatically reduce the number of new jobs created in regional towns,” Lisa Taylor, the CEC’s Community Engagement Manager – Wind, said.
The CEC defended the government’s emissions target, saying that new renewable energy generation projects will need to be developed at scale if NSW is to meet the Government’s 20 per cent target by 2020.
In order for these benefits to be realised, an effective planning and assessment framework is critical.
“Australia’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) has bipartisan support and will deliver 20 per cent of the country’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020. It will unlock more than $20 billion in investment and create more than 55,000 jobs, in addition to the more than 8000 existing jobs. In 2009-10 alone, the wind energy in Australia generated just under $1.6 billion in investment (Bloomberg, New Energy Finance, 2010)”.
“The CEC and its member companies are keen to work with the NSW government to deliver a planning system for wind, and other large scale renewable energy projects, which provides certainty and fairness for the whole community,” Ms Taylor said.
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