The Mayor of Boorowa, in south-western New South Wales, has joined calls for councils to have a greater say in approving large projects in the region, amid concerns about the health and environmental impacts of wind farms.
Councils in the state’s north-west have called for more power in issuing coal seam gas mining and exploration licenses.
Councillor Wendy Tuckerman says those powers should also extend to wind farms.
“Our role is to represent our community and I think it’s very important that we have a place in the planning process in regards to what is occurring and in development that is occurring in our community and we are then able to represent our community in that way,” she said.
She says at the moment the opinion of local government carries no more significance than any other submission.
“We are entitled to put a submission in to the project application which council will certainly be doing and that’s it, that’s basically our role,” she said.
“We don’t get to contribute to the planning process in that way.
“I’m certainly hoping that all submissions will be taken seriously but I certainly believe that council should be a part of the planning process.”
An investigation by the Four Corners program has found no scientific evidence linking noise from the turbines and health issues.
The federal Member for Hume, Alby Schultz, had disregarded the findings and says more independent research needs to be done.
“Many of my constituents are being faced with compulsory acquisition of their properties because they can’t live with them in close proximity and in many instances the close proximity is about 500 metres,” he said.
Mr Schultz says the State Government should act on his calls for a moratorium on more wind farms, pending an inquiry.
He says he is consulting lawyers to make a submission to the Independent Commission Against Corruption about some practices in the industry.
“I believe there are corrupt practices in terms of inducements being offered for favours in all sorts of areas including local government,” he said.
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