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Wind-farm promise haunts Gov  

Credit:  Peter Hunt, The Weekly Times, www.weeklytimesnow.com.au 3 August 2011 ~~

Premier Ted Baillieu has stepped in to personally handle the highly contentious wind-farm issue.

Industry sources said Mr Baillieu had taken control of delivering the Coalition’s election promise to give country Victorians an effective power of veto over turbines being built within 2km of their homes.

Wind-farm developers had warned Planning Minister Matthew Guy the policy would lock them out of most of the state and force them to invest interstate.

Mr Guy and Department of Planning and Community Development staff then spent months trying to find a compromise deal.

Two industry sources last week told The Weekly Times they were now being directed to the Premier’s staff.

A spokeswoman for Mr Guy denied Mr Baillieu had taken control of the issue.

“But it remains a whole-of-government issue, given the significance of this promise to regional Victoria,” Mr Guy’s spokeswoman said.

The Coalition election policy states: “‘The placement of turbines will be no less than two kilometres from the nearest home unless a contract between the resident and wind-farm developer is agreed”.

In March, The Weekly Times asked Mr Guy’s office: “Will residents within 2km of a proposed wind farm have power of veto over its development, if they cannot reach a contractual agreement with the developer?”

Mr Guy’s spokesman replied: “Yes, if no contract can be agreed over the placement of a turbine within this distance.”

Since then, Mr Guy has further confused the wind-farm issue by repeatedly stating that the election policy did not grant property residents the power of veto.

One industry source said Mr Baillieu’s office had little sympathy for the sector after it campaigned against the Coalition’s wind farm policy during last November’s state election.

At the time, Pacific Hydro, Acciona, AGL, Suzlon, Keppel Prince and REpower ran newspaper advertisements declaring: “Mr Baillieu, please don’t send clean energy jobs and investment interstate”.

Source:  Peter Hunt, The Weekly Times, www.weeklytimesnow.com.au 3 August 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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