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Minister’s comments “an insult”

An Upper Lachlan Councillor has branded comments by State Planning Minister Hazzard (see story – no moratorium on wind farms, says Minister on page 1) as “an insult” to landholders affected by wind farm developments.

In particular, Cr. Malcolm Barlow was referring to the Minister’s statement that it would be a decision by the landholders whether to accept acquisition of his property by the developer.

“We all know that the (Land and Environment) Court has said that these places are virtually uninhabitable,” Cr. Barlow said.

He also described as “outrageous” the Minister’s lack of response to earlier submissions by Upper Lachlan Council, dating back to June.

“We still haven’t had a reply, and this is outright discourtesy. Even the letter before us today is one sent to Mr. Gay, not to us.

“The Minister claims he is unable to challenge the Court’s decisions, and this is quite wrong; what he means is that he is unwilling to.”

Cr. Barlow had prepared a lengthy submission on his thoughts of the processes which should be followed in the establishment of a State Planning Assessment Commission. Local representation was foremost among his suggestions.

Cr. Mick Mayoh commented that forwarding the submission “will get us nowhere.”

And Cr. Paul Culhane considered Council should still be trying to have a moratorium put in place. Mayor Cr. John Shaw) said that he intended to reply to the Minister’s letter – “although not as strongly as suggested by Cr. Barlow.”

Cr. Shaw added that he and General Manager Mr. John Bell would be attending the Department of Local Government Conference at Dubbo, and would consider points raised in Cr. Barlow’s submission for presentation.