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No moratorium on wind farms, says Minister

The State Minister for Planning, Mr. Brad Hazzard, has told Upper Lachlan Council he does not believe a moratorium on wind farm development would be appropriate.

In a letter to Agriculture Minister Duncan Gay, responding to representations from Council, Mr. Hazzard said that “subject to acceptable environmental outcomes being achieved through a rigorous and transparent assessment process, wind farms can provide significant employment, regional development and sustainability benefits for the State.”

He added that with the repeal of Part 3A of the Planning Act, a new Stste Environmental Planning Policy is being drafted to “clearly and transparently identify the types of development and sites which will be dealt with as State significant.”

New wind farm guidelines would aim to ensure wind farms are developed in a responsible manner, meeting stringent operations performance criteria while enhancing the community’s role in the assessment process.

Mr. Hazzard also told Council that he was “unable” to intervene in the approval conditions for the Taralga and Gullen Wind Farms which were imposed by the Land and Environment Court.

The Minister added: “Please note that it is the landowners’ decision as to whether they wish their property to be acquired.

There is non-compulsory acquisition, and the property must be valued at current market value (i.e, valued in the absence of a wind farm.” Mr. Hazzard concluded: “I have asked the Department to meet with the proponents of the Gullen Range Wind Farm to discuss its land acquisition program.”