The Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges have been made no-go zones for wind farms under strict new State Government planning laws.
Under the reforms, approved by the State Government last week, wind-farm developments will be blocked in Yarra Valley and Dandenongs as well as all state and national parks.
Wind turbines are also banned within 5km of a major regional centre or within 2km of an existing dwelling unless the owner gives written consent.
Billanook Ward councillor Tim Heenan said he was surprised at the lack of consultation with local councils about the planning law amendments.
“A much higher level of dialogue with local councils would have been better,” Cr Heenan said.
“Wind farms are not everyone’s cup of tea and there is the conflict between environmental and aesthetic values.”
McEwen federal Labor MP Rob Mitchell said the decision meant future wind-energy development in Victoria was closed.
Mr Mitchell said the Baillieu Government had forced hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars worth of investment in rural and regional areas to other states such as South Australia, where the bulk of Australia’s wind turbines were located.
He said about 96 per cent of electricity consumed by Victoria was generated from fossil fuels, with brown coal – the dirtiest of fossil fuels – accounting for 90 per cent.
Planning Minister Matthew Guy said the amendment provided opportunities for Victoria to establish wind-energy facilities without affecting local communities.
Clean Energy Council chief executive Matthew Warren said Victoria would lose about $3 billion in investment.
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