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Superb parrot or wind farms: which is the threatened species?

The beautiful bright green superb parrot is the symbol of Boorowa.

Big bird-shaped signs welcome you when you arrive at the small town, an hour and a half from Canberra.

But anti-wind farm groups say that the already threatened species will be in even more trouble if a plan to build 90 wind turbines in the area goes ahead.

The superb parrot, the symbol of Boorowa in the NSW South West Slopes (Julia Holman)

Pat Thompson has been breeding the super parrot for decades, and is part of the Boorowa District Landscape Guardians Association which is campaigning against the proposed wind farm.

“We don’t know exactly, but where the proposed wind farms will be is in superb parrot habitat, which is extremely vulnerable,” he said.

“The disturbance factor because of the turbines and the noise we don’t know, but I don’t think we can afford to take the risk.”
Wind farms respond

Richard Mackie is the general manager of Windlab, the company which is planning to build the 90 turbines.

He says little impact on native species, including the superb parrot, is expected if the wind farm goes ahead.

“We’ve just got to the stage of completing the reports on the environmental issues potentially at the wind farm site and they extensively review both flora and fauna, including the superb parrot,” he says.

“There will be very minimal habitat that is actually cleared.

“And it’s mostly low-lying areas that they (the superb parrots) like, so it’s areas around waterways, and the turbines are up on the tops of hills of course so they’re well away from those areas.”

He says its wind farms that are facing threats as government policies clamp down on their development.

The Victorian Government last week changed the state’s planning laws to allow home owners to veto wind turbines within two kilometres of their homes, and Mr Mackie says that it would be disappointing if the NSW Government follows suit.

“It’s a little hard to predict what the Government’s going to do,” he said.

“What we do know is that the NSW Government has tightened up their regulations around wind farms.

“It would be a shame if the NSW Government did go down the Victorian route because that’s a rather arbitrary set-back limit (the two-kilometre zone).

“When it comes down to it, if you put a set-back that’s too conservative, it’s potentially income from a neighbour that’s been lost.”