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 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 2km of a dwelling unless the owner gives written consent.
Billanook Ward councillor Tim Heenan said he was surprised by the lack of consultation with councils about the planning amendments.
“Wind farms are not everyone’s cup of tea and there is the conflict between environmental and aesthetic values,” Cr Heenan said.
McEwen federal Labor MP Rob Mitchell said the decision meant future wind energy development in Victoria was closed. He said the Government had forced hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars worth of investment in rural and regional areas to other states like South Australia, where most of Australia’s wind turbines were located.
Mr Mitchell 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.
“(Premier) Ted Baillieu seems to have no alternatives. He he is pushing new clean energy businesses and a growing industry out of Victoria,” Mr Mitchell said.
Planning Minister Matthew Guy said the law enabled Victoria to establish wind farms without hurting communities.
Clean Energy Council chief executive Matthew Warren said about $3 billion in investment would be lost to Victoria as a result of the state’s new planning policy.
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