Local communities are again being “dudded” in the approval process for wind farms, Member for Hume Mr. Alby Schultz has told Federal Parliament.
He was referring to a decision by the NSW Government to schedule the Planning System Review in Goulburn for 3.00 to 5.00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 1 – “the time and day of the Melbourne Cup.”
“Who on earth,” Mr. Schultz continued, “will be at the Goulburn Soldiers Club talking about Planning Laws, when the race that stops the nation is running?”
He quoted the saying: “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”
However, Mr. Schultz added: “Having been so intimately involved with this issue and seen first-hand the deplorable tactics used by bureaucrats in the NSW Planning and Environment Departments, I am loath to adhere to this idiom.
“Once again, local communities are being dudded.”
In his speech to Parliament, Mr. Schultz took issue with the appointment of Tim Moore (a former Greiner Government Minister and Commissioner of the Land and Environment Court).
“It is his period of service as Commissioner that causes disquiet among community stakeholders in favour of greater regulation of wind turbine development.
“This is a commissioner who thought the impact of wind turbines was more important to a small country airport at Crookwell than it was to the property rights and health of 13 families dramatically affected by the same group of turbines.
“Interestingly, if that development had been refused to protect both the Crookwell airport and the 13 families it would have reduced the project from 84 to approximately 12 turbines, making it financially unviable.”
Mr. Schultz said that “disturbingly” at the hearing one of the two commissioners made the point that the 13 families were “collateral damage” in the drive towards achieving the “greater good” of a clean energy future.
He went on: “After 16 years of incompetency under a Labor Government, the local communities are wary of processed that do not have the appearance of complete impartiality.
“For the public to accept the new Planning Review Process, there needs to be an appearance of objectivity and impartiality which is important to the credibility of the review.
“I have publicly called on the Minister for Planning to ensure that no politically deceptive exercise drives this review, considering the serious issues involving wind turbine construction and the pathetic planning laws that were put in place by the previous Labor government.
“He was warned. Sadly it would appear he has not only ignored the warning but also embraced the deception.”
Mr. Schultz also cast doubts on the claims by the Clean Energy Council, developers and Government department that “thousands of jobs” are created in rural communities by wind turbine developments.
“Claims such as these are a classic example of the deceitful way in which developers, pro-wind lobbyists private and Government, operate.
He added the majority of the jobs were temporary at best, lasting only for the construction phase, with only a handful of permanent jobs being established post-construction.
“The lies and deception must cease,” he said.
Mr. Schultz concluded: “Landholders and local communities within the electorate of Hume expect this new Farrell – Stoner Government and its responsible Ministers to fix the problem of abuse of property rights and not succumb to the political manipulation of unsympathetic bureaucrats in Government departments.