Moorabool residents could face a hike in council rates if the state government does not provide extra planning staff to deal with wind farm permits, according to the opposition.
With 121 turbines slated for two wind farms around Mount Wallace and Yaloak, council claims it’s under-resourced and needs an assistance program to enforce planning conditions.
The council last week moved a successful motion at the Municipal Association of Victoria’s state council, calling on it to lobby the government to help with wind farm planning.
Opposition planning spokesman Brian Tee told the Weekly that planning departments at smaller councils like Moorabool would find it too difficult to deal with wind farms on their own.
“Unless the state government provides councils with the resources to help them work through the maze of red tape, many councils won’t have any choice but to pass on costs to their ratepayers,” he said.
New planning laws introduced in August prohibit turbines being within five kilometres of towns or two kilometres of homes without landowners’ consent.
Mr Tee said wind farm planning would be a “massive regulatory burden”, resulting in costly delays and permits being taken back and forth to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Mayor Pat Griffin said shires like Moorabool, Hepburn and Pyrenees had only two or three planners on their staff.
“Without extra help for wind turbines, if someone wants to put in a planning application for a garage, it might take six months,” he said.
Planning Minister Matthew Guy did not respond before the Weekly went to print.
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