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Planning laws hurt Windlab

The first wind farm developer to fall victim to restrictive new Victorian Government planning laws has closed its Melbourne office.

Global wind farm developer Windlab’s general manager, Nathan Steggel, said the government’s planning laws had gone too far and the company was moving staff to its Canberra head office.

Planning Minister Matthew Guy announced the new laws in August, prohibiting wind farm developers from building turbines within 2km of a home – unless they gained the owner’s written consent.

The industry responded by arguing the policy gave residents power of veto over developments, which along with other planning amendments spelled the end of the industry in Victoria.

The Government has argued the decision would not lead to the demise of wind farm developments in Victoria, given plenty of permits were approved by the previous Labor Government.

However, Mr Steggel said many of those permits would expire and have to be renewed, leaving the industry facing an uncertain future.

“The policy is definitely part of the puzzle and makes it difficult to develop projects in Victoria,” Mr Steggel said.

Windlab uses computer modelling to identify, design, lease and develop wind farm sites, a process that can take several years to complete.

The Government’s planning laws prohibit wind farms from being built:

In the Yarra Valley, Dandenong Ranges, Mornington Peninsula, Bellarine Peninsula, Macedon and McHarg ranges.
On land within 5km of Mildura, Swan Hill, Echuca, Shepparton, Benalla, Wangaratta, Wodonga, Horsham, Ararat, Ballarat, Greater Bendigo, Hamilton, Portland, Warrnambool, Colac, Geelong, Moe, Morwell, Traralgon, Sale and Bairnsdale.
On land within 5km of the high water mark along the west coast (Great Ocean Rd area) and in Gippsland along the Bass Coast, South Gippsland and west of Wilsons Promontory.