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Mortlake’s brolga population reprieved as wind farm abandoned

Wind farm opponents fighting for the south-west’s brolga population have scored a partial victory, with plans for Mortlake east’s proposed 46 turbines abandoned.

But for residents at Mortlake and Darlington, the battle is not yet over as 18 wind farm proposals are at various stages of planning throughout the Moyne Shire.

Renewable energy company Acciona announced that after further expert assessments at the Mortlake east site, it would not proceed.

The company said it would now focus on its Mortlake south site.

An independent panel considered Acciona’s planning application for the proposed Mortlake east site in 2010 but did not recommend a permit due to the potential for unacceptable impact on the site’s brolga population.

Acciona director of development Andrew Thomson said the site 9.5 kilometres east of Mortlake was not suitable, while announcing the Mortlake south wind farm had advanced to its next stage of development.

“Since 2010, Acciona has undertaken further investigations into the brolga population in the vicinity of the proposed Mortlake east site,” Mr Thomson said.

“Based on these and other investigations, Acciona has concluded that the Mortlake east site does not meet the requirements for a viable wind farm and we will not be proceeding any further.”

Kolora’s Susan Dennis, who has been campaigning for almost two decades to protect brolgas, said while she was pleased with the announcement, her focus had now shifted to the many other proposals for wind farms in her neighbourhood.

“My concern here is there’s a whole lot of other wind farm proposals around me that will impact on the brolga just as much,” Mrs Dennis said.

“The issue hasn’t gone away.

“There’s been fantastic brolga breeding going on this year because there’s actually been water.

“There’s been a flock of about 10 flying around in this area.

“It really is one of the most important breeding areas, but wind turbines just don’t mix with birds unfortunately.

“We’ve got to keep fighting to keep the brolga.

“I don’t accept that their endangered population is acceptable collateral damage for green energy.”