Moorabool mayor Pat Griffin stunned a top-level wind industry conference last week when he told delegates they were in denial over health impacts caused by living near turbines.
Speaking at the $3300-per-seat, two-day event at the Hilton Hotel in Melbourne, Cr Griffin compared wind turbine syndrome to early denial about cigarettes, lead in petrol and asbestos.
“We need to accept that many do have real issues and that some residents with dwellings close to wind farms do present with health and other issues such as sleep deprivation,” he said.
Cr Griffin detailed 20 community impacts of wind farm applications including noise levels, health, television and radio interference, impact on fauna and a drop in land values.
“Many of these impacts are well-known but often denied or rejected by wind farm developers and lobby groups,” he told the 200-strong audience.
“If residents are impacted and affected by wind farms, then (local government) needs to advocate for our communities.”
Cr Griffin said three wind farms comprising 184 turbines were approved by the Brumby government.
Additionally, wind developments in Hepburn and Golden Plains had affected Moorabool residents.
Cr Griffin urged wind farm developers to be honest about their motives.
“Tell us you are in the business to make a profit and send this message to our community,” he said.
“Don’t use guilt to win support and stop denying health effects and impacts on your neighbours and work together for a resolution.
“Don’t create division in our community.”
Cr Griffin said the Moorabool Shire “fully supported” recent Victorian Government changes, including a two kilometre set-back.
“It gives our affected residents some rights and ensures that wind farm developers need to listen to their concerns and negotiate an outcome,” he said.
Cr Griffin described the mood in the room after his presentation as “frosty”.
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