I congratulate the Moorabool Shire Mayor, Pat Griffin, for standing up for his ratepayer base and giving some honest feedback to a wind farming forum in Melbourne.
Mr Griffin was quoted as saying that many of his rate payers do not support wind farm turbines near residences and raised the issue of possible health and noise impacts for those who have to work or live near these turbines. And I agree with him.
Since I was elected to Parliament I cannot think of one legislative policy that has divided rural communities more than wind farm planning. Generational friends who have lived together and have had children together in small rural communities are now not talking to each other because of the great divide. It has pitted those who are hosting turbines that receive thousands of dollars, community clubs who are given gifts by the wind generators, and councils who receive substantial rates, against those who are generally concerned by the health impacts, noise and windshear interference and the visual immensity of these monstrosities.
The Baillieu Government recognised the “The Great Divide” and imposed some proximity guidelines to protect those who live close to potential wind farm developments.
Personally, I think there is more to be done on this front. I will advocate for independent monitoring of noise levels. The developers’ compliance to noise standards means little – if nothing at all – if the testing regime isn’t appropriate and independent. All other industrial regulatory systems require the capacity for independent testing, and I believe wind farm noise compliance standards should adhere to the same scrutiny.
Unfortunately, the new proximity guidelines don’t protect those who will live close to the 1000 odd turbines still to be built under the adhoc planning permits of the previous government. The Greens rants of telling anyone who will listen that the Baillieu Governments new planning wind farm guidelines are stifling investment is a nonsense as there is still many turbines and wind farm developments to be built that wouldn’t be affected by the new planning guidelines.
The Wind farm generators know that wind farming is not economically sustainable without heavy financial support and large increases in coal fired energy pricing so they can sell into a cost competitive market. They also know the Gillard /Brown insidious Carbon Tax will have lots of freebies and subsidies for the Wind Energy Sector and are biding their time until their Christmas presents arrive in the form of the new Tax.
Meanwhile the Windfarm generators will work in secrecy, negotiating landholder against landholder, ignoring the possible impacts of their 150 metre turbines and generating Heads have to those that have to live close to these swooping machines, all the while wrapping themselves in green tinsel and supposed job creation even though the machines are built mainly in Korea, workers in China and no Carbon Tax in those countries. Do you see the hypocrisy?
Green Energy is important to our future needs and I fully support the use of solar and other forms of cleaner energy, but like Mr Griffin, let’s tell it how it is, not what makes us feel good.
Simon Ramsay MP
Western Victoria Region
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