I congratulate Moorabool Shire mayor Pat Griffin for standing up for his ratepayers and giving honest feedback to a wind farm forum in Melbourne.
Mr Griffin was quoted as saying that many of his ratepayers 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 the 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 had children together in rural communities no longer talk to each other because of the great divide.
It has pitted those who are hosting turbines , community clubs who are given gifts by the developers, and councils who receive substantial rates, against those who are concerned by the health impacts, noise and windshear interference and the visual impact of these monstrosities.
The Baillieu government recognised “the great divide” and imposed some proximity guidelines to protect those who live close to potential wind farm developments.
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 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 planning permits of the previous government.
The Greens’ rants of telling anyone who will listen that the Baillieu government’s new wind farm guidelines are stifling investment is a nonsense as there are still many turbines and wind farm developments to be built that wouldn’t be affected by the new 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 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.
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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