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Wind tour whips into town

Yass will be hosting another wind farm forum next week, this time to be put on by federal senator for Victoria, John Madigan.

Senator Madigan has been travelling around Australia, holding public forums to build a case against wind farms.

“I’ve had people the length and breadth of Australia raise serious concerns about wind farms,” Mr Madigan told the Tribune.

He said he didn’t want the evening to become an anti-wind rally but it was more about people voicing their concerns, which he said had been the case in a previous meeting in Clare, South Australia.

“At the start of the meeting we laid down the ground rules that everyone was entitled to their opinion,” the senator said.

However, wind farm advocate Cam Walker said the latest of Senator Madigan’s forums, held near Ballarat, turned sour and was not organised well.

“He just opened the flood gates… you have to facilitate it to make sure people don’t feel bullied,” Mr Walker, from Friends of the Earth, said.

The senator agreed there were more people speaking against wind farms at the last meeting but that the floor was open for anyone to speak.

“Nobody was shut down or not given the opportunity to speak or express their point of view,” he said.

He encouraged all people to attend, regardless of their opinion.

“Everybody’s entitled to express their opinion, whether I agree with it or not,” the Victorian senator said.

His opinions were made clear in a statement made this week, saying the lives and health of residents living near wind farms were being treated by the government as acceptable collateral damage.

“I don’t doubt it may not affect everyone,” the senator told the Tribune. “But if you’ve got 95 people that it doesn’t affect and five that it does, who says they shouldn’t receive the same duty of care?”

Mike Inkster from the Boorowa District Landscape Guardians said he was happy a federal senator had taken up a similar line of thinking to the group, which he said was “to get to the truth”.

“If the truth proves we’ve got nothing to worry about, that’s good,” Mr Inkster said. “The only way that the truth is going to come out is if we have some mature, honest opinions tabled… with all interests declared.”

The senator said he will be collecting information from these forums and presenting it to the senate.

The federal member for Hume, Alby Schultz, and state member for Burrinjuck, Katrina Hodgkinson, are both unable to attend due to parliamentary commitments.

The wind forum will be held at 7pm in the Yass Memorial Hall on Monday February 13.