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Passionate ‘minority’ at wind meeting

About 35 people attended a wind forum in the Yass Memorial Hall on Monday evening.

The meeting, organised by Senator John Madigan, was part of a series of meetings he is hosting in several states including SA, Victoria and NSW.

The Victorian DLP senator said the forums were for the public to have their say directly to an elected representative.

“My stance on the issue has been made clear,” he said, “But the forums have never been about my point of view.”

The senator told the Tribune he was hopeful that such public meetings would lead to better dialogue between those for wind farms and those with concerns against them.

Of the 20 or so people who spoke at the forum, the vast majority were against wind farms.

Mike Inkster from the Boorowa Landscape Guardians said he was concerned about devaluation of his property once the Bango wind farm goes up. “Just based on the plans for the wind farm, I’ve been told that my property has lost 20 per cent of its value,” he said.

NSW Landscape Guardians president, Humphrey Price-Jones, who lives at Crookwell, said he was very upset that the wind issue had turned neighbour against neighbour and caused division in what was once a very close rural community.

Others spoke of health concerns relating to noise and light flicker, environmental impacts, and fire risk, and the visual impact on the landscape.

There were only two voices in support of wind turbines who spoke at the meeting – Adrian Maddocks from Wind Prospect, and local farmer Tim Holmes who has agreed to host turbines on his property at Bango.

Mr Maddocks said that even though he “probably didn’t change anyone’s mind” at the meeting he felt it was important to attend and speak so that those with concerns don’t feel they are “talking to a brick wall”.

“It was a minority at the meeting, but a passionate minority. They had concerns; some of those we think are non-issues but we are listening.”

Mr Maddocks said that as plans for the Bango wind farm were developed, concerns of local residents would be taken into consideration, as well as the draft NSW guidelines.

“We are very aware of the concerns, we are listening,” he said.

Senator John Madigan plans to run at least three more forums around Australia and then present the information he has gathered in the senate.

“If it’s for or against, I will present it all. I’m not going to censor anything I receive.”

To make a submission to the senator, interested parties can email senator.madigan@aph.gov.au.