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Mitchell Shire Council to decide its wind farm position

The Cherry Tree wind farm proposal will take another step tomorrow night when Mitchell Shire Council meets to hear public submissions and then consider the proposal – but whether it needs to do so seems questionable.

Tomorrow’s special session is so the council can resolve a position on the $100million project ahead of it being heard by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Project proponent Infigen applied to VCAT to hear the planning application after the council exceeded the 60-day statutory time frame for the original application.

While the time period has been exceeded, Infigen has had to amend the application after a landowner pulled out of negotiations.

The company told the Telegraph last week that it had yet to submit the amended application to the council – and under VCAT’s rules for calculating if the time limit has been exceeded, the start date is the most recent of four dates.

These are: when the application was first received by the council; the date the applicant applied to amend the permit; the date the applicant agreed to an amendment of the permit; or the date information was given to the council in accordance with a written request under the Planning and Environment Act.

In Infigen’s application to VCAT – made before the landowner pulled out – the start date is June 14, which was when further information was required by the council. At that stage there were no amendments.

However, it would appear that the start date should be when the amended application is lodged.

Submissions will be heard at the council chambers in Broadford from 5.30pm, with the council meeting to discuss the project from about 8pm.

The Victorian Wind Alliance has called on Victorians who support wind energy to make their voices heard.

Alliance member Taryn Lane, of Hepburn Wind, said: ‘‘The Victorian Wind Alliance will help communities come together in town meetings and via mainstream and social media, to discuss how Victoria can catch up with wind industry’s rapid progress around the world’’.

‘‘We welcome the active involvement of all sectors of the community: small business, farmers, community and environmental groups, anyone who wants to see a thriving wind industry in Victoria,’’ she said.

The alliance will be run by an organising committee of eight people from across Victoria.

Friends of the Earth’s Cam Walker, who is also a member of the alliance, said: ‘‘Polling consistently shows that Victorians don’t want to miss out on the jobs, clean energy, rural incomes and other community benefits that are generated by wind energy’’.

‘‘There is a strong network of individuals and organisations who support wind across the state,’’ he said.