Local councils are bracing for a surge of residents who live near wind farms demanding recognition that their land value has dropped, after a Victorian regional council granted one resident a cut in rates.
The precedent set by South Gippsland Shire Council has also triggered concerns that council revenue could be hit if enough residents mount a challenge, despite contradictory evidence of whether wind farms reduce neighbouring land values.
Municipal Association of Victoria chief executive Rob Spence said the issue was likely to gain momentum as another factor for council decisions regarding wind farm development, along with noise levels and setback distance.
“I would have thought with one council doing this then other councils will come under pressure to do it,’’ he said.
“There is a feeling in a component of the community that it does devalue their property. We have got some councils who are very supportive of wind farms and we’ve got others who are very cautious about them.”
The South Gippsland council has agreed to cut rates by 32 per cent for a resident living adjacent to the Bald Hills Wind Farm project, which is yet to erect any of its 52 planned turbines.
On the other side of Victoria, Moyne Shire is also expecting complaints from locals as the nation’s biggest wind farm starts to come online at Macarthur, near Warrnambool.
Mayor Jim Doukas said councils would have to adapt to potentially reduced revenue streams.
Clean Energy Council policy director Russell Marsh said property values were dependent on many factors and some towns near wind farms were experiencing booms.