The Coalition will continue to work towards ensuring comprehensive research is completed into the possible health effects of wind farms on residents and communities, despite the Gillard Government’s action to shut down debate on amendments to a Bill that would have allowed those plans to be put in place, Shadow Minister for Energy and Resources Ian Macfarlane said.
“The Government combined with the Greens in the Senate to deny the Coalition the opportunity to move amendments aimed at greater transparency that would assist both communities and the wind farm sector,” Mr Macfarlane said.
“So much for the break-up between Labor and the Greens. When put to the test, the true loyalties of the Greens have been exposed and once again the result is less transparency for the Australian public.
“The Coalition had proposed amendments to a Private Members Bill from Senator Nick Xenophon and Senator John Madigan to impose national standards on noise emanating from wind turbines via an amendment to the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000. Coalition support for that Bill was dependent on the addition of those amendments.
“But the Government and the Greens have joined forces to defeat the Bill before the opportunity arises to debate the amendments.
“Therefore the Coalition will begin the process of introducing a Private Members Bill in the House of Representatives, relating to key issues for wind farm developments that will address public health concerns, but at the same time will not interrupt investments complying with permit conditions.
“In particular the Private Members Bill will focus on the impact of wind farms on public health, and on ensuring information about wind farm monitoring is freely available.
“As was the case with the planned Senate-based amendments, it is the Coalition’s intention for this Bill to create a requirement for an independent National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) research program into the potential health effects of wind farms.
“If it is beyond the capacity of the NHMRC to conduct the study, it is the Coalition’s intention to enable the establishment of an Independent Expert Panel to study the impact of wind farm project proposals on the environment and on the social and health aspects on the community.
“The Bill would also ensure that all information relating to wind farms was publicly available, including on the internet.