The Victorian Opposition will overturn tough wind farm planning laws introduced by the State Government in 2011 if elected to power.
Opposition planning spokesman Brian Tee said if elected next year, the Labor Party would repeal the setback that prevents developers building turbines within 2km of a house without the owner’s written consent.
It would also consider scrapping the “no-go zones” where wind farms are prohibited in areas including along the Great Ocean Road, the Mornington Peninsula, Macedon Ranges, Wilsons Promontory and the Yarra Ranges.
“We just think it’s bad for jobs and bad for regional jobs in particular at a time when the regions are struggling,” Mr Tee said.
“We are working through our policy process now but we will rip up the 2km setback laws. We haven’t finalised our exact position but I think what we would say about the no-go zones is that they are arbitrary. There is no logic to them, no science to them, they are anti-jobs and they are certainly in our sights too.”
Planning Minister Matthew Guy introduced the changes more than two years ago in a bid to give local landholders more say on wind farm decisions in their community.
Since the rules were introduced, only one new wind farm has been granted approval for a planning permit.
“Labor have a track record in over-riding local councils and communities and approving wind turbines a few hundred metres from people’s homes,” Mr Guy said.
“Labor must state how close will they approve turbines from local homes and answer why they feel it necessary to rip planning powers away from local councils.”
Infigen Energy welcomed Mr Tee’s comments and said it would consider expanding its operations in Victoria if the laws were repealed.
Friends of the Earth’s Yes 2 Renewables spokesman Leigh Ewbank also welcomed the commitment from the Opposition.
“Wind farm restrictions have cost regional economies millions, farmers a chance for a stable income, and hundreds of good jobs,” Mr Ewbank said.
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