Tony Abbott has reiterated his support for further research on the health effects of wind farms, despite a mixed response from the states that may be asked to help pay for the scientific work.
The federal government’s proposal for a National Health and Medical Research Council-led study, revealed by The Australian, has received a lukewarm reaction from South Australia, where almost half of the country’s turbines are situated, while Victoria and Western Australia are on board.
The Prime Minister yesterday was enthusiastic about more research on the controversial topic, despite the NHMRC previously finding there was insufficient published scientific evidence to positively link wind turbines with adverse health effects.
“From time to time we do need to refresh the research; we do need to consider whether there have been new facts that impact on old judgments, and that is a perfectly reasonable thing to do,” Mr Abbott said.
“It is some years since the NHMRC last looked at this issue: why not do it again?”
Victorian Health Minister David Davis has called for cooperation between the states and commonwealth in gathering more evidence about the ramifications of living near turbines.
“We want to ensure that the best scientific evidence is available as a base for the community to reflect on this, but also for decision-making on a policy level,” he said.
“Anything that advances our understanding and improves our capacity to make considered scientific decisions is welcome.”
Victoria, which has Australia’s second largest wind energy industry, has already offered $100,000 for more research.
West Australian Energy Minister Mike Nahan said he would welcome a “rigorous study” into possible health effects.
South Australian Health Minister Jack Snelling said his government had no intention of committing funding at this stage.
“We would want to see more detail about what the federal government was hoping to achieve with further research before commenting any further,” he said.
The NSW and Queensland health departments said they would support further research.
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