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Tearing turbines down would risk legal action

The Department of Planning’s recommendation to tear down two turbines was partly based on legal advice, says Goulburn MP Pru Goward.

If had ordered that all Gullen Range turbines placed in the wrong location be removed, it could be legally challenged.

‘The legal advice to the Department was that if they couldn’t demonstrate that it manifestly altered the impact, then they would lose,” Ms Goward (pictured) told the Post.

“…We are caught by the rules of engagement.”

The Planning Minister said although it was only two turbines, it was the first time such an order had been made to a wind farm company.

“The Department recognised that the company had not stuck by the rules and sent a very strong signal,” she said.

“Within the wind farm industry it will be greeted with very strong criticism.”

Ms Goward said the Department had stuck by the rules in demanding the modified application and had considered it on its merits.

At the same time, she said her views on wind farms were very well known. They “destroyed property values, landscape views and were not economically efficient.”

“So I will never back off in my concerns but they are not illegal and I have to deal with them as Planning Minister,” she said.