On Thursday, August 7th I attended a meeting at Crowlands organized by the Australian Wind Alliance.
Prior to the meeting Andrew Bray asked us to respect the views of others.
We sat quietly and listened to the rhetoric spun by potential turbine hosts outlining the perceived benefits, in particular the welcome boost to their incomes. We listened while representatives of clubs detailed the “grants” they had received from Pac Hydro and RES. We applauded when Federal MP for Wannon, Dan Tehan promised to continue to push for health studies. We listened to the questions and answers. We could have refuted all the claims of the supposed benefits of wind farms, but respected the rights of speakers to their views. We would hope that they would question the wind industry “spin” and seek alternate sources of information.
Due to time constraints and the Chair deciding to restrict questions to locals I was unable to ask a question of the three mayors present at the meeting. I chose to approach the mayors to inform them of their responsibility to residents around the wind farm under the Victorian Health and Wellbeing Act, 2008, and to specifically advise them that residents around the Macarthur wind farm had in fact lodged a formal nuisance complaint with the Moyne Shire.
I was taken aback by the aggressive nature of the response from the mayor of Ararat – Paul Hooper. He chose not to listen, but instead responded in an inappropriate manner, especially for someone in such a public position. I felt vulnerable and threatened by his aggression and left the hall. I don’t know if the other mayors would have listened, but they did nothing to temper his response.
I believe the mayors are guilty of “wilful blindness”, in that they have no wish to be informed of the very real health risks to residents near wind farms, but rather choose to be seduced by the money and promises of the wind companies. As Mayors, they have a responsibility to do their due diligence on this issue, and not be solely motivated by promises of money.
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