Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey has made more critical comments about the way wind farms look, describing them as “appalling”.
Mr Hockey said renewable energy was “hugely important” but believed wind turbines were ruining beautiful bits of the Australian landscape.
In May, he said the wind farm at Lake George near Canberra was “utterly offensive” and a “blight on the landscape”.
Today, at the Bloomberg Summit in Sydney he was asked if he would repeat the comments.
“Yes, I would,” Mr Hockey said.
“You know renewable energy is hugely important and it’s a part of the fabric of the development of diverse energy supply right around the world.
“But you know we’ve got some beautiful landscapes in Australia and frankly putting up those towers is just to me quite appalling in those places.”
Mr Hockey again singled out the Capital Wind Farm and the landscape around Lake George.
“I drive from Sydney to Canberra on Sundays to go to Parliament and I just look at those wind farms around Lake George and I’m just appalled at a beautiful landscape ruined,” he said.
“Just for all the ‘greenies’ in the audience, if they built a huge coal fired power station there, I would be equally appalled. So, it’s just an aesthetic view.”
Hockey’s comments ‘utterly unhelpful’
Infigen Energy, the company that owns the Capital Wind Farm, is not amused by the comments.
Managing director Miles George has been outspoken in his criticism of the Abbott Government’s approach to the renewable energy sector and said Mr Hockey’s comments were “utterly unhelpful”.
“I just don’t think it’s appropriate to contemplate that the view of one motorist 10 kilometres away from the wind farm is relevant in any discussion of renewably energy generally,” he said.
“As I understand it, Mr Hockey, poor people don’t drive cars so they wouldn’t see that wind farm anyway. Perhaps that’s the counter to that argument.”
The Government is currently considering how to respond to a review of the nation’s Renewable Energy Target.
The review chaired by leading businessman and climate sceptic, Dick Warburton, found the economy would be $22 billion better off by removing cross-subsidies given to renewable energy generators and recommended closing down the scheme to new companies or watering down the target.
Mr George said Mr Hockey’s comments were poorly timed.
“Of course I accept people have different views about [renewable energy],” he said.
“But when the Treasurer of the country says things like that during a review that’s a very sad state of affairs.”
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten was promoting the benefits of renewable energy on a trip to Tasmania today.
“The locals want the jobs they want the wind farms but what they need is a government in Canberra that understands renewable energy is not some ‘green’ plot instead it’s a sensible part of our energy mix and sustainable energy mix going forward”, he said.
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