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Senator ‘deeply disturbed’ by wind farm impacts

Serious health repercussions from wind farms have left more questions than answers, crossbench senator Bob Day has claimed.

The Family First senator said alleged illnesses created by turbine infrasound were “deeply disturbing” although senate colleagues have been more circumspect about the issue.

He was one of five senators to attend a select committee hearing in Portland last week with concerned landholders, energy operators and council officials speaking at the all-day seminar.

Senator Day applauded the bravery of landholders opposed to wind farms and said renewable energy operators needed to take their concerns more seriously.

“Scientists and doctors are only just beginning to understand the connections between the infrasound emitted from turbines and the impact on the health of nearby residents,” he said.

“The pulse or vibrations emitted from turbines is obviously having an impact. There were people who attended the select committee hearing from across the district.

“The problem is not contained to one particular town or area. These were people that came from all different parts of the wider region.”

Senator Day said Derrinallum farmer Hamish Cumming also presented compelling evidence about the impact of wind farms on bird life, particularly brolgas across the western plains.

“Arguments are made by the energy sector claiming the environmental merits of turbines but there are environmental impacts as well,” he said. “Mr Cumming’s evidence highlighted concerns over the welfare of native birdlife.”

Labor party senator Anne Urquhart said it was important fellow panellists listened to all evidence before “jumping to any conclusions”.

“It’s impossible to ignore the massive economic and community benefits that the wind industry offers regional areas like Portland,” Senator Urquhart said.

“At (the hearing last week), it was very distressing to hear how layoffs at Keppel Prince have sent shockwaves through the entire community, even forcing some to leave town.

“Portland is only one of a number of hearings that will be held during course of this inquiry. I think it’s important that committee members don’t jump to conclusions before we’ve considered all the evidence.”

Glenthompson’s Bill and Sandy Rogerson, Macarthur farmer Annie Gardner and Southern Grampians Landscape Guardians president Keith Staff also appeared alongside Mr Cumming before the select committee.