The federal government has been accused of “reneging” on its commitment to crossbench senators regarding the powers of a scientific panel established to monitor wind turbine noise and health.
Australia’s renewable energy industry has promised to cooperate with a new wind farm commissioner and independent scientific committee appointed yesterday to handle complaints, and provide advice on health concerns and low frequency noise monitoring.
Environment Minister Greg Hunt said the appointments honoured a deal between the government and crossbench senators after a long Senate committee investigation earlier this year.
But senator David Leyonhjelm, who was on the committee, said the government had fallen short of its promise made to ensure passage of its renewable energy target legislation.
“I welcome the appointments of both the wind commissioner and the members of the expert scientific panel,” Senator Leyonhjelm said. “However, Minister Hunt has substantially strayed from the commitment he gave to crossbench senators on 23 June in the terms of reference for the expert scientific panel released today.
“Mr Hunt has reneged on his commitment, and it is difficult to see how the crossbench will be able to believe any of his undertakings in future.”
Crossbench senators had expected the panel to have greater investigatory powers.
But under the terms of reference the committee’s role will be to “improve science and monitoring of the potential impacts of sound from wind turbines (including low frequency and infrasound) on health and the environment”. It will provide advice on the development of Australian methodologies and frameworks in sound measurement and standards for wind farms, including in the field of infrasound and low frequency sound.
Mr Hunt appointed Andrew Dyer as National Wind Farm Commissioner for three years. Mr Dyer is a former chairman of the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman Council and has worked in the renewable energy industry.
The independent scientific panel will be chaired by RMIT adjunct professor Jon Davy.
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