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Wind farm commissioner watched TV show to prepare for Senate grilling  

Mr Dyer can only make recommendations to state regulators or wind farm operators. Whether they comply or even listen, is up to them.

Credit:  Australia's first wind farm commissioner has fronted his first Senate committee, saying his only training was watching political satire Utopia. | Source AAP | 8 Feb 2016 | www.sbs.com.au ~~

Wind farm commissioner Andrew Dyer’s goal is to make his job obsolete.

And he’ll take home more than $600,000 for his efforts.

Australia’s first-ever wind farm commissioner experienced his first grilling by a Senate committee on Monday, with his $205,000 annual salary for three years confirmed by the environment department.

Mr Dyer’s aim is to improve complaint handling by state regulators and other stakeholders to a level that renders his role futile.

“Clearly great success in this role is to be out of business,” Mr Dyer told the committee.

The commissioner, who was the former chairman of the telecommunications watchdog, admitted the extent of his training to front the Senate hearing was watching an episode of ABC’s political satire Utopia.

“I’ve not had the opportunity to undergo training but I was able to watch the relevant episode of Utopia,” he told the committee on Monday.

Despite operating a hard-to-find website that launched a few weeks ago, the commissioner is already dealing with 42 residents concerned about 12 established and potential wind farms.

He doesn’t have any statutory powers, something he actually sees as a positive.

Mr Dyer can only make recommendations to state regulators or wind farm operators. Whether they comply or even listen, is up to them.

The commissioner believes that makes him well received by industry, community and government because he’s judged on his merits and persuasion of argument alone.

A wind farm commissioner was promised to crossbench senators last year in return for their support for the inclusion of wood-waste burning in the nation’s renewable energy target.

Several crossbenchers have concerns about wind farms, despite the National Health and Medical Research Council finding no consistent evidence of “wind turbine syndrome” and the Australian Medical Association’s belief that symptoms stem from anxiety about farms.

The government has been criticised for wasting money on a wind farm commissioner at the same time as the position of disability commissioner was downgraded from a full-time role.

While Mr Dyer admitted his $205,000 a year gig was part-time, the department stepped in to try to clarify.

“It’s part-time and it’s not,” department secretary Gordon de Brouwer told the committee, adding the workload was judged on specified outcomes.

“That sounds like a Utopian moment,” Labor senator Lisa Singh retorted.

Source:  Australia's first wind farm commissioner has fronted his first Senate committee, saying his only training was watching political satire Utopia. | Source AAP | 8 Feb 2016 | www.sbs.com.au

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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