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Dundonnell Wind Farm and Moyne Shire at loggerheads over amendment process

The Dundonnell Wind Farm is the latest project of its kind to seek to increase the size of its turbines.

But the way it is attempting to get its planning permit amended has put it at loggerheads with Moyne Shire.

Dundonnell Wind Farm proponent Tilt Renewables is seeking to get its changes through by submitting its request to state planning minister Richard Wynne for review under “secondary consent”.

“Secondary consent” means the proposed changes don’t have to be advertised to the public, which means the public and the council can’t make submissions on the proposed changes.

Other wind farms seeking to increase turbine heights have had to apply for the changes via the usual planning processes, allowing for council and public submissions.

At last week’s council meeting, Moyne Shire councillors ratified a letter to Mr Wynne arguing that Tilt’s proposed changes should be done through the “formal planning permit amendment application process as opposed to ‘secondary consent’”.

This year, the proponents of proposed wind farms at Woolsthorpe, Mortlake South, Hawkesdale and Ryan Corner have gone through the formal planning permit amendment application process in an effort to increase the size of their turbines.

Woolsthorpe’s and Mortlake South’s amendment were approved, while the proponent of the other two wind farms – Ryan Corner Development Pty Ltd – is awaiting a decision.

A Tilt Renewables representative made a presentation to Moyne Shire last week asking for the council’s letter to Mr Wynne to be withdrawn.

Tilt Renewables is seeking to increase the size of its turbines from 165 metres to 189 metres.

The representative said Tilt Renewables had already sent its draft proposal to the minister and had spoken to some residents who live near the proposed wind farm site at Dundonnell.

The councillors refused to withdraw the letter and instead voted to let it stand. They also voted to meet with Tilt Renewables representatives “at the first available opportunity” to discuss their proposed amendment.

Cr Jill Parker said the order that Tilt Renewables had done things was “wrong”.

“(The draft proposal) is already with the minister so maybe our letter needs to be there with it,” Cr Parker said.

“I’m of the feeling no real consultation (has been done). It makes me uncomfortable.”

Cr Jordan Lockett said “the process was going really well” until now, while Cr Jim Doukas said all they were asking was for Tilt Renewables “to give the local community a chance to have some input”.

The 96-turbine wind farm was approved in July 2016.