Update, Wednesday, 1.30pm: A community meeting will be held at the Mortlake Hall next Monday from 7.30pm after the State Government sparked further debate about renewable energy.
A Mortlake district resident said on Wednesday that wind energy was extremely expensive and impractical with foreign owned companies taking up massive government subsidies.
“Our lovely Western District volcanic plains and prime farming country is being destroyed by these massive and environmentally unfriendly, using massive amounts of non-renewables in construction, destroying birdlife, dry out surrounding land, etc,” she said.
“The majority of people do not want them and people do not want to live near them, destroying our rural communities and devaluing farming land. Please listen to the people – we feel like we have no say.
“We are all devastated as to what is happening to our prime agricultural land, surely these wind farms would be better situated in more marginal country.
“Many of the host farm owners don’t live on the property, or move away as soon as the turbines are built, Macarthur,” she said.
Earlier: STATE member for Polwarth Richard Riordan has blasted the State Government’s renewable energy announcements.
He said the State Government has unleashed more uncontrolled wind development, that would deliver more jobs and money to foreign owned companies than it will to the communities it leaves unconsulted and ignored.
Mr Riordan said that despite endless calls for a renewable energy framework, and strategic planning, and urgent upgrading of much needed energy infrastructure in western Victoria, the government has instead gifted millions to already wealthy households for batteries and solar panels.
He said western Victoria’s most vulnerable, and many hardworking farmers were left left high and dry with few options to improve their energy efficiency, while inner urban households and foreign multinationals benefit from Victorian tax payers.
The member said tax dollars have been used to subsidise the Berrybank project (owned by a Spanish utility company), Mortlake South (owned by a Spanish infrastructure company) and Dundonnell – owned by a NZ power utility.
“Local communities support renewable projects, but find the lack of planning and coordination hard to live with, and have deep concerns about the long term consequences on the Western Victorian landscape,” Mr Riordan said.
“Many farmers struggling to operate their dairy farms on old SWER lines are today very disappointed that millions of dollars are being given to people in million dollar owner occupied homes, when whole districts can’t access first world three-phase power supplies.
“Despite millions of tax dollars being spent, no plans exist for expanding necessary infrastructure for locals, and the network for future renewable projects. This will not drive down electricity prices as promised.,” he said.
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