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Moyne Shire lobbying state government over cluster of wind farms near Mortlake

A push to save Mortlake from being surrounded by wind farms has been taken to the state government.

A delegation from the Moyne Shire Council met with Planning Minister Richard Wynne in Melbourne last week where they raised concerns about the amount of turbines planned for the area.

More than 330 turbines have either already been built, under construction or are on the drawing board.

They also lobbied for the Environmental Protection Authority to conduct its own independent testing of wind farm noise

Mayor Mick Wolfe, chief executive officer Bill Millard and planning staff met Mr Wynne to raised the concerns of residents.

“We’d like him to consider the cumulative impact of all these wind farms in this one area,” Cr Wolfe said.

“Mortlake’s going to be surrounded by wind farms.”

Cr Wolfe said the project that that had caused most angst was the proposed Mount Fyans wind farm which three months ago lodged an application to build 85 turbines to the east of the town.

He said the Mount Fyans would be seen from anywhere in Mortlake and came too close to the township, within three kilometres.

Last week, plans for a 125 turbine wind farm at Hexham were also publicly revealed but Cr Wolfe said the nearest turbines to Mortlake from that project was about 10 kilometres.

Work has also started on the 80-turbine Dundonnell wind farm, but Cr Wolfe said that project’s location was fairly remote.

The Mortlake South wind farm will have 35 turbines when completed, and the operational Salt Creek project has 13.

Cr Wolfe said the concerns of the Hawkesdale and Willatook communities were also raised with the minister.

He said they told the minister the EPA does its own independent testing of wind farm noise.

Cr Wolfe said wind farms have to comply with permits which restrict noise, but they then conduct their own testing.

However, he said residents had been doing their own testing which had produced different readings to the companies.

“So what we’re saying is that an independent third party should be doing their own testing,” Cr Wolfe said.

He said these were state government-approved projects, so it should be using its own resources to clarify and determine noise levels.

The minister was also presented with the council’s resolution from November when it voted to oppose any more wind farms in the shire until the state government adopted recommendations to avoid having multiple wind farms in one location.

Cr Wolfe admitted that while it had passed the resolution, the council had no power to approve or reject wind farm projects.

However, he said they could make a submission to the minister.

The council has invited Mr Wynne to visit the area to inspect some of the projects.

Last week, The Standard revealed wind farms could bring a rates bonanza of around $3 million to Moyne shire.

The shire will get $730,000 boost to its rates revenue with the construction of the Dundonnell and Mortlake South wind farms near Mortlake kicking off, taking its total current revenue from wind farms to more than $1.6 million.

The council also met with member for Western Victoria Jaala Pulford last week where the issue of wind farms was briefly raised, and it will also meet with MP Gayle Tierney on Friday.