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Hawkesdale appeal against wind farm permit dismissed in Victorian Supreme Court of Appeal  

Credit:  Wind farm appeal shot down in Supreme Court | Hawkesdale wind farm appeal rejected in Supreme Court | By Ben Silvester | The Standard | August 18 2022 | www.standard.net.au ~~

A group of Hawkesdale residents attempting to stop the construction of a neighbouring wind farm has had its latest appeal crushed in the Victorian Supreme Court of Appeal.

The case revolved around the Victorian planning minister extending a planning permit for the proposed Hawkesdale Wind Farm in November 2020, with the group The People of the Small Town of Hawkesdale Inc arguing the extension was invalid.

In August 2021 Supreme Court Justice Melinda Richards found the group did not have legal standing to appeal the permit extension because there was no evidence the group existed prior to 2021, when it filed the legal challenge.

The group appealed the decision, arguing Justice Richards had erred in her determination of standing, but on Thursday morning a three-judge panel of the Supreme Court’s Court of Appeal flatly rejected the group’s arguments.

Court president Justice Karin Emerson said the group had not successfully argued “any of the matters of contention” in the case.

“None of the grounds of appeal have been made out,” Justice Emerson said.

The original planning permit for a 31-turbine wind farm across 50 parcels of land near Hawkesdale was granted in August 2008. It was extended several times by the planning minister but the community group only formed an incorporated association after the most recent extension in late 2020.

In their judgment, the justices said the late formation of the group was one factor that hurt their legal standing, but there was also “no evidence that the wind farm would cause real and substantial detriment to each of the members of the association”.

“Moreover, there was no evidence that the impact of the wind farm on the population of Hawkesdale was a ‘shared’ concern of all the members,” the justices said.

“Accordingly, leave to appeal will be refused.”

To make matters worse for the Hawkesdale group, the lawyers for both the planning minister and the wind farm developer Global Power Generation asked the court to order the group pay all the costs associated with the appeal.

The Standard understands a number of Hawkesdale residents, including pensioners, have contributed to funding the legal costs for the case.

Group spokesman John Bos said he thought the decision was wrong and the group was “disappointed”.

“I can’t make an objective comment about what we will do now,” he said.

He said the group’s lawyer Dominica Tannock, who has mounted several community-funded legal challenges against wind energy developers, was “talking to the QC” about future options.

Ms Tannock also wrote to Moyne Shire councillor Jim Doukas in 2020, urging him to persuade the council to undertake independent noise-testing for the Hawkesdale project. The additional testing cost the council $40,000 and ended up showing the same results provided by the developer.

Source:  Wind farm appeal shot down in Supreme Court | Hawkesdale wind farm appeal rejected in Supreme Court | By Ben Silvester | The Standard | August 18 2022 | www.standard.net.au

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

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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