25th August, 2020
By Jackson Graham, The Standard.
IF ALL proposed wind farms in a south-west shire were built, those sites could cover the equivalent of whole local government areas in Melbourne, a new Moyne Shire Council image shows.
The picture depicts projects totaling 67,000 hectares superimposed on metropolitan boundaries in a bid to push the state government to tighten plans for future projects.
Up to 15 wind farms could eventually occupy shire farming landscape.
Six councillors voted at Tuesday’s ordinary meeting to send another message to oppose any more wind farms in the shire, unless planning authorities enforce seven recommendations made by the National Wind Farm Commissioner.
The councillors voiced the same demand to the government in 2018, but believe their request has fallen on deaf ears.
Cr Colin Ryan said the concerns of residents, particularly regarding set back distances from townships, were being disregarded.
“The state government is just not listening and it’s time that they listened,” he said. “It is unsatisfactory the way our ratepayers are being treated.”
Cr Jordan Lockett said he supported a transition to renewables, but he voted against further projects until planning better protected residents and towns.
“There is a massive cost of the industrialisation of the landscape up in the northern part of the shire,” Cr Lockett said.
“Wind farms and renewables are the future, but … can the whole shire be covered in wind farms? If this was nuclear power or coal there would be absolute outrage.”
Cr Jim Doukas had the sole vote against the motion, although did not indicate that meant he supported the projects.
“I would like to keep my powder dry and assess all applications without predetermining a position,” Cr Doukas said.
Council major projects executive manager Michelle Grainger said much of Moyne Shire was included in a renewable energy zone flagged for future projects due to its proximity to an existing 500KV transmission line.
Cr Daniel Meade said the council was aware of developers continuing to “secretly” prospect projects in the shire without first making any contact with the council.
“We don’t want any more wind farms in Moyne Shire as it currently stands, please stop prospecting,” Cr Meade said.