State government firm on approving wind farms on ‘merits’ as Moyne Shire doubles down on opposing current planning approach
30th August, 2020
By Jackson Graham, The Standard
IMPASSE: The state government says it is firm on approving wind farms on “merits” as Moyne Shire doubles down on opposing the current approach to planning.
The state government says it approves wind farms on “merits” that benefit “all Victorians” as a south-west council doubles down on an attempt to halt further development.
Moyne Shire Council is pushing to meet with Victorian Planning Minister Richard Wynne to debate the “accumulative impacts” of projects on communities that could eventually live among up to 15 wind farms.
The council says the projects could cover more than 12 per cent of the shire’s farmland, including five wind farms that are operating, two under construction, three approved, and five proposed.
Moyne has doubled down on a stance not to support further wind farms unless planning authorities enforce seven recommendations made by the National Wind Farm Commissioner.
Those recommendations include that wind farm locations should be considered on a “wider range of criteria”, that prospecting for wind farms should require an approval process, and transmission infrastructure be reviewed to optimise locations.
But a state government spokeswoman said the Planning Minister “considers all permit applications on their merits to deliver an outcome that is in the best interest of all Victorians”.
“Community consultation is an important part of the planning process and residents with concerns have the opportunity to have their say,” she said.
The government says a “prospecting licence” is not required for land-use planing. It is reviewing the National Wind Farm Commissioner’s recommendations and has implemented at least one flagged by Moyne.
Moyne Shire mayor Daniel Meade said the council met with the minister last year but was “disappointed with the results”.
“Twelve per cent of our agricultural landmass is a substantial proportion that we basically think is enough as it currently stands,” Cr Meade said.
“Particularly around the Hawkesdale and Mortlake areas, there’s concerns about the accumulative impact.”