Majority of Moyne Shire candidates against future wind projects in local government area
15th October, 2020
By Jackson Graham, The Standard
THE majority of Moyne Shire candidates are against more wind farm development in the shire, but some say with better planning they’d support further proposals.
The Standard asked the 16 Moyne Shire candidates what their positions were on future wind farm projects, with seven candidates saying there were against future wind farms receiving state-issued planning permits.
Five candidates supported the council’s current position to oppose more wind farms in the shire unless state planning authorities enforce seven recommendations made by the National Wind Farm Commissioner, including a five kilometre set-back distance from towns.
Three candidates said they would form views on individual proposals, two of them supportive of further projects and one basing views on community feedback.
One candidate said if elected they would seek further council briefings before forming a view.
There are five operating wind farms in Moyne Shire, two under construction and three more with planning permits. Five further proposals are without permits.
Victoria’s Planning Minister issues planning permits for the projects, not Moyne Shire, but state planners seek council feedback during that process.
Candidate views are below in order they appear on the ballot paper.
Panmure’s Ian Wallace said he was against any further wind farms in the shire regardless of whether the wind farm commissioner’s recommendations were adopted.
“The simple reason is there’s enough here and enough people’s lives have been affected,” Mr Wallace said.
Woolsthorpe’s Colin Ryan said he supported the council’s current position to oppose wind farms unless the state government adopted the commissioner’s recommendations.
“I am in favour of renewable energy, however at a local area the community has to be respected,” he said.
“The wind farm commissioner’s recommendations, which we are trying to get the state planning department to adopt, would go a long way placating local concerns.
“If those recommendations were adopted a number of wind farms would just not go ahead.”
Port Fairy’s Damian Gleeson said he would oppose further wind farm development for four years if elected.
“For the next four years, let’s hold our horses and weigh up the pros and cons,” he said.
Koroit’s Stephen Mackey said “something has to be done” to balance projects with nearby community wishes but he said he would seek advice if elected before forming a position.
“Proposals need to be very carefully looked at by a future council in view of the very heavy burden that Moyne is carrying,” Mr Mackey said.
“I don’t think before I am sitting at the table I can give a definitive answer.”
Rosebrook’s Genevieve Grant said she opposed further wind farms in the shire that did not yet have a planning permit.
“I am a very big believer in renewable energy, I would be pursuing other forms of renewable energy and we can cross wind farms off,” she said.
Rosebrook’s Penny Iddon said she also opposed further projects, but wanted five kilometre set-backs from towns for any further wind farm.
“If something is already tentatively approved, I don’t know if you would have much grounding,” she said.
“For those that haven’t begun that process, no more wind farms.”
Garvoc’s Daniel Meade said he supported the council’s advocacy position on the commissioner’s recommendations, but leaned towards opposing any further projects.
“Unless there is a dramatic turnaround from the state department and the wind farm companies, which I struggle to see happening, I won’t be supporting any more wind farms,” he said.
Port Fairy’s James Purcell supported further wind farms on a “case-by-case” basis.
“I support wind energy in the right locations. If you look at Dundonnell it’s in an ideal spot. It’s not the highest quality agricultural land and low population density,” he said.
“My view is different in so much as I think the council needs to determine their own reasons for why and where wind farms should be, not the commissioner.
“The wind farms create lots of good jobs, it’s drought farming for a lot of farmers and it’s good for the environment.”
Port Fairy’s Jordan Lockett supports the council’s current position to oppose wind farms subject to the commissioner’s recommendations.
“There may still be opportunities for wind farms out there. Should Moyne do a massive consultation with the shire about wind farms? Absolutely,” he said.
“It shouldn’t just be what seven councillors think. It’s about what the community want.”
Mortlake’s Kelvin Goodall also supports the council’s current position.
“I am in favour of wind farms but I believe there has to be more control over where,” Mr Goodall said.
Port Fairy’s Karen Foster opposes further wind farms in the shire.
“I am completely against,” she said. “It is a fraught issue, but it’s pretty clear those impacted communities have had enough.”
Killarney’s Viva-Lyn Lenehan said she opposed any further wind farms in the shire.
“The collateral damage experienced by innocent farmers and residents throughout the Moyne Shire will only become evident once more people realise the bad decision that was made to actually turn our beautiful agricultural, rural and coastal shire into a wind farm industrial zone,” she said.
Ian Smith supports the council’s current position.
“Towns like Hawkesdale have really been impacted by wind farms with no real benefits,” he said.
Port Fairy’s Arthur Hoey said he’d consider further wind farms in the shire “on merit”.
“I would consider them individually,” he said.
“If a farmer can get $80,000 or $90,000 out of the wind farms, why not? Are you going to stop them from doing that.”
Purnim’s Bill Robinson said he opposed further wind farms without significant planning improvements.
“It would have to be a miracle change around planning and consulting,” he said.
Mailors Flat’s Jim Doukas said community feedback would inform his view about each project.
“I haven’t come across a proposal for a wind farm that the community supports. Form all the public meetings I’ve been to I would say 98 per cent of the community are against them.”