Brolgas Heading For Extinction

16th December,2020

By Wind Farm Living

Subject: Our Brolgas are heading for extinction on DELWP’s Watch..

Hi Wind Farm Living Community,

One of our most eminent Wind Farm Living members, Hamish Cumming has completely picked holes in the Moyne Shire’s proposed Brolga Standards submission.

I am not sure why the Moyne Shire has not embraced his intellect. 

I am not sure why they have not engaged him in discussions,

I am not sure why they did not seek his advice, and I am not sure why they treated him with so much disdain.

Hamish is simply out to save the Brolgas of Victoria.

Hamish is not out to stop wind farm development per se, he just doesn’t want DELWP to approve wind farms in Brolga breeding grounds. There is plenty of other ground in Victoria to build turbines on, why build them on the Brolga breeding wetlands?

Hamish will not stop advocating for our beautiful Western District Brolgas, he won’t give up, that is a fact !

Did you know that ..

At the last accurate count there are about 600-ish Brolgas left in Victoria. (probably less, DELWP are too embarrassed keep up the count).

Around 200 breeding pairs.

When the numbers drop to 100 breeding pairs, the species is deemed “un-recoverable” – and without significant intervention, an un-recoverable species leads to extinction.

And the worry is, there are two separate colonies each side of the Glenelg River.

And these colonies are not mixing.

The gene pool of the species is being undermined – so the resilience of the bird to survive evolutionary pressures has diminished.

Please find attached Hamish’s response to the Moyne Shire’s submission.

Hamish never says anything other than irrefutable facts.

Hamish has attached the irrefutable facts..

The fact that DELWP are killing off the brolgas with this proposed Standard… is irrefutable…

From: Hamish Cumming
Sent: Monday, 14 December 2020 8:17 AM
To: Councillors <>; Moyne <>
Subject: Fwd: Proposed Brolga standards

Well Councillors of the Moyne shire, once again the CEO and council officers have shown their hand in regard to giving lip service to the community, but supporting the wind farm industry at all costs.

Bill Millard has provided you with a letter and a draft in this council meetings agenda, it states:

Council is pleased that the Draft Standards recognises and respond to
the potential for significant impact of wind farms and power lines on Victorian Brolga
populations and generally supports the Standards. The design approach using No–
Go Flocking Areas and Breeding Habitat Buffers will provide a transparent decision
making process during the permit application process. Community concern about the
present approach to Brolga monitoring, mitigation and compensation may be
overcome by these Standards.

By the council “generally supporting the standard” the council is supporting a document based on false information designed to reduce the protection of the Brolga and allow turbines to be built in the breeding home ranges of Brolga.  This will displace or kill the brolga and push them closer to extinction.  The Moyne Shire has approximately one third of the total remaining population, and should be trying to protect them, the Moyne Shire should not be supporting the revised standard that will help drive them into extinction.

Amongst many of the problems with this proposed standard, is that the proposed standards are going to ignore, and not require saline wetlands to be buffered.  Claiming there are no records of any Brolga ever nesting on saline wetlands.  This also means they will not be buffered from turbines even if Brolga use them to forage, or flocking. (If they are not already a designated flocking site)

The new standards will remove the requirement for mitigation due to death displacement or failure to breed as well as removing the requirement to use local landholder or bird observer groups information.

I am sure this suits certain council officers who have refused to enforce permit conditions or mitigation measures at Macarthur, Mortons Lane and Salt creek. (Refer to the email I sent to you on Dec 6 and scroll down to the email to Bill Millard 23 November to refresh your self with those issues)

Brett Lane is one of the people advising the Government on this proposed standard,  yet the attached file “Dundonnell Brolga records 2014” is one of BLA’s own documents clearly showing they observed Brolga breeding on saline wetlands during the survey.  Not only did they attempt to breed, but they fledged chicks. The saline breeding wetlands are shown as wetlands 304, 602 and 248. Moyne Shire Officers have this report as it was part of the Dundonnell permit.

The three photo files are evidence of the breeding at each of these sites during the survey period, and the sites are regularly successful breeding sites. before and after the survey occurred.

Also attached is the Dundonnell salinity map from DPI 2014, so you can compare the many nesting wetlands against the salinity map to confirm for your selves which are saline if you are not familiar with the area. Moyne Shire Officers have this report as well.

Also attached is Dundonnell Brolga use of wetlands map prepared by Symbolix for Brett Lane.  When you compare this against the salinity map you will see that Brolga use all the saline areas, so to exclude them from the new standards would be an act of environmental vandalism on a very large scale. Moyne Shire Officers have this report as it was also part of the Dundonnell Permit.

In addition, the attachment “GPS records of Breeding Home Range ” clearly shows that the minimum required buffer for Brolga nesting wetlands during the months between June and December is 5km, not the 900m proposed. The Brolga breeding wetlands and mapped home ranges shown on the attachment “GPS records of breeding….” are in the Moyne Shire and in the proposed Mt Fyans wind farm study area. Moyne Shire have had this data and the maps generated from Inka Veltheims GPS records for more than a year now.

The current standard requires all data to be collected and used from consultants, land holders, local bird groups, all published and unpublished reports.  The new standard does not require any of these inputs, and relies on desktop analysis alone.

The proposed standard wants to remove the requirement for pre permit application site assessments, and post construction monitoring, and wants to remove the  requirement for any mitigation for the impact on the population of Brolga.  (Impact as defined by the planning Minister as death, displacement or failure to breed. )  It is ludicrous to remove monitoring and mitigation from the current standard, and it is more ludicrous that the Moyne Shire CEO says the Shire “Generally agrees” to do this with the proposed new standard.

Moyne Shire have Yambuck, Codrington, Mortons Lane, Macarthur, Salt Creek and Dundonnell wind farms operating in the Shire. Post completion reports for all these wind farms (except Dundonnell)  have been issued to the Moyne Shire, as well as a very detailed report by Biosis on Yambuck Codrington clearly showing displacement and breeding failures.

All these wind farms have displaced Brolga, all these wind farms have failed to produce a successful nesting, or fledged a chick within 5km of wind turbines. (Refer again to the details in the December 6 email I sent you) All these wind farms had multiple nesting sites and annual successful breeding events and fledged chicks prior to the construction of the wind farms.  There have been Brolga deaths at several wind farms, but the companies claim the turbines were not responsible and Moyne Shire never followed any of the events up, failed to collect bodies or have autopsy results released or take any interest at all. Dundonnell may not have filed a report yet, but as a local I can inform you that I know of no successful nesting there this year, but there has been nest abandonment and displacement.

The attached report “crane strikes”, is a first hand account of cranes taking off and getting killed by turbines, just 850 to 900m from turbines. Moyne Shire have had this report issued to them several times, including  at the Dundonnell panel hearing.

So please ask your selves how the Moyne Shire Officers and CEO can support the proposed standard, with all the reports Moyne Shire Officers have and all the evidence they have that:

– no Brolga have nested within 5km of turbines,

– Brolga have dropped in population by as much as 86% within 5km of turbines (For unexplained reason by Shire or wind farm companies),

– Brolga nest on, and successfully fledge chicks from saline wetlands and salt lakes,

– Cranes have been witnessed flying through turbines to their death and documentd by PhD student Laura Navarrete

– Brolga breeding home ranges have been shown by GPS tracking data to be a minimum of 5km by PhD student Inka Veiltheim.

– Site visits and landholder records are vital to collecting all the available information, and should be included in the standard.

– Mitigation must be included as a requirement in the standard for impact on the Brolga by death, displacement or failure to breed.

I ask you as councillors to do the right thing, do not support the CEO’s attempt to remove protection of the Brolga.  If you fail to force the officers and CEO to scrap their draft and rewrite it to demand the points above are written into their submission, then you too will have failed to have the truth told and failed to protect our remaining Brolga.  Remember, wind farms can be built elsewhere, they don’t have to be built in Brolga habitat, Brolga have nowhere else to go.



Support Victoria’s threatened Brolga by making a submission to DELWP, see below, closes 18th December.

The rural heart of Victoria is being endlessly inundated with wind turbines. Consider emailing the Moyne Shire CEO and councillors asking them to save the last of our Brolga. By acknowledging the facts provided to them above and act to protect the Brolga and the people in their Shire. Larger buffer zones are needed near wind turbines not less.~ DeFrock


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