Residents Challenge Delburn Wind

Residents take challenge to Latrobe Valley wind farm to Supreme Court

8th June 2022

By Emma Field, ABC Gippsland


Capital Wind Farm
Residents have challenged plans for a planned wind farm in Victoria’s east.(Four Corners: Karen Michelmore)

A group of Victorian residents living near a site earmarked for a wind farm will challenge the project’s approval in the state’s highest court.

Key points:

  • The Strezlecki Community Alliance says the Minister’s decision contravenes a council planning scheme
  • The group has enlisted a lawyer who successfully represented two residents in a wind farm matter recently
  • The majority of the turbines for the planned farm would be in the council’s jurisdiction

The 33-turbine Delburn wind farm near the Strezlecki ranges was approved by the Victorian Planning Minister Richard Wynne in March after a planning panel assessed the project last year.

The turbines would be built in pine plantations close to the site of the former Hazelwood coal-fired power station, which closed in 2017.

Now the 1,000-strong Strezlecki Community Alliance is seeking to have the decision quashed in Victoria’s Supreme Court.

The residents say Latrobe City Council’s planning scheme prohibits a wind farm being built within five kilometres Moe, Morwell and Traralgon’s urban areas.

While the Delburn Wind Farm proponent Osmi Australia lodged planning applications with three separate local councils, 28 of the 33 planned wind turbines are in Latrobe City Council’s jurisdiction.

Delburn Wind Farm Inc listed as the second defendant in the civil case, after the Minister.

Court documents reveal the alliance represents 483 households from Moe, Boolarra, Yinnar, Thorpedale, Delburn and Mirboo North.

The group claims that during the panel’s assessment of the project, Latrobe City Council “did not make any submission on this legal question concerning prohibited land use for [a] wind energy facility under the scheme”.

A computer-generated image of wind turbines inside a pine plantation.
An artist’s impression of the Delburn Wind Farm proposed for pine plantations near the closed Hazelwood power station.(Supplied: OSMI Australia)

The alliance is being represented by lawyer Dominica Tannock, who successfully helped two clients curb night time noise of the Bald Hills Wind Farm in nearby South Gippsland after the Supreme Court found the wind turbine noise created a nuisance.

“We say that this wind farm is prohibited,” Ms Tannock said.

“And we rely on an expert report by a licensed surveyor which says the wind farm proposed to be built at Delburn is within 5km of a residential zone within the urban area of Moe, Morwell [and] Traralgon, [which is] prohibited by the council planning scheme.”

Osmi Australia said it would “firmly defend” the matter and the planning permits “remain valid unless the Supreme Court determines otherwise”.

“We will continue to progress the proposed Delburn Wind Farm and look forward to ongoing engagement with the community on this exciting renewable energy project that will deliver benefits for the Latrobe Valley and surrounding communities,” the company said in a statement.

There will a direction hearing on the case later this month.

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