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Wednesday, 30 November 2005
Page: 146

Mr BROADBENT (7:44 PM) —In today’s Melbourne Herald Sun under the heading ‘Wind won’t replace coal’, Craig Falconer wrote:

No matter how many wind turbines the Bracks Government wants to disfigure the state with, we are still going to require coal-fired power stations to run in spinning reserve.

At the recent hearing in Foster about the proposed Dollar wind energy site, an expert said 20,000 turbines would not reduce the amount of coal being burnt today.

The wind industry doesn’t want people to know this and now they’re trying to stop people from South Gippsland appearing at the Macarthur wind energy hearing.

All power to your arm, Craig Falconer from Dollar in South Gippsland. As a response to wind turbines being placed, even on the Molonglo Hills in this region, there is a lot of opposition to them. I am representing the opposition that is coming out of my electorate in South Gippsland. I am concerned for the amenity of the people and the preservation of the landscape. The Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, has been addressing this issue and he has written to Steve Bracks, and I am sure to the other state and territory leaders, proposing an agreement to develop a national code for the location of wind farms. He says:

A key component of this code should be an agreement that wind farms not be constructed against the wishes of the local community that will be most affected.

He continues:

I am most concerned that members of local communities are often being given only limited involvement in determining if a wind farm is to be established in the area. While wind technology is a part of the portfolio of power sources that the world needs to combat greenhouse gas emissions, it is vital that local communities, including those in often sensitive and scenic coastal areas—

that is what I am talking about—

do not have wind farms thrust upon them. If such action continues to be taken it will make wind farms increasingly unpopular and this will create animosity towards wind energy and be counterproductive to all our interests. I believe that we need a truly inclusive and consultative local planning process.

As you would be aware, the EPBC Act currently allows me to regulate to define specified actions as requiring referral under the Act. Because I am so concerned about the growth in negative sentiment toward wind energy which is occurring as wind farms are established against the express views of the democratically elected councils, I am considering making a new regulation under the EPBC Act in relation to wind farms. This regulation would require all proposed wind farms to be referred under the EPBC Act.

As you know, economic and social factors such as views of local councils and their communities would be relevant considerations in any decision I make to approve any wind farm following assessment. I would certainly be reluctant to approve a wind farm in the face of clear local opposition expressed through votes of shire councils.

I also intend to examine my programmes to consider future funding arrangements for those wind projects that are clearly against the expressed wishes of the local community.

There it is. I have called today for the Bracks government to accept the minister’s opportunity and grab hold of this proposal for a national code for the location of wind farms.

I do not like wind turbines. I do not like what they do to the landscape and I find that they are an inefficient renewable energy proposal. In fact, I would go so far as to say I will never offer South Gippsland as the sacrificial lamb to the gargantuan appetite of the feckless, burping juggernaut that the wind industry is.

Mr Sercombe —Did you write that?

Mr BROADBENT —I will not sacrifice the exquisite South Gippsland coastline on the altar of renewable energy. Yes, I wrote that. I will repeat it. I will not offer South Gippsland as the sacrificial lamb. I will not sacrifice the exquisite South Gippsland coastline on the altar of renewable energy. It is becoming a passion for me now that inappropriately placed wind turbine developments are industrial sites that are being placed close to our coastlines. They are not majestic to me; they are ugly. They are not the best form of renewable energy; they are inefficient. They disrupt power systems, as we have seen in New Zealand where they have virtually said, ‘This is driving us mad.’ We have come to a time now where we have to be very careful about what we put up in this generation, live with for a generation and will take a generation to tear down. (Time expired)