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Thursday, 23 June 2011
Page: 3709

Senator FIELDING (VictoriaLeader and Whip of the Family First Party) (13:57): In the short two minutes that I have got, I would like to say that this inquiry, which looks into adverse health effects from living in close proximity to wind farms, was a very emotional inquiry. We heard from many, many residents who have been adversely impacted because they are living close to wind turbines. The emotional testimony was quite heart wrenching at times. People have even had to leave their homes because of their concerns about the adverse health impacts, and they have clearly got health problems.

I want to highlight that even the developers and the industry are relying on the NHMRC's report, Wind turbines and health—A rapid review of the evidence. When the NHMRC gave evidence to the committee, they had this to say:

We regard this as a work in progress. We certainly do not believe that this question has been settled. That is why we are keeping it under constant review. That is why we said in our review that we believe authorities must take a precautionary approach to this.

That is very concerning. That is from NHMRC. They are saying that this is work in progress, still under review, and we have got the wind farms industry relying on it, saying that there are no adverse health impacts. This is still a concern, and I think that Victoria has taken a lead by increasing the distance requirements for proximity to wind farms. I urge people to go through the recommendations that I made in my additional comments to this report. I have not got time to go through all of those recom­mendations, but certainly Victoria seems to be tightening up, and I think that across Australia we need to tighten up on the planning controls with regard to how close people and residents are living to wind turbines, given that this is still work in progress and given that there are still concerns about the adverse impacts of living near wind farms.

I want to thank the committee for the conduct of the inquiry. We did go to quite a few places in Australia, even regional areas, listening to people's concerns. It was heart wrenching, and it is a great concern that when people come forward with adverse health impacts from wind farms. I think we need to be done more, and I think that some national guidelines would be a good idea.

Debate interrupted.