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Monday, 19 March 2012
Page: 3447


Mr CRAIG KELLY (Hughes) (19:39): I rise to support the motion moved by the member for Pearce and congratulate her on bringing this issue before the parliament as there is significant evidence of the adverse health effects associated with wind farms. Whenever human health is concerned, we should always be adopting the precautionary principle. Therefore, unless the foreign multinational firms that are seeking to erect these giant industrial wind turbines near Australian family homes can indemnify the local residents against any future adverse health effects created by their wind turbines, they should be, quite simply, prohibited from building them. Unfortunately, in the past this debate has been frustrated through an ingenious marketing campaign under the guise of taking action on climate change and anyone that has even dared to question the groupthink wisdom of covering our countryside with these giant steel structures has been labelled a denier. Now it is possible to support the continued rollout of wind turbines across our country but only if you are prepared to ignore the terrible damage they wreak on the environment. Only if you can close your eyes to the fact that wind turbines kill and maim hundreds of thousands of birds annually who either are sliced in half or have their bodies smashed by turbine blades and are left to die a slow and painful death. Only if you can turn your back on the fact that wind turbines kill millions of native bats because the moving blades cause a drop in pressure that makes the delicate lungs of the bats actually explode. Or only if you can bury your head in the sand to the ecological catastrophe arising from the extraction and refining of neodymium, a tonne of which is needed to make the magnets in every wind turbine, which has resulted in the creation of toxic and radioactive tailings lakes. It is also possible to support the rollout of wind turbines across Australia if you are prepared to ignore their cost in terms of human health. Wind turbines emit pollution, not only from audible sound but also from infrasound and low-frequency sound, all of which cause serious illness. Dr Sarah Laurie, in a recent letter to our Prime Minister dated 21 February 2012, stated there is a:

… growing number of “wind farm refugees” in Australia, who are abandoning their homes … There is also a growing number of sick, vulnerable Australians who are unable to leave their homes near wind—

farm—

developments, and who are trapped in homes which are making them seriously ill.

It is also possible to continue to support the rollout of wind farms if you are prepared to overlook the damage they do to our economy by driving up the price of electricity and driving families into poverty. Simply put, wind turbines are a hopelessly inefficient way to generate electricity. If it were not for government subsidies, wind power would not even be entertained as a cost-effective way of generating electricity. The punitive economic cost of wind turbines was recently highlighted in a report by Professor Hughes of Edinburgh University. He has calculated that in the UK the bill for wind energy by 2020 will cost British consumers a staggering £120 billion yet generating the same amount of electricity from gas fired power stations would cost only £13 billion. No doubt a like study in Australia would reveal similar numbers. So by subsidising inefficient wind turbines we reduce our economic prosperity and when we reduce our economic prosperity we cause hardship, pain and suffering to the citizens of our community.

So devotees of wind turbines may be prepared to sacrifice human health and they may be prepared to reduce our economic prosperity and they may be prepared to destroy the environment because they believe they are saving it, all in the name of saving the planet from climate change by reducing carbon dioxide emissions. But recently study after study has shown that once an allowance is made for CO2 emissions involved in the construction of the turbines and the efficient deployment of conventional backup electricity generation, subsidising wind turbines is actually likely to increase CO2 emissions. So if we were seeking to reduce CO2 emissions, it would be more effective to place a ban on the sale of sparkling mineral water than it would be to build wind turbines. In the future this irresponsible use of our limited resources of subsidising wind turbines will become obvious as they are an obsolete and inefficient means of energy production and also as a way to reduce CO2 emissions. Common sense and reason will eventually triumph over ideological dogma. The only question is how much damage the promoters of wind turbines will do and inflict on our environment, our wildlife, our economy and human health. When this finally occurs, we will be left with the broken and rusting carcasses of giant industrial wind turbines desecrating our countryside. Rather than take to these with angle grinders to remove their blight from our landscape, we should seek to save many of these rusting carcasses by listing them with the National Trust to protect them for future generations as monuments to a time when society took leave of its sense of reason.