Members Statement

Mr D O’BRIEN (Gippsland South) (13:01): The Andrews Labor government has serious questions to answer after the Supreme Court case involving the Bald Hills wind farm was won by neighbours John Zakula and Noel Uren. The court found that the wind farm caused a substantial interference with the use and enjoyment of the neighbours’ land due to noise, especially at night. This was in a situation where the Minister for Planning had written to Bald Hills in 2019 indicating he was ‘satisfied’ that the wind farm was compliant with its permit conditions in relation to noise.

It seems the Labor government has been asleep at the wheel when it comes to wind farm compliance with permit conditions, and one wonders how many more circumstances there may be where this has occurred across Victoria. Sadly, it is the neighbours in quiet rural areas that suffer the consequences of Labor’s incompetence. It seems incredible to me that just days after this significant Supreme Court decision the minister could sign off on a permit for the proposed Delburn project in the Strzelecki Ranges. Clearly the government did not have time to consider the Bald Hills decision, or it has completely ignored the concerns of local residents. The government’s planning panel acknowledged that the Delburn proposal is different to many other wind farms. It is the first in a bushfire-prone plantation environment, with a relatively dense population of 1267 homes within 5 kilometres of the nearest turbine and a significant scale at 250 metres tall to blade tip. For context, the light towers of the MCG are about 80 metres high. That scale is enormous in an area with many lifestyle properties and close to small towns like Yinnar and Boolarra.

I think there is a strong role for renewable energy in our future, but wind farms onshore in relatively densely populated areas of Gippsland are not appropriate.

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