Jennings, Nick. To ACNC in Support of Waubra Foundation

One finds it difficult to know where to start to comment on such a blatant display of ignorance of the matter under consideration.


Firstly, I understand that neither your good self nor your Assistant Commissioner David Locke have any particular qualification in scientific matters nor of medical matters.

In David Locke’s case that immediately raises the question of what he meant when he stated that “to date there has been no rigorous scientific evidence that finds that the ill health complained of is caused by the physiological effects from wind turbines nor that there are human diseases called ʻwind turbine syndromeʼ or ʻvibroacoustic diseaseʼ ”. One finds it difficult to know where to start to comment on such a blatant display of ignorance of the matter under consideration.

Anyway, to start with his quotation above: one wonders what he means with his phrase, ʻno rigorous scientific evidence .… caused by the physiological effects of wind turbinesʼ. This leads one to imagine ranks of wind turbines marching with their blades rotating and splitting open the heads of the surrounding population — which may be a little extravagant, but it makes the point that only someone devoid of scientific and medical knowledge could have come up with such phraseology. In fact, thinking about it, one is left with a strong impression that that particular comment originated with a public relations representative of the industrial wind energy lobby — which is not to suggest that your Assistant Commissioner David Locke consulted such a wind-blown individual but merely, perhaps, that he trawled through a pile of that industryʼs publicity to find such a phrase that resonated with his interests — or some other similar approach. In the same quotation the descriptive adjective “industrial” did not appear in front of ʻwind turbinesʼ. Again, this demonstrates, unfortunately, an unseemly cavalier approach to the matter under consideration.

There is a very clear and specific difference between INDUSTRIAL wind energy turbines — those designed to feed electricity into the national grid, one way or another — and the smaller versions designed to service small clusters of residential properties or suchlike establishments, which in its turn emphasises even more the lack of appreciation your Assistant Commissioner, David Locke, had of the issue he thought he was addressing.

Assistant Commissioner David Locke’s comments about the existence or otherwise of “wind turbine syndrome” are extraordinary, given that the main acoustician working with and for the industrial wind industry globally (Professor Geoff Leventhall) has accepted that Dr Pierpont’s description of the symptoms of “wind turbine syndrome” are the same as what he calls “noise annoyance” and further that Professor Leventhall has known about them for years. This was stated at a workshop under the auspices of the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council and can be found on the NHMRC website as well as elsewhere, and is common knowledge.

Professor Leventhall has also acknowledged Dr Pierpont’s contribution to public environmental health by identifying the risk factors for people to develop the symptoms of “wind turbine syndrome”.

Where Dr Pierpont and Professor Leventhall have differed is in their ideas about what is causing those symptoms. The work of Kelley thirty years ago, and the recent work of Australian Acoustician Steven Cooper (commissioned by industrial wind developer Pacific Hydro) make it clear that infrasound is indeed directly causing the symptoms and sensations now being reported around the world by industrial wind turbine neighbours and their treating doctors, and that Dr Pierpont’s hypothesis was correct.

Moving on, that Assistant Commissioner David Locke should have the barefaced effrontery to proclaim that there is no disease called vibroacoustic disease is bordering on the unbelievable, and coming from an individual at the level of Assistant Commissioner of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission, an Australian Statutory body and national regulator of the voluntary sector, which has been operating since early December (3 December) 2012, beggars belief. This is particularly the case when it is appreciated that a simple search of Google shows 44,600 results (0.19 seconds) for vibroacoustic disease, and a bit more digging reveals that “In 1999 — thatʼs well on the way to 20 years ago — the name vibroacoustic disease (VAD) was adopted and the Journal ʻAviation, Space & Environmental Medicineʼ dedicated a supplemental issue to this new pathological entity.”

Why on earth Assistant Commissioner David Locke could not have taken the basic precaution of checking with google, or an equivalent source of information, or instructing one of the staff in the Commission, of which he is an Assistant Commissioner, to undertake such a check for him, remains an unanswered question. One is left with an impression that Assistant Commissioner David Locke was so flustered, or relieved at having made a decision, pleased with himself, or perhaps recovering from a bad dose of the ʻflu, in believing that he had taken an action that was putting the Waubra Foundation “in its place”, or whatever his thinking might have been. This in its turn might be likely to greatly please the industrial wind energy lobby, from which plaudits might flow, to such an extent that he completely overlooked the most fundamental and basic of administrative tasks — to ensure that the facts being presented were accurate.

The above sorry story now moves to the appeal to yourself, the Commissioner, regarding the status of the Waubra Foundation. It is inconceivable that you would repeat the cascade of errors touched on herein — but it does inevitably suggest that you will be very wise to ensure that the distance between yourself and the industrial wind energy developers is abundantly transparent, that there is not the slightest whiff of collusion between the ACNC and the industrial wind energy promoters, and that whatever the final decision, the report on which it is based is factual in all respects.

In conclusion, I point out that I much prefer to work and interact with others on a constructive and positive basis. I also accept, as a retired senior public servant, that there are times when it may be necessary to point out to others what could be considered errors on the basis that failure to do so can result in those and similar errors continuing to be made — to the long term detriment of those involved as well as to their employers. However, that does not imply any personal dislike of, nor any wish for harm to occur to, any individual involved.

My apology in advance, should you find these couple of final paragraphs offensive — they are not so intended and are offered in a spirit of reciprocity, reason and objectivity.

Nick Jennings.

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