Letter to ACNC in Support of Waubra Foundation
By focussing only on physiological effects, the ACNC has specifically ignored the WHO (and Commonwealth accepted) definition of health, which includes mental and social wellbeing.
REVOCATION OF WAUBRA FOUNDATION STATUS AS “HEALTH PROMOTION CHARITY”
I am surprised and astounded that the Assistant Commissioner has ruled that the Waubra Foundation, which is concerned with the impacts of industrial noise on health, is not a “Health Promotion Charity”.
The ACNC has stated:
there has been no rigorous independent scientific evidence that finds that the ill health complained of is caused by the physiological effects from wind turbines
It is well known that the World Health Organization defines health as:
A state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity (WHO, 1946)
This is a definition of health accepted by the Commonwealth in its May 2004 publication The health effects of environmental noise – other than hearing loss. This publication also states that:
It is generally agreed that there is sufficient evidence that community noise adversely affects:
• sleep disturbance
• children’s school performance
• cardiovascular health.
… As reviewed in this report earlier, noise exposure predicts annoyance, psychological symptoms and impaired quality of life in both adults and children.
These are accepted by the Commonwealth as health effects. The chapter on Sleep Disturbance concludes:
Noise affects people’s ability to gain the appropriate amount and type of sleep needed for maintenance of good health and there are suggestions of disturbed sleep leading to more serious health problems.
By focussing only on physiological effects, the ACNC has specifically ignored the WHO (and Commonwealth accepted) definition of health, which includes mental and social wellbeing. The wind industry admits wind turbine noise can cause annoyance, stress and sleep disturbance. These effects can result in a significant loss of wellbeing for those who are exposed. The ACNC needs to return to the WHO definition of “health” as it has erred in determining that only physiological effects are relevant when considering health and wellbeing.
In any event, wind turbine noise is only part of the Waubra Foundation’s focus. Perhaps the ACNC has not looked properly at the Waubra Foundation website? Had it done so, it would have found a huge resource of peer-reviewed studies and other information on the effects of sleep disturbance on health, effects of noise on health, effects of low frequency noise exposure etc – all related to health and well being. I am very grateful that this information is all available in one location and it is my “go to” website when looking for the latest noise/health studies.
The Waubra Foundation website is an educational resource which is available to the public at no cost and I understand that it is operated by unpaid volunteers. The Waubra Foundation strongly supports further research into the effects of environmental noise, including the wind turbine noise and health studies specifically called for by the NHMRC and the 2011 Senate Inquiry. It also offers support to people adversely impacted by a range of environmental noise sources.
I fail to see how the ACNC could determine that the Waubra Foundation is not a Health Promotion Charity and respectfully request that the Commissioner review this ruling.