Qld Health Minister Responds to Warning About Health Impacts on Jail Inmates

In April, 2015, the Foundation warned members of the Queensland Government that the proposed Mt Emerald Wind Farm would cause serious health damage. In particular:

 

It is the Waubra Foundation’s strong advice that this proposed project will:

  • inevitably and predictably cause a serious health hazard to many in the local community out to a distance of 10 km and possibly further over the lifetime of the development;
  • result in what could legally be considered as torture and cruel inhuman and degrading treatment of the inmates of the Lotus Glen Correctional Facility;
  • create many unsafe workplaces, including the prison facility, and the farms and homes within the 10km acoustic impact zone, which even the developer’s acoustic consultants have acknowledged for the purposes of assessing “cumulative impact”.

In response, yet another Queensland Government Minister (Hon Cameron Dick, Minister for Health) relies on the NHMRC’s assurances about setback distances from wind turbines.

 

June 22, 2015

Ms Sarah Laurie
Chief Executive Officer
The Waubra Foundation

Dear Ms Laurie,

Thank you for the copy of your letter to the Honourable Jackie Trad MP, Deputy Premier, Minister for Transport, Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning and Minister for Trade, dated 23 April 2015, in relation to the health impacts from the proposed Mount Emerald Wind Development. I apologise for the delay in responding.

I very much appreciate you taking the time to share your concerns regarding the potential health impacts associated with wind turbines. As you are aware, the National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) latest statement concludes that there is currently no consistent evidence that wind farms cause adverse health effects in humans. However, the NHMRC also noted that taking into account evidence of health effects of similar emissions from other sources (parallel evidence), there are unlikely to be any significant effects on physical or mental health at distances greater than 1,500 metres from wind farms. Given the limited reliable evidence, the NHMRC considers that further high quality research is warranted. The Department of Health supports the NHMRC’s position statement and notes that physical and mental health effects are unlikely to occur at distances greater than 1,500 metres.

I am advised that the Lotus Glen Correctional Centre is located approximately 1.5 kilometres to the north of the Mount Emerald Wind Farm Development (site boundary to boundary). However, the actual prison facilities are located at 3 kilometres or greater.

As you may be aware, under Queensland’s legislation the Department of Health does not have a statutory role in the assessment of any proposed wind farm under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009, unless a local government requests third party advice. Should any council request assistance in the assessment of health impacts from wind farms, Queensland Health will be pleased to provide relevant advice. However, any advice provided by Queensland Health will be based on evidence, which is supported by national bodies, such as the NHMRC.

Thank you again for bringing this matter to my attention.

Yours sincerely

CAMERON DICK MP
Minister for Health
Minister for Ambulance Services

Download the letter →

Download the Waubra Foundation’s open letter to the Qld Deputy Premier and other relevant Ministers