Schneider, Patina. Writes to ACNC in support of Waubra Foundation

I have personally seen the support the Foundation has given to those impacted and how invaluable this has been

Dear Commissioner Pascoe

I am writing in the hope that you will look favourably on the Waubra Foundation’s appeal.

The Foundation has consistently ran their organisation with the most genuine of concerns for those experiencing impacts related to industrial noise.

The Foundation has raised the profile of the impacts industrial noise can have on people, which has long been known and much denied by industry who have so much to gain by the continual denial.

 

I have personally seen the support the Foundation has given to those impacted and how invaluable this has been especially in situations where people once felt helpless and desperate.

I think one situation that will always stand out in my mind is back in early 2011 when we were alerted to a wind farm planned for our area, this certainly raised alarm bells, as I have previously worked in the environmental industry and whilst my husband still works internationally in the environmental industry we have knowledge of issues and access to more information than the general public. As I was concerned I rang my husband who was working overseas, he happened to be sitting with a highly reputable acoustician from the UK as the conversation unfolded the acoustician told us to put our house up for sale and get out while we can. He then went on to explain the deleterious impacts of the noise and vibration created by wind turbines. When my husband asked him for reports he told him that the reports were classified and he could not provide us with them but did go on to inform us where to look for information.

Of course I didn’t want to put our fairly new house up for sale and move again so went out of my way to find answers. This led me to the Waubra Foundation and Sarah Laurie, who I asked if she would come and speak with our community, which she did willingly and explained what she had discovered through digging deeper into the research and by listening to those who claimed they were experiencing impacts from the operation of wind turbines and other industrial sources of noise. What did stick in my mind from this meeting was a lady who came up to me and thanked me for bringing Sarah Laurie to our community to speak. This women had recently moved to a nearby area where a smaller wind farm existed and had started experiencing health impacts and frequenting her doctor complaining about what she was experiencing. At no time did she put it down to the wind turbines that she lived within close proximity too, eventually the doctor dismissed her health issues and she felt like she was going crazy and started self medicating with anything she could by over the counter. It wasn’t until a friend of hers showed her our groups information about the impacts of wind turbines and mentioned how she thought what this lady was experiencing was the same as the people we had mentioned in the flyers we had distributed, so she attended our meeting to discover what Sarah Laurie was saying about others fitted exactly with what she was experiencing, this led her to keeping a diary of what was happening to her and managing her lifestyle a bit better and eventually moving on, which is not an opportunity a lot of people have had.

Without the knowledge the Waubra Foundation had accumulated for public access this lady might still be living in a desperate situation, thinking she was crazy and self medicating possibly causing more harm to her health.

I am confident that this situation is not unique to this lady and thanks to the support of the Foundation others who in the past have felt desperate now know they are not crazy and are trying to cope the best way possible with the hope that the much needed research that the Foundation consistently advocates for is done and that eventually they will be able to live in their own homes in peace, which is the right of every human being.

The Waubra Foundation’s work and support has been invaluable to so many, the website they have created is full of information, data and existing research that anyone can access. This is a public service that no one else in Australia has achieved.

One would believe that there is a vendetta to silence the Foundation by destroying them by whatever means are legal.

Whilst I am sure the Waubra Foundation will continue to exist and people will continue to donate because the work and support by the Foundation has meant so much to so many, the donations may be limited if the foundation is denied charitable status and of course the most harm that would be done by this is to the people experiencing industrial noise impacts and to those will experience industrial noise impacts from industry that is yet to be constructed.

Yours sincerely
Patina Schneider
10 February 2015

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