Mayors Attack Victorian Premier Brumby Over Wind Farms

Brendan Gullifer
The Courier, 17 November 2010

Two local mayors have launched a stinging pre-election attack on the Brumby Government over wind farms.

Moorabool Mayor Pat Toohey and Pyrenees Mayor David Clark say local government lacks the expertise and financial resources to monitor and enforce planning permit conditions related to wind farms.

“I’m trying not to be angry that we’ve been dumped into dealing with this,” Cr Clark said yesterday.” The minister and the department have left it to local government to sort out. “Cr Toohey called recent wind farm approvals a “poor” process with a “poor” outcome.

“We don’t have the resources or the expertise to carry out the compliance that’s been lumbered on us with the wind farms that have been approved,” he said. “It’s no good handing the job to people who don’t have the resources to carry it out because you are letting the community down.”

On Tuesday Pyrenees Council passed a resolution to write to Planning Minister Justin Madden on the issue. Among a list of requests, the council called on the minister to immediately ratify a more up-to-date standard for wind farms.

Recent wind farm projects got the go-ahead based on a New Zealand standard of compliance now 12 years old.Cr Clark said Victoria deserved its own wind farm standards.

Cr Toohey said the state government had “handled” local government in the lead-up to the election.”For a while we weren’t even notified about a (wind farm) application. We’d find out in the press release along with everyone else.”

The government has turned its back on its core responsibility ? the wellbeing of our community as a whole and the rights of our community.”

The Premier mentions how many jobs the wind industry creates. “He never mentions how many jobs it creates in the health sector, in the legal sector, in the compliance area in the local govenrment sector.”

Cr Toohey said the wind farm planning process wore people down.” It exhausts them. It absorbs people’s lives,” he said.

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