Testimony of Mary Morris & Wanda Allott, SA Select Committee on Wind Developments
South Australian Parliament
SELECT COMMITTEE ON WIND FARM DEVELOPMENTS IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Held at Clare Country Club, White Hut Road, Clare
Wednesday 17 July 2013 at 1:45pm
Hon. D.W. Ridgway MLC (Chairperson)
Hon. M. Parnell MLC
Hon. R.P. Wortley MLC
Testimony of MARY MORRIS, and WANDA ALLOTT
812 The CHAIRPERSON: You were both in the gallery when I read the preamble so we don’t need to repeat it. Over to you.
Ms MORRIS: I’m Mary Morris. I live 17 kilometres from the Waterloo Wind Farm. I’m mainly involved in this because I’m sensitive to whatever it is that causes people a problem, whatever it is that the wind turbines are emitting. I can feel the effects occasionally at my house depending on which way the wind is blowing.
813 The CHAIRPERSON: And you’re 17 kilometres away.
Ms MORRIS: Yes, I need a strong north-westerly, but I feel it when I go there. I feel it when I go to Snowtown Wind Farm. I guess I have become really involved in this because I have discovered how many people around Waterloo and Hallett are affected and they didn’t seem to have a voice so I have become that voice. A lot of them aren’t very skilled at writing submissions or whatever to get their point across to the regulatory bodies that should be hearing from them. Today, as part of my spot, Wanda has come along to tell her story face to face rather than write it on a piece of paper that may or may not be read. Wanda lives in Waterloo.
814 The CHAIRPERSON: Wanda, tell us your story.
Ms ALLOTT: I’m a resident and I live in the actual town of Waterloo.
815 The CHAIRPERSON: How long have you lived there?
Ms ALLOTT: Ten years, so well before the wind farm was there. When we heard about it we thought it was all great because we believe in green technology. The thing that we didn’t like about it was that the wind farm corporation said that they spoke to the people in the community. I know for a fact that there are at least 10 people—10 households—who have never seen anyone from the wind farm. We constantly hear about how they are in contact with the community, but they don’t talk to us.
They talk to the council but the council people are at Clare; they don’t live in Waterloo. We are also being told that we are after the money, that we are jealous of the people who have the turbines on their property, which is not true. It is absolutely not true. I don’t want compensation. What I would like is for them to give us the opportunity to buy us out if we have health problems and we can’t live there anymore, rather than being told that we are just a bunch of undereducated—nimbys, they call us. They don’t even know us.
I have talked two of my brothers into moving to Waterloo so we could be there for each other as we grow older, to be debt-free, so both of my brothers bought houses there. Both of them cannot live there any longer. They have health problems. They left their houses; they are just standing there. They spent a lot of money; one of my brothers spent a lot of money renovating and, within about six months after the turbines started to run, he was like a changed person.
His personality had changed. He was constantly flying off the handle, and he is a very calm person. He was starting to have headaches, not sleeping, heart palpitations to the point where he had to go and see a heart specialist. He had three stents put in his heart. He tried to come back—couldn’t. The heart specialist said that if he goes back to Waterloo, he will die, so he bought a property 20 kilometres away in Hamilton.
I have been there, and believe it or not, depending on which way the direction of the wind is, I can actually hear them down there. He’s living in a caravan when he had a nice home before, and now he is finding out the extension, part 2, of the Waterloo station which is going to go further down towards where he is, so he is going to have to again move, but he has paid and yet we can’t sell our properties. I know they are saying about the value of our properties—we don’t know if they’re going down because we can’t sell them.
People’s houses have been for sale for over a year and they have reduced the prices but were unable to sell. My brother had some friends of his move into his place free of rent. All they had to do is just pay the electricity, so that somebody would be there in the house. After tree weeks they had had enough; they couldn’t handle it anymore. And it’s not so much the noise: it’s what we can’t hear that makes us ill. That’s what a lot of people don’t understand.
816 The Hon. R.P. WORTLEY: Can you expand on that and explain what you mean? Ms ALLOTT: When I am in my lounge room or in my bedroom, especially at night-time when there is actually more wind around, you get this sound that starts bouncing off the walls, kind of, and you get a pressure in your head and your ears. You can’t concentrate; you can’t think straight. Your memory goes; you walk around like a headless chook, really. The only time we’ve noticed that something is not right is when we went away and you can actually feel the headache lifting, your mind clearing, but as soon as we come home, within half an hour you get the ringing in your ears, your head starts to pound. I even get heart palpitations at night-time. I can lay in bed and I can feel my bed vibrate, and no-one from the wind farm has come and spoken to us even though we have written letters to them that we have a problem.
817 The CHAIRPERSON: Have they responded at all to any of your complaints?
Ms ALLOTT: They just said, ‘Give us a ring,’ but why should I ring them? I’ve already sent them a letter. They already know that we’re having a problem.
818 The CHAIRPERSON: We have heard evidence that the wind farm companies have responded—not only just here, but other wind farms too—when they get a complaint from a resident.
Ms ALLOTT: They have not actually been in contact with any of us. Both of my brothers and myself, my husband and other people that I know have not been in contact with them, so I am not just speaking for myself. I know these people who are really ill and having a really hard time.
My husband is so tired that he sleeps during the daytime. He had an appointment at the doctor. On the way home from Clare he nearly fell asleep in the car and drove the car into a ditch and I have had the same happen to me. You get so tired sometimes because the continuous sleep is always interrupted. I will wake up anywhere between three to four times a night and you do not go back to sleep straightaway. We drive into Clare and come back and you are tired and you can feel your eyes closing. So, what do you do? You stop at the side of the road so you feel better, but you are not feeling better because you cannot catch up on your sleep. I have to go to Adelaide every couple of weeks so I can actually have a clear mind.
Mail, letters or any communication from other people—I have to come into Clare and do it here because I cannot concentrate at home. I cannot go on the computer at home. I cannot concentrate. I get headaches. I cannot write letters because my memory is just not there. Your vocabulary goes and people do not seem to understand that unless you have actually been there and sometimes one night is not enough. We have had people here in Waterloo who had no problems at first from the wind farms, but now two years on you can see the difference in them. We didn’t think there were any problems, but you can see it.
I have problems with my neighbour. She yells and screams at me for no reason. She is telling me, ‘It is your fault that our house is devalued because you were against the wind farm.’ We had to call the police on her and she reckons she has no problem with the wind farm, yet before we were friendly. We had no problems with these people. Everybody in Waterloo has changed. It isn’t a community anymore. When I first moved there virtually every second house was empty. After five years virtually every house was full. It was nice. It was quiet. People were friendly. Everybody started to talk to each other. The wind farm comes and within six months people are leaving. People are at each others throats. Husbands and wives are fighting and arguing and the kids are screaming and carrying on. We never had that before and now the town is virtually empty again. I think that the people have got a right to compensation, but I am saying not for people who live in Clare as they do not know what we are going through. I do not really care about that. The wind farm people put a playground in Waterloo. We do not have any kids there.
819 The CHAIRPERSON: How many people live in Waterloo?
Ms ALLOTT: I don’t really know how many are left now. There are 35 houses, but you could say 80 per cent of the people have left.
820 The CHAIRPERSON: And no kids?
Ms ALLOTT: Well, the kids have grown up, but there would be the grandchildren who are occasionally there.
821 The Hon. M. PARNELL: When we met this morning with the people from the Waterloo wind farm, they talked about something—I have not got the exact title—I think it is a community reference or liaison group. Are you on that or are any of your neighbours on it?
Ms ALLOTT: No.
822 The Hon M. PARNELL: So there is no-one from the town of Waterloo on that group?on. M. PARNELL: So there is no-one from the town of Waterloo on that roup?
Ms ALLOTT: Not directly in Waterloo.
823 The Hon. M. PARNELL: Right. Now, we asked them—my colleagues will correct m if I am wrong—and I think they more or less said that it was open, whether that meant their meetings or whatever, but they gave the impression that they had a structure in place to deal with local residents, so that has not been your experience?
Ms ALLOTT: That is not true at all. That is a straight out lie.
Ms MORRIS: You do have to apply and be accepted to join. There are a fair few conditions that they require you to go along with.
824 The Hon. M. PARNELL: Have people not been applying or are the conditions onerous or what is the problem?
Ms MORRIS: There are actually two community members that have been on that community liaison group. John Faint, who is the chair of the local concerned citizens’ group, was on there from its start until just recently. He has actually resigned because he felt it was a waste of time because they just would not listen to what the community concerns were.
There’s also Abby Walker-Schwartz; she’s still on there. I’m not sure how many people are on it altogether, maybe a dozen, but she’s the only person on it now, since John has left, who is there to speak up to represent the community. Everybody else on that committee is from further away who’s got another agenda, like they are really there to promote renewables or they are from some community group in the Barossa that wants to get funding for their youth program. They’ve got other agendas. We should have seen that group would have been set up for liaison with the actual affected residents, but it doesn’t seem to have developed that way.
We actually had a very large turnout to the TRUenergy information night on 17 May last year where, I think, there were 53 local people who were concerned about stage 2 development, that was their information night. We all went and we all asked questions all at the same time. We talked about the community liaison group and how people like Wanda are affected and they’ve asked for noise testing in their house to test the vibration in the house. I said, ‘The community liaison group doesn’t address those issues and we need our own group for you to deal with these actual problems that aren’t the business of anybody else from Dutton or Clare or the Barossa, or somewhere else, who’s coming along to push their agenda.’
They just had no interest in meeting with individual people or groups of individuals—smaller groups of individual people—to address whether we can get vibration monitoring done in Wanda’s house. I believe Michael Head said that you can’t prove that noise is coming from the wind farm or you can’t prove that vibration is coming from the wind farm. It was a two-hour session when he just basically dismissed all the community concerns that were raised at that meeting.
825 The Hon. M. PARNELL: Can we just follow that up a little bit, because the EPA testing that is being done, we have set a map so we have the dots on the map where they have been testing. I’ve had a quick look online at some of the different charts and things, but I haven’t gone through the diaries yet. Are you confident that that EPA process will give a true reflection of what’s happening in the community?
Ms MORRIS: I think there’s a fair bit of scepticism about it. We have been pleased that after probably it would have been two years of people complaining, they invited us to meet with hem and go ahead with the study, and I think that was only because we got a bit nasty with them. I think Mayor Aughey raised the point about the lack of resources in the EPA. They have said to me that basically they don’t have the resources, the equipment, the time or the personnel to deal with it.
826 The CHAIRPERSON: But, surely, the testing they have just recently done was reasonably comprehensive, wasn’t it?
Ms MORRIS: Well, yes and no. I’ve got two partial maps here. This is what I’ve provided to Adelaide Uni. That is the east side and the west side. There are over 50 houses on there which have put their hand up to have testing at their house—inside, outside, whatever—not necessarily because they’ve got a lot of noise. Most of them have got noise but some of them, part of it because it’s basically a program with Adelaide Uni to find out where the noise goes and where it doesn’t.
The Adelaide Uni testing gear is far more high tech. Some of that EPA stuff, they had to bring all sorts of bits and pieces in together, and I believe that some of their microphones just simply do not measure down to the levels that they are supposed to. If you look at those graphs on the internet—I only found it yesterday so I haven’t had a chance to go through it properly—basically, the dBA, they say that the noise only goes down to 25 dBA. There’s just a flat line, basically, there. They can’t measure anything below that with the microphones they’ve got. It just is not high tech equipment enough to do that.
827 The Hon. M. PARNELL: We have heard that there is the EPA testing and the Adelaide Uni testing. Is the Adelaide Uni a separate project?
Ms MORRIS: Yes, a separate project.
828 The Hon. M. PARNELL: Is someone funding that separately? How has that project come about?
Ms MORRIS: Simultaneously with the EPA, there were their six houses. Then at three of those same residences, Steven Cooper, the acoustician from Sydney, has put gear side by side with the EPA at three of those houses, plus one extra house which has really bad vibration, in that you can feel it in the house at night at 3½ or four kilometres away. He has three lots of gear side by side with theirs, and then a separate lot. So, they can verify measurements between themselves.
He is using different microphones from theirs, and he is using the same microphones as Adelaide Uni. Colin Hansen of Adelaide Uni has an Australian Research Council grant to do lots of testing at lots of wind farms. Basically for the last, I think, four months, he has set up two lots of gear, going around to all these different houses for a few nights of time, picking where he thinks the wind is going to be for the next few nights. He is measuring inside and outside, low frequency, infrasound, audible noise and vibration. He is doing that two houses at a time.
In the end, we will have six lots of results from the EPA, three lots from Steven Cooper, side by side with three lots of theirs, plus an extra lot (I think the uni has done some at that house as well), plus lots and lots of separate ones that Adelaide Uni has been collecting. They are still going around—some of the houses they have been going back to and back to for a few days at a time. They will be presenting papers on that in Denver in August this year, at the International Acoustics Conference, as will Steven Cooper.
It is too early too tell yet. At some point, someone with a lot of acoustics brain and time is going to sit down and compare side by side EPA, Adelaide Uni, Steven Cooper: ‘Okay, they have used these microphones, this is what they got.’ It is a huge job.
829 The Hon. M. PARNELL: You haven’t had to pay for any of that—that has been government grants to the researchers?
Ms MORRIS: We haven’t paid anything, no.
830 The Hon. M. PARNELL: They haven’t got money out of a company to pay for any of that, that you know of?
Ms MORRIS: I don’t think so, no. The EPA has gone on its own with this, but they have been happy for people to go side by side with them in a data sharing exercise. With low frequency noise and big turbines, they are still feeling their way. They haven’t put up any 150-metre ones yet, and they are talking about bigger ones again. No-one knows what is actually going to happen until they go up and then they can measure. I think that it’s still a learning curve. We really don’t like being guinea pigs.
In terms of the EPA, I reckon they are stuck between a rock and a really hard place because they are scared of the companies with big bucks to throw at them. They are not going to say to Energy Australia, ‘You need to turn that off,’ unless they have bucketloads of data to prove why, because the company is just going to say, ‘Nope; take us to court.’ They are not scared of us because we are just little guys. They’re a statutory body, but I guess at any time the government can say, ‘We’re taking that section of pollution control away from you,’ as they did with Nyrstar. Nyrstar has special rules that go outside the EPA because the government wants it to be there. So, they can essentially do that with this, and we’re stuffed.
831 The Hon. M. PARNELL: You’re talking about exemptions.
Ms MORRIS: Yes.
832 The Hon. M. PARNELL: Certainly, Nyrstar has exemptions, the power stations at Port Augusta have exemptions because they can’t possibly meet the pollution standards, so the EPA gives them an exemption because it’s an alternative to shutting them down. So, that’s the sort of dilemma you’re talking about.
Ms MORRIS: Yes.
833 The Hon. M. PARNELL: Mary, you and I discussed this some time ago, but we have the issue of people who are experiencing symptoms and going to see doctors and being advised of different things they can do. But one gaping hole in the evidence before this committee is that we haven’t had doctors coming to us telling us about their patients and their experiences. can you can comment on that, and, also, has anyone approached the company and basically said, ‘You need to be paying for tests.’ I am not sure what tests you would do, whether there is some sort of acoustic laboratory test you could do. Has anyone actually approached the company, putting themselves forward as a, to use the words, ‘guinea pig’, to say ‘I want to be tested’? Because whether it is an individual susceptibility thing or whether it is something that hasn’t been picked up before, I am just trying to work out how we fill that gap in the information.
Ms MORRIS: I am really glad you asked that question because it was on my list, and I’ve been talking to Dan van Holst Pellekaan about this. There is a huge gap. I don’t know how many families are affected in this area, but five families might be going to one doctor at Clare, Riverton, Burra, somewhere, somewhere, somewhere. I just want to call for some sort of register or collaboration between the Rural Doctors’ Association and Country Health SA or whatever to pull that information from all those GPs in to say what is happening. Because other people go to my doctor, but he isn’t interested in sticking his neck out at all because he doesn’t want to commit professional suicide.
Most people, when they go to their doctor, the doctor says ‘That’s a contentious issue. The NH&MRC says there’s no problem.’ They only say that there’s no problem probably because no-one has done the research. I think we need to get Country Health SA and maybe the Rural Doctors’ Association just looking at that whole health thing, to say, ‘Okay; how widespread is this problem?’, and pulling in all that information from the local GPs. It is only going to be a problem for a handful of rural GPs.
Getting back to health research, the other thing is that it has been more than two years since the senate inquiry into the social and health effects of wind farms. They made all these recommendations—we need research, we need to spend money on it, we need to find directions about ways to do it—but nothing has happened, and I think it is high time it did. It is past time that it did.
In terms of research, that could be done. I think a really simple way would be sleep studies. If you can put quiet, non-invasive little hat things on people’s heads while they sleep in their bed at home, near the wind farm, and measure what their brain activity is doing, you can crrelate that with what is happening with infrasound, low frequency noise, and audible sound coming from the wind farm. I think that would be a really simple way of showing what was happening in people’s heads.
834 The Hon. M. PARNELL: I think you will appreciate that the dilemma this committee faces is that whilst they might all be sound recommendations of work that needs to be done, we are not getting that direct medical evidence before us. What we are getting is the Auckland study, the Massachusetts health department study; we are getting all the other studies, which are population- based—and they are not even Australian—but we are getting all these other generic studies that are telling us that there is no connection between wind farms and ill health.
Ms MORRIS: Is that what Robyn Phipps at Palmerston North found in 2007?
835 The Hon. M. PARNELL: I am sure there are lots of studies, but what I am saying is that the bulk of the ones that have been brought before the committee are, basically, and you mentioned the NHMRC, most of them are like that. They say that there is no proven link. So that’s the dilemma for this committee.
Ms MORRIS: Well someone needs to do the research, someone needs to bring their brain activity monitors up to Waterloo. I guess Con Doolan went part of the way to do that, in terms of his research that he spoke about in Clare in January. He was measuring the infrasound and low frequency noise, but the people in the homes didn’t know what he was measuring; they had to write down, at certain times, what they were experiencing, whether they were getting the ear pressure pain, the headaches, the dizziness, being woken up, or whatever. He compared that to what he was measuring, and he found a strong correlation.
However, the thing with that was that because he did not have power output data, wind speed data and stuff like that from the wind farm he couldn’t prove it was the wind farm that was doing it. It is a bit of no-brainer: when you turn it off all those things stop, if you turn it on again all those things start up again. But that’s not acceptable evidence.
No-one has approached the wind farm company about funding research. Well, for a start, we are nearly three years down the track since it has been running. You can only bash your head against a brick wall for so long trying to get a proper response from them. So, lots of people ring up the wind farm, the wind farm recognises their phone number, doesn’t answer the call.
836 The Hon. M. PARNELL: Can we explore that a little bit more, because one difference that we have come across so far—and you and I discussed this a while ago—we were told again today there had been five complaints in relation to Waterloo. They used the words ‘official complaints’; so, five official complaints; but, I said to them, ‘Well, I have seen the emails from many more than five people who live around Waterloo.’ What is happening there? What is the problem? Is their complaint mechanism so difficult to access? Is that the problem?
Ms MORRIS: I think there is a systemic failure in the complaints mechanism. Who are we supposed to be complaining to, really? Are we supposed to be complaining to the wind farm company? They don’t have a proper complaints form; they have a ‘talk to us’ email thing you can send to, and they have a phone number which they do not answer. I have written to the big boss in Hong Kong and said all these problems, Sir Michael Kadoorie of China Light and Power; he said ‘There’s no problem’.
Should we be complaining to Clare council or Goyder council? Should we be complaining to the EPA? Should we be complaining to the planning minister? There is no defined complaints process. If you go to the Falmouth, Massachusetts’ council website and lots of other websites where this is a problem and there is more populated area, so they are having to deal with more people, they have a complaint form online—a standard complaint form.
I have contacted the Clare council and the Goyder council and said, ‘You don’t have a complaints form’. They said, ‘We don’t need a complaints form; you just write to us and tell us what the issue is.’ I think, while you have such a nebulous—who do I complain to? There is no proper form; where does it go when you have done it? You cannot follow the trail of how many people are affected.
The wind farm company needs to have a proper complaint form. I think those complaints need to go to the council who has approved the wind farm, or the regulatory authority hat is supposed to be enforcing compliance. The company, the council and the EPA all need to get a copy of the complaint, otherwise no-one knows what anyone else is doing.
837 The CHAIRPERSON: It is interesting, Mary; I am intrigued by what you have just said, because the company this morning said they have a system whereby they log when they receive a complaint. I am just surprised that they claim there are only five complaints that they have ever received.
Ms MORRIS: Well, it could be something to with social demographics, that people don’t—there is no formal process; what is the process? When you are having a bad night tonight, you ring up.
838 The CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
Ms MORRIS: So, you ring them up. If you are some people, you ring up the manager at home in his bed at 3 o’clock in the morning and tell him you have been woken up by the wind farm, and then he rings you back at 6 o’clock in the morning to wake you up, because you have gone back to sleep but he is just doing it to get back at you.
People tend to do nothing about it; they complain to their neighbours; they talk to the council but they do not write letters—people do not write letters. I wrote lots of letters; I’m sorry, when I looked at all the stuff I had sent you last year—I printed it all off last night and thought, ‘Gee, that was a bit mean, wasn’t it?’, but guess what? I have lots more. The complaints process does not allow for things to be really monitored properly as to how bad it is, but then you have to get the people to follow the process anyway, and people don’t.
839 The CHAIRPERSON: Part of the role of the committee is to look at what we need to do going into the future as well.
Ms MORRIS: Yes.
840 The CHAIRPERSON: Maybe that is one of the recommendations that we might look at—some sort of formal, standardised process for people to put through their complaints. How have you got on with your PowerPoint presentation?
Ms MORRIS: I just want to go where the conversation went, really.
841 The CHAIRPERSON: Yes, that’s fine.
Ms MORRIS: We have covered some of the stuff.
842 The CHAIRPERSON: Are there any points you want to cover?
Ms MORRIS: Sure. I want to talk about the interim wind farm DPA consultation— the lack of consultation; the fact that it went into operation immediately, as soon as it was whatever. On 18 October 2011, John Rau said, ‘Bang, it’s in.’ Twelve months’ consultation.
So our friendly local wind farm company took the opportunity to—although its development application for Stony Gap Wind Farm had been in since June 2011 a soon as Mr Rau put his new thing in, they pulled the application, and one for a wind monitoring mast, and put it back in again, so it was only considered under the new rules. So that meant that all the people who live around there who will be affected—because the effects don’t just go one kilometre—couldn’t respond anymore, and we thought that that was a bit of a dirty trick. They are totally legally allowed to do that.
One of his justifications for introducing the interim DPA is that it would give rise to proper and orderly development, and I think it did the exact opposite. When you have third-party notification, other people, other than the people who live right underneath whatever it is going to be, have got collective wisdom about whether that’s a good idea or not. So, immediately you take that all away and therefore you end up with planning decisions based on information that isn’t the whole picture.
843 The Hon. M. PARNELL: It’s cold comfort to you, but the upper house of state parliament has passed a bill to stop the misuse of interim operations, but it hasn’t been accepted as law yet.
Ms MORRIS: Good boy. Good on you; thank you. Also, good work on your coal seam gas stuff, too, but I couldn’t help it when I read your letter in the Stock Journal, I thought just take out the words ‘coal seam gas’ and put in ‘wind farm’ and it all applies. Getting back to the DPAC, that interim period lasted for 12 months and, during that time, I think Waterloo Stage 2 was also lodged, therefore all these people who live closer to the wind farm than people who are allowed to object aren’t allowed to object. There were only like three people who were allowed to object to that wind farm. There would have been heaps of useful information that should have gone to the Clare DAP—not allowed, so there you go.
I actually got hold of the Development Assessment Commission (DPAC) report that they gave to the minister. Have you read it? He didn’t really follow very many of the recommendations. The most important ones he didn’t follow. Just getting back to the misuse of interim development applications, one of the things is that the planning commissioners—you know, they know all about it; they’ve read all the stuff. They’ve heard from us heartfelt, heartbroken people, and they questioned the use of the interim DPA because it’s meant to be restricting inappropriate development, not enabling stuff that people want to object to. So, it’s a complete misuse of the facility that he had.
Also one of the other main things that he completely ignored—he’s only ever considered visual amenity as part of the setbacks. There’s point after point after point—I’m not going to read them all out—but the commissioner said that, if someone’s got a wind farm, wind turbine, that’s going to be built on their property and they think it’s okay to be closer than one kilometre, from a work safe point of view or from the impact it’s going to have on their children or people that are working there, you can’t do that. You can’t elect to change the safety rules for your own property just because you want to. Am I making myself clear?
844 The CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
845 The Hon. R.P. WORTLEY: You can’t sell your rights.
Ms MORRIS: Yes, you can’t sign your rights away. They also said that there should be at least two kilometres from people’s houses. All the setbacks, recommendations they made, were on the noise and health and safety aspects. He has completely ignored every single thing about noise and health in his interim DPA. His setback relates to visual amenity and he’s got a one kilometre setback. I just think what sort of a planning minister completely ignores the recommendations of all these experienced people. They have read all the submissions, they have listened to the people; he hasn’t. He just comes along and goes, ‘I’m just going to ignore that and just pick the eye teeth out of it. The other thing I noticed, and I don’t know if you did, is that you can put wind turbines as close as 100 metres to the South Eastern Freeway under Mr Rau’s now set in place DPA. So, they are more than 100 metres tall and they do catch fire, they do fall over, and the blades do fall off. I have a picture. I sent it to you.
846 The CHAIRPERSON: Yes, I saw that one.
Ms MORRIS: So, I think he is neglecting valid serious issues and the recommendations of his own planning commission, and it is not right. Maybe you’ll be able to take that up. Have I got anything else to say?
Ms ALLOTT: About the EPA—about the diary that they made us fill out. Ms MORRIS: That is true, and that is another health thing.
847 The CHAIRPERSON: The diary?
Ms MORRIS: Yes, the noise diaries. They said, ‘We are only looking at audible noise.’ Whatever else anybody wrote in there about what they could feel, or vibrations or headaches or being woken up, or ear pressure pain—which is clearly coming from the turbines because when they’re not going, you don’t get it, and when they are going you do—the EPA hasn’t considered any of that information. Fair enough, they have to wait for the NHMRC or the health minister to declare something; however, their own noise guidelines are quite specific that sleep deprivation from noise is a health effect. So they’ve completely ignored if people have written in their diary, ‘This week when the wind was from that direction, I got woken up five times a night the whole week,’ and that is relevant to what they are supposed to be doing to protect people.
848 The CHAIRPERSON: But they’ve discounted that?
Ms MORRIS: Yes, they’ve discounted that.
849 The Hon. M. PARNELL: Just looking quickly at the website, it looks like 23 people have filled in diaries.
Ms MORRIS: Yes. We had over 50 who said they would but, when it came to the crunch—
Ms ALLOTT: It was very hard to fill it out every day, and to actually get your mind set on writing it out every day, because every day you virtually fill out the same, so it is almost like ‘What’s the point of filling it out?’ I persevered with it.
Ms MORRIS: That’s enough from me.
850 The CHAIRPERSON: Are you sure?
Ms MORRIS: Unless you have any more questions.
851 The CHAIRPERSON: I don’t know if there are any more questions. You have nothing more that you want to show us?
Ms MORRIS: I could show you something. I do have one more thing. Mr Rau ignored cumulative effects, and the thing says: DPAC recommends contemplation of greater setback distances where turbines have accumulated and stand to surround a dwelling. I would like to draw you a little map. Can I draw you a little map?
852 The Hon. M. PARNELL: Nothing that you say now is being picked up so Hansard won’t get it. Maybe you need to do your drawing and move back to the microphone to explain it. Would that work?
Ms MORRIS: All those lines and squiggles represent wind farms which are planned to be built in my immediate vicinity. Currently, agreements are in place with landowners and development applications before councils. So, Stony Gap was rejected by Goyder council, but the company is appealing it. The council has pulled out of the appeal but there are two landowners still fighting it. Apparently, Stony Gap stage 2 hasn’t actually gone up on the radar anywhere but all the people are signed up, that’s why they’re not complaining about Stony Gap stage 1. So, up the top there are probably 70 turbines on top of the 37 for Waterloo stage 1, plus another six they are allowed to build.
Robertstown is eight kilometres to the east. Fourteen landowners have signed up there, but because nine or so—I think it’s nine—because nine of them can already hear what’s happening at Waterloo and it keeps them awake at night, they’ve told the company they don’t want it. The company ignores them. So, then we’ve also got—
853 The CHAIRPERSON: But surely if they’ve signed up, how can—
Ms MORRIS: Well, I guess on the basis that they signed up—it’s an expression of interest. It’s to hold the land. They were told there would be no noise, there would be no health effects. I guess they believe they were misinformed on what the consequences would be. Then there is Bagot Well, St Kitts, and I think that’s 57 turbines, heading down towards Kapunda. That has a monitoring mast up now. So, cumulative in this area, that’s quite a lot, on top of what we’ve already got in Goyder. It’s a bit too much.
The last point is, has anyone noticed that to the north of the River Murray and to the east of the Mount Lofty Ranges there is a really big empty space where no people live? I think it is AEMO or ElectraNet, someone has done a study on how much it would cost to build a powerline from Wilmington to New South Wales to take all the power they could put in the pastoral country, where there’s no people living. I think it would cost $3 billion. That would probably be better than sticking it in amongst all the people and having to rebuild all the substations that are there because they can’t handle all those huge amounts of power that are being generated. They are doubling up everywhere. Where they have to build a wind farm, they rebuild the powerline. So, why not put it out there where there is nobody? Thank you.
854 The CHAIRPERSON: Thanks, Mary. Wanda, do you have anything more to add?
Ms ALLOTT: Is the reason that the wind farms, or the turbines, are being pushed onto people because of the government’s subsidies? I mean, they are not worried about people’s health and electricity is only going up. I don’t want a discount for my electricity, I’ve got solar, so I don’t care, and it’s not going to help my health anyway. But I’m thinking about it because why else would you push so hard when there are alternatives besides wind turbines for electricity? Green.
855 The CHAIRPERSON: It’s driven by the federal government policy of renewable energy targets, and that’s what—
Ms ALLOTT: It’s the everyday taxpayer that’s actually paying for them anyway with the subsidies.
856 The CHAIRPERSON: It certainly does impact on everybody’s power bills, but that is a federal government policy that is driving that. So, that is sort of outside of our jurisdiction, in a sense. We are looking at things that the South Australian government can control. Thank you very much.