Victorian Dept of Health Response to Waubra Foundation Warning on Setbacks

08 May 2015

Sarah Laurie
Chief Executive Officer
Waubra Foundation

Dear Ms Laurie

Thank you for your letter to the Premier of Victoria and to the Minister for Health, the Hon Jill Hennessy MP, regarding your concerns about the reduction to the allowable distance of a wind turbine to a dwelling under a recent planning amendment. The Minister has asked me to look into your concerns and reply on her behalf.

As I understand, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning gazetted this planning amendment (Amendment VC124) on 2 April 2015. The amendment changes the Victoria Planning Provisions and all planning schemes in Victoria to implement the government’s policy on wind energy facilities.

The amendment reduces the allowable distance of a turbine to a dwelling from two kilometres to one kilometre with the landowner’s consent, and makes the Minister for Planning the responsible authority for all new wind farm planning permit applications for the use and development of a wind energy facility.

I note your belief that health effects could be expected at greater distances – your letter suggests over ten kilometres from turbines – but as you are no doubt aware, the recent National Health and Medical Research Council recent literature review and Public Statement does not share these concerns about noise from wind turbines beyond 1,500 meters, advising that, “Although individuals may perceive aspects of wind farm noise at greater distances, it is unlikely that it will be disturbing at distances of more than 1,500 meters.”

Thank you for your continued interest.

Matthew McCrone
Acting Deputy Secretary
Regulation, Health Protection & Emergency Management

Download Mr McCrone’s letter →

Download the Foundation’s letter to Victoria’s Premier and relevant Ministers →