Warnambool Standard Letters – Moyne Shire Council Neglects Duty of Care to Residents

Warnambool Standard Newspaper, whose readership includes residents affected by AGL’s Macarthur Wind Farm, published the following letters in response to an article about Councillor Jim Doukas on September 25, 2014. 

Read Andrew Brady’s article about Councillor Doukas →

Letter from Ann and Andrew Gardner, Penshurst, published 27 September, 2014

Thanks, Cr Doukas

The affected residents of this district are extremely grateful for the unconditional support given by Councillor Jim Doukas (“Moyne councillor slams Macarthur wind farm noise review’. September 25).

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the remainder of Moyne Shire councillors who have been elected with a duty of care to protect the health of all residents.

Moyne Shire Council is in receipt of hundreds of health complaints as a result of the acoustic emissions from the turbines at the Macarthur wind farm, but have done nothing to protect us from this serious harm to our bodies.

As Councillor Doukas rightly claims, we have been denied our right to comment on the noise peer review. I have requested on several occasions to have a copy of this peer review forwarded to me, but these requests have been constantly denied by a council withholding information.

Councillor Wolfe shows his ignorance when he claims residents have had plenty of time to address council and hand over our noise data. It is not that simple, as any lay person isn’t able to comprehend acoustic data, and I doubt any councillors would be trained in acoustics.

Just prior to the council meeting on Tuesday, when Moyne Shire finally released the peer review report, I requested council forward to our independent acoustic expert all documentation relating to the peer review, in order that he may compile a report to immediately present to council.

I also requested council defer confirming compliance of the wind farm, until our acoustic expert is able to present his report to the council. This request was obviously ignored.

In the name of openness and transparency, surely Moyne council could have waited to read the residents’ acoustic expert report, which will surely blow any claim of compliance of the Macarthur wind farm out of the water.

We ask Moyne Shire, where has democracy gone?
Ann and Andrew Gardner, Penshurst.

Download the Gardner’s letter →

A letter from the chairman of the Waubra Foundation, Peter Mitchell, was also published on 27 September.

Noise Laws Lacking

We refer to the article by Anthony Brady (‘Moyne councillor slams Macarthur wind farm noise review’, September 25).

The Waubra Foundation is a volunteer organisation concerned with the impacts of noise from large industrial machinery on the health of nearby residents. Noise from wind projects and gas-fired power stations is of major concern.

Compliance testing of a wind turbine project is not simple. It has to be extraordinarily rigorous, takes considerable time and must be undertaken by acousticians other than those that provided expert advice to support the application for a planning permit.

In particular, measurements should be taken at a number of locations (enough to get a spread across the whole project) and importantly at the site of the homes of those claiming health impacts. It must be carried out when the turbines are pushing out maximum power and therefore noise is also at a maximum and repeated with the wind in different directions.

Project neighbours and sufferers must be assured that this was how the compliance testing was performed. It would seem both unwise and inequitable for the responsible body, in this case the Council, not to be sympathetic to this view and to take steps to ensure that ratepayers living near the project are so satisfied.

 However it is important that the Council, journalists and the more distant residents understand that virtually all large turbine projects have caused significant health and quality of life problems for neighbours. This is simply because Victoria’s noise standards for wind turbines are incompetent at protecting residents’ health. In fact they are more licences to inflict damage than to provide appropriate controls on this industry.

Peter Mitchell
Chairman, Waubra Foundation

Download Mr Mitchell’s letter to the Warnambool Standard →