Friends of the Earth media release March 23 2011
Environmental organisation Friends of the Earth (FoE) is disappointed that the government has refused an opportunity for broader stakeholder input into their controversial new wind farm laws. The new laws, debated in Parliament today, give local councils full control over any future wind farm developments.
The Opposition and the Greens called for the policy to be referred to the Planning and Environment Committee for further discussion and consultation. This comes after wind developer Pacific Hydro threatened earlier this week to look interstate for any future wind projects should the policy be fully enacted.
‘The Baillieu government says that it is committed to openness and transparency, and yet they are not even prepared to have their policies discussed in Parliamentary Committees,’ said FoE campaigns co-ordinator Cam Walker.
‘It is standard practice for wide ranging changes to planning to be subject to a public process for maximum community and stakeholder input. Matthew Guy has chosen instead to fast track these new wind farm laws without speaking to industry, environmental groups and most other stakeholders.’
‘He clearly hasn’t even consulted widely with local councils, most of whom have said repeatedly that they don’t want control over large wind farm projects as they don’t have the resources to make such a decision.’
‘We’re already seeing the effects of the government’s haphazard decision making on wind energy. It’s a threat to the wind industry and ignores community support for clean energy. It seems that Matthew Guy is leading the government into another alpine grazing debacle, where the political desire to implement policy got well ahead of good process and consultation’ concluded Mr Walker.
Further comment: Cam Walker 0419 338 047