NSW government puts aside plans for a suspension of wind farm development applications

From The Daily Telegraph, Alison Rehn Political Reporter

THE state government has put aside draft plans for a suspension of wind farm development applications, despite a senior MP giving pre-election assurances that an O’Farrell government would support such a moratorium.

Weeks before the March state election, Nationals MP Katrina Hodgkinson submitted a draft policy to the Coalition’s shadow cabinet policy formulation committee that called for an “immediate moratorium” on wind farm development applications submitted under the state Labor government.

The senior Coalition frontbencher said that before the election she “strongly represented the concerns of my constituents with respect to wind farm developments”.

Those concerns were later discarded by the government, a move that has prompted strong criticism from veteran federal Liberal MP Alby Schultz.

The draft policy also called for:

* ALL future developments to be accompanied by health and property valuation guarantees for all properties within a 20km radius;
* DEVELOPMENT of an effective planning regime that addresses and regulates against the health, property and social impacts of wind turbines; and

* SUCH a planning regime to ensure that wind turbines are sited well away from settled areas, health and other impacts are properly addressed and setbacks from boundaries rather than nearby houses are applied to meet building safety requirements.

NSW southern tablelands residents who believe they will be adversely affected by turbines drafted the policy.

One of the authors, Tony Hodgson, said Ms Hodgkinson had told him that if the Coalition won government it would “bring in a moratorium while at the same time instituting an inquiry into all aspects of wind turbine businesses”.

“Nothing has happened,” he said.

Ms Hodgkinson said, while she had expressed support for a moratorium to her constituents, “this did not constitute formal Coalition policy”.

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