Communities rally to save Vic renewable energy industries

Friends of the Earth press release, Thursday 29 September 2011

Community and environment groups in Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo and Melbourne protested today against Premier Ted Baillieu’s anti-renewable energy policies announced at the beginning of September.

Ben Courtice, Renewable Energy campaigner at Friends of the Earth, condemned the loss of 1900 Victorian jobs as a result of the new wind farm planning laws Baillieu introduced on August 29 2011.

“The jobs we’re missing out on include skilled trades and engineering positions in regional areas of Victoria that would really appreciate the benefits,” Courtice said. “Groups hoping to build small community-owned wind farms have been blocked.”

The laws give landholders the right to veto any wind development within 2 km of a dwelling and ban them completely within 5km from regional cities. Other whole regions like the Macedon Ranges are excluded from any wind farm developments.

“We don’t know of any more restrictive laws on wind farms in the world” Courtice said.

“Baillieu is currently approving extensions to coal mines less than 2km from residential areas. All Victoria’s coalmines are inside the exclusion zones where you can’t build wind farms. This is not what Victorians want in the 21st century.”

Friends of the Earth is calling on the state government to rescind the exclusion zones and the 2km right of veto, and fall back to the pre-existing planning laws which included some of the most stringent noise regulations in the world.

For comment please contact Ben Courtice on 0413 580 706.

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