Community protests for renewables: “We are not going away”

More photos here and here

Victorians have rallied around the state on September 29 to protest the new anti-wind planning laws brought in by Premier Ted Baillieu one month earlier.

In Geelong, 40 people from local environment groups, construction workers and other unionists rallied at the front of Liberal MP Andrew Katos’ office in Belmont.

Protesters hung a big banner with a picture of a wind turbine off the front of the office. The protest was addressed by Labor MP Gayle Tierney.

In Ballarat, around 50 people met at the front of the office of the Premier, including representatives from the Greens and local Trades Hall. The event was organised by Ballarat Renewable Energy and Zero Emissions (BREAZE).

BREAZE members were asking for a meeting with the Premier to express their concerns that recent changes to wind farm and solar laws will harm employment in Ballarat and hinder greenhouse gas reduction efforts in Victoria.

“Ballarat stood to gain significant jobs and economic stimulus from wind farm development in our region but those benefits are now in doubt after the Baillieu government’s changes” BREAZE Executive Officer, Geoff Adams, said in a press statement.

In Bendigo, a dozen locals and representatives of Mount Alexander Sustainability Group met at the Premier’s Bendigo office, to invite Ted Baillieu to attend a public presentation about their plans for a small scale community wind farm in the Mount Alexander Shire. The Mayor of the Mount Alexander Shire Janet Cropley has agreed to chair the meeting.

Delegation in the Premier's office, Bendigo

Susie Burke, MASG committee member said “We are inspired by the Hepburn community wind project in nearby Daylesford which powers over 2000 homes and won the Premier’s sustainability award this year and we want to do something similar.

“We want to own and operate a small wind farm, which would produce our electricity cleanly and safely, where the profits from the sale of the electricity benefits local people.

“We can’t understand why on the one hand the Coalition Government awards a community wind farm down the road but, then places significant obstacles to building similar wind farms in our area.”

In Melbourne, 100 people including a good representation from wind energy companies, climate action groups and the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union rallied on the steps of Parliament house. MPs from the Greens and Labor attended as well, and the Electrical Trades Union sent a message of support.

The gathering heard from Steve Dargavel, state secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union; Mick Lewin from Mount Alexander Sustainability Group’s community wind farm project; and Mark Wakeham, campaigns director at Environment Victoria; and Friends of the Earth renewable energy campaigner Ben Courtice.

Speakers condemned the loss of jobs caused by the Premier’s attitude to renewable energy, the unfair restrictions on community wind farms, and the damage done to taking action for the climate. They called for the recent changes to be reversed.

Ben Courtice told the crowd, “We call on the government to rescind their new planning laws for wind farms. We want the government to support clean energy for the sake of the climate, for green jobs, and to support regional communities.

“We will keep pushing on this. We are not going away. This is a campaign for our future and we can’t afford to give up on it.”

10 thoughts on “Community protests for renewables: “We are not going away”

  1. Why would the liberal government recind their planning laws when the wind companies and other campaigned against them at the last election?
    The majority of people want fair planning laws, not laws that dont give a stuff about rural people and favor wind development at any cost.

    1. Peter, your affected concern for a comparatively few farmers is transparent and disingenuous.

      If you can so casually disregard the many landholders imperilled by coal seam gas projects, coal mines or other mining developments, activities that genuinely affect more than just farmers, then acquainting yourself with the facts of wind farming should set your mind at ease.

      It will also free you to do something practical and meaningful for the people and regions (and landscapes) that will be permanently degraded by projects exploiting finite resources.

      Practice what you preach.

  2. What is fair about a giving veto powers to anyone within 2km of a proposed wind farm, but no such powers to the public for any other infrastructure or planning issue?

  3. Alex, it seems to me that Peter and the other obsessive Antis aren’t at all concerned about ‘fairness’, they just hate wind energy.

    Thats why they are silent on the real threats to our landscape: from coal, CSG, shale gas, mineral sands, etc, etc.

  4. Looking at your photograph I only count 30 people and I am sure you maximised your numbers in the picture to show how concerned people are. I would suggest there is nothing to see here,move along!

  5. actually, i asked a few people to pose with the banner at the end for this photo, after most people had left, just to get a clear image of the words…. prior to that there had been too many people to get a good shot. So much for your theories, Peter

  6. There were only 20 people at the protest in ballarat, most of them kids. I could round up more than that in 2 minutes to protest agaisnt wind farms if i so desired.
    Blair , I have empathy for those affected by coal seam gas in exactly the same way as i do wind projects, the problem with wind projects is that we have certain minority groups trying to push them against the wishes of rural communities that often do not have the resources to fight international companies, while this continues i will continue to put my resources towards helping them.

    1. Peter, like a lot of Antis it seems to me you’re very good at criticising other people and their actions but don’t seem to do much yourself. Think of all the time you spend on this site complaining. Don’t you get tired of endlessly sniping but not offering anything positive?

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