Hawthorn residents asked to send Baillieu a message on wind

Press release, 18 November 2011

This weekend, Friends of the Earth (FoE) campaign volunteers will begin letterboxing Premier Ted Baillieu’s seat of Hawthorn with a message asking for the state’s anti-wind laws to be repealed.

The letterbox drop will include a postcard for residents to sign and send to the Premier regarding planning law amendment VC82, introduced at the end of August.

“While we have been raising community awareness of these laws, the sad fact is that the Coalition did not seek a mandate on them in the last election,” said FoE campaigner Ben Courtice.

“All the indications from polling show that wind energy remains popular in the general public, and in fact our analysis of booth results at the last election shows that in the few country areas where the coalition did make their wind policy an issue, the swing to them was less than in other areas.

“Yet many in the city are still not aware of the scope of these draconian restrictions on wind energy. We don’t think Baillieu has a popular mandate on his wind policy. We hope people will look at the information when it is made available, and send their local MP, Ted Baillieu, a message that he needs to reconsider these laws.

“The sad thing is that under the national Renewable Energy Target, wind and solar capacity must be built somewhere, but under these laws it will largely be other states that benefit from the investment, jobs and clean energy,” Courtice said.

Friends of the Earth analysis released in September showed that under the new planning laws, lost or stalled investment already added up to $955 million. This would have led to around 1900 jobs mostly in regional Victoria, including over 50 ongoing, skilled workers in maintenance and operation.

“It is now easier to dig a new coal mine next to a town than it is to put up wind turbines in rural Victoria. The 2km setback for turbines is not applied to any other energy technology, even those that are clearly polluting and dangerous.

“Victorians don’t want to remain stuck in a 19th century fossil fuel economy, that is causing dangerous climate change and threatening good farm land.

“We really hope the Premier will reconsider and rescind the new wind planning laws. There may be improvements that could be made in regard to the planning and siting of wind turbines, but these laws only block this vital technology.”

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