The Geelong Advertiser: ‘Conservation group fans environment debate’

Therese Allaoui  reports for The Geelong Advertiser:

THE Friends of the Earth conservation group has launched its latest campaign to remove legislation banning wind farms in areas of the South Barwon region.

The group has initiated a letterbox drop to raise awareness of legislation passed in August, 2011, disallowing wind farms being built in tourist areas.

The legislation also gives people the power to block wind farm developments within 2km of their houses.

Friends of the Earth renewable energy campaigner Ben Courtice said the wind farms could provide Geelong with clean energy and hundreds of local jobs.

“Wind farms provide a lot of clean energy, they also provide skilled employment, which would be something really important in an area like Geelong,” he said.

Mr Courtice said that the laws were unfair as they did not apply to coal plants.

“But then you see down the coast of Anglesea, a coal mine and power station within a kilometre of a primary school,” he said. “Wind turbines have no proven health effects but coal does.

“The laws are completely arbitrary and please a small minority of complainants.”

Yes 2 Renewables Campaigner Leigh Ewbank said the organisation was lobbying for the support of South Barwon MP Andrew Katos to assist with changing the laws.

“Now is time for leadership on climate change.

“Now is the time to roll out renewables and they’re making it more difficult to get that done,” Mr Ewbank said.

Mr Katos said the 1100 turbine permits issued within Victoria by the previous government would be honoured and that 200 were in the process of construction.

Mr Katos also said the exclusion zones in the region were to protect the tourist areas in Geelong.

“It’s about protecting tourist areas like the Great Ocean Road,” he said.

“There’s also an issue around sonic disturbance and noise, which is why there are problems with building them near homes.”

One thought on “The Geelong Advertiser: ‘Conservation group fans environment debate’

  1. I hope somebody calls BS on Mr Katos’s claim that wind turbines will apparently harm tourism. It’s complete and utter nonsense. He only needs to ask any residents around the Toora or Wonthaggi wind farms or better still, many of the local tourist operators. Mr Katos is playing fast and loose with the truth in a poor attempt to justify the silly position his leader has taken.

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