Published by The Surf Coast Times:
The increased severity of Hurricane Sandy that recently battered the east coast of the United States and Haiti reminds us of the urgent challenge of climate change. When it comes to taking action to reduce our climate change impact, Victoria has a lot of work to do. We have the dubious distinction of being the most polluting state in the most world’s most polluting developed country.
Unfortunately, in 2011, the Baillieu government passed planning laws which unfairly target wind farms. After just 12 months, the evidence shows that these laws have made it incredibly difficult for Victoria to get on with the job of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The laws ban wind farms from large parts of Victoria and allow just one objector to stop any wind turbine within 2km. Meanwhile, no such restrictions apply to coal and coal-seam gas exploration and development. A local example many will be aware of is in Anglesea, where residents have no say over the coalmine and power plant just half a kilometre from their town.
Wind farms create income for farmers and communities. They have no pollution or health hazards like coal. And they are critically important for addressing climate change. We could have new jobs in construction and maintenance right here in Victoria if wind farms were allowed to go ahead.
Victoria has a choice between polluting fossil fuels or a clean energy future. Renewable energy from the wind could power our hospitals, schools and economy, however the current laws stand in the way. Friends of the Earth call on the Baillieu government to give wind farms a fair go. Laws that discriminate against wind energy should be repealed.