On Sunday June 2nd, Yes 2 Renewables campaigners Lan and Simon headed to the Belmont Markets in Geelong in blustery conditions and set up a Y2R listening post. The aim: to gauge public opinion on local renewable energy developments.
What did we find? A couple of enquirers had strong opinions on noise generated by wind turbines, however the majority of stall visitors were happy to sign Y2R’s petition calling on Premier Napthine to lift the restrictions on wind energy development and stop Coal Seam Gas extraction, despite the bad weather! One signatory from ‘down the coast’ said he loved wind energy so much he was planning on building some on his own property (not too coastal we hope!).Many residents surprised to learn about the State Government’s plan to renew the Alcoa Anglesea mining lease for a further 50 years, whereas restrictive planning regulations for wind farm laws that have shut down the sector.
Geelong has been buffeted lately by a string of major job losses. Ford announced over 500 jobs will be lost when it closes its manufacturing plant in North Geelong , Target nearby has just made 240 employees redundant and another 400+ jobs face an uncertain future after Shell announced the sale of its oil refinery. As such, many locals were concerned about employment opportunities for the region and were supportive of developing a renewable energy manufacturing and construction industry to provide jobs for their growing population.
South Australia’s less restrictive legislation has led to more than twice as many jobs in wind power than in Victoria. Lan and Simon left Belmont market visitors with no doubt that a wind-powered state would be a healthy boost for the local economy.