Pollie Watch: Liberal candidate for McEwen backs coal, bags wind energy

Screen Shot 2013-09-04 at 6.51.01 PMOver the last few weeks, Yes 2 Renewables has brought attention to several Liberal candidates who are staunch opponents of wind farms.

In the final days of the campaign, we’d like to highlight the Liberal candidate for the marginal Victorian seat of McEwen, Donna Petrovich.

Former state MP Donna Petrovich has railed against wind farms during her time in the state parliament while trumpeting the benefits of polluting fossil fuels. Petrovich is “proud of” the stringent wind farm planning laws introduced by the Baillieu government.

Friends of the Earth analysis shows the Baillieu anti-wind farm laws have cost Victoria:

  • Around $887 million in lost or stalled investment.
  • Stalled 408 megawatts of clean renewable energy supply coming online.
  • Prevented carbon emissions savings of up to 1.6 million tonnes each year (equivalent to taking around 465,000 passenger cars off the road per year).

In the electorate of McEwen, the anti-wind farm laws Petrovich endorses has stalled the Cherry Tree Range wind farm proposal. The local wind farm project will:

  • Generate up to $80,000 for a community fund each year.
  • Contribute $76,000 worth of rates per annum.
  • Inject $1.2 million worth of flow on economic benefit to the local economy.
  • Produce enough electricity to power 26,000 homes and prevent 150,000 tonnes of carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere each year.
  • Provide $250,000 worth of steady income for wind farmers per year.

Petrovich’s opposition to wind energy runs deep.  She is on the record as working with radical anti-wind farm groups.

“I have worked with groups such as the RATs (Residents Against Turbines) of Tooborac and a group that works out of Baynton and Sidonia, and they have had great concerns about the proposals for wind farms.”

Ms Petrovich has also thrown her weight behind unsubstantiated claims that wind farms cause health problems:

“There are health concerns with these turbines, and I think the jury is still out in many cases regarding the health implications of turbines.”

When it comes to fossil fuels such as brown coal and coal seam gas Ms Petrovich has no such concerns–for human health or climate change impact:

“The Coalition looks towards the effectiveness and abundance of brown coal as a means to provide a reliable source of energy for Victorians.”

“I can say from the outset that we will not be supporting any moratorium on exploration for coal seam gas.”

“It makes sense to explore new sources of gas, including unconventional sources like coal seam gas, to keep gas prices affordable for Victorians.” (Hansard)

Petrovich’s contrasting positions on clean wind energy and polluting coal seam gas will concern many in her electorate.

BEAMAlready, the peak environment organisation in McEwen, BEAM-Mitchell Environment Group, have expressed concern about the Liberal candidate. BEAM have criticised Ms Petrovich for her silence on the important issues of climate change and renewable energy throughout her campaign.

Given that all of the available public polling shows that three quarters of the community support more wind farms, even among Coalition voters, Friends of the Earth encourage Donna Petrovich to adopt a stance on wind farms that aligns with mainstream views. It’s time for political leadership on wind energy, not pandering to fringe anti-wind campaign groups.

Take Action 

Live in McEwen and support renewable energy?… Let Donna Petrovich know where you stand:
  • Post a message on Facebook.
  • Tweet the Liberal party an ask for an explanation.
  • Email Ms Petrovich here.
  • Support Yes 2 Renewables with a donation and help us continue our Pollie Watch posts.

5 thoughts on “Pollie Watch: Liberal candidate for McEwen backs coal, bags wind energy

  1. I’m starting to wonder if there is any point trying to reason with Conservative politicians who are dead set against renewable energy. Seems to me the better action would be to concentrate on educating voters to ensure pro-coal pollies and their fellows who deny climate change or the science underpinning the concerns about it are not elected until they move from the dark ages into the 21st-century.

  2. Why don’t you people simly fly The Greens banner and be done with it? After all you’re only shills for The Greens like most “environmental” groups.

  3. Thanks for dropping by Gerri! Apart from your poor spelling and grammar, I wonder, what is the point of your contribution? Perhaps you need to find out a bit more about BEAM before making yourself look silly on a public forum. As for shills, well, it takes one to know one!

  4. I think that it is great to have politicians that listen to the concerns of their constituents and act on them as the Libs did in Victoria when they created the 2km buffer. If Labor listened to people that would be impacted by having turbines close to their homes rather than the urban elite they might still be in power today. Having said that I agree with BEAM if the proposed Cherry Tree windfarm meets all the criteria under the current laws they should go ahead.

  5. The seat of McEwen was declared today in favour of the incumbent ALP member.
    At least that’s one less clmate denialist in the House!

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