Pollie Watch: Senator for Victoria holds anti-wind farm lobby to account

Richard-Di-Natale
Senator Richard DiNatale (Australia Greens)

Senator for Victoria Richard DiNatale (Australian Greens) has used his first speech since the 2013 election to hold the anti-wind farm lobby to account for spreading health fears, being subsidised by Australian taxpayers, and having links to fossil fuel investors.

Rather than distracting policy makers with spurious claims of a wind farm noise disease and wasting taxpayers money, Senator DiNatale suggests the anti-wind farm groups could campaign on the health impacts of poor air quality.

“We are seeing more people dying from poor air quality than we’re seeing die from the road toll. The mining and combustion and transport of coal is one of the reasons why that’s happening. But no, this group campaigns against a clean renewable form of energy, despite the fact that if we able to make the transition to cleaner renewable energy we mitigate against some of the most important health impacts…”

DiNatale takes aim at the Waubra Foundation and their status as a ‘health promotion charity,’

“The issue here is not that the Waubra Foundation should continue to spread the misinformation that it does. The issue here is that the Australian taxpayer should be subsidising that activity. [Australian taxpayers] are subsidising the work of the Waubra Foundation–that is, every person in this country makes a donation to the anti-wind activities of the Waubra Foundation.”

In his speech, DiNatale shines a light on the background of the founder and current chairman of the Waubra Foundation, Peter Mitchell. According to DiNatale, Mr Mitchell is a “current and former director of a number of coal, gas, and uranium related companies” as well as a background campaigning against wind farms:

“[Mitchell] is a director of Lowel Resources, who are basically the ultimate holding company of a resources fund, which are companies engaged entirely in mining and energy investment including oil, gas and uranium. He’s also the former director of the Australian Petroleum Institute Limited and Molopo Limited, a company entirely invested in oil and gas.”

Senator DiNatale has a track record of talking sense on the alleged health problems from wind energy. DiNatale made a cogent argument against an anti-wind farm bill put forward by Senator’s Madigan (DLP) and Xenophon’s (Ind) in March, 2013. Not only is The Greens senator’s position on wind energy and health informed by his credentials as a doctor and medical health specialist, but also by visits to wind farms.

The Greens Senators remarks come just a day after Prime Minister Tony Abbott made his first comments on wind farms and the Renewable Energy Target. The PM’s language around a “forrest” of wind farms “sprouting like mushrooms all over the fields of our country” sounds like dog-whistling to the radical anti-renewable energy fringe.

Political leadership is sorely needed on wind energy.

If the claims of anti-wind farm groups and renewable energy bashers go unanswered then Australia will miss out on jobs, drought-proof income for regional communities, and all importantly, action on climate change.

It’s time for political leaders to follow Senator DiNatale’s lead and stand up for wind farms and all the benefits they can deliver.

12 thoughts on “Pollie Watch: Senator for Victoria holds anti-wind farm lobby to account

  1. When a government does give leadership such as 2km buffer from homes you don’t like it because it does not agree with your narrow view of the world.

    1. If you call legislation designed to protect the self-interest of the wealthy few, you need a new dictionary. Enjoy it while it lasts Gerard. Eventually reality will intrude on your imaginary world.

      1. I and a lot of my neighbours are from wealthy and like many Victorians we are enjoying the leadership shown by the Victorian government. I know you support the Greens that want to destroy the landscape to save the landscape and their petty class war. Do a survey of any area that is threatened by a wind farm development and you will see that the support for a buffer is almost universal.

      2. I sometimes a imagine a world where people like you realise that turbines are not the answer to a warming planet and they have their own impact on the planet and the people have to live near them. I also sometimes imagine that you Blair should show some empathy for others – now that would be a turn around in the narcissistic behaviour you exhibit.

      3. Gerard, your ignorance is only exceeded by your arrogance. You don’t really know anything about me so I’ll try to update you.
        1. I do not support any political party.
        2. I do support renewable energy
        3. A survey was conducted here in South Gippsland from Phillip Island to Yarram around 2004 finding just over 80% support for wind farms and about 95% support for renewables overall.
        4. I have never claimed that wind energy alone would ever solve all our energy needs.
        5. I fully understand that every energy source has its limitations and drawbacks.
        6. There are currently two wind farms operating in this area, soon there will be a third. Approximately 14,000 people live inside the footprints of these wind farms yet not one person has claimed ill-health since the wind farms were commissioned.
        7. I have plenty of empathy for people who suffer from genuine health conditions. Any of my friends would vouch for that because they know my own circumstances.
        8. I have no sympathy for people like yourself who peddle self-serving nonsense and distortions for your purely selfish reasons and who demonstrate such gross hypocrisy. Where are your concerns for the residents of Waubra, the vast majority of whom disagree with your claims?
        9. I have never argued against a sensible buffer.
        10. I think all wind farms should have a degree of local community ownership.
        11. I think property owners adjacent to turbine hosts should also receive some annual payment based on a formula related to proximity.
        12. I have no doubt a very small number of individuals do not like wind turbines but I have yet to see any credible evidence proving beyond doubt that turbines cause illness when I know many of the people complaining have either political and/or financial links to conservative politicians or mining and fossil fuel interests.

  2. So gerard do you think its worse to have a csg or coal station or a wind turbine closer to your house? At the moment wind tirbines are considered the most dangerous and intrusive doesn’t sound right to me we need to consider relative risks and the assign setbacks. Unfortunatly no field studies have ever been done to access risk and contamination from csg, we need to put the different options in context with one another

    1. Hi Peter my issue with turbines has always been with aesthetic imposition on the landscape such as shadowing, blade glint and the simple fact that something that is 165m tall with 50m long rotating blades is out of place near homes I do not see turbines as especially dangerous but intrusive, noise can be an issue as well. As far as CSG and coal mines, yes definitely we should assign setbacks. I would strongly support any proposal that imposes a buffer on these industrial features.

  3. You are right Blair I only know you from rants on this site

    1. I do not support any political party. – We know who you don’t support!
    2. I do support renewable energy – I too support renewable energy almost being self-sufficient myself
    3. A survey was conducted here in South Gippsland from Phillip Island to Yarram around 2004 finding just over 80% support for wind farms and about 95% support for renewables overall. – I repeat do a survey in an area for a proposed wind farm and you will find almost universal opposition to the plans
    4. I have never claimed that wind energy alone would ever solve all our energy needs. – You would be a fool if you did.
    5. I fully understand that every energy source has its limitations and drawbacks. – Good to know.
    6. There are currently two wind farms operating in this area, soon there will be a third. Approximately 14,000 people live inside the footprints of these wind farms yet not one person has claimed ill-health since the wind farms were commissioned. – What do you mean by footprint? 7. I have plenty of empathy for people who suffer from genuine health conditions. Any of my friends would vouch for that because they know my own circumstances. – I know your circumstances and believe me your comments betray your lack of empathy.
    8. I have no sympathy for people like yourself who peddle self-serving nonsense and distortions for your purely selfish reasons and who demonstrate such gross hypocrisy. Where are your concerns for the residents of Waubra, the vast majority of whom disagree with your claims? _ I do not want or need your sympathy and I could ask you the same question about Waubra and the many other places that people have had wind turbines imposed on them.
    9. I have never argued against a sensible buffer. – Good to know we agree on something I happen to think 2km is a sensible buffer from a home as do wind turbine developer Retexxo Grupp and Perth and Kinross Council in Scotland and Riverside County residents in California.
    10. I think all wind farms should have a degree of local community ownership. – I agree
    11. I think property owners adjacent to turbine hosts should also receive some annual payment based on a formula related to proximity. – If I had a 2km buffer I would not expect a payment and money does not solve all problems anyway.
    12. I have no doubt a very small number of individuals do not like wind turbines but I have yet to see any credible evidence proving beyond doubt that turbines cause illness when I know many of the people complaining have either political and/or financial links to conservative politicians or mining and fossil fuel interests. – I personally do not have any affiliation with any of the groups you mentioned I just do not think turbines should be placed in close proximity to homes and a 2km buffer ensures that won’t happen. On broadacre farms they may be OK again, I say no closer than 2kms to a residence.

  4. So,, why are you here, Gerard? To enlighten the unenlightened? Are you simply on point duty for the Landscape Guardians, because you were told to be? You’re not going to get any love in this forum with ideas like that, because they show no signs of changing, or being open to evidence and analysis. Blair’s standpoint is eminently reasonable. Yours is hearsay, or based on the hearsay of others.

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