Time for politicians to back Waubra townfolk after anti-wind group ignores community petition to reclaim name

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An epic view of the Waubra wind farm.

The anti-wind farm group, the Waubra Foundation, have rejected a community request to stop using the town’s name.

The petition signed by 316 residents and people with strong links to the town was delivered to the Foundation in November. The petition shows the community has made strong attempt to reclaim their name.

“Now Waubra Foundation has decided to ignore the petition, it’s time for politicians to throw their weight behind the local push to reclaim Waubra from anti-wind farm campaigners,” said Leigh Ewbank, Friends of the Earth’s renewable energy spokesperson.

“Waubra Foundation office holders live between 122-793km from Waubra. Such vast distances make a mockery of their use of the town’s name. If the Foundation won’t respect the wishes of locals, then that leaves politicians to intervene.”

“Does Premier Denis Napthine think it’s acceptable for an anti-wind farm campaign group to co-opt a town’s name for their own ideological purposes?”

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Will Premier Napthine stand up for the Waubra community?

All available public polling shows strong support for wind energy. A poll commissioned by Pacific Hydro in 2011 found 84 percent of Victorians support wind farms.

Wind farms are even highly popular among Liberal and National voters, with one poll showing 71 percent support more wind farms.

“The Waubra Foundation is a fringe group, out-of-touch with the views of Victorians,” said Leigh Ewbank. “It’s time they stopped misrepresenting themselves as having any links to Waubra.”

In a statement published by the Victorian Wind Alliance, Waubra farmer Doug Hobson expressed disappointment at the Foundation’s decision.

“We’ve asked these people politely to leave us alone but clearly the plea has fallen on deaf ears,” said Hobson, CFA captain and Vice President of the Central Highlands Football League.

“It’s pretty arrogant really, pretending to know what’s best for Waubra when they live hundreds of kilometres away and barely know anyone here.

“If they’d come and spoken to more than a handful of people here they’d realise that most of us are very happy with the wind farm.”

16 thoughts on “Time for politicians to back Waubra townfolk after anti-wind group ignores community petition to reclaim name

  1. The Waubra Foundation have nothing to apologise for —the Waubra community have denigrated and isolated many people in their community who have severe health challenges from the Waubra wind turbines . These impacted people just want to live healthily and happily in the community but that is impossible . Their rights have been taken away by the actions of some people in the Waubra Community . What the Waubra Community needs to do is support these people and help them find a solution —they are part of your community so have a heart and care for them and stop being precious about yourselves and your money . You would then have a healthier , happier community and set an example for other communities with similar challenges !
    Put yourselves in the shoes of your sick community members —- I bet you would hate it as much as they do !

    1. All of the statistical and medical evidence is on the side of people who know that wind energy is clean and safe, but what do people living with wind turbines around them say? Watch these videos from around the world of people living in and near wind farms, including the Waubra wind farm, to find out. http://barnardonwind.com/2013/12/09/in-their-own-words-people-living-among-and-near-wind-farms-on-video/

      Economically vibrant communities are always healthier than economic deadzones. The tiny community of Waubra has increased the health of its citizens because it now has another economic engine making it viable in challenging times. And that engine doesn’t spew pollution or CO2, unlike the alternatives.

      One has to ask what anti-wind campaigners such as Pat Gabb prefer as a form of generation. Coal perhaps?

  2. It was probably too much to hope that the Waubra Foundation would do the honourable thing and change its name as per the request of the local community.

    If nothing else it highlights the curious double standards practised by the foundation. Sarah Laurie consistently demands authorities look at “all the evidence” when it comes to sound emanating from turbines yet when “all the evidence” from locals suggests the Waubra Foundation does not speak for them, SL and the foundation ignore the inconvenient.

    The fact that not one director lives anywhere near Waubra also highlights the lies and deceptions of the foundation.

    We have to hope the Australian tax office rescinds the charity status of the foundation, then we will see how genuine WF research activities really are.

    It’s obvious to everybody that the Waubra Foundation is using the town of Waubra as convenient cover. It says a lot that its directors remain deaf to community requests and refuse to acknowledge what everybody else can clearly see, that the Waubra Foundation is a front group of wealthy, politically connected climate science denialists more intent on feathering their own nests.

    1. Two questions Blair where does Leigh Ewbank who posted this live anywhere near Waubra.?????as he seems to think you must be local to be a director and not many companies have local directors in fact some have them from overseas. Does the waubra wind farm have a compliance cert???.I just wonder if the foundation is there for those affected by the wind farm which wont be everybody will it we all know that.

      1. Hi Chris. Thanks for the comment.

        My twitter profile states I live west of the river in Footscray (there’s a rooftop wind turbine nearby).

        Let’s take a look at ‘truth in advertising’: I work at Friends of the Earth Australia and head up the Yes 2 Renewables project. We make no claims to represent people of a specific locality. This is in contrast to the group in question. Don’t you think?

      2. Chris, why don’t you ask Leigh directly where he lives?
        I don’t know the answer to your second question but given that it’s a more modern project than the Toora wind farm which uses much older comparatively noisier turbines I don’t believe there is or will be a problem with the Waubra project.

        The lack of knowledge about the Waubra Foundation, who said that then why illustrates just how little you truly want to know. It claims to speak for Waubra citizens generally when in fact it panders to a self-centred few.

        Go to the SourceWatch webpage covering the Waubra Foundation and another on Sarah Laurie and then you’ll see just how conniving and deceptive Laurie and WF are.

        It’s interesting that you seem not to know that the person who funded the Waubra Foundation, Peter Mitchell, has major investments in mining, oil and coal. You don’t see the conflict of interest?

      3. Take two:
        Chris, why don’t you ask Leigh directly where he lives?
        I don’t know the answer to your second question but given that it’s a more modern project than the Toora wind farm which uses much older comparatively noisier turbines I don’t believe there is or will be a problem with the Waubra project.

        The Waubra Foundation pretends to speak for Waubra residents when it fact it uses a couple of people opposed to the project as cover.

        Go to the SourceWatch webpage covering the Waubra Foundation and another on Sarah Laurie and then you’ll see just how conniving and deceptive Laurie and WF are.

        It’s interesting that you seem not to know that the person who funded the Waubra Foundation, Peter Mitchell, has major investments in mining, oil and coal.

        You don’t see the conflict of interest?

        ———————

        Mr Webmaster, is there any chance of getting an edit button to correct typos in our posts?

  3. Thanks Leigh and were do you get your funding from the wind companies???.Do you think the people of waubra that are affected by the wind farm have the right to use the name.Or even better the rest of waubra should help these people find a solution so they can all live in harmony as a proper community not the company buying out some people and them having to leave the area and denying any affects. As with most wind projects the community is divided and will never be as it was.

    1. Chris, is it appropriate to speak on behalf of others? This question lies at the heart of the debate about the legitimacy of an anti-wind farm group’s use of the name ‘Waubra’.

      The Waubra Foundation have refused a community request to adopt a new name. The organisation was not established by Waubra locals, but rather by outsiders who live hundreds of kilometres away from the town. Reports show the people associated with the group oppose wind farms for a range of reasons.

      Only a few people in the community share the negative perceptions of the Waubra wind farm. The hundreds of locals who signed the petition calling on the Waubra Foundation to cease using the name demonstrates there’s a large contingent of people who have a positive or neutral view of the wind farm.

      Both of these points bring the legitimacy and ethics of using the name into question. It’s no surprise Waubra residents and people with ties to the town are upset by the use of the town’s name in a campaign against wind energy and associated with a ‘Waubra disease’.

      To look at the issue a different way, one might ask: Would it be acceptable for pro-whatever advocates to claim a town’s name for the title of an activist organisation on the basis of the experience of a few locals?

      After some thinking about the issue, I’ve concluded that it is possible for an organisation to use a town’s name in its title. But to do so in an ethical and considerate way that respects the diversity of views in the community, the organisation would have to reflect a shared, consensus position of residents.

      Did the Waubra Foundation undertake any community consultation to find out whether there was a consensus negative view toward the wind farm before claiming the name? If so, when and how?

      * Yes 2 Renewables is funded by Friends of the Earth members and supporters. The organisation doesn’t accept corporate donations. We support renewable energy and its many benefits–jobs, drought-proof income for farmers, community funds, and climate change solutions.

  4. Interesting responses on this article attacking the messenger instead of the duplicitous and damaging Waubra: The Foundation (WTF).

    Waubra: The Town has spoken loudly and clearly. WTF has chosen to put its fingers in its ears and shout “La la la la la”.

    Wind farms don’t harm human health, anti-wind campaigners do. 19 reviews world wide of all of the available research and complaints by credible, independent groups have cleared wind farms of health impacts. Meanwhile, studies in the UK, Australia and New Zealand point the finger at anti-wind lobbyists spreading health fears and jacking up stress. http://barnardonwind.com/2013/02/17/wind-farms-dont-make-people-sick-so-why-the-complaints/

  5. Mike read the speech from senator Madigan in the senate buyouts gag agreements.All this for something with no harm and what a job he had to get this information.They don’t even have compliance for the wind farm………..

    1. I thought even the anti-wind Sen Madigan asked the reckless Waubra Foundation to change its name, as requested by Waubra locals?

  6. Pat Gabb, your accusations directed at the Waubra community are misplaced. They have consistently acknowledged there are people who are sick in their community who believe their problems are caused by the turbines and they deserve support and sympathy. No questions there.

    But helping these people find a solution is going to be much more successful if they’re given credible explanations for what’s causing their problems. The foundation continue with their often outlandish claims that are being rejected time and time again by health and research authorities. My personal opinion is that because they are unable to accept the findings of credible research from qualified bodies, they have nothing to offer anyone in this space.

    Even acknowledging this, the residents have also consistently pointed out that the foundation can carry on their lobbying on behalf of those residents if they wish, but they shouldn’t pretend that they represent the majority of the community, because they don’t.

    They have no right to Waubra’s name, no matter how much you may agree with the campaign they have hijacked it for.

    For what it’s worth, I think there’s merit in settling the question of Waubra’s compliance. As I understand it, the wind farm operates within its permit conditions but there does appear to be further testing that needs to be done and it’s something the Minister should have put to bed long ago. This is a reasonable request which would provide assurance to the community and personally I’d be happy to support it.

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