Renewable energy is a mainstream election issue in the hotly-contested seat of Macedon.
Anti-wind farm laws introduced by the Coaltion government in 2011 have hit the Macedon Ranges hard. A large-scale blanket ban on wind farms now cuts across the electorate. The anti-wind farm laws have cost the region jobs, investment and killed off a community wind farm proposal.
Bruce Mildenhall is a Woodend resident and secretary of the Macedon Ranges Sustainability Group–the group behind the community wind farm proposal. Bruce has offered the following counterpoint to the views of Liberal party candidate Donna Petrovich featured in a recent Age article:
It is a bit rich for the Liberal Candidate (The Sunday Age 5 October) for the state seat of Macedon to claim that it would be ‘undemocratic’ to remove the current restrictions on wind energy in the Macedon Ranges Shire. In fact the Shire is subject to a State imposed total ban on wind energy facilities, far more draconian than the 2km buffer zones that apply to most of Victoria.
That ban was imposed without consultation, and has denied the community a voice.
The Age is right to note that the local community is very environmentally conscious. They are also conscious that the ban was imposed at the time when the Liberal Candidate was the Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment in the Baillieu Government.
In a region with one of Victoria’s richest wind resource (Victorian Wind Atlas), to deny the community the opportunity to even consider wind as a local renewable energy option in dealing with global warming, is the essence of a loss of democratic rights.
Over the last few months, Yes 2 Renewables supporters and the Macedon Ranges Sustainability Group conducted a community survey on renewable energy and wind farm planning laws. We have undertaken the community consultation the Baillieu/Napthine governments should have done before imposing restrictions on wind energy developments. The results will soon be released.
Victorians are passionate about renewable energy. Polling commissioned by the Climate Institute finds 71 per cent of Victorians, like Bruce, support state government policies that encourage more renewable energy.
When one considers the passion and the polling, it’s clear that the parties with a pro-renewable energy stance will have an advantage on election day.
The Labor party and The Greens are committed to ‘ripping up’ the anti-wind farm laws and restoring fairness to the planning scheme. The Coalition still has time to adopt a pro-renewable energy policy before November 29. The window of opportunity is there, but it’s closing.
- Sign our petition calling on Premier Napthine to encourage renewable energy jobs by scrapping anti-wind farm laws and setting a Victorian Renewable Energy Target.
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