The Standard: It’s not about looks, Tony

CHW3JR0UMAMoUbAPrime Minister Tony Abbott’s recent comments that he finds wind turbines “visually disturbing” and has sought to “R-E_D_U_C_E” the amount of wind power deployed in Australia unleashed a tsunami of support.

The Prime Minister’s appearance on talkback radio made his government’s concerted efforts to bring the wind industry to its knees clear to the public. And has left a bad taste in the mouths of renewable energy supporters.

Voices from regional Victoria are getting fed up with the anti-wind energy rhetoric.

The Standard is based in Warrnambool, south-west Victoria, where wind energy has been a major driver of economic development over the last decade. (It’s also a prominent publication in Federal Liberal MP Dan Tehan’s electorate of Wannon).

Construction jobsFriends of the Earth analysis published in March finds wind energy has created jobs and delivered investment for south west Victorian communities, while making a strong contribution to cutting Australia’s carbon emissions.

Drawing on modeling from Sinclair Knight Merz (now Jacobs), we estimate the wind farms in the southwest Victoria have:

  • Created 685 construction jobs and 71 ongoing jobs in operations and maintenances.
  • Stimulated $17.1 million worth of flow-on economic benefit to the region.

The wind farms on the southwest coast alone have:

  • Cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2 million tones since 2007, when the Yambuk Wind Farm began operating.

The Standard had the following to say in a recent editorial in response to the Prime Minister’s comments on wind energy:

It is abundantly clear that Prime Minister Tony Abbott is no champion of wind energy and that’s not good news for south-west Victoria.

Mr Abbott’s comments this week to conservative radio host Alan Jones confirmed what everyone already knew, that had it not been for the Senate the Coalition would have scrapped the renewable energy target.

The Prime Minister told Jones that he thinks wind farms are ugly, noisy and potentially harmful to health, although the latter has to date never been shown to be fact.

Indeed, a 2015 review undertaken by the government’s own National Health and Medical Research Council found that there was no evidence to suggest that wind turbines caused ill-health.

Australia’s confusion and political inertia when it comes to formulating a clear policy on clean energy has left us looking backward as other developed nations surge forward with newer, cleaner and greener energy solutions in the face of global warming.

Only a few weeks ago our own member for Wannon Dan Tehan was on ABC television saying that Australia needed in lock in a more meaningful RET and put jobs before politics.

Now his leader is telling a Sydney shock jock that if he had his way we would not have one at all.

Mr Tehan appears to understand the importance of renewables to his electorate, the Prime Minister does not.

The clean energy industry in Victoria supports more than 4000 jobs.

In Victoria, there are 19 wind farms that have planning approval but are yet to be commissioned.

If these projects are fully developed it will result in an estimated investment of just under $5 billion and support up to 2600 jobs throughout regional Victoria.

Mr Abbott’s outdated ideology is harmful to jobs growth in this state and does not fill Australians with any confidence about how we are going to realistically tackle climate change.

Future generations are depending on clear thinking on this important issue of our time but they’re not getting it from the nation’s leaders.

Wind energy is under attack. Not only from Prime Minister Tony Abbott, but a from hostile senate inquiry into wind farms. Here are some simple ways you can show your support for wind energy, jobs, and action on climate change.


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