Blog | 29th Aug, 2011

The Baillieu Government has now made it harder to build a wind farm than a new coal mine or coal-fired power station in Victoria.

New planning regulations gazetted yesterday disallow new wind farms in whole regions of the state, and allow a single landholder to block a wind farm if they live within 2 kilometres of a proposal.

Announcing the changes in Macedon yesterday Planning Minister Matthew Guy said “We’ve put in place an outcome which will restore balance between home-owners and developers.” What he failed to mention is that the wind industry is being singled out and that Victorians have no such powers when it comes to new mining proposals or new coal-fired power stations. Residents of Morwell might be confused to discover that no wind turbines can be built within 5 kilometres of the township, while HRL is proceeding with plans to construct a new polluting and noisy coal-fired power station less than 2 kilometres from Morwell. Further highlighting the State Government’s inconsistent treatment of different industries they are currently running an inquiry looking at how they can fast-track more mining and exploration state-wide, with no concern for the impacts on farming land and the environment. See Environment Victoria’s submission here

With this wind farm vendetta the Baillieu Government is effectively putting up a ‘closed for business’ sign in Victoria’ to the most mature renewable energy technology available and one of the world’s fastest growing industries. South Australians must be rubbing their hands with glee. For the past 5 years they’ve aspired to lead the nation in wind energy, and wind now contributes 20 percent of all electricity generated in SA. No doubt they will welcome with open arms the $3 billion of investment and the thousands of regional jobs that the Baillieu Government is denying Victorians.