ANGRY residents living in the shadow of the Macarthur wind farm are seeking political support for a senate bill which would sever government grants to wind operators that disobey noise restrictions.
About 20 property owners living next to the 140-turbine wind farm expressed their anguish to member for Wannon Dan Tehan last week.
They want the MP to throw his support behind a bill introduced by independent senator Nick Xenophon and Democratic Labor party senator John Madigan under which renewable energy grants worth thousands of dollars each would be withdrawn from turbines that exceed 10 decibels.
After four months of operation, residents are claiming to be suffering symptoms caused by the continuous operation of turbines.
Jan Hetherington, who lives three kilometres away at her glass and limestone studio, said she now had headaches and nausea.
“There is low frequency and infrasound and it does affect you,” Ms Hetherington said. “We’ve been going to the doctors and there’s a few that recognise there is a problem.”
Ms Hetherington said residents had earlier unsuccessfully asked AGL and Meridian Energy, which operate the site, to switch the turbines off at night.
“People don’t understand this. To see the effects you have to stay in the area,” she said.
Ms Hetherington invited sceptics to visit and hear the turbines firsthand.
Mr Tehan said the Coalition was yet to decide whether it would support the private member’s bill in its current form.
“We urgently need independent research undertaken to look at the noise implications of wind farms,” Mr Tehan said.
“The wind farm is impacting on their sleep and health.”
In a separate development, residents trying to have their council rates lowered have been turned down by Moyne Shire.
Macarthur wool grower Annie Gardner, who has been a vocal opponent of the wind farm, said district properties were now “unsaleable”.
She said a recent auction of a lifestyle property fetched only half the asking price, leaving it on the market.
“They (Moyne Shire) said there was no precedent,” Ms Gardner said.
A similar request to the South Gippsland council to amend rates was successful, spurring on Macarthur residents to try again.