Fight for wind farm control

MOYNE Shire will keep watch over a proposed wind farm near Dundonnell despite requests from the company to hand over the planning process to the state government. 

Energy group TrustPower has asked the council to “call in” the planning minister to take responsibility of the planning process — removing council from the picture. 

The company argues government handling would speed up the application. 

But the request reopened old wounds at Moyne’s monthly meeting on Tuesday night, with some councillors saying the council had been hard done by in the past by developers.

Moyne Shire is still pursuing AGL Australia for a cash settlement to repair roads around the Macarthur wind farm. 

Cr Colin Ryan summed up his position saying, “I don’t have confidence in the government department to be able to handle this application”. 

“Time and time again they’ve shown to be wanting and have left us on numerous occasions with quandaries on what to do with various goals when it was their job all along,” Cr Ryan said. 

Cr Jim Doukas said he didn’t have faith in the department’s “shortcomings”. 

The planned 104-turbine wind farm was ordered by the government to undergo a rigorous environmental effects statement (EES) to ensure the turbines wouldn’t harm the endangered yellow-bellied bat. 

TrustPower want the minister to take charge to roll the planning and EES meetings into one. 

But councillors unani-mously voted down the motion because of concerns it would remove them of any say over the wind farm. 

Moyne’s sustainable development director Oliver Moles said the minister could intervene if the case had statewide ramifications but said council wanted to maintain control because of issues such as roads. 

“We want to control the planning ourselves,” Mr Moles said following the meeting.

s.mccomish@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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