Farmer's radio tower fight online petition

GRASSMERE farmer John Howard has gone to an international forum in his long-running fight against Moyne Shire Council over controversial planning changes and radio transmission masts.

He has started a petition on the internet site change.org and hopes to gain hundreds of signatures to present to the Victorian Parliament.

Mr Howard has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees challenging the council in court and tribunal appearances after the shire’s planning department allowed two 93-metre commercial radio towers to be erected about 200 metres from his Blighs Road home at Purnim in 2006.

He later moved to another residence, saying his health was suffering because of noise and electromagnetic interference from the towers.

“I’ve got no legal options left — it’s now up to the political process,” he told The Standard yesterday.

“I want a fully independent inquiry.

“Simon Ramsay (member for Western Victoria) has taken it up for me and has written to the Minister for Local Government seeking an inquiry.”

Mr Howard said he had been constrained from  fully arguing  his case at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal and Supreme Court of Appeal.

He has consistently argued that Moyne Shire Council incorrectly issued a planning permit amendment for the towers to be shifted and moved closer to his home.

The petition on change.org is addressed to the Victorian Premier and the state government and yesterday morning had 24 supporters and 10 signatures. Mr Ramsay has raised the issue  in Parliament and with two local government ministers and the planning minister.

“It has gone through a rigorous process of investigation,” Mr Ramsay said.

“We’ve done as much as we can do.  The Local Government Minister Tim Bull told me recently he had reviewed the matter and his advice now to Mr Howard was to seek legal advice.

“Unfortunately, this issue has taken quite a toll on Mr Howard’s heath.”

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