SOUTH-WEST councils have been urged to consider slapping extra charges on wind farm companies to compensate for damage to roads and other infrastructure.
Liberal member for Western Victoria Simon Ramsay suggested there could be scope within the Local Government Act for councils to introduce a special-purposes levy in addition to municipal rates.
“I would encourage councils to explore the options. I have been advised there is scope for councils to recoup some money by putting on a charge for extra services,” he said.
His comments follow earlier calls by Moyne Shire Council for government compensation for road damage caused by wind farm vehicles.
The shire started a public campaign seeking support from disgruntled motorists.
However, Mr Ramsay said it was not the Baillieu Government’s fault, but planning permits approved by the previous Labor government.
“There were deficiencies under the old planning regime where councils seem to be held liable for roads damage,” he said. “Councils need to consider applying a charge to wind farm generators to rectify this anomaly, which is a huge impost on the community right across my electorate.”
Moyne mayor Cr Jim Doukas said yesterday he would be keen for the council to consider imposing a special charge on wind farm companies.
“It would be not only for damage to our roads, but to help make up for the drop in land values,” he said.
“Wind farms pay rates under a special formula worked out by government, but payment doesn’t start until electricity is generated and they get discounts if the output is below capacity. Unfortunately, people still blame the shire for the damaged roads.”