MOYNE Shire Council will host discussions between three wind farm proponents in a bid for projects to benefit wider communities.
Councillor Colin Ryan successfully pushed at Tuesday's council meeting for the council to facilitate joint discussions between three wind farm proponents yet to construct projects in the shire.
Cr Ryan said the companies, Global Power Generation, Woolworth Wind Farms and Wind Prospect, proposed to build about 400 turbines in the shire at five sites each with different models with some offering annual community funds up to $80,000.
The council has previously determined to oppose any more wind farms in the shire until the state government adopts national wind farm commissioner recommendations. But Cr Ryan said his motion did not support further wind farms, rather it helped broaden community benefit from developments should they proceed.
He also stated his opinion that a percentage of community funds paid by developers should be pooled and spent on a resource such as a medical or education facility.
"Different models should be looked at ... that would then be able to develop a much bigger project over a prolonged period of time that would benefit a wider area," Cr Ryan said.
He said large amounts of money injected into small communities over 25-year periods didn't "make sense" and he believed could change the fabric of communities.
"It may go into a community that has single school, large amounts of money being provided to that school might mean the parents and friends' association don't have to fundraise," Cr Ryan said.
"No fundraising, none of that networking, money everywhere. To me that would have a detrimental effect."
Cr Jim Doukas said he supported opportunities to spread the funds widely in the shire but opposed the motion because it lacked consultation with the communities.
Cr Jill Parker, along with Cr Daniel Meade and Cr Mick Wolfe, supported the motion.
"Wouldn't it be better to plan strategically to use it over 10 years, rather than think up something ad-hoc each year to make sure we use up the money?" Cr Parker said.
Cr Jordan Lockett and Cr Ian Smith were absent from the meeting.
Australian Wind Alliance Victorian community organiser Tony Goodfellow applauded the council for taking "a leadership role in making sure the community benefits from wind projects."
"To my knowledge it is a first. Moyne is on the front foot compared to other councils in this regard," Mr Goodfellow said.
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