MOYNE Shire residents are holding their ground against regional Victoria’s growing number of wind farm supporters, according to mayor Jim Doukas.
Renewable energy company Pacific Hydro yesterday released results of a telephone poll indicating overwhelming support for the construction of wind farms in regional Australia.
The survey from independent research company QDos interviewed 1000 residents in 10 communities with wind farms in development or operation across New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria, including Waubra and Portland.
The level of support for wind farms was 83 per cent overall with just 14 per cent opposed to their development.
However, Cr Doukas said his constituents remained generally opposed to wind farm projects in the shire.
“If you went up around the Macarthur area I don’t think you’d get that sort of result and certainly not around The Sisters,” he said.
“Over the time I’ve been in council involved in wind farms, it seems if you’ve got one on your property it’s terrific.
“If you haven’t, some people have concerns, and now that we know more about them and the issues involved in construction, there’s more and more community people expressing concerns.”
He said while some opposed living near wind farms, many criticisms in the Moyne Shire came from the difficulties caused by construction and increased traffic.
“We’ve seen road issues — look at the trucks going through the main street of Koroit.
“A lot of the time they don’t stick to their approved traffic management plan and there’s nothing we can do about it.
“There’s got to be penalties like any other industry to make people toe the line.”
There are six wind farm projects in the Moyne Shire, either in operation or with plans to begin construction this year.
A further eight applications are sitting on the table waiting to be approved, but even after denying permits in the past, Cr Doukas said the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) and the state government could rubber stamp projects.
“VCAT extended the permit for Salt Creek, and the minister gave permits to projects at Ryan’s Corner and Hawkesdale.
“We rejected them and they would’ve had to resubmit.
“There’s not much we can do about it.”
Pacific Hydro general manager Lane Crockett said the survey results confirmed most regional Australians supported wind generation in their communities. “We have an obligation to our children’s future to create less pollution and the community recognises that wind energy is a great way to shift from polluting energy sources to clean, green renewable energy,” Mr Crockett said.
“Wind energy is the most cost-effective renewable energy source in Australia and is a way to create additional investment and jobs in regional areas.
“This recent poll shows that there continues to be overwhelming support for wind farms and the recent negative messaging and constant attacks by some in the community does not appear to be altering public opinion too much.
“The results of this poll should serve as a clear message to politicians and policy developers in all three states that most people like wind power.”
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