CALLS for a two-kilometre buffer zone around a proposed gas power station at Tarrone do not fall under the state government’s new residential exclusion zone, two state ministers said yesterday.
Planning Minister Matthew Guy and Regional Cities Minister Denis Napthine said the exclusion zone applied to occupied residences near wind towers as opposed to the Tarrone site, which was surrounded by farm land.
Speaking after a planning forum in Warrnambool, they said the new legislation was designed to force wind farm project companies to reach a suitable arrangement with nearby residents.
It does not apply to other type of power generators.
Last week a petition with 21 signatures of landholders was tabled in state Parliament calling for a two-kilometre buffer around the Tarrone station site because of noise and pollution concerns.
Mr Guy said he would take residents’ views on board, but could not comment on specifics because he was yet to receive an application from AGL for its proposed 350-megawatt station near Willatook.
The AGL proposal is still with Moyne Shire Council which is yet to make a recommendation to the minister.
“The two-kilometre legislation applies only to wind farms,” he said.
Dr Napthine said a buffer zone did not necessarily have to be on the proponent’s land and could cross into neighbouring properties, as was common in other large projects.
Moyne mayor Jim Doukas has called for buffer zones to be contained within the proponent’s boundaries.
“Why should a landowner be restricted just because there’s a wind farm nearby?” Cr Doukas asked.
“What happens if there’s a woolshed nearby or if the neighbouring farm is passed to the next generation and they decide to build a house nearby?”
He also suggested it would be better if the proposed Tarrone station and another at Orford were grouped closer rather than spread out with separate gas pipes and high-voltage power lines.