NSW government capitulates to anti-wind fringe

Media release March 20, 2014

The NSW Government has capitulated to anti-wind farm fringe groups by re-opening the development application process for previously approved wind farm projects.

NSW Planning and Infrastructure Minister Brad Hazzard has directed that nine wind farm projects now be considered as State Significant Developments instead of being dealt with under the Part 3A transitional provisions that are a legacy from Labor’s time in office. This decision is likely to see previously approved projects end up in the Environment Court.

“The NSW government has sown the seeds of community division by reopening the planning process for these wind farms,” said Friends of the Earth renewables spokesperson Leigh Ewbank.

“A noisy minority refuse to accept wind energy and continues to make unsubstantiated claims that the technology has health impacts. This decision looks like a capitulation to those elements.”

The previous planning system struck a sensible balance in decision making.

“It seems that NSW has joined the Victorian government in privileging a minority of vocal anti-wind campaigners over the majority of the community, who continue to support renewable energy,” said Leigh Ewbank.

“Wind energy is the cheapest form of new power generation. It creates jobs and provides drought-proof income to land owners while helping us address climate change.”

All available polling shows strong public support for wind energy — including amongst Coalition voters.

“The small and noisy anti-wind movement gets disproportionate attention from conservative governments around Australia”, said Friends of the Earth coordinator Cam Walker.

“In contrast, the many thousands of community members who are opposing new coal and gas proposals across the state are being ignored by the NSW government,” added Walker.

“Yet again the NSW government has shown it is willing to favour the interests of the coal and gas lobbies over the legitimate concerns of the community.”

Further comment:

Leigh Ewbank 0406 316 176

Cam Walker 0419 338 047