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Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
11 September 2006
Participants at a national roundtable on wind energy have agreed on the need for a National Code for Wind Energy Installations as a ‘matter of priority’, and to form a working group to drive its development.
Representatives of all spheres of government, the wind energy industry, the planning industry, community groups and non-government organisations attended the roundtable, hosted in Canberra today by Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell.
Senator Campbell said participants affirmed the importance of wind power in Australia’s energy mix, but acknowledged that concerns about its potential impact on the landscape and the environment must be addressed if the industry was to enjoy broad community support.
“Wind energy installations have grown rapidly under the 10 years of the Howard Government – increasing from 20 turbines to more than 650 turbines – and they will continue to make a major contribution to Australia’s efforts to tackle climate change,” Senator Campbell said.
“However, we need to balance the challenge of managing climate change with maintaining a strong economy and protecting environmental, cultural and landscape values.
“The community must be properly included in the planning process for new wind energy installations to ensure that community confidence in, and support for this important source of power continues.”
Senator Campbell said the Code would provide consistency, certainty and transparency in public consultation and approval processes.
It would include guidance for wind energy developers on engaging the community, including minimum consultation standards; recognise values of concern to local communities such as wildlife preservation, landscape and amenity; and promote and accommodate community needs in decisions about the siting of wind energy installations.
“The concept of community consultation and support, as it relates to the National Code, is a practical one. It will not require every individual community member’s agreement, but it will focus on the need to put in place processes to ensure that individuals, communities and stakeholder groups play a meaningful role in decisions that affect them.”
Senator Campbell thanked participants, saying the industry and the community would benefit from their work towards a National Code for Wind Energy Installations.
Media contact: Rob Broadfield 02 6277 7640 or 0409 493 902