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Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
Parliament House, Canberra
11 September 2006
Representatives of the Australian Government, local government, the wind energy industry, the planning industry, community groups and non-government organisations (the Participants) met today at a roundtable discussion to agree on action to progress the development of a National Code for Wind Energy Installations.
The Participants acknowledge the important contribution wind energy makes to Australia's renewable energy generation and its role in Australia's current and future energy mix.
The Participants acknowledge the rapid growth in wind farms in Australia over the past ten years of the Howard Government - an increase from 20 turbines to over 650 turbines at the present.
The Participants acknowledge that in order to effectively tackle the issue of climate change it is vital that the community is included in energy solutions.
The Participants recognise that community engagement is fundamental. It does not require every individual community member's agreement but focuses on the need to put in place processes to ensure that individuals, communities and stakeholder groups have a meaningful role to play.
The Participants agree on the need to balance the challenge of managing climate change impacts with the protection of community identified environmental, cultural and landscape values.
The Participants acknowledge community concern about the siting of wind farms, in particular, the potential for impacts on the landscape, turbine noise, land values and impacts on wildlife.
The Participants agree that consistency, certainty and transparency in policy making, public consultation and regulatory approval processes are critical to ensuring both developer and community confidence for the siting and development of wind farms.
The participants acknowledge the relevance of any existing community-consultation data/research undertaken by key stakeholders.
The Participants acknowledge the work that is being undertaken by the wind energy industry and the Australian Council of National Trusts - funded by the Australian Government - to strengthen the wind industry's Best Practice Guidelines by developing a methodology to assess landscape values.
The Participants agree that this work could be encapsulated in a National Code for Wind Energy Installations and that it should encompass all stages of wind project development, including: site selection and project feasibility; detailed assessment; planning application; construction; operation; and, decommissioning.
The Participants agree that key elements of the code should:
The Participants agree that the Minister will appoint a Working Group to work with the wind energy industry to develop a draft National Code for Wind Farms comprising: