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Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
16 October 2006
After more than a thousand days of secrecy, the Bracks Government has finally released its own environmental report into the effects a wind farm at Bald Hills in Gippsland would have on the highly endangered Orange-bellied Parrot.
The report from the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment was kept from the public by Planning Minister Rob Hulls because it did not agree with his politics over the Bald Hills wind farm.
The report first came to light when it was leaked to a Victorian newspaper earlier this year. Despite constant calls for Mr Hulls to release the report, he refused to make it public, while claiming that it was.
The DSE report, in it's section on the Orange-bellied parrot, concluded:
The Bald Hills Wind Farm proposal will increase the level of threat to the Orange-bellied Parrot.
It is highly likely that OBP's commuting between habitat patches in South Gippsland will fly across the site. Their commuting flights are often at heights encompassed by the rotor-swept area.
A conservative approach is therefore required, which acknowledges that this proposed development will increase the cumulative risk to the species posed by the wind farm industry.
This report, which clearly acknowledges the threat to one of the world's most endangered animals, has been gathering dust in Mr Hulls' bottom draw for more than three years, while he played out his cynical politics over the environment.
Politics is very much a part of the Bracks Government's decision making on the environment. At the same time as it was railing against my decision to protect the highly endangered OBP at Bald Hills, it was refusing to give approval to a wind farm proposal at Yaloak because it would pose a threat to wedge-tailed eagles, which are neither endangered or low in numbers. There are over 100,000 wedge-tailed eagles near Yaloak.
One can only conclude that in Victoria, a bird's level of endangerment is directly linked to the political endangerment of Labor politicians in seats where wind farms are proposed.
Media Contact: Rob Broadfield 0409 493 902