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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

17 August 2006

WA Environment Minister values politicians above communities

Western Australia's Environment Minister is indulging in hypocrisy yet again by urging the Australian Government to abandon a proposed national wind farm code because the Labor states don’t want it.

This is the same Environment Minister who told a conference of his counterparts that:

“… sometimes when local communities don’t agree you have to roll over the top of them …”

(Mark McGowan, Environment Protection and Heritage Committee meeting, Sydney, 23 June 2006)

Clearly Mr McGowan believes it’s okay to ignore local communities, but not Labor Party politicians.

This is the second time in two days Mr McGowan has resorted to hypocritical attacks.

Yesterday, he had the gall to attack the Australian Government over the approval, subject to 60 strict conditions, of a brickworks at Perth Airport, when his own Government has allowed kiln expansions to proceed at existing Perth brickworks without any formal assessment and regardless of the views of the community.

This is also the same Government that has allowed a Swan Valley brickworks to increase its hydrogen fluoride kiln stack emissions to five times the proper limits for two years (The West Australian, 9 July 2006).

Wind power is an important source of renewable energy and the Australian Government wants to ensure it continues to form part of our energy mix, in a way that is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.

However, an increasing number of communities are expressing concern about the potential impact of wind energy installations on landscapes, amenity and threatened species. Much of these publicly expressed concerns centre around the consistency and transparency of the public consultation process – essentially communities want to make sure that their views are heard and given a high priority.

The wind energy industry is also concerned about the need for greater consistency and transparency in the wind energy installation planning and approval process. These concerns are behind the proposal for a national wind code and I remain keen to pursue the idea. I will be convening a community round table at Parliament House in Canberra in the next few weeks to discuss the issue.

Media contact:
Rob Broadfield (Senator Campbellís office) 02 6277 7640 or 0409 493 902

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