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Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
31 March 2006
Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, has called for a national agreement that would allow local communities to have a say in Australia's renewable energy future.
"It is critical for the environment that we create a future with low greenhouse gas emissions and this means we need more power from wind and solar," Senator Campbell said.
"Wind power is an excellent source of renewable energy, but it is being given a bad name because the views of local communities are often ignored when large-scale wind farm proposals are being considered in their area."
Senator Campbell said he had written to the States and Territories, proposing a national code be established to ensure local communities have a say about wind farm developments in their areas.
NSW Planning Minister Frank Sartor today echoed these sentiments, announcing today that he would review guidelines for wind farm approval in his state to address community concerns:
"I think the timelines will be such that I'll be able to review the guidelines first without having necessarily to hold things up. But, look, it's one of those difficult balancing acts. It's a really difficult issue. I know communities often don't want them, on the other hand they're a really good thing to do environmentally."
(Frank Sartor, ABC Radio News, Canberra, 31 March 2006)
"I will write to Frank Sartor today to suggest that he becomes my partner in building this national code so that local councils and local communities have a bigger say," Senator Campbell said.
"A consistent national agreement would empower local communities and include them in the decision-making process because they have the local knowledge about the potential impacts on the landscape, property values and wildlife in their area.
"We have seen an explosion of windpower in Australia under the Australian Government's policies. So far, wind farms with a total generating capacity of about 900 megawatts have been installed or are under construction. That's enough to meet the electricity needs of about half a million Australian homes.
"It's important that wind energy is seen to be a friend to Australia's energy future.
"The challenge of climate change demands even more renewable energy and the principle of democracy demands greater consultation with local communities."
Renae Stoikos (Senator Campbell's office) 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434