Macarthur district residents, Merilyn Cook and Hamish Officer, together with representatives from the Victorian Wind Alliance (VicWind), met with local MP, Dan Tehan in Warrnambool on Tuesday to discuss the benefits the Macarthur Wind Farm is bringing to their community.
“There’s a historic opportunity right now to benefit from this shift of power generation from coal and gas regions to wind regions like South West Victoria,” said Mr Bray, VicWind’s State Coordinator.
"With 20 locals permanently employed, the Macarthur wind farm is now the biggest single employer in this rural district.” said Mr Bray.
Research by Sinclair Knight Merz estimates the Macarthur and nearby Oaklands wind farm projects have increased Gross Regional Product by over 1 percent or $66.8m per year. Wind projects with permits to proceed in Wannon would deliver around four times this amount again.
“While there is a determined group of people who are opposing the wind farm, I think it’s fair to say that the majority of people either support the project or are not bothered by it,” said Ms Cook, Macarthur resident and business owner.
“With the marvellous Mount Eccles nearby and now the largest wind farm in the Southern hemisphere, Macarthur is ready to start attracting the tourist trade it deserves.”
“Hosting a wind farm provides a reliable base income on my current investment in farmland and complements my existing agricultural operations,” said Mr Officer, a farmer who hosts part of the Macarthur wind farm on his property. Mr Officer is also a founding member of VicWind.
“I know plenty of other farmers in the district who have recognised this opportunity and are actively working to get involved in hosting wind farms,” continued Mr Officer.
“I conveyed to Mr Tehan just how valuable wind farming can be in Wannon, especially when rain is scarce and commodity prices aren’t running our way.”
VicWind is a newly-formed alliance of small businesses, wind farmers, wind workers and community groups who support more wind energy for our state.
The founding members of VicWind come from communities across Victoria: Ararat, Bacchus Marsh, Ballarat, Bellbrae, Bendigo, Castlemaine, Creswick, Daylesford, Foster, Hamilton, Korweinguboora, Leonards Hill, Lexton, Macarthur, Melbourne, Portland, Riddells Creek, Spring Hill, Trentham, Waubra and Wonthaggi.
- 0434 769 463, Andrew Bray, VicWind
Photo: L-R: Dan Tehan MP, Merilyn Cook, Andrew Bray, Angela McFeeters, Hamish Officer