There’ll be many steps along the way to fix Victoria’s approach to wind power but we’ve just taken the first one – right in through the Premier’s door.
On Thursday, I joined with VicWind members - John, a farmer from Meredith, Michael, a volunteer from Melbourne and Simon, one of our directors - to meet with senior advisors from Premier Napthine’s department.
On the table were the anti-wind laws put in place by Dr Napthine’s predecessor, Ted Baillieu. We were there to let them know about the problems and look for ways to fix them.
While early impressions from Dr Napthine are looking good (“I think wind turbines are majestic and I actually love them!” he said recently. Aw shucks, so do we, Mr Premier!), we’re keen to see him put his money where his mouth is and start making some changes.
In asking us to this meeting, Dr Napthine has responded to concerted pressure from VicWind members to take this issue seriously. We’re delighted he’s responded so positively.
We would never have gotten in the door without a series of emails sent by VicWind members to the Premier’s Department over the last month and a brave action run by our members, together with supporting groups, outside Dr Napthine’s office.
So, a great big well done to all those members who wrote to the Premier and fronted his Warrnambool office to argue the case for wind!
And the prospects for progress are very interesting indeed. We discussed:
- the veto right for residents within 2km,
- the prospects of sharing lease payments more widely throughout the community,
- the multitude of inconsistencies between laws for wind farms and other developments (every one of Victoria’s coal-fired power stations is operating inside a wind no-go zone!), and
- the importance of developers sourcing their wind towers locally
There’ll be plenty to discuss on these fronts in the near future, but for the moment let’s celebrate that our calls for a better deal for wind and wind communities in Victoria are being heard.