Tuesday, 7 June 2022
Golden Plains wind farm
Golden Plains wind farm
Mr RIORDAN (Polwarth) (19:00): (6396) My adjournment matter this evening is for the Minister for Planning, and the action I seek from the minister is for him to accept the invitation that was given to him by the Woods family of Wingeel Road in Barunah Park in my electorate and explain to them and to their community why he has overridden his own environment effects statement from 2018 to allow the Golden Plains wind farm to be built without any conditions and in contravention of his own planning panel report which recommended—and he agreed with this recommendation—that 47 turbines should have been removed.
Minister, your decision last sitting week to let the Southern Hemisphere’s largest wind farm go ahead as of right by incorporating its very existence into the Golden Plains planning scheme will have enormous consequences for regional and rural communities right across Victoria. By that planning decision last sitting week you have said that no matter what a planning panel says, no matter how much taxpayers money is spent on investigations, no matter what a court says—no matter what the Supreme Court says, no matter what the Court of Appeal says—no matter how it affects existing neighbours, no matter how it will affect wildlife, like the famous western Victorian brolgas, you are happy to override all this in order to support a big multinational developer to build one of the largest industrial complexes in regional Victoria.
The Golden Plains wind farm is an important part of this state’s move to renewable energy, but no matter how important a project is, it cannot override the fundamental rights and obligations of a government and it cannot override without any compensation the way people and communities live. The Woods family, for example, have had an accredited airfield on their property for 40 years. It is used extensively by local agricultural sprayers; it is used by the local community. This airfield will be rendered unusable and unsafe, and that puts not only the Woods family in a predicament, it puts other farming enterprises in a predicament and it fundamentally takes away a right that was there before without compensation and with nothing that these good, hardworking people can do to avoid it.
But it is not only those practical elements that are at risk, Minister; also your own environmental effects report found that the brolga habitats of western Victoria would be severely affected if 47 turbines were not removed from this project. In one fell swoop under the pressure of developers and in the dying days of your role as planning minister you have overlooked those recommendations that you yourself put to the project through this action. I really encourage you to take up the offer from the Woods family, come down and explain to them why you have done so.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! I remind members to make their remarks through the Chair and that the use of ‘you’ and ‘your’ is a reflection on the Chair.