Baillieu government sending Victorians mixed messages

Victoria’s Baillieu government has come under fire for its “one state, two regulation” policy on wind farms in city and country areas.

The development of wind farms was restricted by the coalition government – which took power in Victoria in 2010 – by giving households the power to veto wind turbines within a two kilometre radius of their homes.

Proposed wind farms have to face planning rules which include a requirement “to obtain written consent from dwelling owners located within two kilometres of a turbine”. It appears now though that the rules for residents only apply in rural areas, and not in residential, industrial or business areas.

“How absurd that farm cows are ‘protected’ from wind farms but they are not dangerous for workers or those living in the suburbs,” said Opposition planning spokesman Brian Tee.

Clean Energy Council policy director Russell Marsh supports the easing of planning changes in the cities, but said planning rules in rural areas need to be eased.

“We have a frankly bizarre situation where the majority of the population supports wind energy, but a state government has legislated to make it harder to build,” Mr Marsh said.

Shortly after the Baillieu government was elected, it was estimated that the restrictions on wind farm development would cost the state over $3 billion.

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