Posted on 11. May, 2011 in Greening Victoria

Premier Ted Baillieu’s first State Budget has failed to provide funding for regional councils who will be burdened with more red tape following the Baillieu Government’s decision to give planning authority for wind farms to councils.

Shadow Planning Minister Brian Tee said regional councils would be forced to increase rates to cover costs for processing wind farm applications.

“The budget has failed to help struggling regional councils cope with the red tape created when the Government handed planning authority over wind farm applications to local councils,” Mr Tee said.

“The budget black hole is a clear breach of Minister Matthew Guy’s assurance that councils could go to his department for assistance.”

“This budget black hole will deliver costly delays and potential mistakes as councils try to evaluate wind farm applications on the smell of an oily rag.

“For Councils to do their job properly they will need to slug rate payers to fund the Government’s cost shifting.

“This is a slap in the face for rate payers stuck with the bill for implementing the maze of regulation being drawn up by this government.”

Mr Tee said regional councils may have to set up a department of experts to evaluate wind farm applications.

It appears that for each wind farm development application councils are now expected to:

  • Pay noise experts to ensure noise standards are being met;
  • Pay accountants to interpret the formula and implement the shared payment system for landowners whose properties are within one kilometre of the nearest turbine;
  • Pay a lawyer to ensure that a wind farm developer has a valid contract with each property owner that has a house in a 2km radius of a wind farm; and
  • Become or pay construction and engineering experts to implement new guidelines relating to the construction and operation of wind farms to monitor noise, strobe lighting and flickering.

“This regulatory maze will divert already scarce council resources and we have seen the Baillieu Government turn a deaf ear to calls from Colac Otway Shire, Southern Grampians Shire, Moyne Shire Council, and Surf Coast Shire who are desperate for some assistance to deal with the avalanche of red tape dumped on them,” Mr Tee said.

“Councils seeking funding to help assess the merits of an individual wind farm application will instead be given a show bag with pictures, tool kits and reference documents.”


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