Wind turbines’ blades created pressure waves that “resonate in the skulls” of people living as far away as five kilometres.’ – Pru Goward, NSW Minister for Medical Research and Assistant Minister for Health, 19/10/2015
These words are totally kooky.
NSW has a great opportunity to become one of Australia’s leading states for wind farms but when a government minister with ‘health’ in her title is trying to scare people about wind farms, the Premier needs to step in.
These are not the views of her own department, NSW Health or of the nation’s pre-eminent health research body, the National Health and Medical Research Council who found there was no consistent evidence that wind farms impact people’s health.
Nor are they the views of the Baird government. In fact, they’d have been more at home in the government of anti-wind ex-Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
It’s critical that Premier Mike Baird distances himself from this attack on wind farms. He needs to hear his own constituents tell him that wind-bashing like this is just not on.
The potential for wind energy to drive jobs and investment in NSW is massive. Right now NSW has 7,000 megawatts of wind farm projects in the NSW planning system, with development approval, or under construction. This equates to around $11 billion of potential investment and over 2,500 full-time jobs in construction and operation.
It’s a deep irony that Minister Goward’s own electorate of Goulburn is one of the places that stands to benefit most from new wind farm development.
It’s also a good chance for Premier Baird to finally legislate wind farm planning guidelines to promote new wind development that have been languishing in draft form for nearly four years.
While anti-wind politicians like Pru Goward are busy taking pot shots at wind farms, New South Wales’s reputation as a state to build wind farms falls behind that of Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.
Last week, in the Upper House of parliament the government supported a motion reiterating the NHMRC’s findings that wind farms are safe and that “this House reiterates its support for the wind energy sector in New South Wales”. This is a good first step but we need to hear it from the Premier himself.