States reject Coalition and cross-bench crack-down on wind farms

State and territory environment ministers this week unanimously rejected a push by the Federal Coalition government and cross-bench Senators to regulate noise from wind turbines in the same way as pollution from coal fired generators, and to introduce uniform planning rules for wind farms.


The proposals were presented by Federal environment minister Greg Hunt at a meeting of state and territory ministers on Wednesday. They were part of a deal struck between the Coalition and the cross-bench Senators who oppose wind farms, and want tighter rules on their development.

The cross-benchers wanted wind farm “noise” to be treated in the same way as the emission of particulates from coal mines and power plants, smoke stacks from factories and vehicle exhausts, and included in the suite of National Environment Protection Measures.

The states rejected this unanimously, along with a proposal presented by Hunt for wind farm guidelines to become national-based rather than state-based, another recommendation from the draft release of the Senate inquiry into wind farms chaired by anti-wind Senator John Madigan.

All the states insisted that planning was a matter for the states, and were not interested.

Cross-bench Senators such as Madigan and David Leyjonhelm are virulent opponents of wind farms, as are Senators Bob Day and Nick Xenophon. The cross-benchers have been leading a Coalition supported wind inquiry which wants stricter measure on wind farms, if not stop them altogether.

The Coalition itself is no fan on wind farms. Prime Minister Tony Abbott says they are ugly, noisy and possibly a threat to health, and Treasurer Joe Hockey says they are “objectionable”, a view he has repeated often.

The Coalition has sought to stop the Clean Energy Finance Corporation from financing any wind farm developments, in a controversial move interpreted as an attempt to make it near impossible for the CEFC to fulfil its mandate.

Hunt said in a press release on Friday that the ministers did recognise the health impacts of airborne particles, and agreed to strengthen the reporting standards for particles (PM2.5 and PM10) in the National Environment Protection (Ambient Air Quality) Measure.

Full details of what they agreed on can be found here. 


25 responses to “States reject Coalition and cross-bench crack-down on wind farms”

  1. Chris Fraser Avatar
    Chris Fraser

    Planning laws are set by the States. Some LNP coalitions amongst them too. Let’s tell those Commissioner-loving interfering bastards exactly where to get off.

  2. BarleySinger Avatar

    The distance form a wind turbine to a home is usually quite far. Sound levels drop dramatically with distance. AND of somebody in some part of the world proved the noise was a health risk & it was proven valid…. the answer would be to put NOISE CANCELLATION technology on the things.

    The USA has military TANKS with noise cancellation that is so good that the engine and tracks of the tanks are nearly silent. Noise cancelling headphones are inexpensive. This is *not* a real issue.

    1. john Avatar

      Studies have shown it is impossible if the wind is above 10 kph to detect any infrasound from wind turbines because the sound from trees drowns it out.

    2. mick Avatar

      is that inside or outside

  3. john Avatar

    Australian’s do elect some strange people to both houses of parliament.
    Why this hatred of RE in particular wind?
    It is not rational so one must question as to the ability of people to make decisions for the better good of the nation on other matters.

    1. Miles Harding Avatar
      Miles Harding

      Who said anything about government for the people?
      We have government of the people for the corporations and the voters apparently like that idea!.

      1. john Avatar

        How exactly to account for the outcome if elected people are so very poorly informed.
        It is astounding to me that we have incompetent representatives elected perhaps it is a boil down of the electors are they so stupid honestly

  4. Mike Dill Avatar
    Mike Dill

    Giles, Please do a spelling and grammar check before you post these things. I do like getting the articles quickly, but there are places where it was a difficult read as the spell checker put the wrong words in.

  5. JIm Avatar

    Nick Xenophon’s anti-wind stance is baffling. Is it about differentiating himself from the Greens? Why choose a boutique issue for politicians wedded to fossil fuel interests, including climate laggards who show no apparent interest in noise pollution concerns or landscape preservation more generally? It makes no sense for a ‘moderate’ Senator for SA to take a stance that cuts across clean energy job creation in his state. Is it a case of Nick not doing his homework, or getting too close to anti-green ideologues funded by you know who?

    1. mick Avatar

      yep I don’t get his stance on wind ive been watching him for a few years and consistently come away thinking that he has the best interests of the public at heart

      1. john Avatar

        Yes he does however he is able to go off with the fairies on wind

        1. mick Avatar

          that’s what confuses me his training was as a lawyer which should be about cold hard facts

      2. JIm Avatar

        Hence my use of word ‘baffling’. Complex man who is hard working etc but when he gets it badly wrong, and isn’t acting like a progressive thinking SA senator should in my view, questions need to be asked

    2. Paul Andrew Avatar
      Paul Andrew

      I’ve heard him speak about renewables and he’s all for renewables but just doesn’t want to pursue any more wind. he thinks we have enough (in SA atleast) and receives complaints from farmers and regional communities about them so he’s not convinced they’re the best solution. he is a big fan of solar though and SA could really do with some large scale solar (thermal or PV) to compliment the mix. he’s also a fan of wave and geothermal etc but just doesn’t seem to agree with wind

      1. mick Avatar

        hair do like that would you but a bit sensibly I thought I saw him talking up the solar storage proposal in pt augusta

  6. JustThink4Once Avatar

    It’s a breath of fresh air to see the federal governments pi$$ing in the wind has suffered a serious blow. The states are obviously big fans and see these turbines for what they really represent. Energy insurance for future international compliance and long term local energy costs. What goes around, comes around….

  7. Leigh Ryan Avatar
    Leigh Ryan

    Now you might all be starting to realise that Politicians once elected have no intention of supporting the interests of their constituents only of following their own ideologies and the wants of the major donors to their election funds, serve you right.

  8. john Avatar

    Low level sound readings.
    I so remember doing readings in 1978 for a new car on the market and finding that outside of the hearing threshold of a human being that the sound levels both lower and higher were well over the 110 DB range.
    If anyone was to do a low level sound reading anywhere you will find huge levels of pressure especially in towns or near industrial areas this sudden finding of {wind turbines} making a sound pressure reading is pure puerile rubbish in the extreme.
    As is so increasing being found the preconceived expected result will be some outcome and as has been shown people who are of the view that this or that is going to have some outcome will exhibit some registration of some effect.
    This is well understood.
    To put it in simple ” I think these wind turbines are making a sound and they are hurting me” and surprise even when they are not turning yes they effect me !! !!!
    Conclusion dealing with delusional people is difficult in the extreme.

    1. Mathew Avatar

      Intriguing historical insight. I’m sure as you have said, coal power stations would give off large amounts of inaudible sound.
      I fully agree with your post 🙂

      1. john Avatar

        Very much so as does traffic, trains, planes, waves wind in trees or any industrial process.

        1. sean Avatar

          more importantly so does waves crashing on a beach.

          quick, tell everyone within 2km’s from the coast that they are going to be receiving more infrasound than a wind turbine! they will desert their properties immediately!

  9. Beat Odermatt Avatar
    Beat Odermatt

    Nick Xenophon is about the worst politician ever to feed from the trough of self promotion. I am sure nobody can trust him.

  10. George Papadopoulos Avatar
    George Papadopoulos

    Well perhaps that States object because they have approved a whole lot of inappropriate wind developments. Monitoring noise might mean a big and expensive clean up operation.

    1. Douglas Hynd Avatar
      Douglas Hynd

      If we are looking for areas where there are real expenses in cleaning up it is in the area of coal power stations and where incidentally we have strong evidence of health problems – the Morwell and the Latrobe Valley come to mind.

      1. George Papadopoulos Avatar
        George Papadopoulos

        Slight obsession with coal? Am I correct? You don’t seem to have any concerns over uranium mining, the endless CSG drilling, or perhaps all the mineral mining.

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