OUR SAY: Wind farm research a more sensible option

THERE is no doubt planning laws are complicated pieces of legislation at any level, but when it comes to major projects there are rightly extra provisions in place to minimise adverse impacts.

When it comes to the controversial and passionately-debated topic of wind farms the planning process is lengthy and onerous.

But changes unveiled by the state government last week have the potential to make that process even longer.

In short, the change redefines wind farms as state significant developments rather than critical infrastructure as declared by the former Labor government.

The critical infrastructure tag is attached to projects considered essential to the state for economic, social or environmental reasons, usually applying to things like highways.

The changes have been touted as restoring community appeal rights.

While this may be true, it does not give opponents any certainty their concerns will be taken on board.

WINDS OF CHANGE TOO LATE TO STOP FLYERS CREEL PROJECT

The appeals process will remain lengthy, expensive and filled with legalese to wade through.

There is no real appeal process for the Flyers Creek wind farm, determined under the old system, without the minister’s support.

For some, the change will be seen as the state government appeasing a minority - those opposed to or affected by wind farms - when in reality ordering more research into the affects of wind farms would be a more sensible, albeit more costly, approach that would be almost certainly met with support on both sides of the fence. 

Under the old system, which applied to Flyers Creek, opponents and supporters were able to write submissions stating their case and also had the opportunity to front the Planning Assessment Commission to voice their opinion before a decision was made.

So it is hard to argue there was little consultation or room for the community to speak out.

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