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Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
21 September 2004
Labor would not 'pander to a small minority' an international conference has been told in reference to community opposition to the Bald Hills wind farm.
Federal Environment Minister, Senator Ian Campbell, said he was appalled by the trivialisation of an important local issue by the Victorian Labor Energy Minister.
"Latham Labor's policy is for more wind farms and in Victoria, Labor has removed the local council's say in the location of wind farms in South Gippsland," Senator Campbell said.
"This is in spite of ruling out wind farms on the Great Ocean Road - if you live on the western side of Port Phillip Bay you get a say, but if you live on the east side of the Bay you get none."
Senator Campbell addressed a carbon capture and storage conference in Melbourne last week where two-thirds of the world's energy producing nations were represented.
"Australia is a leader in developing renewable energy resources and we need to ensure that the community understands these technologies.
"While there is wide awareness of the challenges of climate change, it is very important that governments develop public support for the technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
"If you get governments imposing solutions on communities, such as the Victorian Government has done to the community near Bald Hills, then you will get pushed back."
The Victorian Labor Energy Minister responded by saying:
"Victoria is leading in trying to take the community with us in relation to installing wind energy without at the same time taking the view that even a small minority opposed to wind should therefore set it back and that it should not be introduced to pander to a small minority." Transcript of proceedings Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum 13 September 2004
His comments backed statements about wind power by Labor's federal environment spokesman:
"...we must make a clear commitment now to developing wind energy." Wind Energy Potential, Media Statement 20 March 2003
"...it will be the beginning of a new trend in energy generation... I do not see why we can't have more renewable energy generation projects." Wind Farms a Key to the Future, Media Statement 18 October 2002
"The people of Gippsland who are opposed to the Bald Hills wind project should carefully consider their vote if they want a say in the future of their local area with respect to wind farms," Senator Campbell said.