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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

4 August 2006

Bald Hills legal action to end

Initiated by a request to me from the proponents of the Bald Hills wind farm, and following further discussions in recent days, the current court proceedings over my decision not to approve the wind farm will not proceed.

The case has been ended in the interests of avoiding lengthy and expensive litigation, and to enable the proponents to present new information to me.

The proponents will make a new submission to me in the coming weeks, taking into account relevant new information. This will also give them an opportunity to examine and comment on the cumulative impact study (the Biosis report) on which I based my original decision. I will then make a decision on all relevant information including the new submission on its merits.

The only certain beneficiaries of continuing the legal action are the lawyers themselves.

When I made my decision not to approve the Bald Hills wind farm on 3 April this year I did so on the basis of the Biosis report recommended by my Department which concluded that, while the impact of wind turbine collisions on the endangered Orange-bellied Parrot may be small, almost any negative impact on the species could be sufficient to tip the balance against its continued existence.

There are fewer than 50 breeding pairs of Orange-bellied Parrots left in the world.

Recent media reports have exposed the hypocrisy of the Bracks Government on this issue when it was revealed that advice to the Victorian Government from its own Department, which was buried, also expressed concern about the threat that the Bald Hills wind farm posed to the Orange-bellied Parrot. The Age newspaper quoted the report as warning that it was “highly likely” the parrot would fly through Bald Hills at the same height as the rotor blades. It further revealed that the report says:

“The Bald Hills wind farm proposal will increase the level of threat to the Orange-bellied Parrot…. A conservative approach is therefore required which acknowledges that this proposed development will increase the cumulative risk to the species posed by the wind farm industry”.

The Age quoting the Victorian Government Department of Sustainability and Environment report, 29 July 2006

Media contact:
Rob Broadfield 02 6277 7640 or 0409 493 902

Commonwealth of Australia