Stretching from Seymour down to the outer northern suburbs of Melbourne, the McEwen electorate has some of the state’s best inland wind resources. It is home to the proposed wind farm project at Cherry Tree Range (currently held up in the planning system). Coupled with the community’s strong interest in wind energy at both the community and utility scale, wind energy is an important local issue for McEwen.
Share the scorecard among your friends, family and peers so they can understand where your candidates stand on this important issue. Originally posted on the VicWind website.
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Keep reading – there’s some responses from the candidates
Your major candidates
Victoria has the most polluting electricity sector of any state in Australia.
Question 1. Do you support wind energy’s role in cutting pollution from Victoria’s electricity sector?
Rob Mitchell MP ALP – Yes. We’re cutting carbon pollution and driving investment in clean energy technologies like solar and wind, as well as in energy efficiency. And we’re supporting Australian jobs, in existing and new clean technology industries.
Donna Petrovich Lib – Answer not submitted. See statement below. (Ms Petrovich has previously told state parliament, “the coalition looks towards the effectiveness and abundance of brown coal as a means to provide a reliable source of energy for Victorians. Until a reliable alternative source is located how, as a responsible government, can you condemn people to an unreliable power supply?” HANSARD)
Neil Barker Grn – Yes. Wind energy will form a vital part of our efforts to reduce carbon emissions in the future.
Commonwealth energy policy uncertainty and Victoria’s planning regulations are holding back wind energy development.
Question 2. Will you work to deliver the jobs, investment and farming income that wind power will bring to regional Victoria?
RM – Yes. Since Labor came to power, direct employment in the renewable energy industry has more than doubled to over 24,000. Wind capacity has trebled to over 3,000 MW and over 1 million solar PV systems have been installed – up from just over 7,400 under the Howard Government.
DP – Answer not submitted. See statement below and Question 5
NB – Yes. Wind farms will create hundreds of jobs across our region both during the construction phase and in the maintenance phase.
In 2010 the Renewable Energy Target mandates 41,000 GWh of large-scale clean energy in 2020.
Question 3. Do you support the 41,000 GWh target or do you have plans to either increase or decrease it?
RM – No change. Labor has strongly committed to the RET as currently legislated with its fixed 41,000GWh target. The Coalition, unlike Labor, would proceed with a review of the scheme in 2014 and when Abbott says review he means cut.
DP – Answer not submitted. See statement below (Liberal Party policy is that the Renewable Energy Target will be reviewed in 2014.)
NB – Increase. We support a 90% target for renewables by 2030. The renewable energy target should be reviewed whenever significant new scientific evidence is published which shows that stronger action to mitigate the effects of human induced climate change is required.
As Premier, Ted Baillieu introduced regulations that prohibit wind energy development in large areas of the state and allow individuals to veto wind developments.
Question 4. Will you urge the Victorian Government to repeal the highly restrictive wind energy regulations that were introduced by former Premier Ted Baillieu?
RM – Yes. I believe that communities should be able to have a say in turbine locations in the area they live, however concerns should be evidence and factually based.
DP – Answer not submitted. See statement below
NB – Yes. Wind farms can be strategically placed to fit with existing landscapes, and have no known health effects on humans.
One Victorian community has already built a wind farm and several more plan to follow, but are being held back due to State prohibitions and lack of Commonwealth policy.
Question 5. Do you support Victorian communities having the right to build their own wind farms?
RM – Yes.
DP – Answer not submitted.
Ms Petrovich has worked with anonymous anti-wind groups to halt community-owned wind farm proposals at Woodend and near Castlemaine, as well as commercial wind farm proposals in her region: “I have worked with groups such as the RATs (Residents Against Turbines) of Tooborac and a group that works out of Baynton and Sidonia, and they have had great concerns about the proposals for wind farms in the Macedon Ranges because of the lack of planning controls, the lack of buffers and the lack of consultation and consideration for their requirements.” HANSARD
NB – Yes. Community projects have enormous potential, and foster a co-operative approach to combatting climate change.
Statement from Ms Donna Petrovich
Rather than respond individually to each question, Liberal candidate, Donna Petrovich, chose to submit the following statement:
“The Coalition strongly supports sustainable energy initiatives which include wind energy where appropriate.
The Victorian State Government introduced planning regulations which enabled local communities and local government to have input into the location, desirability, and appropriateness of wind farms.
Previously under Labor planning policy local communities did not have a say and nor did local government. This was very often left to the Minister for Planning to make a decision.
The addition of a 2 km buffer provides protection to individuals who do not have wind turbines on their land and is a policy which is now being considered internationally as good planning policy.
In short we support alternative energy solutions but agree with the Victorian State Government that the rights of communities and proper planning must prevail.”
Scores have been allocated based on stated party policy, with some consideration of individual candidates’ written responses to our request for information and, where answers have not been submitted, their public comments to parliament and in the media.
✔✔ = strong support
✔ = support
? = support uncertain
X – not supported