An ill wind blows

Macedon Ranges Sustainability Group (MRSG) and Friends of the Earth (FoE) have renewed calls on the State Government to revoke wind farm bans imposed by the former Baillieu government.

The call follows the release of a FoE report detailing the economic and environmental costs of the anti-wind farm laws to Victoria. 

FoE says projects worth more than $864 million have either been lost or scrapped due to these laws. 

FoE spokesperson, Leigh Ewbank, said the report findings raise fresh questions about the government's wind farm laws as the state heads to the polls for a November election.

"Voters will be paying close attention to where the parties stand on renewable energy. All available polling shows Victorians want more wind farms. The government's anti-wind farm laws are an electoral liability," Mr Ewbank said.

The laws divided the electorate of Macedon and prevented MRSG from building a community owned wind farm project. 

"The State Government's anti-wind farm laws prohibited our project without any consultation or justification," MRSG spokesperson, Barry Mann said.

"We'd love to follow in the footsteps of Hepburn Wind and build a community wind farm in Woodend."

Liberal candidate for Macedon, Donna Petrovich, defended the 'no go' zoning of the Macedon Ranges.

"The natural beauty and landscape character of the Macedon Ranges deserves our protection," Ms Petrovich said. 

"The Liberal Coalition policy offers this protection and surety of planning, unlike Labor's approach where communities and council did not have a say.

"This gives protection to Hanging Rock, Mount Macedon, the Cobaws and the rocky outcrops of Baynton and the Wombat Forest."

Labor candidate for Macedon, Mary-Anne Thomas, confirmed that Labor will move to revoke the current anti-wind laws, calling it bad policy on three fronts.

"Firstly, it has no regard for the wishes and aspirations of local communities," Ms Thomas said.

"Secondly, it is a policy that has cost jobs and investment at a time when Victoria's unemployment rate is at a 10-year high.

"And finally, it represents a lost opportunity to protect our environment by supporting and investing in renewable energy."

To view the report, search 'FoE Wind Energy Jobs Report' online.

* From our sister paper, the Macedon Ranges Guardian.

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