A wind storm is brewing

On Monday, federal politicians will return to Canberra and continue to debate the issue in the Senate, after an inquiry recommended restrictions be implemented.


While some agree, others are labelling it an attack on Australia’s renewable energy sector.


“The final report is a reckless science denying document that Labor thoroughly rejects,” Labor Senator and committee member Anne Urquhart said.

The Greens went further, as did others, by not even attending the committee which took place around the country.

“Scaring people into thinking there’s a problem with wind farms can lead to unwellness but it’s not the wind farms themselves that are causing that,” Greens environmental spokesperson Larissa Waters said.

Treasurer Joe Hockey had some harsh words for wind power back in 2014, describing one farm near Lake George as “utterly offensive”.

Given that turbines are back in the spotlight, SBS decided to track down the farm’s owner.

“I find them quite majestic and aesthetic,” Harry Osborne, whose family has owned the land in Bungendore for 150 years, said.

Mr Osborne said the 10 turbines he agreed to have installed in 2009 had not only provided some assurance to his bank account, but given wind a purpose.

“The good thing about wind is it’s still useable downstream from me and other people can also make use of it because it wasn’t mine in the first place,” Mr Osborne said.

“There is a lot of money and money drives change and if we can drive change like this then I’ve got no problem with operators making money out of wind.”

Wind turbines all over Australia have some residents concerned about possible health implications.

Annie Gardner, a Victorian resident living near the Macarthur Wind Farm, said her health has suffered as a result.

“We’ve just got a forest of turbines around us and I just feel sick and have shocking headaches, chest burning and heart pounding, but not only that: there’s actually ground born vibration too,” Mrs Gardner said.

Mrs Gardner said despite rebuilding a house at the back of her large property the problem remains, and she and her husband have to leave twice a week as a result.

“It’s a huge problem. It is massive, and it has just been swept under the carpet and totally denied,” she said.

“The Australian public has been grossly misled and still continue to because the buzzwords seem to be green and climate change.”

After months of hearings, a Senate committee has reported back, calling for national rules restricting how farms are built and operated. It also calls for restrictions on how much noise can be emitted.

Senator David Leyonhjelm is one of the cross benchers who called for an inquiry into turbines, prompted he said by his electorate.

“I listened to their concerns with a growing sense of unease as they documented a litany of failures by government and the wind industry to address, or even acknowledge, what seemed like genuine issues,” Mr Leyonhjelm said in the Senate about the final report.

“The inquiry heard from turbine hosts who receive $200,000 a year in rent and regret they ever agreed to host turbines,” he said.

The Greens didn’t participate in the committee calling it a shame to reduce the Renewable Energy Target.

“We thought it was a complete waste of time,” Senator Waters said.

“Credible medical bodies like the Australian Medical Association didn’t go along either.”

The federal government has agreed to appoint a national wind farm commissioner, and said it would look into the rest of the findings of the final report. 

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