Victorian Government announces changes to wind farm planning laws

THE Victorian Government last week announced changes to wind farm planning laws that will reduce the household veto for a proposed wind turbine development from two kilometres to one kilometre from a dwelling.

According to the government, Australia is forecast to attract $36 billion in renewable energy investment by 2020. The announcement aims to send a strong signal to investors in the renewable energy sector and help create jobs and generate economic benefits for regional communities.

Albany Wind Farm, WA
Above: A wind farm at Albany in Western Australia / by David Clarke.

While local councils will retain responsibility for the enforcement of wind energy facilities for new and existing planning permits, decisions on new wind farm planning applications will now rest with the Minister for Planning.

"We said we would restart the industry by encouraging community wind farms and today we're keeping our word," Planning Minister Richard Wynne said in a statement last Friday.

"These changes will support our wind farm industry – creating jobs, providing clean energy to our homes and minimising our impact on the environment."

The government has also announced the development of a Victorian Renewable Energy Action Plan, which will outline a comprehensive set of measures to attract Victoria's share of renewable energy investment.

Photo: Albany Wind Farm, WA / David Clarke / Licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 2.0.

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