Sign our petition!
30th June 2020 Announcement
Since I last reported to you the objections that were lodged have been before two directions hearings at VCAT. A legal point was taken by McDonald Murholme on behalf of the objectors. That legal point may result in the application for the turbines, which was approved by the Minister, being refused.
The point of law is that Synergy Wind failed to comply with the formalities before making the application in the first instance. It failed to seek the written consent of certain landowners who had a dwelling within one kilometre of a turbine
It is argued by the barrister employed by McDonald Murholme that a failure to comply with the preliminary matters is of critical importance. VCAT is now considering the validity of this argument. This consideration requires a great deal of work on the part of the objectors and Synergy Wind and will take many months to determine.
The objectors intend to file nine affidavits deposing to the serious breach by Synergy Wind.
A great deal of work has been performed by the objectors and in particular Graeme James. Graeme has meticulously plotted the location of the proposed turbines. In doing so he has exposed the factual basis upon which the legal argument is made.
We are quietly optimistic that VCAT will see the importance of the objection and will overturn the Minister’s approval of the turbines.
That may stop Synergy Wind forever because they may not want to go through the process again, even if they could start from the beginning in a fresh application.
There are too many people to thank for their participation in the process to date. Maree Avery is acting as a communication hub as well as keeping spirits high in times of real despair. She has organised a fighting fund and we thank her for doing so. McDonald Murholme is providing all the legal work without charge to the objectors but there are many expenses to be paid, including for the barrister that necessarily needs to be employed and the town planner, which are essential to the volunteer work being done. If you are able to make a donation to what looks like becoming a very successful campaign, probably the first-ever in the world to likely defeat a wind farm proposal, we would welcome your support. Please contact Maree Avery on 0421 222 242 or email@example.com
Alan J. McDonald
Save Yarram Committee
17th January 2020 Announcement
Those of you who have lodged formal objections to the wind farm permit with Minister Richard Wynne will have been notified of the issue of a permit for the turbines. The permit was signed by the Minister on Sunday the 22nd of December 2019 and was sent to affected residents on the 31st December 2019. Many may not have received it until early January. This consumed about half of the 28 days in which people were permitted to lodge objections to the permit with VCAT.
Many of the objectors met in Yarram last night and a number of objectors are now lodging their forms today and over the weekend. I have completed an objection for people who would like to sign up and who would like to object to the permit but have not had the opportunity to do so.
If you wish to sign up to object, please email your name, phone number and address to me and I will include you in my objections by 9am Monday.
These are the grounds of our objections as follows:
That the turbines are incompatible with the current established productive agricultural use of the land within of a 2km radius of each turbine.
That the turbines are incompatible with the long established residential settlement with the land with a 2km radius of each turbine.
The permit holder has neither the business or managerial capacity nor the proven record nor the experience nor the capital resources to meet the requirements of the permit. The permit has failed to consult with all of the persons affected by the permit.
The permit is defective in law and in practice by purporting to give the permit holder 10 years to complete the work and further fails to address the issues of a part completion of the works within that decade.
The time allowed in the commencement of the work and completion of the work is grossly excessive and introduces uncertainty for both the residents and those enforcing the permit conditions, introducing unnecessary risk and unacceptable uncertainty.
The environmental damage from the construction of the turbines should have been assessed in an environmental effects statement but was not.
Alan J. McDonald
Save Yarram Committee
2018 Petition Announcement
Please read our letter to Richard Wynne, the Minister for Planning to save Yarram from Synergy Wind Turbines. If you agree to our objections and want to help us save Yarram, please sign the petition below!
Dear Richard Wynne, Minister for Planning,
We, the undersigned residents, landowners and interested persons request that you reject the application by Synergy Wind to receive a permit to build 34 x 200m wind turbines in South Gippsland, between Hedley and Yarram. We do so for the following reasons:
The proponent, Synergy Wind, previously was given a permit to build wind turbines at Yarram (Devon North). That wind farm did not go ahead because Synergy Wind was unable to utilise its permit, possibly because the project was unviable. Synergy Wind is a different company to the publicly listed Synergy, which is a successful environmental alternative energy provider. Synergy Wind has only one employee in Australia and from our enquiries, has never built a wind farm in Australia. It appears to have no experience, nor any track record building wind farms in Australia. Presumably, it intends to gain a permit and then seek to sell that permit to someone else that might build the turbines. Synergy Wind has been accused by some people of Devon North, Yarram of being guilty of “lies, frustrations and uncertainties” as seen here:
Reasons for Objection
The wind turbines should be offshore
The proposed wind turbines are in an unsuitable location. You will be aware that 250 turbines are proposed in the ocean nearby, by a different wind energy developer. The ocean is a more suitable location for all of the turbines, including Synergy Wind’s proposed 34. There is no need for wind turbines on land that is very close to the coastline.
The onshore location is unsuitable
The area between Hedley and Yarram is a very attractive scenic location, rich in natural resources for dairy farming, beef farming, tree nurseries and tourism. Compared to the sites where wind farms have been successfully developed in Western Victoria, this area is much more closely populated because:
it is rich agricultural land with their good rainfall;
farms are much smaller and land use more intense;
it is a very good place to live in terms of climate, social and physical communities;
there is a valuable underground water storage which is used by local farmers to irrigate the land, making it highly productive. The land is suitable for irrigation because it is mostly situated on the rich Albert river flats.
Landscape values need to be protected
The shire of Wellington has over a long period of time protected the landscape values of the Yarram Hedley area. It has done this in many ways, and the proposed wind turbines are contrary to reserving these long-term landscape values, which are otherwise embodied in the planning scheme.
The turbines are too close to the tourist rail trail
The area is highly suited to tourism and there is a rail trail approved to run right through the middle of the proposed wind farm, which will inevitably be disrupted by the close proximity of the turbines. In other areas of special significance, such as the Yarra Valley, Mt Macedon and west of Wilsons Promontory, wind turbines have been prohibited. They should also be prohibited on land which has similar qualities and values in South Gippsland, around Yarram.
The infrastructure in the area is not capable of supporting the development
The roads are not built to allow the safe transportation of the very heavy turbines as seen at the Bald Hills Wind Farm where there was serious damage to roads.
Furthermore, the clearing of much vegetation is also unacceptable. The vegetation proposed to be cleared provides not only a valuable habitat for birds and wild life, but also shelter from winds for livestock. It is difficult to establish vegetation and once established, that vegetation should not be destroyed, merely to allow the transport of a one-off wind farm development.
The wind turbines are incompatible with the high agricultural use of the land
The working conditions of local farmers who do not have wind farms on their land but wish to remain working their land (whether they be dairy farmers or beef farmers), will be adversely impacted in two ways:
where they are close to the wind farms; by the noise and visual impact
where the land is devalued, causing them significant financial loss and reducing the financial viability of their farms, or the chance to expand their farms
Wind turbine guidelines not met
The proposal does not meet the requirements of Victorian government guidelines for wind farms in a number of ways. We will provide a detailed analysis of the failure to meet the guidelines shortly.
Ongoing health issues
The effect on neighbouring farmers' health is referred to in expert reports, including by Canadian Family Physicians and from James C Smith and Associates.
No environmental impact statement
An environmental impact statement was exempted and has not been obtained. An EES is beneficial to a proper analysis.
Suitability/capacity of proposed developer not established
Synergy Wind has not demonstrated any ability to develop a project such as proposed, anywhere in Australia. It failed to develop a much smaller wind farm for which it was given a permit in 2007, despite having many years to get the project started. Synergy Wind should be expected to demonstrate its capacity and ability and not merely rely upon some consultants’ reports, which anyone could commission. In 2018, it admits to having just one full-time employee in the country, and at an information session on Wednesday 12th September, it relied on a public relations consultant with no one from the company present. The company's address is a post office box.
Therefore, the need for renewable energy can be met by additional wind turbines offshore, not around Hedley and Yarram. Throughout the world, wind turbines are located in the ocean rather than on high-quality agricultural land, which is closely populated. The same principles should apply here and the application for the permit should be refused.