Doctor, I’m in trouble

 

Details have emerged of an extraordinary meeting between the new Victorian Premier, Denis Napthine, and residents who live near the Macarthur wind farm.

Napthine told the amazed locals wind farm developers don’t receive subsidies and he appeared not to know about Renewable Energy Certificates.

One story we heard (possibly apocryphal) was when asked about RECS, Napthine, a former vet, replied “there had been no choice but to put the dog down”.

Napthine then appeared to sidestep the issue, saying it was a Commonwealth matter.

(Have you noticed how the Feds when cornered on wind farms refer to it as a state matter?)

Then Napthine said it was a matter for local government.

Finally, we’re told, he sneered at the residents and said: “Who are you going to vote for?  Labour or the Greens? Then you’ll just get more turbines all over the place.”

All we can say to the good people battling the industrial torture chamber of Macarthur, based on Napthine’s track record, it won’t be long at all before you have someone else to vote for.

The report from an on-the-spot STT correspondent follows.

REPORT ON MEETING with DENIS NAPTHINE, FRIDAY, APRIL 12, 2013   3.45 pm in WARRNAMBOOL

Present: Denis Napthine, Premier and our local member  –  his secretary Liz McKinnon.

Ken Rees and Rosemary Rees, Ron Jelbart, Jan Hetherington, Maria Linke, Annie and Gus Gardner –  all residents severely impacted by the Macarthur wind farm.

David and Alida Mortimer – two turbine hosts from Millicent (Lake Bonney wind farm – Infigen) in South Australia, who are speaking out about their experiences and health impacts.

TAX PAYER SUBSIDY

Shortly after the meeting began we brought up the subject of the massive taxpayer subsidy which AGL receives from the Federal government.

Denis Napthine told us wind farm developers (AGL) are NOT  subsidised and that the developers do NOT RECEIVE ANY MONEY until they sell the power generated.

The group, literally all of us, claimed in unison “What about the RECs”?

We told him AGL receives Renewable Energy Certificates in addition to selling the power.

Denis did not believe this was the case.

He didn’t know how the REC system worked.  We told him how much AGL was being paid for each turbine ie between $500,000 and $1 million a year, then so much in addition to the RECs for each megawatt they produce.  This power is sold above other power, we told him.

Later during the meeting Gus told Napthine that there were two gas fired turbines down south, at the connecting point of the Macarthur wind farm, and proceeded to inform him that AGL would earn as much revenue in possibly two months as the Macarthur wind farm itself would earn in a year.

Napthine appeared to have no knowledge of this fact.

COMPLIANCE TESTING

We told him that the compliance testing was not carried out transparently.

Denis was told how the noise monitoring equipment hadn’t worked at the Gardner property (one of four designated properties for pre-construction and post-commissioning compliance testing) both in December, 2010, for at least two weeks, and then in February/March, 2013, for three out of the five weeks.

INADEQUATE GUIDELINES

We told him the Victorian Government wind farm guidelines were inadequate as they didn’t cover infrasound or low frequency noise which is what is killing the residents living near the Macarthur wind farm.

Annie asked Denis Napthine if he knew the difference between background noise/low frequency noise and infrasound ?  His answer was NO.  Denis didn’t know the difference, nor did he know anything about the different frequencies, ie hertz, which we attempted to explain to him.

INDEPENDENT NOISE TESTING

Annie told him that due to the poor record of Aecom, the acoustic company employed by AGL and all other wind developers, and their unacceptable equipment failure, residents had been forced to employ their own independent acoustic expert, at huge cost.

Annie presented Denis with the two very substantial accounts from Les Huson acoustic expert, for both background noise and infrasound testing at two designated compliance homes, and also pre-operation background noise testing.

She asked Denis if the State Government would be prepared to pay these large sums of money, as residents should not have pay for their own testing due to the shonky work of AGL’s acoustic engineers.

He chuckled, and told the residents that compliance was up to shire councils and not the State Government.

He said the State Government was NOT RESPONSIBLE.

He said that the whole wind farm setup was not State Government responsibility.

Residents then asked how Planning Minister Matthew Guy could sign off on a permit and then it not be the responsibility of State Government, but thrown to the local council.  The previous State Government had rubber stamped this permit.

ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION AUTHORITY

We asked would the State Government call in the EPA to fulfill their obligations and Napthine said NO.  It was not the responsibility of the Victorian Government  because wind farm developments were federally funded.

Residents  then asked would he instruct the Victorian EPA to follow the lead of the South Australian EPA and conduct noise testing?  He said he wouldn’t fund it but would support this because it was a Federal Government responsibility.

Napthine then suggested residents should concentrate on the Federal Government as it was only six months until the Federal election.

He claimed that no wind farm had been approved since this Victorian Government had been elected and was very proud of the 2km setback.  He said all permit applications would be looked at.  Residents questioned how thoroughly would they be investigated ?  Can’t remember his answer to that, but no doubt fobbed it off, as he did with many of our questions.

A resident asked him if he had been following the Cherry Tree Hill VCAT hearing?  His answer was NO.  He knew NOTHING about it.

Gus quoted paragraphs 116 and 117 of the findings of this hearing, where it was acknowledged that health impacts do actually occur as a result of exposure to wind turbines.

Napthine then brought up the NHMRC report in which he told us there was no evidence in any peer reviewed report.  He said evidence of global warming was peer reviewed and so everyone had to take notice.

He actually said to us that he didn’t doubt people were getting sick, but there is no peer-reviewed evidence.

Residents asked him why don’t Victorian Government departments come and carry out independent noise testing at Macarthur?  He answered “They cannot, as we have no case here – we, the people of Macarthur must obtain peer-reviewed evidence before the government can act” .

Annie took Denis Napthine to task over his comments on radio and in the general media on that day, claiming that the “wonderful” Macarthur wind farm would generate enough electricity to power 250,000 homes in Victoria and would do so for the entire twelve months.

Residents told him he had misrepresented the truth with these claims, on ABC radio Ballarat, earlier that morning.

Residents told him gas fired turbines were needed for back up when the wind wasn’t blowing, both at Mortlake and also at Tarrone.  This is when Gus told him about the two gas fired turbines next to the AGL connector down south.

He appeared not to have great knowledge of these other gas turbines.  He said “we all know about them needing back up”.  He then went into some great long spiel about this issue, to which our response was “the people don’t know that, so why don’t you explain all of this to them, instead of misleading the public with such grandiose quotes of number of homes powered by the Macarthur wind farm?”

Residents finally told him that they had always voted conservatively but they might have to have a serious re-think.  He sneered at us and then said “Who are you going to vote for?  Labor or the Greens, and then you’ll just get more turbines all over the place.”

He then proceeded to tell us that most of his constituents lived in the towns anyway, and believed in climate change and would welcome turbines.  Ron then said to him “So in other words we’re just collateral damage?”  He didn’t reply to that one.

The summary of the meeting and Denis Napthine’s attitude is as follows:

1.  If you haven’t any scientific/peer reviewed evidence, then you’re wasting your time.

2.  He would support research, but it’s not his responsibility.  It is the responsibility of the Federal Government and local councils.

3.  Our own local member and new Premier, Denis Napthine, is willing to put his own opinion and views on wind farms (which he was quoted several times during that day saying he literally loved wind turbines and thought they were majestic) above his duty of care for the health and well-being of his constituents, as our elected representative.

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. genie81 says:

    How does Napthine get into power without knowledge of the departments in his government? Does not know about RECs and funding for wind turbines. He says the NHMRC says no evidence but neglected to say that just because no evidence does not mean that there are no problems or words to that effect. What about peer-reviewed evidence from overseas? Oh I forgot we take no notice we find out for ourselves at peoples’ expense here. So sorry for Victoria with a premier so ignorant. He may require evidence but to put in on the Federal government is ridiculous when they are responsible for paying the wind industry. With more and more turbines being approved we will not be able to have electricity which will only be affordable by the wealthy.

  2. Jim Hutson says:

    The Victorian Premier a dill ? Come up to NSW, we have one that will leave him for dead, Labor Barry, worse than Labor, doesn’t give a dam about anyone.
    One could be forgiven that all these people have been reading “Mein Kamph ”
    Will someone in Government explain to them the outcome of all that.

  3. Boy, that really builds my confidence in our political system. Unfortunately, I fear that our local leader of the Liberal Opposition here in South Australia, may not be a whole lot better.

    I have a request for STT. Would you be able to please explain to us mere mortals,how the REC’s do actually work? There seems to be a lot of false information being put put there on both sides of the argument. Are the REC’s only paid on power produced, or are they paid on the rated capacity of the particular wind turbine project? Do the wind turbine companies receive any other incentives from the Government, besides the REC’s. I believe the REC’s are around $38 per megawatt hour and are likely to go to $90 per megawatt hour, is this correct?

  4. What a pity that the local member, in an electorate that will be RIDDLED by these malignant turbines appears to know very little about the economic incentives for the turbine developers to lobby and lie their way onto the landscape. Dennis Napthine you should be ASHAMED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Sasi Windchill says:

    Mr Napthin lives in his own fairyland where nothing bad happens – just like the windies – hear no evil, see no evil = there is no evil. This may serve him well in other parts of his life but as Premier, this and his inability to connect with real people and his callous stupidity will be his undoing. Libs get yourself a real leader or I’ll be voting for Mickey Mouse.

    • Sasi, I agree with you here I mean Dennis Naphine, or should I say Dennis Naptime, his response to these very noisy and useless wind farms and the like.

  6. Napthine is just stupid & I can’t believe what I just read. I very much hope the QLD Premier is brighter then the VIC one.

  7. It really is amusing, the way people who never have, and never will, live near turbines, think they are wonderful. Ignorance truly is bliss….

  8. Jackie Rovensky says:

    Napthine should start to use his brain – if he has one. EPA’s were set up under a Federal Government Act, they have the ability to either do the research and testing themselves or pay for it to be undertaken. It is their job to ensure the safety of the public and if there is any question of possible danger it is their duty to investigate. While they were set up under a Federal Act the States are the responsible authority. That’s how I understand it anyway For the Premier of any State to act so dim is absolutely horrific, and if the Coalition in Victoria doesn’t change leaders immediately they are letting the whole party – both Federally and in every State down. It is not up to the suffering to prove this industry is safe it is up to the companies and the Governments to ensure they are operating safely. I note from this article that Nathine contradicts himself by firstly saying he doesn’t believe the companies receive any funding from the Federal Government and then states as they receive money from the Federal Government all responsibility belong to them to see that the companies operate safely and within compliance determinants.
    After reading this article I am left wondering whether he is actually a member of the Green’s incognito, or just stupid.

Trackbacks

  1. […] contempt for his own constituents there.  STT gave Denis a couple of posts to celebrate his innate charm and outstanding ability to “win” the hearts and minds of people who would, ordinarily, […]

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