Battle to stop TasWind plan to curdle King Island cream

An article from Sharon Twomey from Stock and Land

King Island Cream

HIGH levels of infrasound was one of the key subjects discussed by farmers at a TasWind community meeting in King Island last Friday.

The community meeting is just one of many in relation to a 600-megawatt wind farm proposed for the island by State-owned company Hydro Tasmania.

If approved, the project would see between 195-250 turbines on the island.

The proposal is currently in the community consultation period and will proceed to a feasibility study if the community approves, but residents have requested to hear about other people’s experiences with wind farms before making their decision.

Last week’s meeting was run by the TasWind Consultative Committee, which comprises of 17 King Island community members and acts as a liaison between the community and Hydro Tasmania.

The committee organised three guest speakers to share their own stories with the community including farmers David Mortimer from South Australia and Donald Thomas from Waubura and Ararat mayor, Gwenda Allgood.

Mr Mortimer hosts four wind turbines on his SA property at Millicent.

He was initially in favour of wind farms but changed his mind after identifying health problems both he and his wife were experiencing, including sleep deprivation.

The Mortimers recently had acoustic monitoring in the inside of their home over a three-week period which showed high levels of infrasound consistent with the number of turbines at a distance of 2.5 kilometres from their home.


Mr Thomas spoke of a similar experience at Waubra near Ballarat.

He has worked as a farmer for more than 50 years and was instrumental in bringing turbines to the area.

But the noise has driven Mr Thomas out of his home.

In an opposing view, Ms Allgood shared the Ararat community’s experience with the Chalicum wind farm and the benefits the project has had for the community including job creations and economical benefits.

TasWind Consultative Committee president John Brewster said the meeting was beneficial to residents, with plenty of positive feedback.

“We ran two sessions with about 160 people in attendance all up,” he said

“The noise and infrasound subjects were issues that were heavily discussed by Donald and David and it’s a subject that both the consultative committee and Hydro Tasmania need to be taking seriously.

“While the wind turbines in the Ararat region are on a different scale to the ones proposed for King Island, residents also found it beneficial to hear about the councillor’s experience.”

No TasWind committee member Donald Graham said it was beneficial to hear stories from other farmers.

“Hearing about the experiences of Donald and David made it obvious that these health problems are real,” Mr Graham said.

“I am confident that there are health problems associated with the turbines but the industry won’t accept it.”

Friends of the Earth spokesperson Leigh Ewbank also attended the meeting.

Mr Ewbank said the meeting presented a balanced point of view and that the key take away point was that regardless of where people stood, it would be worthwhile to proceed with the feasibility study.

“The economic benefits for King Island are very large and the island could emerge as a true climate change champion,” he said.

Aside from the guest speakers the meeting highlighted that residents will continue for their right to vote on the feasibility study.

The No TasWind committee has called for a vote with a 75 per cent majority however Hydro Tasmania has rejected their request and will instead conduct an independent study with a 60pc majority.

Mr Brewster said it would seem that a vote was what most residents were wanting.

The next stage for the TasWind Consultative Committee will be organising three more speakers to share their stories, including a speaker to address environmental issues.

The No TasWind Committee held a meeting on Wednesday in which Sarah Laurie from the Waubra Foundation (anti-windfarm group) was a guest speaker.

STT notes that the Stock & Land article refers to the circumstances of Donald Thomas, but didn’t quite get its facts straight.

At STT we always let the facts get in the way of a “good” story, so here they are.

Donald Thomas’ family have worked as farmers in the area for over 50 years – his parents have lived in their home for more than fifty years. Turbine noise has driven a number of Mr Thomas’ neighbours out of their homes, such as the Dean family, but Donald is toughing it out – he hasn’t left his home. Donald says turbine noise prevents him from sleeping properly in his home and also means his elderly frail parents also have trouble sleeping in their home nearby.

About stopthesethings

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


  1. Noel Dean. says:

    One wonders why Gwenda Allgood was speaking when you have two people as in David and Donald giving a factual account of their experience, [such as a person living close to the turbines who claims not to be affected], I expect it to be for the same reasons that not one person from Waubra had a submission or spoke to the Senate Inquiry in 2011 to say they are not adversely impacted health wise at the Waubra Wind farm, and there were a lot of affected people gave evidence to and at the inquiry that they were.

    Mixing facts with fiction comment is highly insulting for affected people at Waubra. Acciona have bought out 7 homes, 9 families have left the District because of adverse health affects coming from the turbines, these people have been affected by Acciona’s

    H ealth
    A ffected
    R esidents
    M ove.

    The Waubra Foundation was set up because of Acciona’s HARM and the claim of ‘you’re Anti Wind farm’ is nonsense and appears to be used to distract from the serious HARM being experienced by so many people.

    It appears odd that the Greens and the friends of the earth have ignored a trial investigation of capturing the byproduct of Coal powered Stations by the previous Sate Government in Victoria, the result was a product called calcium carbonate. This is a much needed fertilizer for agriculture, Calcium for healthy soils animals and people. Carbonate to reduce acidity of soils and to displace hydrogen form the soil to increase the Cation Exchange Capacity [CEC] of the soil and the resultant increase in productivity. I am in the process of spreading 1000 tones of calcium carbonate this year to increase productivity and improve the health of the soil on our property well away from wind farms.

    This approach I feel would be a Win Win Win for the environment as against noise pollution, very sick people, divided communities, excessive electricity bills and more taxes to subsidise the wind farm developers.

    Noel Dean.

  2. Do not listen to Hydro Tasmania as they will only tell what they want you to hear. They will not tell you that you will be driven out of your home because of noise, & loss of land values. AGL have lied to us in QLD because they want to build the Coopers gap wind farm. We know they have lied because they denied that people are having health problems in VIC & SA. This is cruel at the highest level, if you did this to an animal you would be locked up. When it comes to wind farms there is corruption at the highest level, all because of money, not because of the planet.

  3. Dr Sarah Laurie, CEO Waubra Foundation says:

    Yet again the Waubra Foundation is erroneously described as “anti wind” by yet another journalist who has not bothered to double check her facts.

    The Foundation is not “anti” anything. We are PRO HEALTH, and PRO the safe siting and proper regulation of noise pollution from industrial developments. We are PRO multidisciplinary acoustic and clinical RESEARCH, which we have advocated for since becoming active in July 2010. This research was recommended URGENTLY almost two years ago by the first Australian Federal Senate inquiry.

    The “knowledge vacuum” was recently recognised by the two VCAT Commissioners in the Cherry Tree Tribunal. This multidisciplinary research may also help the plight of those residents whose health is being harmed by infrasound, low frequency noise and vibrations from all the other sources including from field compressors from CSG operations at Tara in QLD, from open cut coal mining in the Upper Hunter, and from gas fired power stations to name just a few. Residents from each of these types of industrial facilities have contacted the Waubra Foundation, and as per our Objectives, we help them as much as we can with our limited resources, in addition to those rural residents we help who are impacted by wind turbine noise.

    Some of these residents have also told us they too have been silenced with gag agreements, and their symptoms and health problems have been denied.

  4. Jackie Rovensky says:

    It’s amazing that Friends of the Earth are so blinded by the hype around these things they cannot see the woods for the turbines. Not only here but around the world, trees removed to make way for these things, indigenous communities in South American countries having their forests removed for these things, peat bogs dug up for these things. It’s these areas which have for thousands of years absorbed and removed CO2’s from our atmosphere. These things are now adding to the problem of CO2 in the atmosphere and Friends of the Earth fail to see it. Hydro Tasmania not wanting to have a vote with a 75% majority for decision needs to be taken down from its high and mighty stand and the Tasmanian Government needs to return to a democratic position, not allow this company to be a dictatorship.
    Friends of the Earth and the Green movement also need to take a look at what they are supporting and go back to their ‘roots’. There is evidence now being produced which shows this industry is far from environmentally safe, that it does not assist the reduction of GHG emissions, that this industry is destroying lives, livelihoods and environments, not only for those where they are installed but for the world community as GHG emissions are not being reduced. Failure to recognise this will ensure they become irrelevant. Those who work for Friends of the Earth and the Green movement in general need to be seen to be doing the right thing. What some are doing now is damaging what was but could still be worthwhile work. Stand back take a look, read widely, listen and learn before supporting and pushing something just because it ‘sounds’ good.
    King Island residents, demand fully independent funded and conducted research BEFORE you allow them to install these things in your environment. You can resist, you can say no, you can keep your environment safe, all it needs is for you to let the Government and the Company know you will not allow them to destroy your chosen environment for a misguided ideology. Once they are installed you will not be able to have them removed and your land returned to its former self. You will not be able to return to the life you had before. It is best to get it right, DEMAND research that is being called for is undertaken before you are asked to make a decision – get all the information first.
    The biggest mistake governments around the world have made was to sign for the reduction of CO2 emissions by 2020, BEFORE researching the best and safest way to achieve it, without harming the environment and people’s lives.
    You now have the opportunity to demand they take time to do this research before destroying your environment. Your investment into the lifestyle you desire and the environment you choose is at stake take a stand and speak out loudly. If Hydro Tasmania wants 60% ensure they do not get it until the research has been undertaken to ensure what you have is not destroyed, ensure everyone votes NO to a feasibility study. History shows these feasibility studies are nothing more than ‘fishing’ expeditions to see how far they can fool people into believing they are worthwhile.
    We know they are not economically viable without thousands of our dollars being paid to them year after year for what – continual reliance on backup energy, damage to the environment, very few jobs created, people losing asset value, far less than the stated capacity of energy produced and they will never say they guarantee people will not become ill, because they cannot in all honesty do that.
    Ask yourselves what happens when they reach their ‘use by’ date? Do you have to go through all this again and will you have to go to other forms of energy production while they re-build? SAY NO until ALL the questions are answered to your satisfaction.

  5. Terry Conn says:

    The usual lie from Pacific Hydro about economic benefits from the King Island project. A 600 MW wind farm at best case scenario of 35% wind capacity will cost consumers of electricity at least $3.5 billion over the life of the project. The fact a few ‘rent takers’ get that money is appalling. Pacific Hydro is a trade union backed money wasting company urged into spending workers superannuation on a useless consumer subsidised venture that will ultimately fail. Everyone loses and Australia will lose a magnificent island for nothing. Take note, there is no private superannuation investors in wind farms for very good reason.

  6. david mortimer says:

    To keep the facts absolutely correct, we host two turbines on our farm but live 2.5km from a cluster of four turbines. The turbines on our farm are 5km from our home which is on a separate 10acre block. The wind “farm” is the same one in both cases. Sorry if it sounds a bit confusing.

  7. I absolutely LOVE hearing of host farmers that are forced to move out of their homes. The wind industry cannot blame the nocebo effect, or jealousy, or any other silly excuse they have tried to use. Most farmers are too scared to speak up because of gag clauses. Also, they probably know that they are partially to blame for not researching, and letting money cloud their judgement.


  1. […] would simply abandon it – by dropping their planned “feasibility study” (see our posts here and here). Hydro Tasmania then set about buying the votes it needed to show 60% supporting its […]

  2. […] has already covered – in one or two posts – the fight to keep King Island part of the Australian Commonwealth – […]

  3. […] Battle to stop TasWind plan to curdle King Island cream. […]

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