Tony Abbott called on to scrap the REC & chase the REC fraud

STT champion and pin-up girl, Annie Gardner says it louder and better than most, so we say: “hats off”.


At a meeting in Hamilton last week, Annie gave Tony Abbott a “heads-up” on the REC fraud going on at Waubra (which we’ll cover in another post soon). But never one to rest, here’s what Annie wrote to the Prime Ministerial hopeful, calling on him to investigate what is an $80 million REC fraud at Waubra and challenging him to scrap the REC altogether.

STT couldn’t have said it better than Annie’s piece of “Macarthur Magic”. People at the June 18, Canberra Rally can call on Tony for the response we’re all waiting to hear. Well, Tony? We’re all ears.


7th May 2013

Mr. Tony Abbott,
Leader of the Opposition,
Parliament House, CANBERRA, A.C.T. 6000

Dear Mr. Abbott,

I am writing further to my opportunity to pose some questions to you at the forum held in Hamilton Victoria last week. I thank you for taking the time and giving me this opportunity. You commented in your introduction that the Hamilton district is one of the heartlands of rural Australia. It certainly won’t be for long. There are literally thousands of turbines proposed for this rich agricultural district, but sadly there won’t be any farmers living here, once the “rot” of wind farms sets in.

My name is Annie Gardner and for the past nine years I have opposed the Macarthur wind farm to which I am an adjacent neighbour, for two reasons. The closest turbines to our home are 1.7 kms, at least 8 of them, and it is well recognised that in order for minimal health impact, turbines should be placed no closer than 10 kms from homes. The new Victorian government 2km setback did not apply to Macarthur as the legislation was not retrospective.

The first reason for our steadfast opposition was that we feared it would impact upon our highly successful ultra-fine shedded sheep enterprise, which was in fact destroyed due to the impact of noise and dust during mere construction of the wind farm in 2012, losing us our principal enterprise which would have earned us $2 million over the next 10 years. This enterprise comprised 80% of our very small farming business. AGL have denied all responsibility, although they were forced to clean our house, inside and out on two occasions. The dust billowing into our property, over a period of many months, contaminated the drinking water of our highly sensitive sheep, and this, along with the trauma of the noise resonating within their shed caused them to stop eating and eventually die. The year of 2011 saw us recognised as the second best ultra-fine woolgrowers in the world with our second placement in the Ermenegildo Zegna of Italy trophy, the first time a grower from Victoria had achieved this ultimate goal. This was a very satisfying recognition as a result of 30 years specific breeding. AGL have refused our claim for any compensation whatsoever.

The second reason was I feared my husband Gus may experience detrimental health effects due to the infrasound/low frequency noise emitted by the 140 turbines of 3 megawatts. Fortunately, he is not nearly as badly affected by the infrasound as I am, and I am finding that I cannot live in our home nor work in the paddocks for much more than half a week due to the extreme impact of low frequency noise and infrasound, both inside our home and in the paddocks, which is our work place – an absolutely disgraceful situation.

My life is just “hell” now. I am in agony with severe head pressure, extremely painful ears, nose, throat, jaws all day long. Sometimes in addition to this horrible constant pain, I also feel nauseous with a tight chest and a pounding heart. This is the day time. During the night I feel as if my head is in a vice. It is a nightmare. We have lived here for 33 years now. We started off with NOTHING and have worked our tails off to improve our property, operating a highly successful enterprise. It appears that we will be forced to walk off with NOTHING in the not too distant future. If we can’t live here due to the impact of the Macarthur wind farm, who in the hell would want to buy our magnificent property knowing we can’t live here ? We actually cannot see the turbines from our home, nor can we hardly hear them, but my goodness we can FEEL them.

I shall begin with my second and third questions which largely dealt with the prediction (and we are aware of Angus Taylor’s modelling for years to come) that power bills could double within the next two to three years due to the ridiculous cost of wind power. This morning on ABC radio on an unrelated subject I heard a gentleman explain that in his small business, the power bill had increased from $5,500 12 months ago, to $8,000 in this last year. I am sure many businesses could echo these totally unjustified increases. It won’t be long before that business is forced to close its doors, due solely to the increased cost of electricity.

You assured the audience that the Coalition, should it win government, will scrap the Carbon Tax. However, this unacceptable situation caused solely by the relentless push for wind power, will not be fixed by merely scrapping the Carbon Tax.

This brings me to my first question which was “Would the Coalition investigate the fraudulent payment of Renewable Energy Certificates to the Waubra wind farm?”

You are most probably aware that the Waubra wind farm has been operating for four years now, and to this day it has not ever been given a Certificate of Compliance by the Victorian government. Hence the claim that Acciona, the developer, has been receiving REC’s fraudulently. I am told Acciona has been paid around $80 million of taxpayer dollars for this wind farm which has destroyed the lives of so many families, and where at least 20 families have been forced to leave their properties.

On Tuesday 30th April, AGL released their Noise Compliance Testing results for the Macarthur wind farm. They were required under their Planning Permit, to conduct noise testing at six designated properties, post commissioning of the last turbines which took place on 31st January 2013.. They announced that the results of this noise testing displayed that the Macarthur wind farm IS COMPLIANT with the stringent government noise guidelines.

However, we know that the noise testing has not been carried out in accordance with these government guidelines, nor with the New Zealand standards with which they must comply. Our property was one of the designated properties where compliance noise testing took place. AGL and most other wind farm developers use the same company Aecom (AGL claims they are independent but the are paid by AGL, so hardly independent). We have evidence that the noise testing was carried out in a fraudulent manner. As we were aware of Aecom’s dubious reputation we employed, at the cost of around $6000, our own independent acoustic expert. He has already found instances where AGL has “fudged the figures” to show compliance. We will be attempting to highlight to Matthew Guy the Victorian Minister for Planning, the fraud which has taken place with the compliance noise testing at Macarthur.

The situation is, Mr. Abbott, that many, many families, (apart from ours) have been experiencing the most horrific health effects since last October when only around 15 of the 140 turbines began operation at the Macarthur wind farm. I have in my possession more than one hundred written complaints to AGL but AGL just respond to us all informing us that our health problems have nothing to do with their turbines.

Families out to 7 kilometres from the nearest turbines are having their sleep at night badly disturbed, let alone the incredible head and ear pressure they are suffering from, amongst many other symptoms.

One family with two young children were forced to leave their home, their job and the district on the 25th March, merely 7 weeks after commissioning of the wind farm. Their children in particular were suffering from shocking ear pressure, screaming all night, and displaying extremely bad behaviour compared to prior to the turbines commencing in October 2012.

One section of the Amendments to the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Bill proposed by Senators Madigan and Xenophon in 2012 ,deals with the suspension of payment of Renewable Energy Certificates to a wind farm company whose wind farm is not compliant, until that wind farm is found to be operating within the noise guidelines.

Initially the Coalition indicated it would support ALL sections of the Madigan/Xenophon proposed Amendments. However recently we were informed that the Coalition still intends allowing the payment of REC’s to continue, even though a particular wind farm IS NOT OPERATING WITHIN THE NOISE GUIDELINES.

This is an outrageous situation Mr. Abbott. Does the Coalition intend continuing payment of millions of taxpayer dollars to wind farms knowingly operating their turbines at a noise level higher than is permitted ? Does the Coalition intend allowing payment of millions of tax payer dollars to wind farm developers who are knowingly destroying people’s health ?

At the Macarthur wind farm there are 200 families living within 9 kilometres of this monster wind farm. That means at least 800 people, possibly many more live within the “impact zone” of this wind farm. So potentially 800 or more people, as time goes on, could have their health detrimentally impacted upon, and the Coalition will still allow payment to AGL of buckets of taxpayer money, for destroying people’s health.

This is just another example of BIG TOBACCO, but this time it is BIG WIND. It will destroy this country.

I ask you Mr. Abbott, how would you feel if your wife and children were suffering such serious symptoms, as I and many, many other people in our district are, due to the greed of a large Australian power company AGL, and your greedy neighbours?

How would you feel if your wife, at six in the evening when she is trying to cook a meal (this is the time when the air becomes thick and the impact is most severe) ,feels such painful pressure in her head and is experiencing excruciating pain in her ears/nose/throat/jaws, as I am constantly?

How would you feel if your wife, at the same time in the evening, is standing in the kitchen as I do, and could feel the ground borne vibration through the floor, as if her whole body is being cooked in a microwave?

I would appreciate your answering these two questions please, as I am literally beside myself, and do not know what to do. I cannot leave my home, as I have nowhere to go, and we have no money other than what is invested in our property, which we will most probably lose if we are forced to leave in the next few years.

I would appreciate your response and an assurance from you that the Coalition will not bow to BIG WIND as the Labour government has been bowing to wind farm developers, causing the destruction of people’s lives, their livelihoods and the communities they live in.

Please support in its entirety John Madigan and Nick Xenophon’s Amendments to the Renewable Energy Bill and ensure that greedy wind developers such as AGL in the case of the Macarthur wind farm DO NOT RECEIVE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF TAXPAYERS MONEY whilst at the same time knowingly destroying people’s health and well being.

In fact, please scrap the entire REC’s scheme and put an end to what Alby Schultz aptly described as “the greatest government sponsored fraud in the history of Australia”.

Yours Sincerely,


10 thoughts on “Tony Abbott called on to scrap the REC & chase the REC fraud

  1. Good on you Annie. Time for all of us to pick up our pens and write to Tony Abbott (and the others) in support of her, and also requesting the opposition support the Madigan/Xenophon bill in its original form.

  2. Further to my short account of the meeting called by the greens to meet and greet the people from Ballarat, I responded to a short article in the Ballarat Courier “Greens Health Forum” by attending. Senator Richard Di Nitale came to visit our city to clear up the misinformation around wind farms and ill health. During the afternoon he paid a visit to the Waubra Wind Farm as I said in my previous post. He said that the Waubra Wind Farm has been the subject of a campaign by activists who say the turbines have health effects. He also said that the campaign against wind farms was gaining traction, putting major developments at risk and undermining community support. He defended his opinion that there was no causal link between wind farms and poor health by stating that as he is medically trained in science, this is very much a question of science. Unfortunately he was unable or unwilling to answer any of my questions about whether he supported Greens Senator Rachel Siewart’s urgent recommendations after the Senate Enquiry into the Social and Economic effects of rural wind farms. He also refused to answer why he did not vote against a provision in the Madigan/Xenophon Bill which would have meant wind developers had to provide wind mast and power output data. No comment was forthcoming re the fact that Waubra WF has never been issued with a compliance certificate so is receiving REC’s fraudulently, or my reference to a necessary independent investigation and thorough audit of issuing RECs by the Clean Energy Regulator of non – compliant wind developments.
    Another attendee, who visits Denmark regularly, had a bit to say about the way in which wind farm proponents in Denmark handle issues surrounding non host neighbours. He said we are 20 years behind in the way in which they are treated. Re property values, if neighbours wish to be bought out and the valuation falls short of the true value of the property, wind farm proponents are expected to make up the shortfall. He also said that none of latest turbines are put on land as they are simply too large and noisy.
    I felt that we did justify our presence at the very poorly attended forum even if Senator Di Nitali stated that he did not think he had changed anyone’s mind. They simply do not look at the big picture and will never understand that wind power is, by its very nature, unlikely to be the mainstay of renewable energy. Solar and bio-mass were touched upon as were the Greens position on asylum seekers and refugees and their dental plan for Medicare.

  3. Thank you Annie, you speak for all who suffer and those who are concerned for the future of this nation. Again Thank you.
    I hope Mr Abbott and the whole Coalition respond as good concerned citizens everywhere should respond to this massive fraud, being perpetrated on the tax payers of this Nation.

  4. When are the relevant government departments actually going to commission serious multi-disciplined testing instead of just relying on the selective suppositions of a few “credentialed” propagandists?

    Good on you Annie, we’ll definitely see you in Canberra.

  5. Tony Abbott, Ian McFarlane (QLD) & Bruce Scott (QLD), I hope you all read Annie Gardner’s letter that she has written to you, Mr.Abbott, & really read it, with real heart. As this is NOT AUSTRALIAN, to let people suffer like this. It is heartless what people, like the present Prime Minster, Labor, Greens & the wind industry, are doing to peoples lives. [not saving the planet, but destroying peoples lives].

    Thousands of men & women lost their lives in wars so that we can have free & better lives to look forward to, but now we have these noisy industrial wind turbines taking all what was fought for from us. Now we have to put up with the stressing noise from these turbines, which is unbearable & is giving the people that live next to these pieces of trash, bad health.

    This trash also lowers the value of our land which affects our mortgages & causing more stress to the already stressed people. It is NOT ROCKET SCIENCE to work out what is going to happen to people, if they get to stressed. Another thing is this wind industry is going to send this country BANKRUPT, if we don’t trash this wind industry into the trash can.

  6. Thank you, Annie. Your letter should be published in every newspaper in the country, shaming the politicians into a reply. This fraud and this stripping away of human rights cannot be allowed to continue. See you all in Canberra on the 18th June.

  7. Good on you, this is a great letter, Annie Gardner. I couldn’t have said it better myself, same problem just a different town, we have the same problems in Waterloo SA. We asked the E P A to look into our problem, but we only got back that the turbines were within the guidelines, and of course the Health department can’t find anything wrong, just like the one in Victoria.

    I hope, Annie Gardner, that you get the answers you are looking for. We didn’t and some of us had to walk away. You wan’t be able to stay too much longer. It just keeps on going, and the time you need to get over the ill effects just get longer and longer. And after a bit of time, you will find that even away from the Turbines, there will be other things that will trigger your problems (like Airports, Shopping centres). Good Luck.

  8. Some recent disgraceful media report called Anne Gardner a “campaigner” against wind turbines.

    I would dare that same journalist to call a victim of vandalism and grievous bodily harm “a campaigner against crime”.

    The great injustice is also done by the authorities who fail to act on such an obvious problem. Victims are being disregarded rather than supported.

  9. Good for you Annie Gardiner. If these facts do not move Tony Abbott, nothing will. I am just home from a meeting where Richard Di Natali from the Greens paid a visit to Ballarat. He spent the afternoon at Waubra, and was suitably impressed by the great job creation, 200 during construction and about 20 ongoing positions. He avoided my questions about fraudulent REC payments and had not met with any adversely affected rural residents. He absolutely emphasised, as a scientifically trained medico, that there is no causal link with wind turbines and illness. Not anywhere in the world! So I don’t think the greens are going to help in any way.

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