When it was in power the New South Wales State Labor government stripped opponents of their right to appeal against wind farm developments – why let people have a say, hey? The Liberal (Coalition) government has finally moved to restore them – with developers reacting with their characteristic childish impertinence.
Development applications have been handled by the so-called “independent” Planning Assessment Commission appointed by the State Liberal government. Recent decisions such as the PAC decision to approve Collector were little more than “rubberstamp affairs” – and the majority who bitterly opposed it had no right to appeal (see our post here).
Well, it seems that the O’Farrell government has finally decided to restore a little fairness to an inherently rotten system (see Planning Minister Brad Hazzard’s press release here).
Here’s ABC Online.
Wind developers annoyed by NSW government policy change
31 March 2014
Wind developers say they weren’t consulted by the NSW Government before it announced plans to give people more opportunities to appeal against wind farm projects across the state.
The government has restored community appeal rights for nine wind projects currently in development across the state’s southern tablelands, central region and south-east.
The projects will now be considered as state significant developments, instead of being dealt with under the part 3A transitional provisions left over from the former Labor government.
Senior development manager at CWP Renewables, Adrian Maddocks, says it’s a step backwards for the industry.
“Under part 3A, once you got consent, you were pretty much guaranteed you could go ahead and build the project, assuming it was approved,” he said.
“What it means now is you could get consent but then we’d have to wait to see if someone was going to appeal the project, which could add 12-18 months to the timeframe, and significant costs as we went through an appeal process.”
The NSW Coalition Government announced its commitment to repealing part 3A in 2011, but developers say the final deadline for projects lodged under the former Labor administration to complete environmental assessments hadn’t been set.
Mr Maddocks says his company is ‘clearly disappointed’ and concerned that there was no consultation.
“We’ve had discussions and negotiations and we’ve been working quite hard to get this through the planning system and this announcement just came out of the blue,” he said.
“It was a complete surprise to us and they just decided to stop that process. They had no discussion with us about wanting to set a final deadline for getting things submitted.”
CWP Renewables is involved in the development of three of the nine wind projects which will be affected by the decision. It’s currently working on the Crudine Ridge, Uungula and Bango wind farms, all in central NSW.
A spokesperson for the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure says its decision wasn’t abrupt and that the time taken by CWP Renewables to lodge its environmental assessments has been ‘unacceptably long’.
“The Director-General’s requirements detailing what is required in the environmental assessments for Uungala and Bango wind farms were issued three years ago,” the spokesperson said.
“The agency received initial EAs from the company in May 2013, two years after the Director-General’s requirements were issued. The company was informed they were inadequate shortly after.”
The Department claims it still hasn’t received adequate environmental assessments for the Uungala and Bango wind farms
Mr Maddocks disagrees with the suggestion that CWP Renewables has failed to meet deadlines.
“We’ve got quite a bit of information on record that quite clearly indicates we’ve met all the target deadlines that they’ve put in place, justified why it takes time to get a wind farm project to consented,” he said.
“The environmental assessment process takes a good 12-18 months to pull together.
“I do wonder whether (this announcement) is due to the new state election that will happen next year.
“Obviously (the government) wants to clear the decks. They want to uphold their initial mandate that they would repeal part 3A and get rid of it.”
The Department of Planning and Infrastructure says the restoration of community appeal rights will make wind farm development assessment more open and transparent.
“The removal of the critical infrastructure status from these projects brings them into line with the system under which other state significant development like mining is assessed in NSW,” a spokesperson said.
“The rules should be the same for everyone.”
CWP Renewables and the other “hopefuls” look like “unfortunate” victims of their own prevarication and delay. Truth be told these outfits will not have signed Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) for any of the 9 projects mentioned and – with the RET review in full swing – are unlikely to find any retailer mad enough to sign one.
Without PPAs the developers concerned will have no hope of finding a bank willing to finance their projects – which explains just why they’ve been operating at a snail’s pace.
Looks like CWP Renewables and the others involved will join the growing list of dreamers without PPAs – with nothing more than the hope of slinging up fans – and, finally, facing the prospect of having their “all spin and no substance” development applications scrutinised in open court.
13 thoughts on “Developers furious as opponent’s right to appeal restored in NSW”
I’m afraid this isn’t the good news it appears to be.
With State Significant Developments (SSDs) there is only a right of appeal to the Land & Environment Court if the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) does not hold a public hearing. This can be verified by going to the Department of Planning’s website (www.planning.nsw.gov.au), and typing ‘appeal rights’ into the Search Box.
Clearly, the PAC is always going to hold a public hearing. From the point of view of the Department and the industry PAC public hearings are harmless. Witnesses do not give evidence on oath, and evidence submitted is not cross-examined. The commissioners listen to what is said, or pretend to, then they ignore all the residents’ submissions, and rubber stamp what the official agencies recommend. The whole process is a sham.
Hazzard’s press release is just the latest piece of self-congratulation from the O’Farrell government. It’s pretending to advantage the residents, but it does nothing of the kind.
It’s great to see that the NSW Government eventually came to see the discrepancy of the so called democratic system in NSW brought about by Labor. If only Brock MP had given support to the Liberals here in SA, we might have shortly been seeing the same thing happen here with the overturning of the Rann/Weatherill/Rau removal of Rights of SA citizens.
Alas we do not have that opportunity because of the way electoral districts are organised here and the way a so called Independent can go so much against the wishes of the people who voted him in and give support to a party which has so little respect for democracy and it’s citizens rights.
However, even if people in NSW have the right to appeal, do they have the money to go to court? Perhaps firstly the approval processing groups need to be turned out and unbiased ones established before any change will be forthcoming, ensuring there is no need for citizens to take court action in the first place.
It seems to me that all committees, panels etc have been tarnished over the past years when so many blatantly inappropriate projects have been given the go ahead. Without ever having to prove their assessment is valid and justifiable as environmentally, socially, medically and financially sound.
Wonderful news. I love to see the wind weasels getting a little bit of their own medicine. How dare someone ask them to explain themselves….Mustn’t look at them too closely. Quite horrific what you see when you get up close!
Adrian Maddocks might be upset that finally the government has instigated something without the industry’s consent. Way too late though for those at Collector, Bodangora and Flyers Creek who have all been the sacrificial lambs as the PAC rubber stamped these developments under the rotten laws of the Labor government (of course with the permission of the liberal government who knew full well the laws were rotten).
The PAC even went a little lower with the Flyers Creek approval – they actually restored a turbine that the DoPI recommended removal because of unacceptable impacts to the neighbouring property. Wonder if the developer who told the host he would get his turbine back had anything to do with this one?
So if Adrian Maddocks doesn’t like community’s rights being restored – then it’s time that he pack up and go back to the UK, though maybe he won’t like David Cameron’s plan for the future of wind farms either? Maybe the scam is wearing thin right around the world and Adrian might need to start looking for a new occupation?
And by the way if Adrian doesn’t know what is happening in his own company, Crudine Ridge might have a few issues with the unacceptable travel routes they tried to indicate they would use, besides all the other issues and Uungula is on hold anyway isn’t it!!
Sent: Monday, March 10, 2014 7:22 PM
Subject: Uungula Wind Farm CCC – 24/3/14
Daniel MacDonald has requested that the next CCC meeting be delayed until later in the year, with notice provided at least a month in advance of a future date. As you may be aware, the renewable energy target (RET) is being reviewed this year, which has added significant uncertainty to the renewable energy industry. As a consequence I have been advised that there is no news or updates on the project to provide the committee at this time.
Daniel would like to propose that we delay the next meeting until more is known about the outcome of the RET review, as this will have the greatest outcome on the project and its progression.
Please feel free to contact Daniel directly on 0240134640 or by email at Daniel.firstname.lastname@example.org should you require any further information.
I regret any inconvenience.
Uungula Wind Farm Community Consultative Committee
Amazing day. Natural justice has been restored. Looks like the O’Farrell government has finally stepped up to the task and taken a moral stand for the injustices and devious opportunism these detestable developers having been pumping out like the proverbial sewer pipe. Rage on you scum bag developers…rage on and start to eat your own crud that you have so devilishly been getting away with and feeding the public all this time. Thank you Brad Hazard. And to you wind developers…book your return tickets home.
It’s not very often we can have a laugh at the Wind Turbine Industry. Up until now it’s all been one way traffic. Stuff us, we don’t matter, they want our amenity and don’t wish to pay for it. Some might call it stealing, I know I do. One day the fat lady is going to sing and boy o boy will she sing loud and clear. Now for the soap opera. It seems that one ACT Government has signed a power purchase agreement with a Wind Turbine Company, nothing wrong with that. If they want expensive, unreliable electricity, community trashing, property devaluation and health problems in the ACT – then I say let them have it.
However, back at the ranch, one Andrew Barr says “We are not allowed to build them in the ACT”. How good is that? Then tonight, on WIN Television, the Chief Minister of the ACT puts a different spin on it, “We actually don’t have anywhere to put them.” It gets better, they want to have their Wind Turbines in NSW – their rubbish in our backyards, not their own. The Local NSW Liberal State politician, in NSW now see a problem – Couldn’t see any problem with the Gullen Range Wind Farm – but this one will cause her a ton of trouble, and along with Angus Taylor Federal, Liberal Politician (Good Guy) now they have to work out how to avoid an avalanche of ill will that will come with this development.
Watch this space as it will be worth watching.
The Infigen project manager looked the Development Assessment Panel square in the eye and stated that his company was consulting with landowners out to 5km from the proposed turbines. Well, we are 2 km distant and most of my non-host neighbours are all within the 5km radius and neither they nor us were ever consulted. The DPA refused us the right to reply to the lying scumbag.
Turn about’s fair play. It is delightful to see the boot on the other foot for a change. Squirm!
I have to say also, my sister who lives in Scotland, has said David Cameron has promised no more turbines if he gets in at the next election. He has done his research at long last a realises what these companies are doing, taking their money out of the country, it brings nothing to the country but heart break for the communities. So while all these greedy companies are getting rich, we the people are getting poorer.
Scum of the earth I say.
Well, hallelujah hallelujah. Perhaps now these companies will now know what we feel like?
No consultation, no nothing – just lies and deceit.
‘Cheeky gets’ I say.
So get back home to America, Spain, but don’t you dare take any money out of the country. Good riddance to you scum.
Finally! We didn’t get consultation – so why should the wind industry complain that they were not consulted? The truth will come out about the damage caused to families forced to live near wind turbines. Can’t wait for the day I can let my son know he won’t have to suffer from headaches, nausea and all the other problems caused by wind farms.
“Mr Maddocks says his company is ‘clearly disappointed’ and concerned that there was no consultation” ……. Well hello and welcome to our world! That’s exactly how the wind industry works isn’t it? No consultation. Funny how they get upset when the tables are turned!
STT has the facts – the wind weasel and greentard goons have had the scams. The facts are over powering the scams, and the wind weasel and greentard goons are all going to sh1t, and thank god for STT.
This is all good but we must keep the pressure up. They ( wind bastards and DOP) must always be aware that so many hard working country people will forever refuse to have their hard fought for amenity compromised, devalued and destroyed by a cunning and ultimately environmentally damaging scam. Keep up the great work STT.