As I have been engaging with members of my constituency in the northern region, it has become apparent that a newly formed Australian branch of an international company has initiated community engagement in at least two separate areas of interest. However, the concerns raised by the individuals who have invited me over to their properties are extremely troubling.
The company in question is FERA, an Italian company that specializes in the development and operation of wind farms. The residents who were listened to are concerned about their own livelihoods, the natural environment, of which they consider themselves custodians, and the potential negative mental and physical health impacts on their family’s well-being windfarms will bring.
These two known areas of interest are situated within the local areas of Strathbogie and Campaspe shire councils. However, after reaching out to the councils, I can now confirm that at least one of these councils is not even aware that there are plans for local wind farms. It is deeply concerning that these green energy companies have carte blanche to engage the community without the need for any prior council submissions.
These companies are supplementing landowners with paltry remuneration, dividing communities, and creating government dissent. It seems as though the negative impacts of such development on the local community are being ignored in the pursuit of profits.
The concerns raised by locals are not unique, as many individuals and communities across Australia are grappling with similar issues.
It is imperative that the relevant authorities engage in a transparent and consultative process with the community and provide adequate information on the impact of such development. This will ensure that the concerns of the community are addressed and that the development is carried out in a responsible manner.
The issue of intermittent and unreliable energy development must be approached in a way that respects the rights of local communities and ensures that their voices are heard. It is my hope that the relevant authorities take these concerns seriously and work towards a sustainable and responsible future for all Australians.