Photos from the anti-wind farm rally, (left), and pro-wind farm rally (supplied by Grant Newson)

June 21, 2013

Greens candidate for Maranoa Grant Newson has hit back at claims made this week by local MP Bruce Scott, saying the only thing that is fraudulent in relation to wind farms were the “claims made by the anti-wind lobby”.

“It is unfortunate that Mr Scott has once again allowed himself to be deceived by just a couple of people on this renewable energy source,” Mr Newson said.

“These people can’t even tell the truth about the numbers that attended the rally in Canberra.

“The majority of reports had the anti-wind rally around the 100 mark, which included the press contingent, and the pro-wind rally over 1000.

“Even Mr Allan Jones was obviously disappointed with the turnout, showing that the truth about any impacts and community support for renewable energy far outweighs even a heavyweight radio chatterbox and fallacies being spread around.

“It is glaringly obvious that the LNP just don’t want any form of renewable energy allowed within Australia because Gina (Rinehart) may lose a few dollars.

“Unlike the CSG industry that has every impact possible including health and noise, which Mr Scott seems to ignore, wind farms have absolutely no scientific evidence of any impact over many, many decades.

“Claims from Mr Scott that wind farms are ‘dividing communities in his electorate’ and are a ‘feel-good option that doesn’t deliver’ shows even he is clutching at straws.

“If Mr Scott thinks that companies like AGL would spend billions of dollars on a project because it makes them feel good, he had better comfort their shareholders.

“If any division in communities is being caused, it is by only by ill-informed people continually trying to fill people’s heads with garbage.”

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The Clean Energy Council has also hit out at what it has labelled as scaremongering by the anti-wind farm lobby about electricity prices.

Clean Energy Council Policy Director Russell Marsh said the rise in electricity prices was set to slow to 3 per cent per year, according to official energy market forecasts.

“We’ve seen some ridiculous claims (at the Canberra rally) from wind energy opponents who have said electricity prices are going to double, or even triple, over the next few years because of wind energy,” Mr Marsh said.

“This is just not the case. It was made even more ridiculous by the announcement that electricity prices in NSW would rise by just 1.7 per cent over the next financial year.

“According to the AEMC, the major cause of the price rises we’ve seen in recent years is the network component of bills, which has nothing to do with either wind energy or Australia’s 20 per cent Renewable Energy Target.

“The anti-wind claims – some of which have come from anonymous sources – are untrue, misleading and specifically designed to scare people. People in Australian regional communities deserve better than these kinds of tactics.”

Mr Marsh said that wind energy projects inject new spending and investment in regional areas and, for farmers with wind turbines on their property, they can be the difference between staying on the land and having to sell up.

“Wind farms create jobs in regional areas, bring in construction workers who spend money in local businesses, pay host farmers hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, and make significant contributions to community-based projects,” Mr Marsh said.

“On top of that, wind power is having a big impact on our greenhouse gas emissions.

“In South Australia, where around one quarter of the state’s electricity comes from wind farms, emissions have fallen by more than 27 per cent over the past five years. And the cost of wind power in the State is less than 2 per cent of bills.

“There will always be some people who oppose any type of new infrastructure development, be it a new road, power line or dam. The important thing is to make sure that all people affected by new projects have access to factual information so they can make up their own minds.”

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