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CEO: ratepayers’ money wasted

Site of controversy: Bald Hills Wind Farm at Tarwin Lower.

SOUTH Gippsland Shire Council CEO Tim Tamlin has described his interrogation in the Supreme Court in Melbourne by a barrister representing Tarwin Lower residents as a “complete waste of ratepayers’ money”.
Mr Tamlin was grilled for three hours by a barrister engaged by DST Legal last Tuesday, March 20, about the actions council took to explain council’s handling of noise complaints in relation to Bald Hills Wind Farm.
He was questioned about why council experienced delays in appointing a consultant to investigate noise complaints made by wind farm neighbours, who said the noise was having an adverse impact upon their health.
Council has appointed a consultant to investigate, at a cost of $33,600.
Council had already paid the neighbours’ legal fees of $20,000 and reportedly $20,000 in council’s own fees too.
Mr Tamlin said he responded to the barrister’s questions with reasons he felt that indicated council had acted in “good faith” and to “dispel any myths” that council has not acted appropriately.
The hearing occupied the CEO’s entire day, with the court hearing lasting from 10.30am to 4.15pm.
“It was a complete waste of ratepayers’ money but hopefully it gave the proponent every opportunity to hear from me directly as to what council has or has not been doing,” Mr Tamlin said.
The CEO believes councils should not have responsibility for investigating nuisance complaints in relation to wind farms when the State Government issues planning permits for them.
Mr Tamlin has expressed in his concerns in a flyer entitled Conflicting Legislation Blows Up A Storm and presented to staff of Victorian Planning Minister Richard Wynne.
The flyer states, “Local governments are obliged to investigate regardless of whether the wind farms are operating in accordance with the planning permits issued under the Planning and Environment Act 1987.
“This has significant reputational, financial and resource implications for local governments. It could also potentially impact on the operation of any wind farm or any large infrastructure project at which a complaint was substantiated.
“It must also be noted that the Victorian Government’s Guidelines state that: Section 13 (a) of the Act has the effect that the responsible authority for enforcement purposes is the local council, unless the planning scheme specifies another person as the responsibility authority for those purposes.
“Given this provision we call on the minister to take responsibility for managing these issues.”
The matter will return to court on April 11.

Short URL: https://thestar.com.au/?p=24543

Posted by on Mar 27 2018. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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