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Senate Inquiry’s witchhunt threatens investment

Senate Inquiry’s witchhunt against wind threatens investment in regional Australia

IDEOLOGICAL and unbalanced attacks like the one delivered by the Senate wind enquiry's report threaten the massive economic benefits regional Australia is set to reap from new wind farm projects, the Australian Wind Alliance said today.

Australia's renewable energy policy was too important to be set by the blinkered prejudices of a small group of anti-wind crossbenchers, National Co-ordinator Andrew Bray said today.

"This report rails against anyone who challenges the bias of these anti-wind senators but treats even the most discredited criticisms of wind as gospel," he said.

"Having failed to secure a larger cut to the Renewable Energy Target, the crossbenchers behind this enquiry now want to strangle wind development in Australia with red tape.

“Communities throughout regional Australia should be in the box seat to reap the jobs and investment that flow from new wind farm projects.

“But this investment will disappear if the proposal to reduce renewable energy certificates to five years is adopted as it will render wind farms unfinanceable.

“The state environment ministers have already rejected national wind farm guidelines as unworkable.

“A standing ‘scientific’ committee to prolong this scare campaign about wind farms is the last thing wind communities need. The federal government should run a mile from this idea.

Mr Bray said the inquiry's bias against wind energy meant it failed to investigate how improvements in community engagement and benefit sharing could ease any local concerns about wind projects.

 “Hundreds of people who live and work comfortably around wind farms submitted to this Inquiry but their voices are nowhere to be found in the final report," he said.

“The social situation around a wind farm is critical to how people react to it so to ignore the equitable sharing of financial benefits was a lost opportunity.

“With international clean energy investments totalling $310 billion last year, Australia shouldn’t be missing out on its share of this windfall.

Mr Bray said attacking renewables was at odds with creating serious climate policy.

"These recommendations, if adopted by the government, would do little to ease the concerns expressed by our trading partners that Australia is not serious about tackling climate change," he said.

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