Australian government to probe wind farm health hazards

ABC News

800px-Flag_of_Victoria_(Australia)_svgThe State Government will investigate the health concerns of Victorians who live near wind farms.

Last month, the Democratic Labor Party Member for Western Victorian, Peter Kavanagh, asked the Government to investigate whether workers near wind farms faced health hazards.

Some landholders near the Waubra wind farm, west of Ballarat, say a low frequency hum from the turbines is making them sick.

An investigation will now be conducted by WorkSafe, the Department of Human Services and the Environment Protection Authority.

Mr Kavanagh says people that work near wind farms deserve the same protection as those who do not.

“These are, as I’ve argued in the Parliament, workplaces – if people are working on farms, or there are other small businesses often in the vicinity of wind farms, then like everybody else, these farmers and small businesses deserve a safe workplace,” he said.

Mr Kavanagh says he hopes it will improve the planning process for wind farms.

“If there is danger, we hope that this will show that, and that will affect in the future where wind farms are located,” he said.

“The equivalent of the AMA [Australian Medical Association] in France, has put out a policy and it says that wind farms shouldn’t be located within one-and-a-half kilometres of residences.”

The Australian Landscape Guardians group is sceptical of the plan to investigate the health effects of wind turbines.

The group’s Kathy Russell says she is questioning the Government’s commitment to the investigation because of the lack of fanfare surrounding the announcement.

“No, not at all … they’re not making a big show of this and traditionally their biggest tactic against us has been to stonewall and whitewash and in this instance it just looks like they’re patting us on the head,” she said.