The following Motion that I submitted was adopted unanimously by Council...
NOTICE OF MOTION: Draft NSW PLANNING GUIDELINES: WIND FARMS
COUNCILLOR: M OSBORNE
(i) Council is obliged under its Charter to engage in long-term strategic planning on behalf of the local community (Local Government Act 1993, Section 8),
(ii) The NSW Department of Planning has released Draft NSW Planning Guidelines: Wind Farms “to ensure effective consultation with local communities and to deliver improved consistency, transparency and rigour in the planning assessment process”.
(iii) Public submissions on the Draft NSW Planning Guidelines: Wind Farms close 14 March 2012.
That Newcastle Council
(i) Urgently write to the Department of Planning requesting that direct consultation with the Newcastle business, educational and research institutions and local community and Newcastle City Council Planning Staff and Councillors takes place prior to the close of the submission period for the Draft Guidelines.
(ii) Request an extension to the public submission period for the Draft NSW Planning Guidelines: Wind Farms
(iii) Makes a submission on the Draft NSW Planning Guidelines: Wind Farms.
The Department of Planning has nominated only three community consultative sessions to be held in Bathurst, Yass and Glenn Innes, yet the Hunter has also been nominated as one of the key areas for wind farm development in the Wind Farm Draft Guidelines: Community information presentation.
The Kooragang “wind farm” is mentioned as one of nine wind farms in operation across the state.
The flow-on benefits from wind energy production, as the most cost effective form of renewable energy, to the Newcastle community should not be underestimated.
Council has publicly stated that it is committed to developing strategies and programs to empower rate payers and business groups to effectively reduce their carbon footprints. The request reflects Newcastle’s aspirational goal to be seen as an innovation hub for the region.
Wind energy is an established technology that offers direct benefit to our manufacturing and service industries, research and development facilities and provides a sustainable opportunity to diversify away from our short term reliance on the mining boom. Sustainable jobs (eg wind turbines) necessitate the employment of many more people than coal related port industries.
The Guidelines have the potential to directly affect sustainable growth of employment opportunity and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
As Councillors we need to represent our constituents and call on the Department of Planning to openly and directly consult with our business, educational and research institutions and community members about the proposed guidelines.