Wind turbines see local land devalued by up to 60%

A new report has found that residents near wind turbines in the Southern Tablelands stand to lose up to 60% of the value of their properties.

The study contradicts the 2009 study on behalf of the NSW Valuer General which concluded that there was no evidence to suggest that properties nearby wind turbines suffered devaluation.

Charley Barber, who lives on a property backing onto the Gullen Wind Farm, has invested heavily in building and renovating his home, but has cancelled any future development because of the imposing wind farm. As he commented, it would be “throwing good money after bad”.

Gullen wind farm sub station
Gullen wind farm sub station

Peter Reardon, a property valuer in the Southern Tablelands for 15 years, coordinated the report on behalf of concerned landholders in the area. The report details the potential for landowners near wind turbines to see their property’s value discounted by between 33% and 60%.

Reardon highlights the issues of land holders of farming properties that view the eventual subdivision of their properties as a form of superannuation, as well as local ‘prestige properties’, which will no longer be as valuable.

He also comments on the large number of property buyers in the are who are ‘tree changers’ who want properties for leisure and have  “become the main driving force in setting values in the Southern Tablelands over recent years, and provides significant economic benefits, especially to many smaller rural communities”.

A preliminary study was conducted in 2012 but was inconclusive due to lack of market evidence. The new study surveyed prominent real estate agents in Goulburn, as well as compared the selling prices of properties affected by wind farm development and those not.

Approximately half of all proposed wind farms for NSW are located within 90km of Goulburn, meaning the potential for 3000 wind turbines to saturate the area.

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Wind farm setback laws not uniform across states

The proposed Willatook wind farm has been reduced to a hundred wind turbines in light of 2km setback laws, as the controversial Gullen Range wind farm continues construction.

The Victorian wind farm was originally intended to contain 200 wind turbines but this was later reduced to 145 turbines and has since been revised again. The news comes as Gullen Wind Farm, about 20km West of Goulburn NSW, continues to attract dissatisfaction from locals.

Some of the controversial turbines of Gullen Wind Farm
Some of the controversial turbines of Gullen Wind Farm

The reason for the Willatook changes is a combination of 2km setback laws, and higher efficiency 3 megawatt-plus turbines. As a result, the proposed wind farm won’t need as many turbines or cover as much land as previously thought.

Victoria imposed the legislation that a wind turbine must be 2km from an existing dwelling except where a landowner has given written consent. The Upper Lachlan Council, as part of its Development Control Plan for wind farms, also declared that there should be 2km distance between a turbine and a dwelling.  However, in NSW, when a development is valued at over $30 million, it becomes a state significant development, and hence local councils can be overridden.

As a result, there are 32 non- involved residents within 1.5km, 60 within 2km and 118 within 3km. Apart from the visual pollution, nearby residents of wind farms are set to suffer devalued property and adverse health impacts.

Thomas, a farmer in the Upper Lachlan Shire, can now see two separate wind farms from his home. In the next few years, there may be more to come, with a wind farm proposed for Biala. He commented that: “2km setback laws are an absolute minimum, we’d prefer 5km“.

In 2010, a court sided against local objectors, ruling that the enforcement of the 2km setback laws was not appropriate for this form of development, as a large number of turbines would have to be omitted. Goldwind, the developers, were given the option of acquiring 13 properties or removing some turbines from the plan.

This latest development in Willatook highlights the lack of cohesion between governments, and the local landholders who stand to be affected.

What I’ve learnt so far…

I wan’t completely ignorant. I knew about globalisation, that the world was becoming more integrated. What with the internet, it’s a pretty difficult concept to deny.

However, what I have learnt, is that globalisation is far more complex, with far more issues than I could have ever imagined. Especially when it comes to media.

In my blog posts I’ve covered hip hop, cinema, television, international education, world news and media capitals. I didn’t know much at all about any of these subjects. It’s safe to say that I do now.

Hollywood Sign
Hollywood Sign (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some of the most interesting things I’ve learnt about include transnational film, which I explored in Hollywood, Bollywood….Brazil?. What fascinated me most of all was my case study. The Motorcycle Diaries is a favourite movie of mine, but studying it in terms of a transnational film really opened my eyes. The entire production crew and actors were from right around the world.  I also learned that this is the case of most films these days.

In another week, in Not all sides of the story deserve a fair go,  I wrote about the problems of balance and bias in news broadcasting. Previously, I assumed that giving both sides of view equal airtime was a good, fair thing to do. But in the cases of some debates, this type of action actually distorts the reality of the situation. I investigated the vaccination debate, and especially the way in which two unequal sides were presented as equal.

The other highlight of this ten week journey was exploring how comedy transfers between cultures, in Is this a joke. As much as it was enjoyable to revisit Kath and Kim, Summer Heights High and Friends, it was interesting to analyse what makes comedy works, and what doesn’t. It seems that there isn’t really a formula for success, and there are infinite ways in which a comedy in translation can fail.

Of course, these are only some of the things I’ve learned, but, after ten weeks I think I’m in a position to look into the future, at the way in which media will continue to globalise.

For every positive of globalisation, there seems to be a negative. However, I think, upon analysis of what I’ve learnt, these problems will solve themselves as the world continues to become culturally and economically closer. For example, with the increased sharing of cultures, the sharing of comedy will become easier. And with the issue of what kinds of global events make the news, increasing travel and technology will allow global citizens further access to important/relevant news events from all over the world.

In a nutshell, what I have learnt is that, though globalisation has presented many problems, the potential benefits of a culturally, technologically and economically closer world are still unfolding. Globalisation isn’t finished with us yet.

Leadership conference inspires students

The UOW  Students 4 Students National Leadership conference was underway over the weekend, attracting aspiring leaders from across the country and high profile speakers.

The high profile leaders came from a range backgrounds, including charities, multi-national companies, successful University of Wollongong graduates and action groups. They included Viv Benjamin, CEO of the Oaktree FoundationMichael Laverty, managing director of the Australian short film festival Tropfest and Jon Dee, the co-founder of Planet Ark and part of a multitude of initiatives in Australia and around the world.

Isaac Astill, Bob Brown’s 2013 Young Environmentalist of the Year , was one of the speakers to focus on issues to do with renewable energy and climate change. He commented about the decline in Australian debate about these issues.

Students were given the opportunity to interact with leaders such as Andrew Macleod, a former aid worker and business leader and Nikki Lovell, founder of One Village through a Q and A panel.

Young leaders worked in groups to solve local issues
Young leaders worked in groups to solve local issues

The conference, held on the 28th and 29th of September, was coordinated by University of Wollongong UniCentre Centre for Student Engagement students and aimed to inspire tertiary students to explore leadership opportunities. The theme for this year’s conference was “Change: It only takes one”. Students participated in lectures, workshops, networking activities and ‘change challenges’, where students attempted to come up with solutions for local environmental issues.

Misha, a UOW student in her first year of a law degree, and Vice President of the UOW Rotaract Club, said she “think(s) it’s important for young leaders to get together and share their inspiration”.  “It really empowered me to find a purpose and convinced me that it’s worthwhile” the active young leader said of the conference.

The conference concluded with a gala dinner at Innovation Campus. A raffle and auction helped to raise money for the conference’s charity partner, the Oaktree Foundation. The conference is in its 7th year this year.