SOUTH Gippsland Shire Council has welcomed the announcement that Wilsons Promontory and the area to the west of Wilsons Promontory are officially off the table as a future offshore renewable energy zone.
The announcement by Minister Chris Bowen at the Gippsland New Energy Conference in Sale, is a great win for the strength of local voices and for the many South Gippsland residents who advocated strongly for the area be exempt from the declared renewable energy zone.
Initial plans for the offshore wind zone had included this section of coastline, which Council did not support, citing concerns impacting the environment, tourism and general visual amenity. Updated plans later removed this section from the declared offshore wind zone but it was not officially ruled out for future consideration, until now.
The announcement gives peace of mind that this area of coastline will now be excluded from future offshore wind development.
South Gippsland Shire Council Mayor Nathan Hersey, Chief Executive Officer Kerryn Ellis, and Council staff attended the conference to hear about Gippsland’s transition to renewable energy whilst engaging with government and industry.
An important part of South Gippsland Shire Council’s discussions is continued advocacy for the use of Barry Beach Marine Terminal and Port Anthony to support offshore wind projects in Gippsland.
Cr Nathan Hersey, Mayor South Gippsland Shire Council said, “South Gippsland Shire Council strongly welcomes the announcement by the Hon Chris Bowen MP, that including the offshore area to the west of Wilsons Promontory in an Offshore Renewable Energy Zone would present an “unacceptable environmental risk” and that it would not be considered further for declaration.
Council has stated formally, and advocated strongly against the area being considered for offshore wind development and we are pleased that our real and valid concerns and those of local residents have been heard.”
The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien said “This is a sensible decision that was entirely expected. No one in the South Gippsland community would have supported offshore wind farms to the west of the Prom and on the doorstep of Waratah Bay.
“The Government now needs to ensure that it respects the views of locals to the east of the Prom and industries such as the fishing industry and ensure that impacts on them are minimal.
“We also need government policies to ensure that if this industry is to go ahead, Gippsland gets to benefit from jobs and investment, not just the negative impacts like new transmission lines.”