MP pressured wind farm developer

February 22, 2012 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

Mr Ramsay’s letter, obtained by The Age from the government, followed months of negotiations involving him and his partner and former federal Liberal candidate Sarah Henderson with Acciona.

The talks occurred while Parliament was dealing with a Coalition plan to ban wind farms in some areas and to give residents veto over turbines within two kilometres of any dwelling.

In the letter, the MP said the wind farm would damage his amenity at his family farm ”East Mooleric”, which had been in his family for generations, including from noise and interruption of his ”iconic views” to the Otway Ranges.

He sought a string of concessions, including that the company pay him $66,000 to grow trees as a noise and visual screen, scrap all turbines within two kilometres of his home, and pay for works including the sealing of the local gravel road.

Writing on personal letterhead, Mr Ramsay also requested that the company ”enter into bona fide discussions to purchase my property at current market value” by December 31.

He noted his intention to ”make representations” to the Department of Planning to press for changes to the plans, including cutting the number of turbines and re-siting them.

Yesterday, Mr Ramsay confirmed that he had lobbied an officer of the Planning Department seeking changes to the wind farm. He also said he had spoken in general terms to Mr Guy about the plans, but denied he had asked the minister to intervene on his behalf.

Mr Ramsay said he had made the necessary declarations to Parliament acknowledging his interest in being a neighbour to a wind farm.

Greens MP Greg Barber said the revelations about Mr Ramsay’s lobbying, including the letter to Acciona, raised questions about whether he had adequately declared his interest ahead of voting on the Coalition’s new rules. ”He never disclosed to the Parliament that he was in negotiations with the wind farm developer over money or to buy his property. If he had, I would have moved that he was ineligible to vote under the Parliament’s rules.”

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