Documentaries reveal Waubra experiences

Waubra is a small town in central Victoria surrounded by a wind farm.

It has recently been the location for a series of documentaries produced by Castlemaine independent filmmaker, Neil Barrett, that demonstrate widespread acceptance of the wind farm among locals.

The documentaries feature interviews with turbine hosts and their neighbours at Waubra about their experiences with the wind farm.

Mr Barrett said the documentaries revealed that many Waubra residents were fed up with their town’s name being associated with an illness by the Waubra Foundation.

He said that people who derived rent and income from hosting wind farms, and their supportive neighbours, had been absent from the debate so far and that it was important to hear from people who live and work around the turbines without any problems.

“For too long, the only association people outside Waubra had with the town was either a foundation peddling fear, or a disease that the foundation was purporting to have emerged from the town,” Mr Barrett said.

“That’s despite the fact that 17 inquiries around the world have shown there is no evidence for the claims.

“It is important that people outside the community understand that there’s much more to Waubra than the claims of the foundation’s board members who live on average of 350 kilometres from Waubra.

“The football team had a great year, the community fund has given $70,000 to local groups (including the school which has been able to hire a new music teacher) and farmers are more sustainable and profitable now the wind farm is in operation.

“I’ve been talking to people from Waubra for the last year and interviewed almost 50 of them when researching for the film.

“In 2011, the State Government gave anyone living within two kilometres of a proposed wind farm the right to veto it, causing other communities to potentially miss out on the benefits wind farms like that in Waubra present.

“The interviews suggest that the law is too restrictive.

“People hosting wind farms say that they don’t have any adverse health effects. Nor do they have gag clauses in their contracts as is often claimed. However they do welcome the income they receive from them.

“Some wind farmers called the foundation and the claims they make ‘a bit of a farce’.

“According to some of the locals, some of the farmers would not have been able to remain in the district were it not for the remuneration they receive from the wind farm.

“But people should watch the video and see what these long-term Waubra residents, many of them community leaders, have to say for themselves.”

The film can be viewed at the vicwind website.

Next week: The Waubra Foundation responds.

Castlemaine filmmaker, Neil Barrett, has produced documentaries revealing widespread acceptance of the Waubra wind farm among locals.

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