Apr 28, 2006

Campbell plays politics and ignores his own Department

Campbell plays politics and ignores his own Department


28 April 2006

Environment Minister Senator Ian Campbell is trying to block another wind farm, this time a community owned wind farm in Denmark, Western Australia – but the Minister has no legal power to stop it.

The Minister’s own Department decided on 27 May 2005 that the wind farm would not contravene the Commonwealth’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. As a result, the Minister has no power to involve himself in the decision over the Denmark wind farm.

The Minister can only intervene if, for example, a project threatens a world heritage area or an endangered species. Using its delegated authority, the Department of Environment decided there was no such threat from the Denmark wind farm.

The Department of Environment assessed the Denmark wind farm on its merits and gave it a green light.

Just like the absurd orange bellied parrot decision, the Senator Campbell’s attempt to block the Denmark wind farm is all about politics and not about the environment.

This is the second wind farm attacked by Senator Campbell, who blocked a Victorian wind farm project because one orange-bellied parrot per year may be threatened.

The credibility of the Government is undermined by its failure to intervene elsewhere.

Last year the Senator Campbell approved the development of the pristine False Cape peninsula near Cairns, even though it is nestled between two world heritage areas and contains threatened species, including the iconic Cassowary.

The Howard Government is setting dangerous precedents for arbitrary, political interference in infrastructure development.

Instead of blocking clean energy projects, the Howard Government should seize the economic opportunities of the worldwide push to clean, renewable energy.