“An independent planning panel was appointed to review the permit applications relating to this wind turbines project and public hearings were held in July 2010,” Mr Madden said.
“I have accepted the recommendations of an independent panel and approved two planning permits for the wind farm with conditions.”
Mr Madden said the main issues addressed in the independent panel’s report included noise and visual impact, fauna and native vegetation.
“Community concerns about potential landscape and visual amenity and environmental impacts have been heard and appropriate conditions have been placed on the planning permits, including landscape, and flora and fauna issues,” Mr Madden said.
“The proponents, Renewable Energy Australia Pty Ltd, will be required to prepare an off-site landscaping plan.
“They will also be required to conduct additional analysis and mitigation measures to ensure appropriate management of impacts on flora and fauna.
“We have worked closely with Ararat and Northern Grampians Shire councils and the developer as well as the local communities to ensure the best possible outcome.”
Minister for Energy and Resources Peter Batchelor said the Ararat Windfarm would contribute significantly to a more sustainable energy supply and secure regional jobs.
“The Ararat Windfarm is expected to provide a $326 million boost to Victoria’s regional economy and create 180 jobs during construction as well as ongoing operation and maintenance jobs once the facility is completed,” Mr Batchelor said.
“It will also help meet the challenges faced through climate change and contribute towards achieving our target of reducing greenhouse emissions by at least 20 per cent by 2020.
“This decision is about supporting regional development and renewable energy in the right location to achieve a more sustainable future for Victoria.”
Member for Ripon Joe Helper said the Ararat Windfarm would make a significant contribution to the local economy.
“Landowners throughout the region will benefit from this project and its associated benefits,” Mr Helper said.
The Ararat wind energy facility planning panel report can be viewed online on the Department of Planning and Community Development website, www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/planning