Presentation by the National Wind Farm Commissioner to the Moyne Shire Council, 7 July 2020


  • National, independent role – reporting directly to the Federal Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction.
  • Commenced in November 2015 for a three year term to:
    • Facilitate the handling of complaints from concerned community residents about planned and operating wind farms;
    • Identify and promote best practices for industry and government to adopt with regard to the planning and operation of wind farms; and
    • Improve information access and transparency about proposed and operating wind farms.
  • In 2018, the Climate Change Authority (CCA) reviewed the Commissioner’s role and made a number of recommendations, including an extension of the role. The Federal Government accepted the recommendations and re-appointed the Commissioner for a further three-year term.
  • The Commissioner’s scope now includes large-scale solar farms and large-scale energy storage facilities.

Complaint statistics (as at 1 July 2020)

Bar chart shows 467 total complaints received, 75 complaints about operating wind farms, 325 complaints about proposed wind farms, 6 complaints about 5 proposed solar farms and 61 complaints that did not specify a wind farm.

  • 467 complaints received
  • 75 complaints are from 15 operating wind farms
  • 325 complaints are from 61 proposed wind farms
  • 6 complaints are from 5 proposed solar farms
  • 61 complaints did not specify a wind farm
  • 427 cases closed, 40 open cases at various stages of our process.

Complaint statistics – operating wind farms

Pie chart shows operating wind farm complaints by state and number of projects, including complaints about nine projects in Victoria, three projects in New South Wales, two projects in South Australia and one project in Queensland.

As at 1 July 2020:

  • 75 complaints about 15 operating wind farms:
    • Victoria – 46 complaints
    • NSW – 10 complaints
    • South Australia – 18 complaints
    • Queensland – 1 complaint
  • 72 cases closed, three remain open.

Complaint statistics – proposed wind farms

Pie chart shows proposed wind farm complaints by state and number of projects, including complaints about 28 projects in Victoria, 17 projects in New South Wales, six projects in South Australia, five projects in Queensland, four projects in Tasmania and one project in Western Australia.

As at 1 July 2020:

  • 325 complaints about 61 proposed wind farms:
    • Victoria – 177 complaints
    • NSW – 64 complaints
    • South Australia – 27 complaints
    • Queensland – 47 complaints
    • Tasmania – 9 complaints
    • Western Australia – 1 complaint.
  • 288 of these cases have been closed.

Top ten compliant raised with Office include, amenity, community engagement, construction, economic loss, health, natural environment, noise, planning process and vibration.

2019 Annual Report: observations and recommendations

  1. Host landowner negotiations
  2. Neighbour consultation and agreements
  3. Community engagement
  4. Length and renewal of planning permits
  5. Governance and compliance of standards and permit conditions
  6. Selection and use of experts
  7. Complaint handling and emergency procedures
  8. Site selection
  9. Health matters

Reforms and advocacy

  • Promotion and recommendations in relation to Community Consultative Committees
  • New procedures for wind turbines noise assessments
  • Updates to AFAC Wind farms and bushfire operations position paper
  • Complaint handling and emergency management procedures
  • Road access design and traffic management plans
  • Transmission infrastructure – safety and community consultation

Construction and operational matters

  • Host landowners
    • Fairness and equality of commercial arrangements with landowners
    • Negotiating access roads
    • Damage and disputes
  • Contractors
    • Communication during construction phase – disruption and inconvenience    
    • Compliance matters
    • Local businesses and resources
  • Road routes/transport management plans
    • Logistical issues with larger components
    • Compliance matters
    • Insufficient consultation from port to project
    • Negotiating air-rights
  • Transmission lines
    • Selection of route and components
    • Construction
    • Commercial agreements
  • Cumulative impacts
    • Multiple concurrent infrastructure projects
    • Opportunities for industry cooperation
  • Other matters
    • Ongoing maintenance
    • Payment of levies, tax and other fees
    • Bushfires and emergency management procedures
    • Insurance
    • Legal actions
    • Decommissioning responsibilities
Download the presentation
Moyne Shire Council Workshop