Letters to the editor - Sept 5

Letters to the editor - Sept 5

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Changing wind farm buffer zones and changes to GM regulations were on our readers' minds this week.

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WIND FARM CHANGES UNFAIR

The SA Planning Commission recently published its Discussion Paper on Proposed Changes to Renewable Energy Policy in the Planning and Design Code for informal feedback by interested parties.

Of particular interest are the proposed paltry and inequitable increases in setbacks between wind turbines and rural dwellings.

Despite wind turbine heights, power output and fan size doubling since 2011 when the one-kilometre setback was prescribed, under the proposed changes, rural dwellings will get a 1.2km buffer - a 20 per cent increase - irrespective of the turbine size.

But, townsfolk will enjoy a 2km buffer, plus 10 metres per additional metre above 150 metres in overall turbine height.

So, to be absolutely clear, if a wind farm with 240m-high turbines is proposed, a township gets a 2.9km buffer, but a farmhouse or lifestyle dwelling only gets a 1.2km buffer.

If a wind farm with 270m-high turbines is proposed, a township gets a 3.2km buffer, but a farmhouse or lifestyle dwelling still only gets a 1.2km buffer.

I strongly encourage anyone with a personal interest in this issue to read the discussion paper on the SA Planning website and have your say on the proposed changes as soon as possible.

Mary Morris,

Hampden.

SENATE BILL CONCERNING

There is presently a Senate bill to be debated that removes some genetically-modified plant breeding techniques from the regulatory authority.

Note that pretending these GM crops are not GM does not exclude them from the unique GM patents on the product and all its self-replicating progeny.

The problem that has been ignored to-date is that this could cause a massive economic loss to the agricultural industry, including an immediate $7.1 billion a year wheat industry. All produce will be virtually unsaleable as they will simply be regarded by markets as having potential to be contaminated with unapproved GM crops, and there is a zero tolerance of such.

History has shown markets simply stop buying goods from the potential contamination area concerned as there is a zero tolerance.

This is the biggest threat to food and agriculture we have ever faced.

Julie Newman,

Darling Downs, WA.

NO QUICK GAS FIX LIKELY

The Member for Barker Tony Pasin's recent claim ('New measures to shore-up domestic gas supplies', Stock Journal, August 15) of being a long-time and "outspoken advocate for establishing a national gas reservation scheme" appears over-stated for a variety of reasons.

Firstly, a check of Hansard across the past three years did not find one reference of "gas reservation" attributable to Mr Pasin.

Secondly, the gas reservation scheme proposed only covers "future gas export proposals", which essentially means only gas from new production would be available for the domestic market - existing gas production and exports would be quarantined.

So, it could take a long time to come into effect - as long as it takes for new gas production to come on stream - and there is no indication of a target price.

Already some gas producers have indicated a lower domestic gas price would reduce the incentive to increase local gas supply.

Thirdly, any credit for getting a gas reservation scheme should predominantly go to Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick, who made a deal for cheaper domestic gas in return for his support with the tax cuts.

With Australia being the world's leading gas exporter, the situation shows poor governance by successive federal governments that have placed the profits of gas exporters before the energy security of its own citizens.

Mark Jones,

Mount Gambier.

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