What planning regulations do we need to reform?
Wind farms are assessed under State Code 23, this is designed to operate in parallel with the Vegetation Management Act, so that wind farms are held to the same standards of clearing as any new development.
However, the existing assessment for environmental impact for wind farms was extremely loose. We are pleased that the Government has released proposed amendments to State Code 23 for consultation. These expand significantly upon the environmental impact, explicitly naming threatened species habitat, and requiring evidence that it has been avoided.
We believe there is still additional protections that could be embedded in State Code 23 including adding a buffer around national parks and world heritage areas. There are also still deficiencies in the social impact assessment required of developers, although we welcome the additional consideration of transport, worker accommodation and impact of renewable energy on natural hazards.
We believe a similar code should be set up for solar to consolidate this process which is currently assessed often at a local council level.