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Senator John Madigan - Media release March 23, 2016 Australia

Call for moratorium on future wind farm developments

Independent Senator for Victoria John Madigan has welcomed the announcement of a study into the effects of wind farms on human health, while calling for a moratorium on all future windfarm developments pending its outcome.

Senator John Madigan
Senator John Madigan

This NHMRC’s announcement is in line with its 2014 recommendations, made following a review of the literature, which found that while it was clear that some people who live in close proximity to wind farms complain that the turbines make them sick, to date there has not been research of the kind needed to properly test these claims.

Senator Madigan said: “This is a very simple issue. We have a new industry operating infrastructure that some people say is making them sick. There is insufficient research of the type needed to determine the validity of these claims. Therefore, the NHRMC has commissioned a study that will do this. In the circumstances, it is the only sensible course of action.

“In the meantime, the precautionary principle requires that all future wind farm development should be put on hold, pending the outcome of the study.

“Criticism of the cost of the study is so misconceived it is difficult to take seriously. Are critics seriously suggesting the government should not spend the $3.3 million necessary to fund a sophisticated epidemiological study that will resolve an issue concerning a threat to national health and conversely, the future of a billion dollar industry that is the beneficiary of hundreds of millions of dollars in government issued subsidies?

“I was initially surprised by the hostile reaction of activist groups and sections of the media to this announcement. These people dispute the claims of those living under wind turbines that this makes them sick. That’s fine: It’s these claims the proposed study is designed to test. Why on earth would they oppose settling the issue through rigorous scientific research? Presumably they expect to be vindicated. Why would they so vehemently oppose this?

“The uncomfortable truth is that many of these activists are passionate about their cause to the point of zealotry. Like all zealots, their excessive passion to advance their cause at any cost has seen them lose perspective when it comes to a broader moral compass. At the end of the day these people don’t care if wind farms make people sick. They just want them built due to their obsession with climate change.

“How else to explain the deeply shameful attacks by Greens politicians and other activists on the people who say they are getting sick. Throughout the inquiry I chaired these people were relentlessly mocked, labelled ‘flat earthers’ and alien abductees, by the Greens, their activist supporters and sections of the media. They justified this on the basis their symptoms were all in their minds, rather than having a genuine physical basis. Yet, even if it turns out to be a psychological issue that made these people sick, how on earth does this justify attacking them.”