Last update: August 24, 2023

Peter Jelbart April 28, 2015 Australia

Peter Jelbart's submission to the senate inquiry

“I can live in the shadows of a wind farm, I can put up with the industrialisation of the landscape. The thing I can’t handle is not being able to sleep at home.”

Select Committee on Wind Turbines - Submission 270

This is my submission in regard to the senate enquiry to wind farms.

My name is Peter Jelbart, I am 31 years old and grew up at our home property, where mum and dad farm to this day. It was a great place to grow up and my upbringing, although it was not perfect, was very good. I remember as a young child dad working away shearing 5 days a week and farming on weekends, to hold onto the dream of farming grandpa’s block. I remember them having to sell land up the road, and only just holding onto the home block. I remember as a primary school age kid feeding hay and grain to sheep after school, while dad was away for, at times, weeks. I remember sheep being pitted and being told to play while the crack of 22 bullets rang out and truck load after truck load of sheep got dumped in a pit. This was in the early 90’s, wool was bad, land was worth nothing and interest rates were running into the 20% region. However as bad as things were at home mum and dad did everything they could for us. Obviously education was a priority, as was being involved with local football and cricket. The farm and home means everything to us. It is my parent’s life’s work, superannuation and life savings, all in one neat block of Western Victorian dirt.

From the age of 19 I moved to Port Fairy to play football and fell into work driving trucks, which I have loved from as early as I can remember. I lived in town for 3 years, and then moved to Portland for a year before ending up in Western Australia. Since I started driving trucks I have been very focused on firstly building a career and secondly trying to work toward financial security. I have been quite successful at this early stage.

As I sit here writing this I am financially secure, happy and healthy. But there is a big problem. I am back at home after working away and the Macarthur Industrial Wind Turbines are driving me mad. I have had disrupted sleeps since day one of operation, but only when I stay at home. I am not neurotic or psychotic, I do not suffer from “The Nocebo Effect”, I have very disrupted sleep at home.

As a truck driver I have become used to sleeping in different environments. I have worked big hours in the past. I have slept beside busy highways often, and in Western Australia I regularly slept with an “Ice Pack” running, which is basically a diesel motor that runs a refrigerated air con unit and an alternator, which is used when the truck is parked, to cool the bunk. Initially these take a lot of getting used to. They are noisy and they cycle. They cut in and out but once I’m asleep they don’t worry me. I have become very aware of the way I sleep since I started to be disrupted by the Macarthur IWF.

My parent’s farm is within a couple of kilometres from the nearest tower, not that that means anything to you or to us, as we may as well have a tower on the back lawn. From an aesthetic point of view they are unattractive. It is not this that that worries me. The Industrial Wind Turbines are not necessarily noisy, although they are audible most days. The problem is the sleep disruption, the inaudible noise and the “un feelable” vibration. We are suffering a very real and serious problem at home. Dad is suffering from severe sleep disruption; I have severely interrupted sleep, mixed with lucid dreams. I have been fortunate to spend most of my time away from home since the Macarthur IWTs started. I have recently ended up living at home again and this has only reinforced what I already knew, that there is a serious problem coming from the emissions of the IWTs next door.

As a professional heavy vehicle driver I know about fatigue. I have sat through courses related to fatigue management yearly for the last ten years. I have worked big hours, illegal hours, and I know what tired is. I know what sleep is. I know the principals of circadian rhythms, how to handle shift work, what to eat, what to drink and what to avoid. I also know that the sleep, or lack of, that happens at home, is completely foreign. It is not a problem with my head, my mind, my body, or anything else. It is a problem from being externally stimulated by the IWTs close to home. It is a combination of infrasound and low frequency noise. “Noise” that doesn’t get measured by planners, government, hosts or acousticians. “Noise” that doesn’t exist. “Noise” that is all in our heads. “Noise” that is completely denied by wind farm companies.

For years I have dreamed of running a truck of my own. Ideally I would use home as a base. This is no longer a viable option because of the sleep issue. How can I as a heavy vehicle driver, whose fatigue is measured in 15 minute intervals, with fines starting at $600 for minor breaches, work out of a place where I can’t sleep? What am I to do when I can’t turn up fit for duty, even if I spent 8 hours in bed?

Wind is a dirty industry, built on lies, mistruths and hypotheticals. It is an unsustainable industry. It will cost Australia dearly, not just now but into the future. We at home are merely political road kill. We don’t matter. As the great green con rolls on, our lives have been disrupted to a level unimaginable to almost all. Unless you personally experience the disruption, the sleepless nights, the constant battering, you don’t get it.

I have only touched on the most personal issue to me, the disrupted sleep. There are far more qualified people out there who will hopefully make submissions outlining the political and financial failings of wind farms. I can live in the shadows of a wind farm, I can put up with the industrialisation of the landscape. The thing I can’t handle is not being able to sleep at home.

My submission is to outline purely the fact there is a real and proper concern as far as sleep deprivation and sleep disturbance go as neighbours of a wind farm. I realise there are too many people investing too much money and I realise that politicians and policy makers don’t like knowing or admitting that they have been lied to, conned and bluffed by wind energy, and as such I doubt any real outcome will be achieved by this senate enquiry, although I thank anyone who holds real concern for us.

The only thing that I can realistically relate wind energy to is asbestos, and maybe tobacco. For how long have we heard the proponents claiming all the upsides with no side effects, at all, EVER!! Wake up to the con, the lies, the bullshit, that is wind, before more disruption to good everyday people takes place. There is a reason a senate enquiry is taking place and it is about time some real answers were heard from people affected by wind farms.”