The Commissioner may handle complaints from concerned community residents who live in proximity to proposed or operating wind farms, large-scale solar farms (5 MW or more) and energy storage facilities such as large-scale batteries (1 MW or more). The concerned resident may be represented by an appropriate nominee acceptable to the Commissioner.
Upon receiving a complaint, the Commissioner may enquire whether the resident has raised the matter with the respondent directly and engaged with their formal complaint handling process. If not, the Commissioner may encourage the resident to do so in the first instance.
If a resident is already engaged in a process aimed at resolving the complaint (for example, a legal or state government ombudsman process), the Commissioner may decide to not accept or stop handling the complaint.
One of the factors in determining whether or not the Commissioner will handle a complaint will be how current the issue is. The Commissioner is more likely to accept a complaint that relates to a current issue.
A key role of the Office is to facilitate the referral and resolution of complaints received from concerned residents. The Office will handle complaints in accordance with its Complaints Handling Policy.
The following summarises the Complaints Handling process as described in the Policy.
|Enquiry or complaint||A resident may contact the Office with a complaint or request for information.|
|Referral||The Office may refer the complaint to the respondent or relevant government agency to facilitate a resolution between the parties.|
|Conciliation||In the event that the complaint has not been resolved by referral, the Commissioner may seek to conciliate the complaint between the resident and the other party.|
|Recommendation||If attempts to conciliate the complaint do not result in a resolution, the Commissioner may make non-binding recommendations to the parties.|
|Closure||The Commissioner may close the complaint when resolved or in accordance with the Policy.|
Before making a complaint to the Commissioner, you should have previously attempted to contact the other party to resolve the matter.
If you are having difficulty contacting a wind farm or government agency, please contact the Office and we will assist you:
nwfc [at] environment.gov.au
National Wind Farm Commissioner
PO Box 24434
Melbourne VIC 3001
1800 656 395
Making a complaint
If you wish to proceed with making a complaint to the Office of the National Wind Farm Commissioner, you can write, phone or email us. A complaint form is also available if you wish to submit this to the Office.
In order to progress your complaint, your correspondence should include the following details:
- your name
- your address
- your contact details, including telephone and email
- the name of the proposed or operating wind farm facility
- the approximate distance of the nearest turbine to your dwelling
- the complaint you wish to make about the wind farm facility
- the basis of the complaint
- when you first made the complaint about the facility to the other party
- evidence in support of the complaint, including relevant dates
- a summary of any current or previous attempts to resolve the complaint, including relevant correspondence from you and other parties to the complaint
- the practical outcomes you are seeking in a resolution to the complaint
- your written permission for the Commissioner to discuss the complaint and provide your details to the other party or parties to the complaint; and
- other information we may deem necessary to assist us in attempting to understand the complaint and approaches for its resolution.
Once we have received your complaint, we will respond to you with advice on how we intend to handle your complaint. The Office receives and handles complaints in accordance with our Complaints Handling Policy and Information Handling Policy.
To assist you in making your complaint, you may choose to fill out our complaint form and submit it via email.
Information sharing consent
Before we are able to discuss your complaint with another party, our Office requires your consent to share information with that party. You can provide consent by sending to us a completed and signed Information Handling Approval form with your complaint information or, if you are submitting a complaint form, you can select the appropriate box on the complaint form.
Once we have received your complaint and approval to share information, we will advise you on how we intend to progress your complaint.
If you would like to appoint a nominee to represent you to act on your behalf in dealing with our Office and the other party, please provide details of your nominee using the Appointment of Nominee form.