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Commissioner’s Observations and Recommendations (updated 2017)

The following is an extract of the Commissioner’s 2017 Annual Report which includes a number of observations and recommendations for consideration in relation to the governance, development and operation of wind farm projects.

  1. Host Landowner Negotiations
  2. Neighbour Consultation and Agreements
  3. Community Engagement
  4. Planning Permits – Time Limits and Scope Changes
  5. Governance and Compliance of Standards and Permit Conditions
  6. Use and selection of Experts
  7. Wind Farm Complaint Handling and Emergency Procedures
  8. Site Selection
  9. Health Matters

Glossary

Updated Observations and recommendations

In the Commissioner’s 2016 Annual Report, the Commissioner made a number of observations and recommendations based on experience from handling complaints received and engagement with a large number of stakeholders. These observations and recommendations covered a broad range of topics, including areas for potential improvement in the planning, governance and operation of the wind energy industry.

The report received significant feedback from stakeholders. Much of the feedback was very supportive and aligned with the recommendations, along with constructive feedback that was received that suggested further refinements and clarifications.

The following sections are based on the 2016 report and have been updated to include further observations made during 2017 in handling complaints and undertaking various stakeholder meetings, as well as incorporating feedback received on the 2016 report. For consistency, the 2017 report has utilised the same topic areas and numbering system employed in the 2016 report.

A number of the Commissioner’s 2016 report recommendations have either been implemented during 2017 or are in the process of being implemented. As always, there may also be other approaches to achieve the same or similar outcomes that are intended by the recommendations.

This report section also includes an additional subsection, subsection 10, which summarises a number of broader reforms that the Commissioner is progressing.

The recommendations below are for consideration by the relevant stakeholders. There are no formal powers to mandate the implementation of these recommendations. That said, the Commissioner looks forward to the ongoing adoption of the recommendations tabled in a manner that will enable continuous improvement within the industry.

Finally, as noted in the 2016 report, the large-scale wind energy industry is still relatively new in Australia, with the first major wind farm developments commencing in just the last decade. Therefore, it is not surprising that a diverse number of opportunities still exist for improvement in the governance and operation of the industry.