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Tell us why?

Here are some questions we still don't have answers to. Feel free to ask these of DCCEEW, the Minister, your local Federal Member and in your DCCEEW submission.

1. How big will the wind turbines end up being? We were originally told they’d be 260 metres, then we were told 280 metres but in 2027 there will be 450 metre high turbines installed in Denmark. So how high could those in the Illawarra actually be come 2028 when they are due to be installed?

2. The proposal for wind turbines off our coast was announced on the 16 August 2023, over 2 months ago, so why haven’t accurate visual simulations been provided yet?

3. We’ve been told that 66% of the electricity being produced by the turbines in the Illawarra REZ will be provided to the Port Kembla steelworks to help them decarbonise and supply green hydrogen for export and that the remaining electricity will be provided into the national grid. So, no benefit at all to local residents. Why is our region being sacrificed like this?

4. Our region has recovered from 150 years of heavy industry from coal and steel, and now our economy is based on service industries, health, education and tourism, as well as being a commuter zone for Sydney, so why does the federal government want to take us backwards and industrialise almost the entire Illawarra coastline?

5. The Illawarra is one of the biggest urbanised areas across Australia. Why are we facing a wall of wind turbines along nearly the entire Illawarra coastline?

6. Why might we see so much having to be crammed into a 10km zone offshore because of these offshore wind turbine plants - maritime shipping, sailing, amateur, professional and game fishing?

7. Offshore wind farms are more expensive than onshore wind farms, costs are rising rapidly and there are supply chain issues accessing some of the core materials and elements required to build these which means that some companies in Europe and the USA are declining to bid to develop these, so why is Australia still pushing ahead? Is the government learning from failed overseas offshore wind turbine projects? Will the government, and therefore tax payers, ‘bail out’ wind turbine developers if their costs blow out? How will the electricity be generated if developers find it unprofitable like they have overseas?

8. Why is the 400m² - 500m² exclusion zones around each turbine not being more broadly communicated? We have heard in both a Wollongong Council meeting and government Town Hall meeting the benefit that comes from fish being attracted to these structures (inferring that they will become a fish aggregating device) as a way of promoting the possible benefits to fishers but we understand that exclusion zones will mean that fishers will not be able to access these as has been the situation in the northern hemisphere. When will this be confirmed so that fishermen are not being misled?

8. Why aren't we being told about the possible impacts of changes to our winds and how it might affect hang gliders, para sailors and on-shore rainfall and wind patterns?

 

9. Floating offshore wind farm technology is still evolving, and is nowhere near as mature as fixed offshore wind farms, yet this proposal involves installing the tallest and largest plant of floating turbines that is also closest to the largest population anywhere in the world. Why are we being used as 'crash-test dummies'?

11.  Why are the Five Islands Nature Reserve, Killalea Park with Killalea National Surfing Reserve, Bass Point Reserve and Seven Mile Beach National Park being exposed to the risk of possibly damaging effects from this Wind Farm Reserve?

12. The sea birds, albatross, petrel and shearwater, that are in our area are covered by international treaties, CAMBA, JAMBA, ROKAMBA and APAC, so why aren't they being protected?

13. Why aren't they telling us that the Artificial Intelligence tools, claimed to monitor large birds like our sea birds that are most at risk, are still being developed for offshore wind farms?

14. Some of our sea birds feed at night, and can be distracted by night light offshore, so why should they be put at risk due to night light pollution from the wall of turbines along nearly the entire Illawarra coastline?

15. Why aren't we being told that if there are any cable issues, that parts of wind farm can be offline for up to 90 days before repairs are completed?

16. Why aren't we being told about the way offshore wind tower generators rely on rare earth elements such as neodymium which is being mined overseas and creating huge pollution and illness in some of those countries?

17. Why are we facing this proposal when so little is known about whales and other marine life that swim up and down our coastline?

18. So much is still to be learned about issues with Electro Magnetic Fields and our marine life so why are we facing this proposal?

19. It is claimed that some parts of the wind turbines could be made from Australian materials (eg steel for the towers), and yet in Europe they are worried about increasing Chinese competition, so why are we so confident that Australian materials will be used?

20. Why are we being told that the turbine blades can be recycled now, when those processes are still under development?

21. This is a really big and complex issue which is very hard for many to fully understand. How it will be assessed? Who makes all the decisions at the various stages in the process over the next few years? What risk thresholds will be set and by whom? How will the Federal Government and State Government handle their respective issues? Why, in future stages of the developers’ submissions is the community only given a short 10-day window by DCCEEW in which to make submission about how the proposal will be assessed and not if it goes ahead?

22. Why does the approval process require the developers to conduct and pay for the Environmental Impact Study to be done? Surely this is a conflict of interest? Why isn’t an impartial agency required to do this?  How does DCCEEW retain oversight and ensure the studies are done correctly and without prejudice?

23. At the 11 October 2023 community consultation meeting, the Federal Member for Cunningham stated that no jobs in the tourism or hospitality sectors would be lost if the turbine plant is built. What research is this based on? Given that there are 14,020 jobs currently provided both directly and indirectly by tourism, accommodation and hospitality across the regions impacted by the proposed REZ and that BlueFloat has stated that after the initial construction phase is complete, we stand to gain only 200 – 300 ongoing jobs, how does it make sense to risk this many tourism and hospitality jobs?

24. How will property owners in the Illawarra be individually compensated for the loss of value and equity in their homes given that this is estimated to be between 2% - 40%, depending on the extent to which their property’s value is based on aesthetic qualities of the surrounding environment and lifestyle?

25. It has been proposed that a community benefit fund, funded by profits from the turbines, could be set up to pay for community infrastructure but where would these funds come from if there are no profits? And how would this money reach the pockets of individual property owners who have suffered a personal financial loss? Would there be discounts in rates and land taxes as occurs overseas? Or, would a profit-sharing arrangement between the developers and property owners be put in place as suggested by CSIRO?

26. What is the onshore infrastructure that is required and where will this be located? Community briefings have mentioned transmission towers that will feed power into the Tallawarra Power Station. Diagrams have been shown with cabling coming onshore at Port Kembla, around Windang (and crossing Lake Illawarra) and south of Killalea. Why is information not being provided to the community in the Q&A's? How will any exclusion zones around these impact recreational and commercial use of the coast? What are the risks to our communities of this onshore infrastructure?

27. What are the potential risks should a ship drop anchor with the loss of power and underwater cables?

 

28. We have been told that the capacity of offshore wind is approx 50% when located greater 10km from shore where wind is more constant (Ty Christopher 11/10/23) . This variable capacity will require a back-up power supply. What will be the back-up power to the Illawarra and what is the impact from a cost perspective and the achievement of Net Zero targets in operating two power sources in parallel? 

 

29. Why are there so many people in our community that have received no communication in regard to this proposal and in particular those from the Whitlam electorate?

If you do want to have your say please consider making a submission to the minister. It is a fairly simple and quick process. https://consult.dcceew.gov.au/oei-illawarra/take-the-survey

Record your questions and concerns via the DCCEEW survey (closes 15 Nov).

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