Offshore wind zone objection

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Offshore wind zone objection

Hundreds of Port MacDonnell residents are relieved at the State Government’s recommendation that South Australia not be included in the Commonwealth’s proposed offshore wind farm zone that runs from Warrnambool in Victoria to Port MacDonnell.

In its submission to the Commonwealth, the State Government has expressed concerns about the potential impact construction of an offshore windfarm in that area could have on the Limestone Coast’s southern fisheries and marine environment.

The consultation period for the Southern Ocean offshore wind zone, held by Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen, closed last week.

Minister Bowen now has approximately 10 weeks to make a decision as to whether the proposed area is suitable for offshore renewable energy developments.

The Southern Coast Ocean Care (SCOC) committee comprising 14 concerned Port MacDonnell residents has been campaigning in objection to the location of the proposed Southern Ocean offshore wind zone.

SCOC members said in a media release they were thrilled to hear the state government’s objection to the zone.

“The Southern Coast Ocean Care Committee, as well as the community from Port MacDonnell and the surrounding coastal areas, are thrilled to bits to hear the news the South Australian Government does not support the Federal Government’s proposed southern offshore wind zone here at Port MacDonnell,” the media release said.

“We are extremely grateful for Primary Industries Minister Clare Scriven and Climate Minister Susan Close announcing their media release (opposing the proposal).

“As of the 1st September we have an approximately 10 week wait before Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen MP makes his decision as to whether Port MacDonnell SA, with the largest Southern Rock Lobster fleet in the southern hemisphere is declared as an offshore wind zone or not.

“We have been reassured that all submissions are going to be read in detail and that Minister Chris Bowen does not want to lose old jobs.

“Port MacDonnell really has a lot to lose if the offshore wind zone goes ahead in the Southern Ocean. We would like it to stop at the Victorian border at least.”

The 2023 Southern Rock Lobster fishing season commenced last Friday with many professional fisherman including Ben Wilson against the proposed windzone.

“We are definitely against it, we have looked after our industry for a lot of years and got it in the right position at the moment,” Mr Wilson said.

“It is just going to put a lot of strain on different areas all up the coast … especially down this end of our whole coastline, this is where we catch the most undersize, it is a big breeding ground for our crayfish.

“At the moment, we have a nice even spread across the coast, only so much tonnage gets taken out of each area, it is just going to put a lot more stress up that way.

“I think they got a bit of a shock realising being such a small town there would not be much of an uproar but obviously they would know now with today and every other meeting we have had for the windfarms, there is a lot of support from the community.

“It definitely affects everyone and everyone’s all going in the same direction, that we do not want it.

“It’s also rod fishing, amateur fishing … all that kind of stuff, we have got a very good sustainable ocean here that’s pristine and we want to keep it that way.”

Mr Wilson, who has been fishing commercially for around 20 years, said if the zone is to be declared by the government it will be another ‘kick in the guts’ to an already strained industry.

“It’s going to put a lot of strain on our fishing industry, that’s for sure, especially for the last three years everyone’s been like a duck in a pond just treading water to keep afloat,” he said.

“We have had a lot of downfall over the past three years with China and COVID and all that stuff and now they want to propose windfarms right in the middle of where most of us fish.

“There’s a few people that have sold out because of the uncertainty of the industry and the way it’s going with China and stuff like that.

“The population of China and the money they pay it’s just not feasible to go sell to India or anywhere like that.

“We want a bit of sustainability and hopefully we can get back to China at some stage.”

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