MP selling up for wind farm campaign

MP Simon Ramsay is selling his Birregurra farm so he can speak against wind farms. Digital image.

POLITICIAN Simon Ramsay says he will walk away from his home beside a Colac district wind farm to be a voice for people with turbine concerns.

The Member for Western Victoria confirmed yesterday he was “in the process of selling” his Birregurra district family farm which he tried unsuccessfully to sell to wind farm company Acciona last year.

But before Mr Ramsay leaves his wind farm woes behind, he might need to defend himself against an allegation he breached the state parliamentary act.

Victorian Greens Leader Greg Barber said he would move that a parliament privileges committee investigated Mr Ramsay next week.

Mr Barber alleged he Mr Ramsay failed to disclose a pecuniary interest in Acciona’s Mount Gellibrand wind farm when he voted on a wind farm policy amendment.

Mr Barber alleged Mr Ramsay had profited from selling part of his land, which had a planning permit for turbines.

He said Mr Ramsay then voted on new rules that could have affected Acciona’s planning permit.

Mr Barber said Mr Ramsay should have declared his interest in the wind farm and not voted on the policy changes that included a two-kilometre turbine exclusion zone from houses.

“He should have made a full disclosure and all he said was that he lived near a wind farm.

But Mr Ramsay denied any wrongdoing and said Mr Barber’s claims were the latest chapter of a well-publicised “witch hunt” by the Greens leader.

“I did not use my position as an MP to influence the minister or gain any special access,” he said.

Mr Ramsay said he sold off the land allocated for turbines in 2008 “for rural activity” and not for its value as wind farm, despite a company having a planning permit for turbines on the site.

“There was no indication then there would be a wind farm at all,” Mr Ramsay said.

“The planning permit was issued under the previous Labor Government and not affected by the new amendment and new wind farm guidelines.

“I’ve been very transparent and clear of conscience with what I’ve done.

“Greg Barber and I have clashed heads through my time on the VFF and if they think I’m going to go away by trying to discredit me, they’re wrong,” he said.

“If I am successful in this sale, I’ll be able to move away and I’ll be the voice of people concerned about the health and noise impact of wind farms.”

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