Willatook Wind Farm – Community

Sharing the benefits

Right from the outset of this project, Wind Prospect has been committed to ensuring that those living closest to the proposed wind farm share the financial benefits.

Information shared by residents and stakeholders, either directly or via the Community Engagement Committee, has helped Wind Prospect to develop a series of programs that share the financial benefits fairly and appropriately. These programs include a:

  • Neighbour Benefit Sharing Program
  • Energy Cost Offset Plan
  • Community Co-investment Program
  • Community Sponsorship Fund
  • Community Benefit Fund

For further details about all these programs download the program flyer here.

 

Neighbour Benefit Sharing Program 

The Neighbour Benefit Sharing Program will ensure the financial benefits of the project are shared directly with those closest to the project. Community feedback has been important in developing a framework that will benefit neighbours directly. This program will be implemented if the project is approved and construction commences. Under this program, all eligible neighbours (who own a dwelling within six kilometres of a built turbine) will receive a one-off construction payment of $1000 and between $1,000 and $30,000 annually, depending on the proximity to wind turbines.

Energy Cost Offset Plan

The Energy Cost Offset Plan is designed to offset the cost of electricity for neighbouring dwellings. It has an annual value of up to $2000 and will be available to eligible residents located within six kilometres of a constructed wind turbine.  

Community Co-Investment Program  

Community co-investment gives members of the local community an opportunity to invest in and acquire rights to a portion of the project’s profits but gives them no decision-making power or control of the project. If planning approval is provided and the Willatook Wind Farm becomes operational, a formal process will be established to assess community interest in investing in the project.

Community Benefit Fund

Once planning approval has been granted for the project, a Community Benefit Fund of up to $1000 per constructed wind turbine (up to $59,000) will be established and administered by a community committee for eligible community initiatives. The fund will replace the sponsorship fund at the commissioning of the wind farm and continue annually for as long as the wind farm is operational.  

Community Sponsorship Fund

While most of the benefit sharing programs will not commence until the wind farm has been approved, the $20,000 annual Community Sponsorship Fund is already in operation and more applications are welcome. The fund assists community groups and organisations that operate in the vicinity of the proposed wind farm to improve their services, programs, initiatives and/or facilities.  A range of sporting, arts and infrastructure projects have already benefited from this fund; some of these are listed below.

Application forms and terms and conditions are available here. Wind Prospect administers this fund with guidance and feedback from Moyne Shire Council and the local community. Once the wind farm is commissioned, the sponsorship fund will be replaced by the Willatook Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund which will continue for the duration of the wind farm’s operation.

Community Engagement Committee

A Community Engagement Committee (CEC) was established by the Moyne Shire in October 2010 to provide a forum for consultation and information sharing about the project between Wind Prospect and the local community. The CEC comprises two Moyne Shire Councillors, three members of the community, and Wind Prospect. Meetings are held several times a year.

Sponsorship fund – supporting the local community

While most of the benefit sharing programs will not commence until the wind farm has been approved, the annual Community Sponsorship Fund is already in operation and more applications are welcome. The fund assists community groups and organisations that operate in the vicinity of the proposed wind farm to improve their services, programs, initiatives and/or facilities.

A sponsorship fund of $20,000 per year has been established for the duration of the project development process to assist local community groups and organisations around the proposed wind farm. The fund is active now.

The fund is administered by Wind Prospect and the application forms and terms and conditions are available here. Once the wind farm is commissioned the sponsorship fund will be replaced by the Willatook Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund, which will continue annually for as long as the wind farm is operational. Guidance and feedback are sought from the Moyne Shire Council and the local community to shape the design and eligibility criteria of this fund.

We are pleased to have made several allocations under this fund, including:

Orford Community Hall

$5,860

Willatook Wind Farm recently awarded the Orford Community Hall Committee a $5,860 sponsorship that will be used to fund the replacement of external doors of the hall and main entrance, which are in poor condition. This work will ensure the hall is secure, safe and in a condition for use by the local community. This work is also supported by the Moyne Shire’s Community Assistance Fund.

Friends of St Brigid's

$7,495

The Friends of St Brigid’s is a community organisation that acts as the caretaker of St Brigid’s Church in Crossley. The group manages the precinct and coordinates a variety of grassroots community groups and events, including community music, 15 Minutes of Fame, Christmas Carolsand Irish Dancing.The group requested $7,495 to purchase a second-hand piano and trolley for use by budding and experienced musicians. 

Orford Table Tennis Association

Orford Table Tennis Association

$1,620

The Orford Table Tennis Association has been part of the community since the late 1950s. With a regular group of competitors, the association runs a pennant competition every year.

When the current restrictions are lifted, our funding of $1,620 will be used by the group to contribute to the recent increase in the Victorian Table Tennis Association affiliation fees, reducing fees payable by their members.

Koroit Irish Festival

$5,000

The Koroit Irish Festival is a celebration of the town’s rich Irish heritage. Thousands of people converge on the town each year for a three-day festival of music, dance, and entertainment.

We have provided $5,000 to the festival for the purchase of portable tables and chairs. Although the festival has had to be cancelled in 2020, the equipment is there to be used at the next festival, which we have no doubt that everyone will be looking forward to.

 Koroit and District Basketball Association

Koroit and District Basketball Association

$4,500

The Koroit and District Basketball Association offers a variety of levels of competition, from junior programs to an open mixed competition. There are more than 250 participants throughout the week, ranging from young children to adult basketballers. The association fields a number of squad teams each year, who play representative basketball at competitions in Victoria and South Australia. We are thrilled to provide the organisation with $4,500 for new basketball tops.

Koroit Cricket Coub

Koroit Cricket Club

$4,000

The Koroit Cricket Club applied for funding to support its plans to install a recycled PVC picket boundary fence to the Jack Keane Oval. A turf wicket on this oval is used for cricket games and the fence provides the oval with clear definition and separates the play from spectators. This $4,000 was combined with other funding sources to complete the fence. 

 

Port Fairy-Warrnambool Rail Trail Committee of Management

$2,500

Port Fairy-Warrnambool Rail Trail Committee of Management manages and maintains more than 24km of Rail Trail and its associated infrastructure.  We contributed $3,000 towards the purchase of a mower to enable them to more efficiently maintain the easement either side of the Rail Trail.

Hawkesdale Macarthur Football Netball Club

$5,000 

The Hawkesdale Macarthur Football Netball Club is sourcing funding for a second netball court at the Macarthur Recreation Reserve. Willatook Wind Farm has provided $5,000 for the drawing of plans, shire permits and planning consultant fees to prepare for the project. 

Local family in need

$5,000 

Assistance to a local family who lost their home and belongings in a house fire.

Willatook Hall Committee

$2,500

The Willatook Hall Committee applied for funding to trim trees around the hall. The Willatook Hall – which dates to 1933 – had a protective plantation of trees on the south and west. Initially screened by pine trees, these were replaced with indigenous species in 2003. This grant has enabled the leaning trees to be removed and the pruning of those that remain.

Community engagement

Public consultation for the proposed Willatook Wind Farm commenced in September 2010 during the very early stages of planning and feasibility assessment. Newsletters have been distributed periodically to all residents and owners of land within 10km of a proposed wind turbine location as well as to other stakeholders.

In September 2010 and again in August 2017, Wind Prospect staff knocked on the doors of all dwellings located within approximately 3km of a proposed wind turbine location. If residents were not home, a ‘sorry we missed you’ pack was left behind which included a newsletter and contact details.

Information Sessions were held in July 2019 to present information about the project and seek feedback from the local community.  The posters used at these sessions were used to produce an Information Booklet, which was distributed to homes within 10km of the proposed wind farm and can be downloaded from the link further down this page.

During October to December 2019, a shopfront in Koroit was established to provide a further opportunity for anyone to pop in to discuss the proposed wind farm.  The shop front was open for one day per week over a 12 week period, or by appointment.

In November 2019 and again in February 2020, Wind Prospect staff knocked on the doors of all dwellings located within approximately 6km of a proposed wind turbine location. If residents were not home, a ‘sorry we missed you’ pack was left behind which included contact details.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic impacted the ability to carry out in-person engagement activities throughout much of 2020 and 2021. However, during this time, a virtual presence was maintained through the project website, email and phone, updates provided to the community engagement committee, and project update newsletters were distributed in June 2020, April 2021, September 2021, December 2021 and March 2022. Virtual community engagement committee meetings were held in August and December 2020, March, August, October 2021 and with two in person meetings in May 2021 and February 2022.

A community drop-in session was held at Orford Hall in late March 2022, where people could speak to the project team about the project and the EES. An online webinar was also held in early April 2022 where some of the key specialist consultants presented on the outcomes of their assessments, and community members could ask questions.  

 

Wind Prospect Australia

Have your say

Your input, feedback and views on the proposed Willatook Wind Farm are important. We genuinely want to hear what you have to say and your opinions can lead to improvements to the project design. If you are simply after more information please don’t hesitate to get in touch – that’s what we’re here for.

Wind Prospect has established the following lines of communication and encourage you to contact the Willatook Wind Farm team.

  • Toll free number: 1800 934 313
  • Email: info@willatookwindfarm.com.au
  • Local community presence: We have a dedicated regional local Community Engagement Officer you can contact on 1800 934 313​
  • Information sessions are held at times throughout the project  
  • Project opinion surveys: Opinion surveys can be completed online at any time and are located here

Personal information will be treated as private and confidential and will not be passed to any third parties not involved with the wind farm.