Wind farm held up over threat to rare Australian parrot

  • @kathymarksoz

While some have branded the move politically motivated, others have ridiculed it, pointing to research that puts the likelihood of a parrot being chewed up in turbines at one bird every 1,000 years. Moreover, bird watchers say that orange-bellied parrots have never been seen within 30 miles of the proposed site.

Developers fear the decision may herald a new era of over-zealous protection in Australia. The wallum froglet, a tiny amphibian less than an inch long, has halted construction of a bypass on the New South Wales/ Queensland border, while in Sydney the rare Cumberland land snail threatens to block a new residential and retail estate by the Georges River.

In Melbourne, meanwhile, there was relief when the government said that it would not stop a £160m housing development going ahead despite the discovery of 60 endangered golden sun moths. The moths spend most of their lives underground, emerging for just four days before they die.

Mr Campbell said that he did not want to be blamed for the extinction of a rare parrot species. But the cynics point out that there is strong local opposition to the £90m wind farm, which was planned for a marginal constituency narrowly won by the ruling Liberal Party in 2004.

It has also emerged that in 2002 the government approved four other wind farms in Victoria, despite environmental impact studies concluding that they would kill one orange-bellied parrot every five years. There are believed to be up to 200 parrots left in the wild. But Mr Campbell is unrepentant, and has seized on news of another endangered bird, a wedge-tailed eagle, meeting a bloody end in a wind turbine in Tasmania as vindication.