eNews APRIL 2023 GM-Windfarm


 April 2023

Monday 24th April 2023, 7:00 pm

Nelson Room, Ground Floor,
Nelson Bay Bowling Club commencing at 7:00 pm. 


  1. Apologies
  2. Minutes of the previous meeting
  3. Business Arising
  4. Correspondence In and Out
  5. Business Arising from Correspondence
  6. Treasurer’s Report 
  7. Featured Discussion – Proposed Offshore Wind Farms
  8. Planning Report
  9. General Business

NEXT MEETING: Monday 12th JUNE 2023


Proposed Hunter Offshore Windfarm Project

We have allocated this discussion as a high priority for the Tomaree Peninsula.

For detailed information please, view the ABC article HERE.

Your attention is drawn to the following Commonwealth Background Paper to the proposed area HERE.

Please also find below TRRA’s Draft Submission on this project of major significance which will be discussed at the meeting.


 Hunter Offshore Wind and other Renewable Energy Projects 

TRRA’s Interest

TRRA Inc. actively represents the community on a range of issues that affect the Tomaree Peninsula including planning and development, economic development, cultural infrastructure and resources, the built and natural environment, tourism and other grass roots issues.

TRRA inc. networks with other local organisations on issues of shared interest and works to ensure that our Council and other State and Commonwealth authorities consult with the community and maintain transparent and accountable processes.

Having regard for TRRA’s objectives as outlined above, the proposed infrastructure and services are very much within the interests of our Association.
TRRA attended the consultation session held at Nelson Bay and reviewed the document “Overview of the Proposed Area”.


TRRA recognises the national and global benefits which are associated with the move to renewable energy generation and welcomes initiatives directed towards this objective.  This was a universal feeling expressed by the majority of those attending the Nelson Bay community consultation of in-principle support for renewable energy systems.

The natural terrestrial and marine assets of the Tomaree Peninsula are highly prized by its 30,000 plus population and the community is well aware of the critical importance of the need to protect these assets. They provide a backdrop for our lifestyle and a resource for a major local tourism industry and other industries relying on the pristine marine environment.

Accordingly, our community wishes to raise a number of concerns and queries relating to the potential impacts of an extensive wind farm off our coastline.  In raising them we urge that there be thorough investigation of these concerns prior to any decisions being taken. From the responses voiced at the Nelson Bay Consultation, we believe our concerns are widely shared across the Tomaree community.

Community Concerns

  1. Hidden Drivers. 
    There was a strong perception that the international corporations behind the proposal are setting the development agenda at the expense of proper planning and considerations of environmental impacts.   Underlying this is the suspicion that these corporations see massive profit potential that could not be made in jurisdictions where controls and environmental hurdles are harder to negotiate than they are in Australia.
  2. A Timeline that doesn’t Allow Adequate Environmental Impact Studies. 
    Associated with Concern #1, the speed with which the project timeline sees the progress of the project would not seem to allow sufficient time to address impact on marine eco-systems.   Little is known about these eco-systems and the time allowed for environmental impact studies would not seem anywhere nearly sufficient to fill this knowledge gap.
  3. Effect on Marine Eco-systems
    There was no detail provided on the windmill anchoring systems.    How will the anchoring systems not present a hazard to migrating cetaceans which traverse the Hunter proposed area?  Is it possible to install adequate warning protection systems (active or passive sonar deflectors?).
    The commercial Port Stephens whale watching cruises are a vital component of the winter off season tourist economy, so assurances are essential as to avoidance of such interruptions.
  4. Commercial and Recreational Fishing.
    Both commercial and recreational fisheries operate in the proposed area and there need to be plans to manage any conflict with these significant activities.
  5. Security of Anchoring Systems
    The maritime history of the Hunter, Central and South Coast is littered with failed systems that relied on sea anchors to keep infrastructure in place.   Absolute confidence was always expressed at the time that measures were in place that would secure everything from wave power generators to fish farms.   All have proven to be futile challenges to the violent nature of East Coast lows and the corrosive effect of the marine environment.  There has been a recent disastrous experience with an aquaculture project just north of the entrance to Port Stephens when a large breeding pen was completed ripped from its anchorage. A long and costly clean-up followed and the project was abandoned.  It is understood that the relevant NSW authorities were left with some financial responsibility for the restoration.   TRRA would appreciate information on the experience at equivalent reference sites and details of the of the planned engineering in this harsh marine environment?
  6. Visual Pollution
    There is a concern that the wind farms will present visual pollution along the unique pristine Tomaree coastline during the day. The New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service is nearing the completion of a Coastal Walk from Tomaree Headland to Birubi point costing around $7 million.  The objective is to offer visitors enhanced views towards the open ocean from the coastline, including from the many elevated headlands along the route.  The view from the top of Tomaree Headland is iconic on a national scale and already attracts 200,000 plus visitors per year.  It is expected that this number could increase significantly once the Coastal Walk is completed and concepts for the adaptive reuse of the heritage listed Tomaree Lodge Site are approved and implemented. In our assessment the view from the 161-meter summit would be impacted by the wind turbines at least in the north of the proposed area. An additional concern is that illumination of the infrastructure could destroy the much-cherished ‘black sky’ off this coast with anti-collision and other lighting on the windmills. This may preclude future astronomical opportunities.TRRA recommends that the proposed area on page 2 of the Starting the Conversation Paper be reviewed to minimise the impact on the entry to Port Stephens by deleting enough of the designated area to avoid the visual impact from the mainland and in particular from the Tomaree Headland Summit and the Coastal Walk.

    We are also concerned that about 900km2 of the proposed Area is more than 200m deep, which will increase the technical challenge and cost of offshore wind projects and could impact electricity bills.

    To address these concerns, TRRA asks the Minister to increase the available area less than 200m deep, by extending the Area 25km to the south (while keeping 15km offshore) and to explore any mitigation measures that could reduce the proposed 46km exclusion zone for the RAAF base.

  7. Onshore Infrastructure.
    TRRA would be concerned if there were intrusive structures such as transmission lines needed to collect and connect the offshore generated power from the planned area to the state transmission grid. This would impact the relatively pristine Tomaree littoral zone. It would seem to be more appropriate for the connections and onshore infrastructure to be located onshore from the southern portion of the Area.
  8. Power Supply Control.
    One concern is that the Government will fail to negotiate sufficient control over power supply costs in a market-driven, commercial project.   This is based on fear of a repeat of the scandalous mistake associated with the export of East Coast gas being controlled by large corporations at the cost of Australian consumers.

Ben van der Wijngaart
President, Tomaree Ratepayers and Residents Association Inc.
April 2023

For further information on TRRA Inc submissions to issues affecting our community, incuding Federal, State, LGA DA proposals and decisions refer to our website:

Call for interest In TRRA Committee/specialist positions.

At present the key positions of

  • Vice President and
  • Media Officer

remain unfilled and are being covered on a temporary basis. Expressions of interest are invited from TRRA members or potential members who feel they may be able to contribute in these roles.

Please contact our secretary via email secretary@trra.com.au to discuss.

Geoff Washington
Acting Media Officer

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