Anti-wind farm lobby revoked of 'health promotion charity' status

Wind farm. Source: AAP

Anti-wind farm lobby Waubra Foundation has had its status as a “health promotion charity” revoked by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission.

Anti-wind farm lobby Waubra Foundation has had its status as a “health promotion charity” revoked by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission.

In a statement, the ACNC confirmed that on December 11 the foundation had been stripped of its status.

“The ACNC can confirm it revoked the Waubra Foundation’s registration as a health promotion charity on 11 December 2014. The ACNC legislaion prevents us from discussing the details which lead to this decision.”

On their website, the Waubra Foundation also stated they were currently unable to accept tax-deductible donations.

The foundation was established to promote the effects of ‘wind turbine syndrome’, a contentious idea that has been widely rejected by Australian and international health authorities. 

Professor Simon Chapman from the School of Public Health at the University of Sydney said there was no direct evidence for ‘wind turbine syndrome’, despite a total of 20 reviews since 2003.

"When you've got twenty reviews where people are saying look there's no direct evidence here at all, it really takes a certain mindset to say, 'oh no we want to keep on reviewing this area, keep on doing research, keep on commissioning research because there just might be a health problem that so far hasn't really come to light.'"

The Australian Greens were also dismissive of those who claim wind turbines can make people sick.

"There's nothing in the literature that supports the contention that wind turbine syndrome does exist. That's not to say, of course, that people don't experience symptoms,” Greens Senator Richard Di Natale said in January this year. 

“Of course those symptoms are very, very real. The concern here is that by continuing to propagate misinformation about the link between wind turbines and poor health you're actually creating a situation where you create fear and anxiety in the community and that fear and anxiety can have a very real effect on people's health and that's the cause that's resulting in people experiencing these really distressing symptoms."

The Greens have previously complained to the ACNC about the anti-wind farm lobby, claiming they had no credible evidence.

In February, Assistant Commissioner David Locke agreed the group had “insufficient evidence” proving causation between wind turbines and health problems. 

"It is not possible for me to find that the Foundation's principal activity promotes the prevention or control of disease in human beings," Mr Locke said in February.

"My current view is there is that there is insufficient evidence that 'wind turbine syndrome' or 'vibroacoustic disease' caused by proximity to wind turbines are recognised as human diseases or that the health problems that have been perceived by the complainants as being associated with living or working close to wind turbines are a disease."

Waubra Foundation's chief executive Sarah Laurie said in a statement that the group was planning to appeal the ACNC's decision.

"We will also make sure the ACNC's decision in this matter is brought up in the Federal Senate inquiry in 2015," she said.

"We note that Assistant Commissioner Locke has ignored the many diseases which are well known to be directly caused or exacerbated by sleep disturbance and deprivation.

"We note that the ACNC have accepted our ongoing registration as a charity which 'advances health' by preventing sickness, and 'advancing public debate'."

Source SBS

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