Farmer Grant Piper slams ABC for ‘hiding the truth’ about wind turbines, claiming it selectively edited a 7.30 story

A farmer has accused the ABC of selectively editing an interview to cut out the real issues he has with wind turbines in his region.

Grant Piper, a cattle farmer in the central west of NSW near the city of Dubbo, said an episode of the ABC’s 7.30 that was broadcast in early February left out what he most wanted to show, which is the extent of the encroachment by wind farms. 

Dissatisfied with what was left on the cutting room floor, Mr Piper filmed a video a couple of days after the broadcast to show the spot he had taken the program makers to so they could understand the magnitude of a proposed wind farm near his property.

Mr Piper said two wind farms with over 200 turbines each towering over 200m would hem in his property.

NSW farmer Grant Piper made his own video to show what was left on the cutting room floor by the ABC

During the segment Mr Piper was given around a minute to explain his position, with his contribution spliced in at three points of the segment’s seven-minute run time. 

‘I went up there and I spend all morning with them,’ Mr Piper told Daily Mail Australia on Friday.

‘We understand they have only got a five or seven-minute segment, we understand that.

‘What we said and what we tried to impart was knowledge, facts and information that people could chew on to inform people.’

Mr Piper said all the broadcast report could have accomplished was to  ‘reinforce people in their entrenched position’.

‘It didn’t move the conversation along, it didn’t educate on either side to have an informed discussion,’ he said.

‘It’s just re-enforcing the entrenched narrative that farmers don’t want it but renewables are good.’

In the video, which has been shared on One Nation Senator Malcom Roberts’ Facebook page, Mr Piper goes to a hilltop to demonstrate ‘what the 7.30 Report did not show you’.

‘This is what I brought them up here to show them so as usual the good old ABC cherry picks and edits to sell a message and basically talk for seven minutes and didn’t communicate anything to you.’ 

Mr Piper gestures toward the proposed sites of two wind turbine properties that will surround his property.

During the ABC report Mr Piper was given about a minute of airtime to put his points across

During the ABC report Mr Piper was given about a minute of airtime to put his points across

‘There’s over a thousand turbines listed at the moment in the projects, each one of those is over 2,000 tonnes of concrete in its base, 600 tonnes of steel in the tower… plus I don’t know how many tonnes of carbon fibre and epoxy in the blades,’ he said.

Mr Piper said the wind turbines will shed particles of Bisphenol A, the chemical used in the making of polycarbonate plastics for the wind turbine blades, also commonly referred to as BPA. 

‘BPA is an endocrine disruptor and so that is going to erode over the life of those turbines and distribute fine BPA all over the country and into the waterways,’ Mr Piper claimed.

‘So what’s that going to do to the fertility and the health of livestock and the health of people … but they don’t want to talk about [that].’

Whether wind turbines shed BPA particles that can harm fertility in people and animals remains a hot topic of debate among advocates and opponents of renewable power.

Mr Piper maintains that in the future BPA will be regarded in the same way as asbestos is now.

‘The blades erode over time but the tips are going 300 or 400 miles an hour and they erode,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.

‘All that dust and particles, you couldn’t think of a better way to spread it over land.

‘We work generations, centuries of work breeding cattle and fertility is the first thing you need.

‘If you don’t have fertility the numbers don’t add up. if you get even a two or three percent reduction in your herd, that destroys the last 300 years of progress.

‘It’s not a small thing.’

In his video Mr Piper rebutted the notion that farmers are well compensated to have wind turbines. 

‘Compared to the capital value loss on the land and the production loss on the land, any compensation offered is not really significant,’ he said.

‘It is also a great impediment to food production in this country and we’re going to suffer in the long term as well as our children suffering because they are going to have to pay the bills for these foreign corporations forever.’

Mr Piper said that urban dwellers might not appreciate what is involved.

‘It’s not like the city where they acquire your land to build a railway or a roundabout or something, where they buy your whole house block,‘ he said.

‘(In rural areas) they are buying an easement and putting a power line on it that stays forever and only compensating the easement a little bit and a few per cent over the rest of the property but it doesn’t really compensate for the loss of capital value

‘If you subdivide 100has and you get a damn power line on that lot, you will never sell the damn thing it is worthless.’

In his video Mr Piper showed how his property would be hemmed in by proposed wind farms

In his video Mr Piper showed how his property would be hemmed in by proposed wind farms

‘Once you are dumped into this uncertainty what does that do to your business investment and future plans? 

He said that most people who have wind turbines installed on their properties ‘take their foot off the pedal’. 

‘They no longer farm primarily, they don’t need to farm.

‘Because of the noise or other things they end up moving, so most of them are absentee land owners.’

Mr Piper’s property sits in what the NSW government has decreed as the Central-West Orana Renewable Energy Zone, meaning the region is intended to be a major hub of renewable projects.

According to Mr Piper there were 54 renewables projects in the works for the area comprising over 1,000 turbines and nine million solar panels.

He said on average, operators needed 140ha per turbine and about 25sq km for an 850-megawatt solar farm.

Also heavy transmission lines would need to be installed to carry power from the renewables, which Mr Piper said normally meant farmers had to sub-divide their properties. 

‘During construction they won’t be able to move from one section of the property to the other section of their property,’ he said.

‘Would you buy a property if it had power lines running through the guts of it or down the edge of it?’ 

The 7.30 Report asked if Mr Piper if he was a ‘NIMBY’ who only objected to renewables because they were in his back yard.

Mr Piper was unapologetic about saying he did not want them near him, pointing out that people in Sydney don’t want them off the northern beaches or off Bondi Beach. 

‘(Teal MP) Zali Steggall has got something on her website saying I do not support wind farms on the northern beaches,’ he said.

‘I mean, how hypocritical do you need to be.’

On Ms Steggall’s website it states: ‘For the record, I have solar panels on my house, I drive an electric car and I do not support wind farms along Warringah’s beachfront.’

As for whether he was disappointed by his portrayal on the ABC, Mr Piper said it did not surprise him. 

‘All these once trusted institutions that you once supported – the ABC or the CSIRO or the BOM – they are destroyed they have don’t any integrity or credibility left,’ he said.

‘We know that. Anyone with their eyes and ears open knows that.’

The ABC has been contacted for comment. 

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