THE Australian Government will lobby France to stop a wind farm being built on a World War I battlefield where the remains of thousands of Aussie Diggers lie.
Veterans Affairs Minister and Wannon MP Dan Tehan has vowed to do everything in his power to protect the final resting place of Australian soldiers, some from the south-west, who died in the two bloody battles of Bullecourt in April and May of 1917.
Mr Tehan said he was optimistic French company Engie Green’s proposal for six wind turbines over what many military historians regard as a mass graveyard could be halted.
He will discuss the issue with his French ministerial counterpart in the next few days, saying he was hopeful of a resolution within months.
“From a ministerial point of view, I will be doing everything I can to protect this land for future generations of Australians, and also for French citizens as well,” he said.
Given that France had made similar sacrifices in terms of loss of life in World War I, he believed its government would understand Australia’s concerns on the issue.
“The French Government has worked incredibly co-operatively with Australia when it comes to the recovery of remains and the preservation of World War I sites that are incredibly dear to Australia.”
The families of south-west Diggers missing on the northern French battlefields had voiced their opposition to the project which is also the subject of a growing protest by local French residents.
Mr Tehan said he understood their concerns and would be making representations on the families’ behalf to the French Government.