53. The information base, which the department holds in respect to Brolga and Southern Bent-wing Bat numbers and behaviour in the vicinity of the proposed wind farm site in this submission is essentially reliant on the considerable experience of departmental officers and anecdotal evidence.
54. The proposal has a high potential to have an impact on the local Brolga and Southern Bent-wing Bat population, however, the department, does not have sufficient information to advise if the level of this impact would be significant or would cause a measurable reduction in the regional population.
55. The department recommends that any consideration of this or any proposals where there is a lack of evidence to underpin risk and impact assessment, adopt a cautious approach (have regard to the Precautionary Principle).
56. Finally the department advises that the issue of impacts of the proposal on wildlife is only one factor among many that the Panel should consider, and in forming its own advice to the Minister on the proposal subsequent to the recommendations of the Panel the department will give weight to the environmental benefits of the proposal, the economic benefits, and the policy of the Government, which supports the development of windfarms as an alternative energy source in Victoria.