Australia's top medical research body has given two researchers $3.3 million to study the effects of wind farms on human health despite its own year-long study finding no "consistent evidence" that a problem exists.
The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) awarded Guy Marks, a professor at the University of NSW $1.94m, to study the health impacts of infrasound - sound waves typically inaudible to humans - generated by wind turbines.
Peter Catcheside, an associate professor at Flinders University, secured $1.36m to investigate whether wind farms disturb sleep compared with traffic noise.
"Existing research in this area is of poor quality and targeted funding is warranted to support high quality, independent research on this issue," Anne Kelso, NHMRC's chief executive, said in a statement.
"These grants directly support the Australian Government's commitment to determine any actual or potential effects of wind farms."
The outcomes of these studies, promoted by a so-called targeted call for research, will assist in developing policy and public health recommendations regarding wind turbine development and operations, the council said.
The research call was criticised last year, with even NSW and Victorian health officials calling for the NHMRC "to make it clear that the total available evidence (parallel and direct) suggest[s] little health risk," according to emails from these health officials seen by Fairfax Media.
Senior members of the Abbott government, including then Prime Minister Tony Abbott, made public their opposition to wind farms. Then Treasurer Joe Hockey also dubbed wind turbines as "utterly offensive" and "a blight on the landscape".
Simon Chapman, an emeritus professor of public health at the University of Sydney, said there had been at least 25 reviews internationally - including by the NHMRC - that showed "very little evidence of direct effects" from wind farms.
Effects that did exist could be put down to psycho-social factors, such as pre-existing antipathy to wind farms, resentment by locals who had received no benefit from turbines in their region, and anxiety of perceived health impacts, Professor Chapman said.
"It's really quite disgraceful - it's money literally poured down the drain," he said.
"There is no health or medical agency in the world that would give any rational priority to wind farms and health.
"Potentially hundreds of researchers who had just missed on funding research would be angry as the money is being spent on wind farm research."
Fairfax Media has sought additional comment from the NHMRC.
Senator Kim Carr, shadow science minister, said the funding came at a time when the Turnbull government was taking the axe to hundreds of scientists - including climate researchers - at the CSIRO.
"The Liberals cannot plead innocence in cutting climate and manufacturing research in the CSIRO...while handing out money for contentious research into things like the supposed health effects of wind farms," he said.
"The Abbott-Turnbull Government is hell-bent on politicising Australian research," he said.
Health Minister Sussan Ley said it was important for the future safety of local residents and the viability of Australia's wind industry that doubts about people's health and safety were answered by high-quality science.
"Last year the NHMRC concluded further Australian research, which was both of higher quality and conducted locally, was warranted in this area and this is what is now happening."
"I'm not going to be lectured by a Labor party who disastrously tried to politicise medical research by slashing funding to cover its budget black hole, leading to marches in the street," Ms Ley said.
An NHMRC spokeswoman said wind farms and their effect on human health had been subject to two previous Senate inquiries and the recent Senate Select Committee.
"NHMRC accepts that some members of the public have genuine concerns for their health in relation to wind turbines," she said.
The funding for the two grant applications is approximately 0.37 per cent of NHMRC's total annual medical research endowment account budget, the spokeswoman said.