Senator Sarah Henderson has thrown her support behind local landowners seeking assurances from the Victorian Government that they’ll be properly consulted on the Western Victoria Transmission Project (WVTNP).
Farmers and other property owners in regional Victoria are concerned about construction of high voltage power lines across their land.
The Victorian Government is responsible for the WVTNP planning, environmental and safety approvals and needs to implement a comprehensive consultation process essential to building confidence in the route selection and construction.
“The Victorian Labor Government must ensure the concerns of regional Victorians do not fall on deaf ears,” Senator Henderson said.
“Let’s not forget that these high voltage power lines are necessary because of the Victorian Government’s poorly managed and rushed rollout of wind and solar farms across western Victoria. Victorian Labor’s reckless 50 per cent renewable energy target, without sufficient investment in dispatchable generation and storage, along with the closure of Hazelwood power station, has compromised Victoria’s energy supply.
“If Daniel Andrews had focused on delivering community renewable energy solutions with proper back-up storage, which did not require the transmission of electricity along a 190 kilometre high voltage power line, then the livelihoods and investments of so many farmers and farming communities would not be at risk.
“I’ve taken up local concerns surrounding the planning process for WVTNP directly with the Federal Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor, stressing the need for improved consultation.
“Minister Taylor agrees that it is essential AusNet deliver a robust and a comprehensive consultation process and it must be supported by the Victorian Government.”
Following my meeting with the Minister, he raised directly with the AusNet CEO Tony Narvaez the importance of an improved consultation process using local knowledge, including alternate routes, to minimise impacts on the local community.
AusNet is responsible for planning, designing, constructing and operating the project.
“It is encouraging that the Minister is also considering other measures to support landowners.”
Ausnet’s website states: “The current electricity network in western Victoria is congested and unable to take on all of the proposed renewable energy generated by wind and solar farms. This means renewable energy generators connected to the existing infrastructure, and future renewable generators that could be connected to the network, are not able to operate at full capacity.”
Federal Member for Ballarat Catherine King should be putting the case of the people she represents to her state Labor colleagues – instead she has been missing in action on this critical issue.
8 December 2020
* See Minister Taylor’s letter to me dated 26 November 2020 below.