VICTORIAN farmers are calling for an extension to the consultation period for the proposed VNI West transmission project across north-central Victoria into New South Wales.
The Victorian Farmers Federation claims landholders have been given no time to have their say on the proposed new high capacity 500 kilovolt (kV) double-circuit overhead transmission.
The project originally included a transmission line from Kerang in northern Victoria to a proposed terminal station in Hepburn Shire at Mount Prospect, planned for construction as part of the Western Renewables Link. T
he preferred site for the terminal station is now identified at Bulgana in Northern Grampians Shire.
AEMO and Transgrid’s additional consultation report, a summary document Project update No. 6 and feedback details are available in the Links section on AEMO’s website. Feedback is due by 5 April 2023.
VFF president Emma Germano has written to chief executive officer of the Australian Energy Market Operator, Daniel Westermann calling for the six-week consultation period to be extended.
“Farming communities have been blindsided by the decision to change the route of the VNI West project.”
“What was previously known as the KerangLink is now going nowhere near Kerang. In the dead of the night, AEMO and the Victorian Government have changed the project and have given farmers no time to respond.”
“It is bitterly disappointing to see the lack of respect that was shown to farmers in the Western Renewables Link project, is being replicated again with the VNI West Project.”
Ms Germano said farmers were not being given basic information about how the transmission project would impact farming operations, giving farmers little to no chance to provide feedback.
“Farmers want very simple questions answered.
“How will these transmission lines impact farming operations?,” she said.
“How will they impact irrigation districts? How can anyone expect genuine consultation to happen if farmers are denied basic information?”
Ms Germano said the Victorian Government must step in and help provide information to farming communities.
“The Victorian Government is not off the hook here. Minister D’Ambrossio has declared the government’s hand by taking action to effectively alter the route and accelerate the project.”
“It is not good enough for the government to pass the buck onto AEMO,” she said.
“The government has a clear responsibility to ensure that farming communities are listened to and that the impacts on farm operations are well understood before a single powerline gets installed.”
Click here for upcoming consultation opportunities in the Hepburn Shire Council.
Melbourne does not give a damn about where and how many brolgas, raptors or insects — good and bad — these projects affect. Having been next to the Macarthur wind farm turbines for 15-odd years, we see every day when they turn on or are switched off. It’s mainly around energy price; they only turn them on when the power price peaks. No wonder they need another power station to back them up. The two-minute batteries seem to burn very well, so I just hope the winds are blowing towards Melbourne — preferably Spring Street — one hot February when they start a fire.