Update – 3 August 2021
Council continues to advocate strongly on behalf of the community members potentially affected by the proposed Western Victoria Transmission Network project.
The following letter has been sent to 33 State and Federal Ministers, including Shadow Ministers, Members for our electorate and industry bodies such as AEMO and DELWP.
Update – 30 June 2021
COUNCIL OPPOSED TO WESTERN VICTORIA TRANSMISSION NETWORK ANNOUNCEMENT
The proposed corridors for the Western Victoria Transmission Network project have been reduced to one which will have significant impacts on our community.
Mayor, Cr Lesley Hewitt, said that Council had no notice of these changes and it was extremely disappointed in the lack of genuine consultation throughout this project.
“We understand the concerns of the community and appreciate the impact that these potential transmission lines will have on their properties and also their livelihoods. We are furious that these impacts on our community have not been adequately considered,” said Cr Hewitt.
Council has been an active member of the Technical Reference Group established by AusNet to inform the Environmental Effects Statement (EES) providing as much ground truthing information to help appropriately inform the project within the best of our control.
“We have been advocating strongly on behalf the community and are extremely disappointed that this appears to have had little impact. At last night’s meeting, we committed $50,000 in the 2021-22 Budget to fund a formal submission on the EES and continued advocacy on behalf of affected communities.”
“While Council is supportive of renewable energy, it is strongly opposed to the transmission lines being above ground and the potential location of the transmission station, which will impact on valuable agricultural land and significant landscapes” said Cr Hewitt.
For more information on the Council position on this project visit https://www.hepburn.vic.gov.au/western-transmission-lines-project/.
For more specific project information please refer to www.westvictnp.com.au.
Please refer to the interactive link that will allow you a closer view of the alignment on the ground Single transmission corridor | Map Pins Feedback | Western Victoria Transmission Network Project (westvictnp.com.au) .
Update – 19 May 2021
At last night’s Council meeting Councillors carried the following a motion regarding the Western Victoria Transmission Project.
- Supports the transition to renewable energy and acknowledges the need for new infrastructure, however, we understand and strongly sympathise with the real distress the Western Victoria Transmission Network Project proposal is causing to our farming and wider communities;
- Write to AusNet and appropriate decision-making authorities such as DELWP, the Australian Energy Market Operator, and State and Federal MP’s urging:
- the WVTNP Environmental Effects Statement process to properly consider and apply existing and emerging technologies and construction methods that are making underground methods of power transmission a viable option;
- the decision-making authorities to consider the wider impacts beyond the electricity market such as non-market economic, social, and environmental impacts to enable the actual cost of WVTNP to our community to be assessed; and
- noting Council is opposed to the construction of a terminal station in valuable farming or heritage sensitive areas;
- Include funding from within Council’s Strategic Planning budget towards preparing a strong submission to the Environmental Effects Statement highlighting the bushfire risk, threat to agricultural land, and impact on historic and sensitive landscapes and this funding is detailed in a report to Council that outlines the scope and priorities of the Strategic Planning Works Program.
- Communicate with its communities what action it has taken, what action it intends to take, provide opportunities for community feedback to Council, and provide links to support organisations.
Update – 7 May 2021
Council continues to advocate on behalf of community groups on the construction of 190km of overhead transmission lines, proposed as part of the Western Victoria Transmission Network (WVTN) Project. We are very supportive of renewable energy, and the importance of transmitting it to the electricity grid. However, we are strongly advocating for the appropriate placement of powerlines (undergrounding being our preference) and of the terminal station location. To read a media release issued on this click here – https://www.hepburn.vic.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Media-release-Council-continues-advocacy-on-transmission-project-07-05-2021.pdf
Update – 27 April 2021
Council is continuing to work with community groups in relation to the Western Victoria Transmission Network Project. The project proposes to build 190km of overhead transmission lines between Bulgana, north of Arrarat, and Sydenham, in north-west Melbourne. Many in the community object to the impact this project will have on the Shire, and Council has been advocating on behalf of the community and raising concerns about the project since early 2019.
Work is continuing behind the scenes with community groups and other municipalities to convince Federal and State Government of the importance of placing the power lines underground and providing clear information to the public.
Our recent advocacy work includes meeting with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), community group representatives, and the National Energy Infrastructure Commissioner. Councillors have also been briefed by AusNet. We are continuing to participate in the Technical Reference Group for the Environmental Effects Statement, and collaborative working groups across Councils, including a working group of CEOs.
We will keep the community informed as the project progresses.
Update – 10 March 2021
Update – 5 March 2021
Community involvement needed!
The Western Victoria Transmission Network Project Community Consultation Group (CCG) is calling for nominations. For those who are interested please register your interest through the following link by Friday 12 March 2021.
Update – 24 February 2021
The proposed Western Victoria Transmission Network Project alignment was released this morning. Council was given little notice of this release and we are disappointed by this action by Ausnet Mondo.
Council is continuing to seek improved community consultation from Ausnet Mondo with the community, and in accordance with the decision of the September Council meeting will continue to represent the interests of our community. It is important to remember that this is not a Council project and our role is to advocate on behalf of our community. We encourage you to get involved in the community consultation sessions being organised by Ausnet Mondo and have your say. Community feedback should be directed to Ausnet/Mondo.
However, if you would like to discuss with a Council representative please contact Bronwyn Southee – firstname.lastname@example.org or 0422 070 137.
Please see following a link to the fact sheet and alignment map – Fact Sheet – The corridors and the next steps in determining the final route- February 2021.
We will continue to provide updates as they are released.
What is the project?
In 2019, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) completed a Regulatory Investment Test for Transmission (RIT-T) to identify the most economical way of addressing limitations in the western Victoria transmission network. Following the RIT-T process, AEMO appointed AusNet Services to build, own, operate and maintain 190km of new overhead transmission lines between Bulgana and Sydenham, a new terminal station to the north of Ballarat and several minor electricity infrastructure upgrades across western Victoria.
Council is supportive of renewable energy and has acknowledged that the transmission lines are critical infrastructure for the future expansion of Victoria’s renewable energy generation capacity. Nevertheless, Council is concerned the Project will negatively impact the Hepburn Shire and its community.
Further, we have expressed the same concern in relation to the Western Victoria (WestVic) Transmission upgrades and the Victoria to New South Wales Interconnector West (VNIWest) project which are progressing concurrently with the Project under the leadership of AEMO.
Council has been advocating on behalf of the community and raising concerns in relation to this project since early 2019 and continues to do so.
Council, at its Ordinary meeting held on Tuesday 15 September 2020, resolved the following:
- supports renewable energy and the need to access it;
- demands the undergrounding of the Western Victorian Transmission Network Project;
- continues to work with other municipalities to convince Federal and State Government of the importance of undergrounding the power line and demands honest and transparent community engagement;
- continues to work with community groups to get a clear and definite plan of the intended route of the proposed line;
- makes it known to AEMO, Ausnet/Mondo and Governments the potential damage to the significant landscapes and heritage sites within Hepburn Shire as well as the damage to the rights to productively farm;
- takes all steps deemed necessary to put a strong submission regarding the Environmental Effects Statement; and
- states that Hepburn Shire Council fully supports renewable energy in ways that do not cause damage to the Hepburn Shire and residents.
Final Environmental Effects Statement (EES) Scoping Requirements Issued by DELWP
The final scoping requirements that have just been issued by DELWP. The final scoping requirements set out in further detail the Ministers requirements for the environment assessment of the Western Victorian Transmission Network Project, including the investigation of potentially feasible project alternatives. Specific alternatives requiring investigation include:
- The boundaries of the original area of interest.
- Potential corridors and alignments within the area of interest.
- Siting of the new terminal station North of Ballarat.
- The rationale for the preferred mode of construction (overhead or underground, including potential for partial underground construction); and
- Other feasible alternatives raised through feedback from the community or other stakeholders.
Whilst the route of the transmission line has not yet been determined, AusNet Services has identified an area of interest and is undertaking investigations.
In August 2020, the Victorian Minister for Planning declared that an Environment Effects Statement (EES) is required for the Western Victoria Transmission Network Project which will ensure that potential environmental impacts are fully and transparently assessed before the project goes ahead. More information can be found here (link is external).
In September 2020, the Federal Government concluded the project will be a ‘controlled action’ under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). The assessment under the EPBC Act will be managed through the State Government under the Bilateral Agreement. More information can be found here (link is external).
Council continues to advocate on behalf of our community and in partnership with the other effected councils and various community groups has contacted various Ministers and politicians about our concerns.
Like our community, Council does attend information sessions, forums and is an active member of various community groups that have formed as a result of the proposed project. We are participating in discussions with the Clarks Hill District Power Alliance, Save Wattle Flat Community group, a working group of effected Councils (Hepburn, Moorabool, Melton and Ballarat), and have convened a working group of senior Council officers, Councillors and community representatives from the various groups to ensure shared knowledge. We are also a representative on the Western Victoria Transmission Network Project – Technical Reference Group. This body is a select panel of state and local government employees who are there to provide key technical advice to Ausnet/Mondo.
In addition, Council and a community representative recently met with the CEO and senior officers of AEMO to raise concerns regarding the process and the short community consultation timelines.
You are able to share your feedback directly with AusNet Services and have your voices heard by visiting www.westvictnp.com.au (link is external), calling (03) 9021 0674 or emailing email@example.com.