As AusNet finalises plans for the Western Victoria Transmission Network Project, they are facing continuing pressure from local residents who farm along the project’s proposed path.
The proposed transmission lines would bring power from wind farms in Bulgana near Stawell in western Victoria to Sydenham in Melbourne’s north west. Eighty-five metre high towers and a 24 acre substation in Blampied would substantially alter the landscape and restrictions on activity in the transmission line corridor would seriously limit some farming activity.
The Kingston and District Power Alliance held a community meeting on Sunday March 6 to oppose the overhead transmission lines proposed to run along a corridor through Kingston and Blampied. The meeting was attended by several hundred people.
Speakers at the meeting included State MP, Louise Staley, Hepburn Shire Mayor, Cr Tim Drylie and Cr Don Henderson from Creswick.
Cr Drylie spoke of the need for proper consultation. “The cumulative effect of these projects has the capacity to fundamentally change land use in the Hepburn Shire and we stress the importance of strategically planning to ensure the appropriate placement of key infrastructure to ensure potential conflicts in land use can be avoided,” he said.
Hepburn Shire Council has offered to support to those who wish to prepare Environmental Effects Statements (EES) on the project by hosting a number of drop-in sessions where community members can get advice on making a submission.
Cr Drylie accepted the need for renewable energy projects but stressed the need for proper community consultation. “These kinds of Circular Economy renewable projects, with the proper planning that includes and values community consultation from the outset, need to happen to better prepare us for and help minimise the shocks a changing climate and loss of biodiversity is already presenting to us,” he said.
The community meeting was also a rallying point for a protest at Parliament House. Hundreds of demonstrators backed by a cavalcade of local tractors made their presence known in Spring Street at a rally on Tuesday.
Local resident and actor, Stephen Curry, has embarked on a real life David and Goliath battle which channels his appearance in the iconic movie, The Castle. “This is environmental piracy masquerading as sustainability and it’s got to stop,” he said.