Farmers for Climate Action has welcomed the Victorian Government’s move to pay landholders $8,000 a year for each kilometre of high voltage power line on their land, for 25 years.

Farmers for Climate Action, an organisation representing 7,500 farmers Australia-wide, had been calling for such a policy and it was a key plank of its Victorian election campaign.

“If transmission uses a farmers’ land, farmers should be paid for it. It’s only fair,” said Cam Klose, Strategy Director. “We’ve advocated for this outcome and we welcome this announcement. While we are still waiting to see more detail, it is definitely a step in the right direction and we hope will help ease community concerns over the build-out of transmission infrastructure. We know we need transmission lines to connect renewable energy to consumers, driving down electricity costs and reducing cost of living.”

Minister for Energy and Resources, Lily D’Ambrosio has said that the payments acknowledge the hugely important role landholders play in hosting critical energy infrastructure. “We want to get the process for planning and approving new infrastructure right so we can make sure the renewables revolution is a shared, equitable legacy for all Victorians,” she said.

But community alliance Stop AusNet’s Towers is outraged by the proposal. Spokesperson Emma Muir said, “They want to buy our silence for a fraction of the loss. This compensation is an insult.  We estimated the impact may be as great as ten times this amount, but no amount of money will protect the community from the threat of bushfire, save our farms from devastation or stop the loss of our precious environment and landscapes.”

Ms Muir said that project will deliver significant impact and risk including direct and long-term impact on agriculture production, tourism related industries and on property values that far exceed the out of touch compensation on offer. “Our community is not for sale. The compensation plan is an ill-conceived PR stunt that attempts to divert people away from the many impactful issues of the proposed project,” she said.