The stop AusNet towers campaign has lost its case against fast tracking the major transmission line through Western Victoria.

Justice Michael McDonald upheld the Minister’s decision to fast track the project and said there was no factual basis the minister acted with improper purposes as alleged by the alliance against the transmission lines.

The Moorabool and Central Highlands Power Alliance took the Minister, Lilly D’Ambrosio to the Supreme Court asserting her decision to fast track the Western Renewables Link transmission line project through Western Victoria was invalid.

The project will build a 190 kilometre high voltage overhead electricity transmission line through Western Victoria to connect wind farms to the grid for metropolitan Melbourne and other areas. This is a key project to tackle climate change by reducing emissions from fossil fuel power stations.

The stop AusNet towers campaign wants the towers to be put underground. But AusNet argues the cost is approximately 16 times more than overhead power lines. A cost that would have to met by consumers.

The application to challenge the minister’s decision has been dismissed and the alliance has been ordered to pay the minister’s costs.

This means the project does not have to redo a cost benefit analysis. The Government has indicated that the project is crucial if Victoria is to meet its climate change targets.