Protect lives, livelihoods and environments - demand alternatives to overhead powerlines.

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The Western Victoria Transmission Network Project has been awarded by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) to AusNet Services without due consideration for the wellbeing, safety and livelihoods of the residents of Western Victoria.  

There are a variety of genuine concerns being raised by the community about the adverse impacts of high voltage overhead transmission lines.  Some are unique to specific areas and interests, but together we share deep concerns about increased bushfire risks, especially following our catastrophic Black Summer, and the damage to the health and use of our environments.  We do not here dispute the need for connections to renewable energy projects and the strengthening of the national energy grid.  However community wellbeing, safety and livelihoods of all Victorians must be prioritised in any major infrastructure project.  

We call on the The Hon Angus Taylor MP and the COAG Energy Council to require that:

In the interests of the residents, visitors and environments of Western Victoria, that AEMO undertakes and publishes an independent cost-benefit analysis for building the new Bulgana to Sydenham Line using an alternative means of construction, namely underground or above ground tunnels.  This analysis must include consideration of the following issues in comparison to the proposed above-ground pylon construction:

  • The contribution of undergrounding to bushfire safety
  • The aesthetic benefit to tourism, livability and land-value
  • The effect on natural habitats, biodiversity and wildlife safety
  • The impact on distribution interruption frequency and a measure of the cost of these supply interruptions for homes and businesses across the state.

A project of this scale must not be assessed and the contract awarded on purely economic considerations.  It should take measured consideration of all viable options and broad issues that will affect communities and environments for generations.

With fully informed options on the table this will provide an opportunity for AEMO and the state and federal governments to ensure world's best practice in electricity delivery by choosing a more long-term cost effective, safer and less environmentally damaging option.  Make national infrastructure projects ethical now!

Photo Credit: Western Area Power (CC BY 2.0)