Nationals MP Gaelle Broad has urged the Minister for Energy and Resources to listen to community concerns over the controversial high voltage powerline planned for western Victoria.
“Given the significance of this major project, I urge the Minister to get involved and listen to what the community is saying,” Ms Broad said.
She said a public forum was planned for Wedderburn on May 5 to discuss the issue.
The project, known as VNI West, would see a 500kV overhead transmission line connecting the Western Renewables Link at Ballarat with the new terminal station near Jerilderie in New South Wales.
“The line would go through central and western Victoria, affecting valuable agricultural land,” Ms Broad said.
“A very short timeframe was given for public consultation and the Nationals have written to the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) seeking further detail about the project.
“The current proposed route would have a significant impact on farmers and communities within the Loddon Shire and surrounding areas.
“The Loddon Herald is hosting a public forum at the Loddon Shire Council Chambers in Wedderburn on Friday 5th May at 2pm, and I encourage people to attend or join the livestream.
“Representatives of government, industry and the community are being invited to form the panel, to ensure that residents and landowners are given the opportunity to be informed and ask questions.
“I urge the Minister to get involved in the discussion around this major project.”
Ms Broad said a tractor protest in St Arnaud last week highlighted community anger and frustration over the project.
“We now have confused and concerned locals living in the shadow of new transmission lines through some of the region’s finest agricultural production areas,” Ms Broad said.
“We need to see much more detail and a far more transparent process on this major piece of infrastructure.”