The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien has again called on the Andrews Labor Government to consult the community over its plans for a renewable energy zone in Gippsland.
Mr O’Brien said the State Government had announce the renewable energy zone in last year’s State Budget but had so far provided very little detail on what it will mean for Gippsland residents, other than a new 500kv overhead transmission line.
Speaking on energy-related legislation in State Parliament this week, Mr O’Brien said the Government had not been clear with the community.
“So far the sum total of information provided by the Government about the Gippsland renewable energy zone is one page that flags a 500kv overhead transmission line with pylons marching across the Gippsland landscape, to be delivered in the next four or five years.
“Despite the efforts of locals in the affected area, the department and the Government have refused to provide any further information.”
Mr O’Brien said there were some exciting opportunities for renewable energy development in Gippsland that would help create jobs, including the proposed Star of the South offshore windfarm, but questions remained as to the Government’s plans.
“It’s clear the Government’s pylon plan is slated to be in the vicinity of the Giffard area where both a large solar farm and offshore wind are being developed in close proximity, but the Government has refused to engage with the community.
“It’s one thing to promote renewable energy, but to drop a hand grenade on the local community and then walk away is not good government and not a good way to engender faith with local residents about the development of renewable energy.
“I see great benefits and opportunities for us in Gippsland to transition to renewable energy over time and create more local jobs, but what the Government is currently doing is only creating uncertainty.”
Mr O’Brien said given the angst caused by a proposed new overhead transmission line in western Victoria, the Government should have had a better idea of how to go about it.
“When it comes to community engagement, the Government could learn from the team from the Star of the South – its engagement has been gold standard.”