AusNet’s Disingenuous Consultation
Over the last few weeks AusNet have hosted community Drop-in Session’s, these disingenuous and hollow consultative sessions have left more questions and created greater community anger.
The ever-escalating problem for all affected is that AusNet are proving at best under resourced or incompetent, at worst deceptive. It is clear AusNet has either no interest or no mechanism to affect real change to genuinely address concerns. AusNet either does not comprehend the impacts on the community, or they do not care.
AusNet are more focused on espousing project benefits than sincerely addressing impacts.
- Feedback and concerns raised with AusNet have mostly been ignored or placated.
- AusNet continues to communicate deceitful assertions about transmission towers, minimising the risks that the towers present in relation to fire hazards (started by electrical failure), fire management, and impacts on the environment.
- Face-to-face “Drop In” sessions held from 2:00 – 7:00 PM weekdays, are unsuitable for most who work or commute during these times and therefore only represent a partial demographic.
- Some community members able to attend were turned away due to lack of staff.
- This poor consultation has led to widespread anxiety and stress within the community.
The WVTNP ‘community consultation’, to date, has been a mere formality. It is very apparent that community concerns, no matter how genuine, credible, or grave, can only hope to affect superficial, if any, change on the current WVTNP scope.
For clarification, the only mechanism for AusNet to action tangible change is to activate an ‘exit clause’. The current consultation process simply allows AusNet to tick a box. The process as it stands is disingenuous and insulting, pushing the community and their objections aside.
News Bite – Stop AusNet’s Towers in the News
Murraylink (proof that undergrounding is a viable option)
The Murraylink interconnector is an Australian underground transmission project which is both technically and economically feasible. It ships power efficiently underground for 177 km between Redcliffs, Vic, and Berri in SA.
And in fact, this underground High Voltage DC cable won an Environmental Excellence award in 2002 for best practice and innovation in environmental management. It did not damage the environment as AusNet suggests. I have spoken with the project engineer for Murraylink and he told me that while there was initial ground disturbance to bury the cable, in the whole 177km they only removed one tree!
The Murraylink design used existing rights of way along roadsides to minimise the environmental impact, and only required an easement of 6m wide, not 60 – 100m for overhead. It used horizontal direct drilling to get the cable under sensitive heritage sites and environmentally significant areas, and roadways, rather than digging through them. It even drilled under the Murray River.
View more case studies here.
We’re standing for “Green and Unseen”
Let’s be clear, Stop Ausnet’s Towers and The Moorabool Central Highlands Power Alliance wholeheartedly support a reduction in coal-fired power stations and transition to a low-carbon emissions future.
In fact, our supporters comprise small to large businesses, tourism, and agricultural early adopters of green energy such as solar and wind.
We believe that green energy should not be limited to output, but should also include all the steps to create it. How can we call this “green energy” when it stands to destroy the very environment it was designed to preserve?
The negative impacts of 85m high overhead transmission lines far outweigh the benefits of the green energy they transmit. We know that these transmission lines will span across natural bushland; posing significant and increased fire risk, conservation areas; damaging native flora and fauna and compromising the quality output of prime agricultural lands.
We believe that transmitting green energy this way effectively transforms a benefit into a liability, significantly reducing any gains for the end-user. This is counterintuitive to the undisputed positive impacts that green energy brings to our country.
We know that by putting transmission lines underground, there’s a greater chance to regenerate native areas, reduce visual impact and completely avoid fire risk. We also know that our community supports this future-proofing approach.
That’s why when we say “Stop Ausnet’s Towers” we also mean “Go Green and Unseen”.
Help us in putting these transmission lines underground, to protect the environment and livelihoods of generations to come.
Image: Moorabool Shire Council
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