The Rural Times

The Property Pack
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Leader of The Nationals David Littleproud has met with concerned farmers in Charlton amid growing concerns over Labor’s plans to build hundreds of new kilometres of poles and wires through regional Victoria.                               

Mr Littleproud said the $3.3 billion Victoria to New South Wales Interconnector West project, connecting to the Western Renewables Link, would be the biggest expense in the Victorian transmission system in more than 50 years.

“Farmers in the region are understandably outraged and worried about pristine farmland as well as the future of their communities without a proper planning process,” Mr Littleproud said.

“Their decision to rewire the nation and fast-track the project has been done with little consultation and it will rip communities apart when there are potentially other alternatives.

“The Nationals believe a Senate enquiry into the transmission lines the Labor Government intends to build is essential, to make sure that renewable projects have the social licence they need to operate in rural communities and that all alternatives are explored.”

Federal Member for Mallee Dr Anne Webster said the project would force new renewable generation where the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) previously predicted congestion and wastage through spills.

“The AEMO Victorian Planner’s consultation has been tokenistic at best and has raised many questions that are yet to be answered,” Dr Webster said.

“I am deeply concerned for the region and fear Labor is irreversibly ripping up thousands of kilometres of prime farmland and irrigation districts for a project that will have an enormous cost blow-out and detrimental consequences with dubious benefit, according to the views of other experts.

“The Nationals firmly believe Labor is making a huge mistake. As the Federal Member for Mallee, where most of the destruction to farmland will occur, I urge Labor to reconsider. This project will be devastating for regional Victoria, farmers and their communities.”