Members of the HumeLink Project Action Group say they have been trying to work with TransGrid since the group was formed in May 2020, but feel as though their efforts have been rolled over, with the powerline builder now proposing to form their own community consultative groups.
The Action Group said they have put forward suggestions for the 500kV lines which are intended to pass through the Snowy Valleys, ultimately connecting Snowy 2.0 with the metropolitan grid, but they still don’t have any clear answers on where TransGrid is proposing to put the lines.
Jen Dumbrell, Co-Chair for the HumeLink Action Group said communication has been difficult.
“It’s frustrating when people ask us what’s going on and we don’t know,” she said.
“Representing both landowners on the original route as well as the new route – both of which affect the community of Tumut – we would like to have something of substance to tell our members”
Bill Kingwill is the Chair of the Action Group and said there’s been very little back and forth with the infrastructure builder.
“Since the announcement of the new route in March, TransGrid have gone to ground,” he said.
“They have made a mess of the consultation process and now want a re-set. We are not interested. We reject the two routes they have put forward and we reject their attempt to re-do the consultation phase”
Mr Kingwill stressed “We want to send a clear message to TransGrid that the The Action Group has been continuing to urge landowners to deny TransGrid access.
“By not engaging with TransGrid and consenting to entry to your property they can’t tick the box,” said Mrs Dumbrell.
“If they can’t tick the box they can’t move to the next stage of the process.
“It’s the only way we can hold them up and for landowners to avoid getting locked into having their land acquired by compulsory acquisition.”
Mr Kingwill and Mrs Dumbrell said the Action Group does not oppose the ultimate objective of delivering renewable energy, but they oppose the location of the HumeLink Project study corridor in the region of their impacted members.
“We did not ask for a transmission line to be located within our highly productive farming land and community,” said Mrs Dumbrell.
“We realise that infrastructure in this country is important but it’s also important that we listen to the landowners and protect those landowner rights. We have a voice and TransGrid needs to listen.”
Mr Kingwill said the group has proposed its own route, described as ‘2F’, which he said “would have much less impact on agricultural production and rural communities and utilise existing transmission line easements and public land which TransGrid are aware of. Use them!”
The Action Group has also been taking notes on the current fight in regional Victoria where landowners have gathered under the name ‘Piss off AusNet – Spud and Spa Region Group.’
“[They have] been supportive of our efforts and are having the same battle with Ausnet,” said Mrs Dumbrell.
“It is unnecessary and disappointing that we are still having to justify the damaging result these power lines will have on our communities, our livelihoods and our land for many generations to come.
“We are bearing the burden of the rest of the state’s electricity demands with these proposed high voltage electricity highways. Given this is a major project to strengthen energy supply and security for all Australians, more Crown-and State-owned land must be the number one priority for the likes of TransGrid and AusNet when planning projects of this scale.”
The HumeLink Project Action Group will be meeting with TransGrid next Wednesday, September 22.
The Action Group is currently distributing signs for affected properties. Further details are available via the Facebook page “HumeLink Project Action Group” or by contacting Jen Dumbrell at 0407 922 412.