The Nationals Gippsland Energy Danny O'Brien Giffard cables Overhead transmission lines pylons energy production La Trobe Valley

Government must rule out overhead transmission line

The Andrews Labor Government must immediately rule out construction of a massive 500kv overhead electricity transmission line through Gippsland.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien said he was alarmed to see planning documents for a $300-$700 million overhead power cable running from the Latrobe Valley through to the Giffard area, south of Sale.

The proposal is listed in a directions paper for the Government’s new Renewable Energy Zones. Mr O’Brien said the notion that overhead electricity transmission lines would be built is at complete odds with the move to renew and modernise Victoria’s energy grid.

“It beggars belief that the Government has put out this directions paper with a proposal for an overhead transmission line through the exact area that fought so hard against the Basslink project and its pylons 20 years ago,” Mr O’Brien said.

“We have had great success in ensuring that the proposed Marinus Link project through South Gippsland and grid connection for the proposed Star of the South offshore windfarm will go underground.

“To have the State Government now talking about an overhead transmission line with pylons marching across the Gippsland landscape is just unfathomable.

“The Government has been urging us for years now to leave behind the energy generation of the past - that is coal and gas - and yet here it is proposing to connect the energy generation of the future with the transmission technology of the 20th Century.

“Gippslanders will not accept the visual intrusion of massive overhead powerlines as part of a new project and the Government must rule it out immediately.”

The directions paper flags the line as a stage two project for the “medium term” to connect possible renewable developments in Gippsland.

“There is strong support, including from me, for the proposed Star of the South offshore wind project and the Solis RE solar farm development, however any transmission cables need to go underground if they are to win local community support.

“The paper produced by the Government can’t even get the map right, with a diagram showing the cable heading somewhere towards East Gippsland and the description of a line from quote “the Latrobe Valley to Gippsland”. That’s a bit like saying “from Melbourne to Victoria”.

“The Government needs to immediately confirm that it will not be proceeding with any overhead transmission lines in Gippsland.”

31 March 2021

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