O’Brien calls for consultation on energy framework

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien is calling for answers on when communities impacted by the storm events and subsequent prolonged power outages in June and October last year will be consulted as part of a formal review into the electricity framework.

Speaking in Parliament Mr O’Brien said that while he had welcomed the announcement of the electricity distribution network resilience review, genuine community consultation was crucial.

“This review was instigated in August of last year but basically not announced and certainly not publicised,” Mr O’Brien said.

“For some time now the website energy.vic.gov.au has had a FAQ section that simply responds to the “How can people have their say on the review” question with a generic line that promises more information will be available soon.

“We are told that various communities and consumer representatives are being consulted, but there has been no process provided for members of the public to have their say.

“I regularly have constituents asking me how they can get a message to AusNet and to the State Government that this is a serious issue that needs addressing.

“This review is important, particularly if it leads to some better resilience for our systems but the Government does need to let the community have their say.”

Mr O’Brien said the least the Andrews Labor Government could do is provide a website or email address for people to provide feedback and tell their stories.

“This review should not be treated like a paper shuffling exercise.

“People need to be able to share their experiences and share where things went wrong so that we can effectively learn from the experiences of those two severe weather events and make sure that the people of Gippsland and indeed the people of Victoria have some more resilience in their electricity distribution network going forward.”

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