The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien is calling for more public information on why transmission lines for the Gippsland Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) are not being placed underground.
Speaking in Parliament this week Mr O’Brien called on the Minister for Energy and Resources, Lily D’Ambrosio to explain why underground transmission lines are not being considered, not just for the Gippsland REZ but around the state.
“I am very aware of the additional costs and technical difficulties that will likely apply to underground versus overhead transmission lines.
“But the government has recently gone through a round of consultation in which the vast majority of constituents – people faced with prospective overhead transmission lines on their properties – asked the question about undergrounding.
“The Minister needs to come out and explain and give information about the potential costs and benefits of overhead versus underground.
“I have spoken with many residents affected by the proposed AusNet GREZ project from Giffard to the Latrobe Valley and naturally they would prefer to see any line go underground.”
Mr O’Brien said there are potential local positives from the development of new offshore wind farms in Gippsland but the negatives for local landholders need to be acknowledged.
“I certainly welcome the notion that the government will provide additional payments to those residents who host transmission lines but this can’t be seen as ‘go away money’ and I’m not sure that what is being proposed will ever be enough.
“The Government needs to be considering underground options up front and explaining to the community – particularly those most directly affected – about whether underground is relevant and affordable for these new transmission lines.”