There is much to be concerned about with wind energy facility development in the south-west region of Victoria and the construction of the transmission lines for grid connection integral to the multiple projects established, approved or proposed. Developers are targeting a swathe of rural landscapes from near Geelong through to Mortlake (a “hot Spot” according to a DWELP representative), on to north of Warrnambool, wrapping around Koroit/Port Fairy and beyond. Do you know DWELP requires no permit for wind energy facility developers to construct transmission lines and have no reglulation and no guidelines around such constructions? Do you know transmission lines can be built with free rein; that any type of tower/pole can be constructed of any size with as many cables strung as desired on whatever route, over any distance the developer decides upon with no intervention or liaison from DWELP? Do you know there is no requirement for developers to engage with property owners in the pathway of the transmission line construction route and that no consultation is required with property owners on placement of transmission line towers in relation to their homes or properties? Do you know that developers which are often foreign-owned multi-nationals accessing subsidies from the government, are allowed to use our public road reserves for transmission line towers with no guidelines or regulation from DWELP or any other authority as to suitability of roads used, setback from roadside reserve, or road safety. Do you know the State Government has taken control of wind energy development in Victoria and councils have only an opportunity for comment on the developments and no leverage to advocate on behalf of their ratepayers? A recent meeting with representatives from DWELP suggested nothing is to be done prior to the state election, thus allowing current transmission line proposals to go ahead unregulated; with no consideration for cumulative effect/duplication of multiple proposals or application of social license for the constituents of this region. Where is the wisdom, foresight and social justice at DWELP? There is a gaping absence of planning protocol from DWELP. Nothing is minor about the scale of impact of these transmission lines and developments, visually, physically and socially on our communities and on the rural landscape.
Geraldine Conheady, Tyna Murray, William Moloney, Jennifer Jackson, Lisa Allen, Noorat
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