Transmission Company Victoria (TCV) welcomed hundreds of people to recent community information sessions held in the vicinity of the VNI West transmission project.
Almost 400 farmers, landholders and community members attended the open events at Boort, Kerang, Charlton, Navarre and St Arnaud to ask questions, share their views, and explain how they live and work on the land.
TCV spokesperson, Nicola Falcon, said: “Our latest round of community events were well attended and provided valuable time to listen, learn, answer questions and provide details on next steps.
“VNI West project will enable renewable energy to replace retiring coal generation.
It will harness renewable energy generation equivalent to the annual electricity needs for approximately 2.3 million homes.
“Our community information sessions in July were a chance for us to hear directly from farmers in the area of interest, and to talk about how crops have been grown and livestock produced under powerlines for many decades in Victoria.
“These conversations have broadened our understanding of local land use, which will be collated along with the constraints analysis already underway to help finalise a preferred 500 metre to 1 kilometre corridor.”
Ms Falcon also said there was considerable interest in the constraints maps and report drafted by engineering and environmental consultant, AECOM.
The information sessions provided an opportunity for communities to see the environmental, cultural and agricultural features across the project area, which TCV will seek to avoid where possible.
TCV also shared copies of the recently released Landholder Guide, providing information on important issues such as land access, easements, payments and compensation principles.
The Landholder Guide sets out the different payments for farmers and property owners, including payments for loss in market value, financial loss and payments for reasonably incurred independent professional advice.
These payments from TCV are in addition to the $200,000 compensation announced by the Victorian Government per linear kilometre for anyone who has transmission on their property.
Impacted landholders are also eligible for a $10,000 initial payment from TCV in recognition of their time spent to discuss and negotiate the terms for initial access to their land for testing and investigatory works.
Direct engagement with landholders will commence in August, when a Landholder Liaison will be assigned to each landholder in the corridor to work with them directly and answer questions about their property.
Ms Falcon said once endeavours had been made to contact landholders in the corridor, TCV would publish the corridor on its website and share it with community members, landholders, Traditional Owners and other stakeholders.
“TCV will continue working to find a route that minimises impacts to agriculture, cultural heritage, communities, and the environment.
Input from the community and landholders is a critical part of this process,” Ms Falcon said.
“By the end of the year, we will further narrow this corridor to a 200m 400m indicative route, which will be the focus of comprehensive environmental surveys.
“TCV would like to thank everyone who attended the information sessions in July and provided valuable feedback.
We plan on conducting more community forums as the project progresses.”
This article appeared in The Buloke Times, 25 July 2023.