Saturday, June 3, 2023



Another rushed change to Interconnector west

The Victorian Government has taken another step to accelerate the Victoria-New South Wales Interconnector West (VNI West) project at the expense of Mallee landholders. "State Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio has used her powers to order the Australian Energy Market Operator AEMO to proceed with another new preferred route for the project, Option 5A, following weeks of tokenistic and rushed consultation that has frustrated concerned farmers and communities," says Member for Mallee Dr Anne Webster.

Budget holes, crumble roads

“We don’t drive on the left side of the road, we drive on what’s left of them”. That is the strong message from the Nationals’ Member for Mildura, Jade Benham, after more roads funding cuts in a brutal State Budget. Road maintenance funding has been slashed by 25 per cent from 2022 to 2023. In total, it has been cut a whopping 45 per cent since 2020.

Gannawarra Shire Council supports VNI West option 5A route

Gannawarra Shire Council has welcomed a proposed realignment of the VNI West route, which would involve constructing new high capacity electricity transmission lines that will pass through the Gannawarra ... “Council, along with the Murray River Group of Councils, has been advocating for VNI West to pass through the Gannawarra, and we have been promoting the benefits of these works to our residents for the past six years,” Mayor Charlie Gillingham said.

Lights upgrade nearly done

A final seal was laid on Lights Road last week signalling the end of the $700,000 road upgrade which is expected to be finished at the end of this month ... Local contractors and the Shire have faced weather delays, but the project is set to be delivered within budget and with minimal environmental impact on the community.

War memorial destroyed

Standing since 1921, the Cambooya War Memorial will need to be rebuilt after a vehicle drove into it early last Saturday, causing significant damage including toppling over the obelisk. A Queensland Police Service spokesperson said between 5.50am and 6.10am on Saturday, a single vehicle left the road and hit the War Memorial.

nbn unveils nbn® Sky Muster® Plus Premium: offering even more connectivity options for Australia

More than 400,000 homes and small businesses across Australia can now access a new nbn satellite plan, which provides access to uncapped data usage* to meet the growing data demands of regional, rural and remote communities across Australia. The new plan, named nbn Sky Muster Plus Premium, is the latest step in the evolution of the nbn satellite network and adds to the suite of existing nbn Sky Muster Plus plans.

Telstra’s “big project” rejected

Telecommunications company Telstra is seeking ratepayer funding to help build towers in the Limestone Coast region as part of a "big project". In a proposal to the Naracoorte-Lucindale Council, a Telstra SA and Tasmania area general manager Michael Patterson outlined Telstra's proposal for the South-East, asking for a five percent funding investment by the council.

30 flat tyres along one road

After around 30 flat tyres which were speared by stones, James Road is finally on the Naracoorte Lucindale Council’s list of things to do. Almost 13 kms long, 400 metres of James Road was resheeted around three years ago with material including the overburden of a porphyry mine in the Kingston District Council area.

VNI West: power line angst

As government policies lead to soaring energy prices, the Victorian Government is changing the preferred route and accelerating works on the 500 kilovolt double-circuit overhead transmission line between Victoria and New South Wales ... According to the AEMO report, councils have indicated there is a broader social licence for VNI West crossing the Murray River north of Kerang (option 5a) instead of the Echuca route, and therefore more likelihood of timely implementation. 

Aeradio facility open on Sunday

Take a trip down memory lane next Sunday June 3rd and visit Nhill’s historic Aeradio Building ... it is the only surviving one of its type in Australia. Nineteen Aeradio facilities were built across the nation in the late 1930s to help airline pilots plot their positions using radio signals, long before it became commonplace to use GPS.

Stop horsing about, AEMO

Dear Sir, Despite AEMO’s best efforts to tick the box and grant a submission extension period, that hidden in the fine print was the extension was only for VFF members, AEMO closed their submission on the 5.4.2023 and then gave a selective extension of 13 days ... Quit horsing around AEMO. It is time for ANSWERS!

Council appalled as transmission line steamrolls over community concerns

Northern Grampians Shire Council is appalled that widespread community opposition has had no material impact on Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO) final recommended alignment for the controversial VNI West power transmission project ... “Landowners need clear and concise answers to the questions they have asked and not simply to refer them to some other arrangement as a reference to how it might work here": Mayor, Cr Kevin Erwin.

Failed power plan forced onto farming communities: VFF

The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) has slammed the Andrews Government’s decision to steamroll ahead with transmission developments in Western Victoria following the announcement of a new corridor for the proposed VNI-West project. VFF President Emma Germano said Victoria’s Minister for Energy Lily D’Ambrosio is using extreme powers to come over the top of farming communities and force transmission towers to be built on their land.

New Roma LifeFlight chopper base officially opens: Chisholm

LifeFlight Australia’s highly anticipated, brand new Roma helicopter base has officially opened its doors, with a formal ceremony on 30 May 2023, to mark the momentous occasion ... “For people in real need in isolated circumstances – there is no sight better than the vision of a LifeFlight rescue helicopter coming into view during an emergency”: Australian Country Choice CEO Anthony Lee.

Taking action to deliver critical energy infastructure: D’Ambrosio

Minister for Energy and Resources Lily D’Ambrosio confirmed that the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) can progress the critical VNI-West project, which will better connect the Victoria and NSW energy grids ... A Ministerial Order has been implemented to progress AEMO’s preferred option, which connects VNI West to the planned Western Renewables Link (WRL) at a terminal station at Bulgana in Victoria’s west, then linking to a terminal station near Kerang in north central Victoria, before crossing the Murray River north of Kerang.

Money, power and guns

Money ... It's time to pull stumps on Metronet and accept we are not New York or London ... Power ... exploring the unforeseen consequences of over-investing in renewables ... Guns ... no logic in capping firearm numbers for recreational shooters, sporting shooters or primary producers ...

Fee rise funds major upgrade

South Australia’s biggest saleyards, the Naracoorte Regional Livestock Exchange (NRLE), is set to increase the footprint of its undercover cattle section by 40 percent in a multi-million-dollar upgrade. An expanded roof, a revamp of the unloading ramp area and truck wash modifications form part of the improvements that will see around $2 million spent at the facility.

Power project marks another milestone

Despite recent news about time and cost blowouts, the Snowy 2.0 pumped-hydro mega project has achieved another important construction milestone, with a second tunnel excavation completed at Lobs Hole. The 2.93-kilometre emergency, cable and ventilation tunnel (ECVT) has been excavated and fully lined with 13,140 locally-manufactured concrete segments by tunnel boring machine (TBM) Kirsten.

It’s game on at the shire’s sports and recreation reserves

Planned sporting facility upgrades at the Bill Woodfull Recreation Reserve in Maldon are one step closer following a recent meeting of Mount Alexander Shire Councillors. On Tuesday 16 May, Councillors unanimously voted to award a contract for the construction of a new all gender pavilion at the reserve to local builder BLR Provincial Pty Ltd.

Have your say on proposed rail trail

Mount Alexander Shire Council is partnering with Central Goldfields Shire Council and community group Castlemaine-Maryborough Rail Trail Inc. to determine the feasibility of a shared rail trail between Castlemaine and Maryborough. The proposed trail is 55km long and passes through the communities of Campbells Creek, Guildford, Newstead, Moolort and Carisbrook.

Rail trail proposal derails local enthusiasm

A substantial number of landholders and residents of rural communities between Glenreagh and Ulong are vehemently opposing a proposal by the Glenreagh Mountain Railway (GMR) and their newly established sister company Tallowwood Ventures Ltd (TVL) to develop a 35km section of the currently inactive Glenreagh to Dorrigo Branch Line and transform it into a rail trail ... several residents including former GMR members told the Clarence Valley Independent they are “frustrated, angry, and disturbed” by the proposal.

A budget for the ages – Grim, dark and deceptive: Bev McArthur

On 23 May 2023, the Premier Daniel Andrews said: “We’re doing everything we promised Victorians we’d do – and we’re not wasting a moment getting on with it”. What he perhaps should have said was: “We promised some things – we even promised to govern for all Victorians – but we will deliver only some things, dump plenty of others, and govern for a few.” For me there’s only one headline from this budget: Victoria is broke.

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