The City of Ballarat resolved at its ordinary meeting on Wednesday night (26/5) to advocate for the Western Victoria Transmission Network Project to consider underground power lines.
While Councillors said they supported renewable energy and its need for transmission into the electricity network, Council will advocate for the WVTN Project to consider underground power lines where possible.
Council will also advocate for the transmission line route to use existing road, rail, and electricity easements.
The WVTN project proposes a new transmission line starting at Bulgana, near Stawell, and passing through the City of Ballarat, covering about 190 kilometres to the north-western Melbourne suburb of Sydenham.
The report noted the project will particularly impact several Ballarat residents, including farmers in Ballarat’s north. The ordinary meeting heard submissions and questions from several affected residents in the north of the municipality.
However, it is considered a key infrastructure project required to unlock western Victoria’s renewable energy potential.
AusNet Services, through its commercial division Mondo, is delivering the project.
The report noted concerns raised about the project which include that the broader social, economic, environmental, and cultural heritage project impacts have been ignored, particularly the option of undergrounding the power lines.
Other concerns include farming operation impacts, flow-on economic impacts to secondary industries, mental health impacts on affected landowners, environmental consideration, cultural heritage impacts, increased bushfire risk and interference with GPS, internet/TV/phone receptions.
City of Ballarat Mayor Daniel Moloney said Council would advocate strongly for residents and called on Ausnet Services to reconsider its approach.
“We heard some important submissions from local residents about the detrimental impact of the project on their homes, livelihoods and wellbeing, along with some significant economic effects not only for them but for our region,” Mayor Moloney said.
“While we support renewable energy and recognise the need for this project, Council wants the proponents to genuinely engage with our residents and to re-consider how the project can be done with least impact on affected landowners.”