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  • Rikki Lambert

Farmer concerns over Albanese's poles-and-wires may be allayed

The deputy opposition leader has hit out at the $6 billion pledge by the Albanese government in Tuesday's budget to support an accelerated rollout of renewable energy generation and transmission infrastructure in regional Victoria.

The National Party leader told Flow:

"We heard about the gold-plating (of the energy network) by Julia Gillard, this is platinum-plating. What they're going to do across rural properties particularly in Victoria, I was at the Elmore field days and I can tell you amongst the farmers, this is red hot. Farmers have got big concerns about these big platinum plated transmission lines across their properties, causing them significant distress.
"We're all for renewables but if you do it sensibly you don't have to do the things Labor is doing. ... If you look at your electricity bill now, half of it is for poles and wires. If you're going to rush $80 billion in poles and wires, you'll pay that in your electricity bill. Generation might go down because renewables are cheaper to generate, but the capital expenditure in building them and the platinum plating of the poles and wires has to be paid, and it will be paid in your bill."

Hear the full interview on the Flow podcast player below:

On Wednesday the Prime Minister and Victorian Premier announced their Rewiring the Nation plan would fast-track Victorian Renewable Energy Zones (REZ) and offshore wind development including jointly funding Victorian offshore wind, REZs, and the Victoria-New South Wales Interconnector (VNI West) KerangLink. The Commonwealth, Victoria and Tasmania also signed agreements on the Marinus Link interconnector.

Victorian Farmers Federation president Emma Germano said on Friday in response to the Andrews government pledge for the state to source 95 per cent of its energy from renewable energy by 2035:

“There’s a real need to create a Victoria-wide strategic plan for renewable energy and transmission developments that looks at the next century of the State’s energy needs.”
“We can move to renewables, but that shift must be gradual and well planned with agriculture in mind. Going too fast will mean the costs will be borne by farmers and regional communities, rather than being fairly distributed across the whole community.”

In New South Wales, the state government pledged that rural landowners would be paid $10,000 a year for 20 years for every kilometre of new transmission lines built on their property – a total of $200,000, with the annual payments indexed to CPI.

NSW Farmers Energy Transition Working Group chair Reg Kidd said while transmission lines were a hot topic for affected landowners, these payments were an important step in recognising the impact energy infrastructure had on farmers.


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