Home Australia Farmers threaten to lock their gates to stop AusNet’s controversial power project

Farmers threaten to lock their gates to stop AusNet’s controversial power project

Farmers threaten to lock their gates to stop AusNet’s controversial power project

A community of farmers is threatening to block AusNet from having access to their land to habits surveys for its Western Transmission Network Project.

Key functions:

  • AusNet launched plans for a single hall for the Western Transmission Network Project to the media final week
  • Affected farmers and two native councils oppose above-flooring transmission lines
  • Farmers are threatening to block AusNet from having access to their land to habits surveys

The controversial project proposed 500-kilovolt excessive-voltage transmission lines that, if installed above flooring, might maybe perhaps perhaps be 85-metres excessive and would transport renewable power from Bulgana, north of Ararat, to Melbourne.

Early Newspaper

Final week, farmers had been scared to stare AusNet had chosen a single proposed hall for the powerlines, with the firm revealing the plans to the media prior to landowners had been notified by the firm.

Power lines running through a paddock

The Hepburn Shire Council is adversarial to the transmission lines being above flooring. (

ABC: Claire Todd


The power firm sent letters to landholders within its proposed hall for the powerlines, which said it might well most likely maybe maybe perhaps require get entry to to properties to receive files for the project’s environmental overview.

Farmer and engineer Will Elsworth, who lives in Smeaton north of Ballarat, said locals had been threatening to lock the gate.

“[Landowners] are going to train to AusNet it’s likely you’ll maybe maybe perhaps perhaps very effectively be now not allowed on under the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 2004 and with biosecurity which is an unlimited a part of agriculture,” he said.

“Have your most efficient crack by strategy of the courts and take a look at to get your easements that draw, it’s going to hang you three to five years.”

‘Intimidating techniques’

Mr Elsworth said AusNet had been attempting to divide the community, by attempting to intimidate landowners, and he used to be calling on convey and federal participants of parliament to oppose the project.

“AusNet haven’t consulted anyone, they’ve now not famend the community and walked over us,” he said.

a close up photo of hands holding potatoes that have just been dug out of the ground

Meals giant McCains estimates 29 growers might maybe perhaps perhaps be tormented by the proposed transmission lines.(

ABC Rural: Jane McNaughton


Farmers weren’t the handiest those that would suffer if the proposed above-flooring powerlines had been installed, Mr Elsworth said, tourism corporations that relied on the picturesque views around Daylesford would additionally lose enterprise. 

“A thousand hectares [of prime agricultural land] are going to be lost and jobs are at stake.”

“We need all politicians to arise and signify the electorate, irrespective of which facet of the aisle they sit down on.”

A file commissioned by Moorabool Council has came sooner or later of utilizing excessive-voltage cables underground used to be a viable possibility for the Western Victoria Transmission Network, and the Hepburn Shire Council has indicated it used to be adversarial to the transmission lines being above flooring. 

‘No right consultation’

Mayor Lesley Hewitt said the council used to be extraordinarily dissatisfied within the dearth of right consultation sooner or later of this project.

“We now bear got been advocating strongly on behalf the community and are extraordinarily dissatisfied that this looks to bear had diminutive affect.”

“While Council is supportive of renewable power, it’s strongly adversarial to the transmission lines being above flooring and the aptitude area of the transmission location, which is in a residence to affect on treasured agricultural land and well-known landscapes.”

The Hepburn Shire Council has dedicated $50,000 in its 2021-22 funds to fund a proper submission on the Environment Effects Assertion (EES) and persevered advocacy on behalf of the community.

A map showing Ausnet's proposed corridor for the Western Victoria Transmission Network Project.

AusNet’s proposed hall for the Western Victoria Transmission Network Project.(

Equipped: Ausnet


AusNet’s executive project director Stephanie McGregor said she entreated affected landholders to pick within the strategy and their surveys would enact no hurt. 

“Landholders’ insights are well-known to perceive the reveal sensitivities of particular person pieces of land and placement protocols for after we get entry to the land to enact research,” Ms McGregor said.

“Get proper of entry to licences are put in location to protect the landowner and their pursuits, our desire is repeatedly to work with landholders to decide get entry to preparations.

“When it comes to biosecurity, we now bear sought most efficient disclose procedures from Agriculture Victoria and we adhere to the highest standards in our processes.”

AusNet will be required to assess the viability of running the powerlines underground as a part of its duties for an EES.

Farmers threaten to lock their gates to stop AusNet’s controversial power project