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OUT OF SIGHT IS INDEED, OUT OF MIND!
OUT OF SIGHT IS INDEED, OUT OF MIND!
Member Bulletin # 6 25 NOVEMBER 2008 The Power Grid Option Group continues to fight to make sure any desal power transmission line is put underground. Here is a report on progress to date: The Power Grid Option Group Committee met last week to discuss the outcomes of the Desalination Project Environment Effects Statement Panel Hearing and confirm other campaign initiatives to get the Victorian Government to place the power lines underground. As advised in Bulletin 5, your Group presented a comprehensive case for underground power supply at the Panel Hearing, working closely with the legal team engaged by Cardinia Shire. Panel members were left in no doubt that the community did not accept the flawed and incomplete proposal being put forward by the Department of Sustainability and Environment. Submitter after submitter questioned why anyone would impose a major pylon or pole-mounted transmission line through some of the most valuable and productive land remaining in Victoria when there are much smarter alternatives available. While there was much delight when one of the submitters broke into song to get his message across (and another submitter produced a frozen bandicoot to illustrate their point), the central theme was much more serious. Many submitters were on the point of breaking down as they told their individual situations. If government decision makers had taken the time to attend the hearing they could not have ignored the anger and frustration being felt by those being asked to shoulder the real burden of this project. Panel Members have returned to Melbourne to prepare their key findings and they are scheduled to report to the Minister for Planning in early December. PGOG is extremely concerned that the bidding consortia are well advanced in preparing their tenders, despite the Hearing Report still far from being tabled. We have been lobbying at the highest level in relation to this lack of synchronisation. The fast tracking of all aspects of this project suggest DSE is ignoring the Ministerial Guidelines (1978) in relation to the EES process. We are making progress. PGOG understands the frustration and anger felt by many people along the power line corridor but we ask that you ‘stay the course’ for a little longer. The key to progress has been to offer genuine solutions; this has required inordinate effort and much good will by many industry players. We need to stay focused; we are getting our message across. Group Chairman, Alan Fraser continues to meet with very senior government advisors and Members of Parliament. Johan Scheffer MP is working closely with the Group and is now fully briefed on all matters in relation to our position. Luke Donnellan MP, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier, spent another hour and a half with Alan last Friday reviewing the solutions the Group is putting forward. The Group has commissioned Access Economics to provide a detailed evaluation of our underground power solution package. This is vitally important to our campaign as it gives government an independent third-party appraisal of our work. Many thanks must go to Cardinia Shire Council for supporting this initiative, especially to the CEO, Garry McQuillan. This evaluation will be incorporated into a further presentation to government. The presentation will include detailed verification of land valuation data to further support our position. All of this specifically addresses all challenges outlined by Stuart Morris QC Senior Counsel for DSE, in his closing comments to the EES Panel Hearing. PGOG is arguing strongly that DSE should be directing significant resources to proving the case for an underground power instead of ignoring the community and attempting to disprove it. PGOG continues to be ready to discuss our solutions with DSE. Group members can do their bit to support the work that is happening behind the scenes. Stay focused and committed; trust that the Committee is working hard for all of us. Copy this Bulletin and spread it far and wide, Government is listening, and remember… OUT OF SIGHT IS INDEED, OUT OF MIND! Please give a copy of this bulletin to your friends and other members of the community – an above ground power transmission line will ruin the landscape and environment forever! www.undergroundoption.org.au
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