The planned Western Renewables Link (WRL) community information session due to be held at Newlyn on Thursday this week will be moved to an online event.
AusNet has reluctantly made the decision to ensure it maintains a safe and respectful environment for community members who had planned to attend to ask important questions about the project, as well as its staff. Western Renewables Link General Manager, Malcolm Tinker, said: “We are disappointed for those who planned to come to our community forum to hear from our project experts. We respect people’s rights to protest, but we can’t conduct an information session in a protest environment.”
“It is not helpful for those who are there to get more information, and it’s not appropriate for our staff members. We take our duty of care to community and our staff extremely seriously.’
“We will reschedule the event to online and registered one-to-one sessions to ensure we can still answer important questions, especially on key topics such as farming under transmission lines, compensation and bushfire risk,” said Mr Tinkler.
Project experts had held community forums in recent weeks in Ararat, Waubra, Stawell and Ballarat last night.
Landholders and interested community members have been discussing the rollout of the compensation offer, farming under transmission lines, and bushfire risk with the WRL specialists.
The Australian Energy Market Operator contracted AusNet to plan and build the 190 kilometre Western Renewables Link to connect large scale renewable generation projects in the west of the state to the electricity grid to benefit all Victorians.
Recent changes to the WRL include an increase in capacity of the 220kV section of the transmission line between Ballarat and Bulgana to 500kV, and the cancellation of the proposed new terminal station north of Ballarat.
At this stage, community forums are still planned for Bacchus Marsh on 25 October and Melton on 31 October.
AusNet has many ways the community can engage with the project team, including webinars, virtual meetings, small group and one-on-one sessions and webinars.
The project will be holding two webinars on 2 and 28 November. Registration is via www.westernrenewableslink.com.au.