WRL project starts compensation discussions with landholders

AusNet Services has today taken a significant step towards negotiating compensation with landholders who will host transmission lines for the Western Renewables Link (WRL).

Landholders along the 190 kilometre proposed route of the critical Western Renewables Link project have today been sent a guide outlining the process for an ‘Option for Easement Proposal’ for AusNet to acquire an easement on their property for the construction and operation of the transmission line.

Landholders can be paid up to $40,000 for engaging in the process with AusNet, including payments for participating in assessment surveys and for entering into the Option for Easement, along with payment for professional fees and reimbursement for legal and professional fees.

Landholders will also be compensated by WRL for hosting an easement on their property. This project compensation is in addition to the payment recently announced by the State Government of $8,000 per year per kilometre of transmission line for 25 years.

Western Renewables Link Project Executive Jeff Rigby said payments were intended to support the rollout of a modern and reliable electricity network to connect renewable energy into the grid to benefit all Victorians.

“Today’s information package is an important first step in working towards a commercial arrangement with landholders and to provide them with certainty about the payments and compensation they will receive,” Mr Rigby said.

WRL is expected to supply electricity to half a million Victorian homes, enhance the reliability of the grid, cut the state’s carbon emissions and put downward pressure on power bills as coal-fired power stations shut down.

“We hope that by providing landholders with information now, they can make an informed decision when it comes to consider compensation offers, as well as seeking their own independent advice,” Mr Rigby said.

Independent valuers experienced in compensation will assess the value of compensation to be paid. This is then subject to negotiation and landholders can also then seek their own valuation.

The value of compensation will be based on the difference between the market value before and after project construction, known as the market value depreciation. This includes any loss in the market value of the property including loss due to severance and loss of special value. Compensation will also be provided for impact to business operations and infrastructure, such as sheds and fencing on the property.

The easement compensation offers, in the form of an Option for Easement proposal, will be progressively given to landholders in coming weeks and will take several months to complete.

The Western Renewables Link project has not yet completed the Environment Effects Statement process. The project’s Environment Effects Statement is expected to be submitted to the State Government later this year.

The guide can be downloaded from the WRL website: Landholder Guide: Option for Easement process and compensation.