Chair of the Softwoods Working Group, Peter Crowe OAM, said the NSW Upper House vote in support of the establishment of a committee to re-examine the issue of the transmission infrastructure for renewable energy projects was a win for the liveability, workability, and beauty in the region.
“This is a win for common sense and a big step forward in the fight to ensure power lines from Transgrid’s Humelink will be underground as opposed to the State Development Committee’s previous report advocating overhead transmission lines,” he said.
Mr Crowe said two community groups and the Softwoods Working Group (who were also members of the Humelink Community Consultative Group) were far from satisfied with how Transgrid dealt with the contentious issue of whether the power lines went above or underground from the substation at Maragle through Bago and Green Hills State Forests.
“The Softwoods Working Group was involved because it is clear that the preferred route for the transmission lines for Humelink will directly impact prime plantation land immediately and in the future,” he said.
“It has been estimated that there will be the permanent removal of 400 ha of premium plantation land that will result in the loss of approximately $80 million worth of essential timber and packaging products.
“This comes on the back of the 2019/20 fires that have devastated wood supplies for the next 20 or more years, resulting in social and economic loss for the regional community.
“Overhead powerlines present an ongoing threat and impediment to effective fire management and firefighting capability due to the restrictions on the sorts of activities that can happen under and in the vicinity of the transmission easement.
“The Humelink transmission line is 355 km long. It has been stated that the renewables generation will ultimately require an additional 10,000 km of transmission capacity nationally. Undergrounding is currently more expensive than overhead transmission but getting increasingly cheaper.”
The committee will comprise Cate Faehrmann MLC (chair), the Hon Wes Fang MLC (deputy chair), Hon Rod Roberts MLC, one Opposition member selected by the Leader of the Opposition, and three Government members selected by the Leader of the Government.
The committee will report on its findings by 31 March 2024.
Media contact: Sarah Chester 0417 207 669.