Environment Energy | November 22, 2021
Halls Gap must be included in underground powerline scheme
The Nationals Member for Lowan Emma Kealy MP is calling on the Andrews Labor Government to include the Northern Grampians Shire Council as an eligible local government area in the Private Overhead Electric Line scheme.
The POEL scheme, previously known as the Powerline Replacement Fund, provides funding to put private overhead powerlines underground in high fire risk areas of Victoria, however the Northern Grampians Shire Council is not eligible to apply for funding.
“The Grampians is a known high bushfire risk area and has experienced a number of significant bushfire events in recent years. Halls Gap itself is full of overhead power lines”, Ms Kealy said.
“The local Halls Gap community has identified putting all power lines underground as a high priority project since 2007 but is unable to apply for funding under the scheme as the Northern Grampians Shire Council is not deemed a high fire risk region, even though it encompasses many of the communities located within the Grampians Nationals Park.
“To ensure the safety of local people and to help us protect our vital tourism industry, it is essential that properties in Halls Gap are able to apply for funding to put power lines underground”.
Ms Kealy has previously written to the Hon Lily D’Ambrosio, Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change requesting the immediate inclusion of Northern Grampians Shire Council in the PRF, however the request continues to be denied.
This is despite a further 13 local government areas in Victoria being added to the eligibility list for the latest round of funding in October this year.
“It defies logic that the Andrews Labor Government does not consider the Grampians National Park a high bushfire risk area,” Ms Kealy said.
“The Minister for Energy, Environmental and Climate Change needs to intervene immediately to ensure land owners in Halls Gap and the broader Northern Grampians Shire Council area are eligible to apply for funding to put dangerous overhead power lines underground”.
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