Environment and Water Emergency Services | January 29, 2018

Kealy calls for Northern Grampians inclusion in Powerline Replacement Fund

The Nationals Member for Lowan Emma Kealy MP is calling upon the Andrews Labor Government to include the Northern Grampians Shire Council in the Powerline Replacement Fund (PRF) Program.

The PRF Program provides financial support to assist with replacement of dangerous private overhead powerlines with underground or insulated overhead powerlines or new conductor technologies in high fire risk areas of Victoria, however 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.

“To ensure the safety of local people and to help us protect our vital tourism industry, it is essential that properties in the Northern Grampians Shire Council are able to apply for funding to put Halls Gap’s power lines underground”, she said.

The local Halls Gap community has identified the project to put all power lines underground as a high priority since 2007, but the Council is unable to apply for Government funding 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.

Ms Kealy has 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, which is now in its final stage.

“This is a simple case of the Minister acknowledging that she got it wrong and intervening 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 in the local high bushfire risk area”, Ms Kealy said.

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