Parliament of Victoria

The Victorian Minister for Energy and Resources, Lily D’Ambrosio, has unveiled the government’s National Electricity (Victoria) Amendment (VicGrid) Bill 2024. 

The government said the bill is the next step in establishing VicGrid and ensuring it has the powers to modernise the way new energy infrastructure is planned and developed in Victoria, while giving communities a voice in the process. 

VicGrid is expected to undertake all planning and consultation on energy projects, ensuring that community views are taken into account at the start of the planning process. 

Only projects that have been through community consultation undertaken by VicGrid – not by the private developer – can be put to tender for development, a move designed to minimise the impacts a project may have on the community. 

Under the legislation, VicGrid will implement the new Victorian Transmission Infrastructure Framework (VTIF), which includes meaningful community engagement and benefit sharing arrangements for farmers, communities and Traditional Owners that host new transmission lines.

The bill would also lock in payments that recognise the crucial role landholders who host energy infrastructure are playing in the energy transition, with $200,000 per kilometre of new transmission hosted indexed and paid over 25 years.

These payments are in addition to compensation paid to landholders for the impact of infrastructure on their land.

The next stages of VTIF will feature community funds to ensure the regions hosting energy infrastructure also see meaningful and lasting benefits from the energy transition. 

VicGrid will be consulting on these arrangements throughout 2024.

The Victorian Government is also updating the Energy and Public Land Legislation Amendment (Enabling Offshore Wind Energy) Bill 2024 to include offshore wind.

The bill will allow offshore wind developers to obtain long-term tenure over public land for offshore electricity infrastructure, designed to provide certainty to industry.

The government is also introducing the National Energy Retail Law (Victoria) Bill 2024, designed to make the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) responsible for ensuring Victorians are not left in the dark if their energy provider goes under. 

If an energy provider goes under, the AER will automatically transfer customers to another provider. 

Victorian Minister for Energy and Resources, Lily D’Ambrosio, said, “Victoria is undergoing a once-in-a-generation energy transition. We’re making the community central to this and doing things differently to make sure it’s done right.”

“We’re making sure energy infrastructure is delivered in a way that reduces impacts and provides benefits for the community and encourages investments that will keep the lights on and secure Victoria’s energy future,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

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