The Victorian Government has announced new payments for landholders who host crucial electricity transmission infrastructure in recognition of their role in the state’s transition to renewables.

The Victoria Government has announced additional payments for a typical area of new transmission easement at a standard rate of $8,000 per year per kilometre of transmission hosted for 25 years.

First payments under the new arrangements will go to landholders who host transmission easements along the selected VNI West and Western Renewables Link transmission corridors.

Victorian Minister for Energy and Resources, Lily D’Ambrosio, said, “These new payments acknowledge the hugely important role landholders play in hosting critical energy infrastructure – a key part of Victoria’s renewables revolution.”

”We want to get the process for planning and approving new infrastructure right, so we can make sure the renewables revolution is a shared, equitable legacy for all Victorians.”

This will ensure an equitable approach for projects across the Victorian-New South Wales border, as well as other major projects including the Victoria-Tasmania Marinus Link project and transmission links connecting Victoria’s Renewable Energy Zones (REZs) and future offshore wind projects.

Industry bodies have welcomed the payment, but consumer groups have some concerns.

Energy Networks Australia CEO, Andrew Dillon, said the need for network investment is now critical, the cost of delaying these projects is significant. 

“Currently we have a regulatory system that can act as a handbrake to getting large-scale projects like transmission built. Enabling strategic benefit payments to landowners and communities is a step towards addressing this problem,” Mr Dillion said.

Mr Dillon said it was pleasing to see not only would benefit payments be available to landowners, but project builds would also be supported by the Victorian Transmission Investment Framework.

Community Power Agency Director, Kim Mallee, said it’s a step in the right direction in that the Victorian Government is acknowledging that the community and that landholders really do have an important role to play in enabling this climate critical infrastructure.

Gippsland farmer, Ursula Alquier, said it’s no surprise communities are concerned about the large buildout of transmission infrastructure in Victoria and it’s absolutely critical the government gets its landholder and community benefits strategy right early on.

Community alliance, Stop AusNet’s Towers, has serious concerns about the Western Renewables Link project and described the compensation plan as “an ill-conceived PR stunt that attempts to divert people away from the many impactful issues of the proposed project”. 

Stop AusNet’s Towers spokesperson, Emma Muir, said the community is not for sale. 

“The compensation plan does nothing to address the many thousands who sit adjacent to the proposed transmission corridor who stand to lose significant amenity and increased risk. By continuing to avoid the real impacts and risks of this project is a feeble attempt to misdirect the issues of the project.”

The Victorian Government has also released a consultation report for a proposed approach to planning and developing this new network infrastructure, the Victorian Transmission Investment Framework (VTIF).

It is designed to give Traditional Owners, local communities and key stakeholders a real voice in the development of new infrastructure so that impacts can be better managed and benefits can be realised.

The new report summarises feedback received through a six-week process conducted with regional communities, stakeholders and industry representatives, which will be a key input into decision-making on these proposed reforms.

Key themes include:

  • Broad support for VTIF’s proposals for earlier and deeper community engagement
  • A new strategic land use assessment to support better decisions on land use 
  • Strong interest in a new approach to benefit sharing
  • Meaningful partnership with Traditional owners throughout the entirety of the transmission lifecycle

The consultation report is now available at engage.vic.gov.au/victorian-transmission-investment-framework.

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