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The Victorian Government has announced a further $7 million in funding for its $750 million Powerline Bushfire Safety Program to minimise electricity line fire risk.

The program is Australia’s largest powerline safety project – reducing the risk of fires started by high voltage electricity lines across the state by up to 60 per cent.

Last summer alone, 33 potentially catastrophic bushfire starts were avoided thanks to the program.

Victoria’s entire 30,000km single wire earth return network is now protected by Automatic Circuit Reclosers to stop fires from starting – helping deliver a greater than 32 per cent reduction in relative powerline bushfire risk across the state’s electricity network.

The funding includes $2 million being invested in the Government’s Powerline Bushfire Safety Program Research and Development Grants Fund to investigate and deliver new powerline safety technologies.

The funding also includes $5 million to replace bare-wire private overhead powerlines in Victoria’s highest-risk bushfires areas.

Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio, said, “We’re continuing to invest in the development of new technologies that will help keep Victorians safe – ensuring we continue to lead the nation now and into the future.

“Community safety is our top priority – we’re putting people first by reducing the risk of bushfires.

“We’re building community resilience and safety as we face the impact of climate change and see hotter summers with longer bushfire seasons.”

The Private Overhead Electric Line (POEL) Scheme will open on 15 September to eligible residents across bushfire-affected areas.

Applications for the Research and Development Fund Grants are open until Monday 5 October 2020.

For more information and to access the Powerline Bushfire Safety Program Progress Report, click here.

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