The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) is calling for an extension to the consultation period for the proposed VNI West transmission project, saying farmers across North Central Victoria have been given no time to have their say.
VFF President Emma Germano has written to CEO of the Australian Energy Market Operator, Daniel Westermann calling for the six-week consultation period to be extended.
“Farming communities have been blindsided by the decision to change the route of the VNI West project.”
“What was previously known as the KerangLink is now going nowhere near Kerang. In the dead of the night, AEMO and the Victorian Government have changed the project and have given farmers no time to respond.”
“It is bitterly disappointing to see the lack of respect that was shown to farmers in the Western Renewables Link project, is being replicated again with the VNI West Project.”
Ms Germano said farmers were not being given basic information about how the transmission project would impact farming operations, giving farmers little to no chance to provide feedback.
“Farmers want very simple questions answered. How will these transmission lines impact farming operations? How will they impact irrigation districts? How can anyone expect genuine consultation to happen if farmers are denied basic information?”
Ms Germano said the Victorian Government must step in and help provide information to farming communities.
“The Victorian Government is not off the hook here. Minister D’Ambrossio has declared the government’s hand by taking action to effectively alter the route and accelerate the project.”
“It is not good enough for the government to pass the buck onto AEMO. The government has a clear responsibility to ensure that farming communities are listened to and that the impacts on farm operations are well understood before a single powerline gets installed.”