The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) is dismayed by the recent actions of transmission network operator AusNet Services after its workers entered farm properties along the Ballarat to Bendigo transmission line, without any prior contact or seeking permission from landowners.
VFF President Emma Germano said farmers had reached out to her and VFF staff when they found out AusNet had come onto their farms without permission.
“The VFF has been made aware of AusNet entering farms north of Ballarat to erect ‘danger’ signs under existing transmission lines over paddocks.”
“Whilst AusNet may have an easement on the properties in question, its staff would have had to enter and cross-over private land in order to access the area it has a right to work in.”
“This is a blatant disregard for property rights and farmers are sick of it.”
“Landowners have the right to know and approve of any activities that may impact their land. Transmission companies must adhere to these fundamental principles of respect and cooperation.”
“This sort of behaviour can create all types of damage to farmers’ livelihoods including, destroying crops, compacting soil, bringing pests and disease onto the land, as well as presenting risks to animal health and welfare.”
“VFF staff have already contacted Victorian Government representatives on the matter and are seeking to bring together relevant decision makers including the Essential Services Commission, Energy Safe Victoria, VicGrid and the Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner.”
“We will seek to ensure land access arrangements do not allow for this type of behaviour anymore.”
“I have also written to AusNet’s CEO Tony Narvaez seeking that his company demonstrate responsibility and accountability in addressing this issue promptly.”
“AusNet’s actions demonstrate how farmers’ rights will be trampled over if new transmission developments are allowed to be built before we put safeguards in place.”
“The VFF will continue to stand with our members and all Victorian farmers in safeguarding their rights and interests,” Ms Germano said.
Click here to view one of the signs placed onto a farm by AusNet Services.