PUT NEW TRANSMISSION LINES UNDERGROUND ON PUBLIC LAND: MP

Thursday, 1 June 2023

NORTHERN Tablelands MP Adam Marshall has taken to the floor of State Parliament to suggest that any new electricity transmission lines constructed in the region should be placed underground and across public land, in a speech delivered last night.

Mr Marshall was speaking about the government’s recent announcement to push back the energisation of the New England Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) to 2029, which has said was good to news as it “gives us time a breathing space to get this right.”

“We are about to commence the difficult task of working out where the transmission infrastructure – the new 550 kilovolt, 330 kilovolt and energy hubs – for the REZ will go,” Mr Marshall told Parliament.

“I will repeat on the record that the first preference for our region at all times is that this infrastructure be placed on public land and, where public land is not available, to then look at private land.

“Given that this infrastructure is intergenerational – it will be there not just for 10 or 20 years, but likely for 60 to 100 years – and there is the ability to amortise the cost of the infrastructure over multiple generations, we must seriously look at undergrounding some of the large transmission lines where possible to avoid land use conflict and also to avoid the inevitable argy-bargy that happens.

“There is enough argy-bargy already with some of these poorly thought-out projects.”

Mr Marshall said with the recent change of government he had sought to constructively engage with the new Minister for Energy about eh future of the REZ.

“I thank Minister Penny Sharpe for her willingness to engage with me and our region’s local councils and community members through the Coalition of Renewable Energy Mayors group,” Mr Marshall said.

“The issue of the transition to renewables and a more diverse way of generating electricity has been marked by bipartisanship at a State level.

“I acknowledge the fact that the new Minister has carried that through, because the only way that transition will be successful is if we keep partisan politics out of it and take the community with us.

“The renewable energy zones can only work if there is a substantial amount of community support and willingness.

“I have said many times in this House and in public that I am a strong advocate for the renewable energy industry, but that should not be taken as me saying that our region is a welcome mat to be walked over by any particular proponent.

“We have may good quality renewable energy projects which have been built or are under construction in our region, but we will not accept poor projects, poor planning and poor outcomes for our community.

“I look forward to working with the Minister, the new government and the community and our mayors to make sure the REZ works for us.”

** A Hansard copy of Mr Marshall’s speech in Parliament can be accessed here www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/Hansard/Pages/HansardResult.aspx#/docid/HANSARD-1323879322-131541/link/100

** A Dropbox link to the video and audio of Mr Marshall’s speech in Parliament can be accessed here https://www.dropbox.com/s/4x6q0jyvaj8n2et/video.legislative-assembly.2023-05-31T09_57_18.592Z.2023-05-31T10_02_28.590Z.mp4?dl=0

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