Aus Net8361

AusNet Services currently operates 6,500kms of transmission lines across Victoria.

Victoria’s existing transmission network does not have the capacity to transport the renewable energy being generated in western Victoria to the rest of the state.

Overview

Critical upgrade of the state's transmission network

Our energy network was originally built to carry energy generated from brown coal in the Latrobe Valley to the rest of the state. As we move from coal-generated electricity to sustainable green power, this critical upgrade of the transmission network will help to keep the lights on and power prices down.

Playing a key role in energy supply availability

A new transmission line is required to deliver renewable energy from wind and solar farms in western Victoria, a key renewable energy zone, to homes across Victoria and into the National Electricity Market. This project is needed to urgently reduce congestion on the existing transmission network and to help unlock significant amounts of clean electricity for Victorians.

The project will involved major economic investment in western Victoria. Many local goods, services and contractors are expected to be used throughout construction.

Project timeline

Project timeline OL

Project development

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) selected AusNet Services to deliver the project following a competitive tender process in December 2019. AusNet Services will build, own, operate and maintain the new infrastructure and deliver the minor upgrade works required for the project.

The Regulatory Investment Test for Transmission (RIT-T) process shaped the project scope of the Western Victorian Transmission Network project.

View RIT-T fact sheet

Ongoing community and stakeholder engagement

AusNet Services has been undertaking extensive investigations and community and stakeholder engagement since early 2020 and is responsible for securing the necessary planning and environmental approvals to deliver the proposed project. These approvals are outlined under Planning & Approvals.

The project is subject to an Environment Effects Statement (EES), the most rigorous environmental impact assessment process in Victoria. The WVTNP is in the preparatory stage of the EES.

Community input is central to the EES process and important information provided by landholders and the community helps to inform the development and design of the project. The EES will document how AusNet Services has consulted and responded to issues raised by the community.

Learn more about Planning & Approvals

Route selection

The proposed route has been identified based on a range of technical investigations, landholder, community and stakeholder input, and constructability and technical aspects.

Our engagement and consultation activities will continue, along with further technical studies, field studies and investigations, until we submit the EES for the project to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

Narrowing down the area of interest

Narrowing down the area of interest OL

Learn more about the route selection

As part of the Environment Effects Statement, feasible project alternatives will be considered, together with wider discussion of other alternatives considered but not pursued including:

  • Alternative corridors and routes.
  • Locations of infrastructure such as terminal stations.
  • Designs including overhead and underground.
  • Other options for the planning, construction or operation of the project.

Construction

The Western Victoria Transmission Network Project is still in Stage 1 of the planning, design and approvals. The proposed project requires Victorian and Commonwealth Government approval as well as extensive community consultation through the Environment Effects Statement process before construction may commence.

FAQs

We have developed a comprehensive set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) that will be updated as the proposed project develops.

The Western Victoria Transmission Network Project (WVTNP) is a new 190km overhead high-voltage electricity transmission line that will carry renewable energy from Bulgana in Western Victoria to Sydenham in Melbourne’s north-west.

It will create at least 300 jobs in construction and provide significant economic benefits to regional communities. We will use local goods and services, including accommodation providers, cafes and restaurants, throughout construction.

In this next phase of the project AusNet Services will be considering and assessing the further potential benefits for communities along the corridor, including the development of a community benefits fund.

The project includes:

  • A 220kV double circuit overhead line from Bulgana to a new terminal station north of Ballarat.
  • A 500kV double circuit overhead line from the new terminal station north of Ballarat to a new terminal station at North Sydenham.
  • Network upgrades to support the new assets.

The terminal station at North Sydenham will be adjacent to the existing terminal station and on land already owned by AusNet Services.

Victoria’s existing transmission network does not have the capacity to transport the renewable energy being generated in Western Victoria to the rest of the state.

Our energy network was originally built to carry energy generated from brown coal in the Latrobe Valley to the rest of the state. As we move from coal-generated electricity to sustainable green power, this critical upgrade of our transmission network will help to keep the lights on and power prices down.

Western Victoria is emerging as an important renewable energy generation region and has been earmarked for its own Renewable Energy Zone.

However, the existing transmission network in Western Victoria is already at capacity. This means only limited power can be transported out of the region into the wider network and this impacts power prices.

The Western Victoria Transmission Network Project (WVTNP) is a critical upgrade of Victoria’s transmission network which will help ensure Victoria’s successful transition from coal-generated energy to sustainable, affordable and reliable renewable energy.

The WVTNP is planning a new 190km transmission line from Bulgana to Sydenham, which will put downward pressure on electricity costs while providing Victorian communities with access to renewable energy.

The project will connect large-scale wind and solar in the west into the grid, to power more than half a million homes across Victoria.

From a regional perspective, this project will provide more than 300 jobs in construction and significant economic benefits to communities along the route, with many local goods, services and contractors expected to be required throughout construction.

In addition, AusNet Services will establish a Community Fund. The aim of Community Fund is to support legacy initiatives that create lasting benefit for the communities in the project area. To date, the scope we have covered with the councils and communities includes education and training, energy resilience and grant application award through a Community Fund.

We are engaging directly with the community, local councils and AEMO on the Community Fund, and the value that should be delivered via the Community Fund. The Community Fund, once established, will look to appoint an advisory committee with representation from local councils and community members to oversee funds distribution. We are currently planning to announce the benefit-sharing framework in early 2022.

The project is being delivered by AusNet Services through its commercial division Mondo. AusNet Services was appointed by AEMO to plan, consult on, design, construct, own, operate and maintain this new transmission line.

AEMO is responsible for operating Australia’s largest gas and electricity markets and power systems. These include the National Electricity Market and interconnected power system in Australia’s eastern and south-eastern seaboard and the Wholesale Electricity Market and power system in Western Australia.

AEMO also operates the Victorian Declared Wholesale Gas Market and the Victorian gas transmission system; the wholesale gas Short Term Trading Market hubs in Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane; the Wallumbilla Gas Supply Hub in Queensland; and the Moomba Gas Supply Hub in South Australia.

As Australia’s independent energy markets and power systems operator, AEMO provides critical planning, forecasting and modelling, and power systems security advice and services, helping to ensure Australians have access to affordable, secure and reliable energy. Further information is available at www.aemo.com.au.

We are now in the initial stages of planning, design and approvals, in particular the Environment Effects Statement (EES). We anticipate this will continue through until around early-2023.

The proposed project requires both Victorian and Commonwealth Government approvals before construction can commence.

During this time there will be several opportunities for communities to have input into the process. The EES will be submitted in 2022 for formal public consultation and independent review. Construction timelines will be dependent on final approvals.

The Western Victoria Transmission Network Project (WVTNP) is subject to an Environment Effects Statement (ESS), the most rigorous environmental impact assessment process in Victoria.

The EES process is administered by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) on behalf of Victoria’s Minister for Planning under the Environment Effects Act 1978.

The purpose of the EES is to ensure that major projects are designed, constructed and operated to minimise adverse environmental and community impacts.

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) have convened an inter-agency Technical Reference Group (TRG) to advise the project on scoping and adequacy of the technical studies during the preparation of the EES.

The TRG includes representatives from a broad range of backgrounds and expertise:

  • DELWP Impact Assessment Unit
  • DELWP Environments (Grampians Region)
  • DELWP Regional Planning Services, Planning Group
  • DELWP Energy Group
  • Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions
  • Department of Transport
  • First Peoples - State Relations
  • Heritage Victoria
  • Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA)
  • Melbourne Water
  • Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority
  • North Central Catchment Management Authority
  • Wimmera Catchment Management Authority
  • Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority
  • Corangamite Catchment Management Authority
  • Parks Victoria
  • Country Fire Authority (CFA)
  • Energy Safe Victoria
  • Pyrenees Shire Council
  • Northern Grampians Shire Council
  • Moorabool Shire Council
  • Hepburn Shire Council
  • Melton City Council
  • Ballarat City Council
  • Barengi Gadjin Land Council Aboriginal Corporation
  • Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation
  • Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation

For more information on the EES process Environmental assessment and key project approvals fact sheet – June 2021.

AusNet Services works closely with communities including farmers who already farm under the 6,500kms of existing transmission lines across Victoria, which includes irrigated horticulture and broad acre crops.

We have been listening closely to all the feedback, and we have provided much-needed certainty on this important issue.

We are pleased to be able to say there is no issue with farming operations continuing under the proposed overhead transmission line.

Our investigations show that based on our latest design assumptions, the equipment for potato farming will largely be able to be accommodated.

Once the proposed route is determined AusNet Services will be working very closely with every landowner to help them continue farming.

This includes designing any towers to located on properties to minimise impacts where possible, assisting farmers with obtaining special permits to operate certain machinery under the lines and compensating them for changes required to their farming operations, including equipment.

For more information refer to the Landholder Guide: Land access, easements and compensation. Note: the information within the guide only relates to the WVTNP, and not existing infrastructure.

For all other existing electricity transmission lines within Victoria, please refer to A guide to living with transmission line easements available on the AusNet Services website.
Note: this guide applies to existing transmission line easements only.

The proposed terminal station will be located to the north of Ballarat with the final location dependent on the route determined for the project.

An indicative area for the terminal station to the north of Ballarat has been identified on the proposed route. The area shown is representative of the area of land required, however there may be changes depending on the layout and orientation of the final terminal station design which requires it to be in a different position on the property. The land size of the terminal station will be approximately 400 x 600m.

The size of the proposed terminal station is estimated to be 100m x 500m and approximately 50,000m2. This is equivalent to approximately 12.35 acres.

As a comparison to the Melbourne Cricket Grounds (MCG), the proposed terminal station measures slightly smaller than the MCG and its grandstands (59,800m2).

Safety is our highest priority, and we can assure the community that this project is being planned and constructed to the latest safety and technical requirements.

Black Saturday was an unprecedented tragedy and one that none of us ever want to see happen again.

The Royal Commission into the Black Saturday bushfires made, among others, eight recommendations focused on reducing the risk of fires related to electricity distribution infrastructure including more inspections, better hazard management plans, improved training and infrastructure upgrades.

Across Victoria, over $1billion has been spent to implement the recommendations from the Royal Commission

No bushfires were started on Black Saturday by high voltage transmission lines.

The project proposes to build high voltage transmission lines between Sydenham and Bulgana, to provide reliable, affordable power to Victoria, and unlock greater renewable energy investment in Western Victoria.

For further information refer to Managing fire risk - electricity transmission network available on the AusNet Services website under Regulatory publications / Bushfire mitigation plans. Alternatively, you can view AusNet Services' Managing fire risk - electricity transmission network fact sheet here.

Electric and magnetic fields, commonly known as EMFs, are both naturally occurring and found wherever there is electricity. Natural occurrences include from lightning, solar activity, and the earth itself. All living organisms produce EMFs. Wherever electricity is flowing or there is an electrical force, EMFs are produced.

Leading health authorities worldwide, such as the World Health Organisation, have found no evidence that confirms the existence of any health consequences from exposure to low-level electromagnetic fields, the type emitted from transmission lines.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has advised that that:

“...current evidence does not confirm the existence of any health consequence from exposure to low level electromagnetic fields.”

In Australia, ARPANSA (Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency) has advised that:

“The scientific evidence does not establish that exposure to the electric and magnetic fields found around the home, the office or near powerlines causes health effects.”

“There is no established evidence that the exposure to magnetic fields from powerlines, substations, transformers or other electrical sources, regardless of the proximity, causes any health effects.”

Community feedback, together with early investigations and technical investigations, informed the project team as they narrowed the area of interest to multiple corridor options and then the single corridor.

Once identified, the project will progress the proposed route through the Environment Effects Statement (EES). Leading up to the exhibition of the EES, community events will be held so that we can share the findings of our assessments with you and get your feedback.

The purpose of the EES is to ensure that major projects are designed, constructed and operated to minimise adverse environmental and community impacts.

Significant landscapes and views have been identified through a range of sources including those recognised in planning schemes through Significant Landscape Overlays, those identified by landscape studies such as the South West Victoria Landscape Assessment Study (SWVLAS) as state or regionally significant, community consultation and social pinpoint data, key public viewing locations, and those identified by previous projects (such as wind farms) in this area.

Landscapes that exhibit special or unique features are typically found within a Significant Landscape Overlay (SLO), Environmental Significance Overlay (ESO) or Vegetation Protection Overlay (VPO), which include guidance on how these areas might be protected from inappropriate development. Some significant landscapes such as those embodying intangible cultural heritage values may not currently be formally recognised within planning controls, heritage registers, or planning precedents.

We are working closely with the Registered Aboriginal Parties to understand these values and how to best protect them.

In undertaking the landscape character and sensitivity assessments, a broad range of relevant features have been considered including land use, topography, vegetation, lakes and waterways, conservation parks and reserves, and townships.

Key public viewing locations identified include:

  • Major roads: Western Freeway, Midland Highway, Sunraysia Highway and connecting roads between townships and settlements.
  • Public areas within townships, particularly areas within the road network, local parks and other points of interest.
  • Public parks and recreation areas, including state-managed parks and reserves, reservoirs, waterways, forests, trails and other landscapes that are publicly accessible.
  • Identified significant landscapes and significant views, as identified by the SWVLAS and overlays recognising scenic amenity.
  • Residential areas.

There are several considerations when citing/placing transmission lines including electrical clearance and safety impacts. As part of this process, an easement is defined. The EMF levels at the edge of the easement are below the requirements that are endorsed by Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA).

AusNet Services is engaging with the community, landholders and interested parties through the project website, regular eUpdates, webinars and community engagement sessions. Our engagement activities are designed to provide opportunities for you to have a say in the development of the project and contribute to the EES.

As we continue to work through the EES process, we encourage you stay involved. If you have questions, please call 1300 360 795 or email info@westvictnp.com.au. You can also register for project updates.

As a landholder in the project corridor, your dedicated Land Liaison Officer is the main point of contact for all matters relating to your property. Their role is to work with you to address any questions and concerns.

The officer will also discuss access protocols and procedures through the voluntary land access consent form process to ensure any potential impact to your property, lifestyle, operations, biosecurity and any livestock is kept to a minimum.

If your property is within the proposed route when identified, your Land Liaison Officer will work with you to understand your land use and activities, how the infrastructure will impact your property, discuss the easement requirements and towers and provide information about compensation.

Contact details from your Land Liaison Officer can be provided by the project team on 1300 360 795 or via email info@westvictnp.com.au.

During preparation of the EES, access to some properties is required to conduct field surveys and investigations to document the existing conditions and environmental sensitivities of the land. These field surveys will be used to access the potential environmental impacts of the project and identify ways to avoid, minimise or offset those impacts.

To minimise interruption to landholders, AusNet Services has made significant efforts to reduce the level of private land access required for physical surveys and investigations including:

  • Reviewing aerial imagery.
  • Undertaking surveys on adjacent and/or representative private land.
  • Sourcing survey results/data from other neighbouring projects or land.
  • Prioritising land access based on EES assessment and approval requirements.

If access to your land is required to conduct surveys or investigations, AusNet Services will contact you to request consent for temporary land access. This letter will provide an overview of why access is required, contact details of your dedicated Land Liaison Officer and a template voluntary land access consent form for your consideration.

AusNet Services will work with you to agree on access arrangements to be documented in the voluntary land access consent form including timing, notification requirements, access points, biosecurity arrangements and logistics.

You know your land and operational requirements best. AusNet Services value your advice on how to best undertake these surveys on your property with minimal distribution to your property and activities. You can discuss any specific concerns you may have with your dedicated Land Liaison Officer to identify how to avoid or minimise any disruption to yourself or your property.

The voluntary land access consent is not binding and can be withdrawn at any time by you advising your Land Liaison Officer. In addition, the voluntary land access consent has a fixed term and does not provide AusNet Services with ongoing access to your property after the term has expired. Providing consent for access during the EES stage does not demonstrate endorsement of the project but will help ensure a comprehensive and robust EES is delivered for consideration by decision makers.

Where you wish to obtain independent legal advice regarding the voluntary land access consent form and to assist in the review and negotiation of the land access consent and protocols, AusNet Services will reimburse the reasonable cost of this independent advice up to $1,000 (plus GST) as discussed with your Land Liaison Officer.

AusNet Services would prefer to work with landholders (and occupiers where appropriate) to obtain consent for voluntary land access. Where voluntary land access consent cannot be reached, AusNet Services has powers under section 93 of the Electricity Industry Act 2000 (Vic) to access private land for specific purposes.

Where access is required and voluntary land access consent cannot be reached, AusNet Services will contact you and/or provide you with written notice prior to accessing your property pursuant to section 93 of the Electricity Industry Act 2000 (Vic).

If any damage is caused by AusNet Services exercising its powers under section 93 of the Electricity Industry Act 2000 (Vic), you will generally be entitled to compensation, provided a claim is made within two years. AusNet Services takes the exercise of its powers under section 93 of the Electricity Industry Act 2000 (Vic) and the responsibility to minimise any damage very seriously.

AusNet Services and its authorised persons will conduct the specified surveys and investigations in accordance with the land access consent and protocols agreed with you, or as advised to you if access to your property is under section 93 of the Electricity Industry Act 2000 (Vic). This includes notifying you in advance of any proposed visits to your property, explaining the purpose of the visit and implementing biosecurity arrangements.

The surveys and investigations will primarily consist of low-impact activities with limited ground disturbance and are predominantly based on walk overs and observation. These may include ground surveys, daytime and nocturnal surveys for native flora and fauna, taking photographs of relevant environmental matters, water and soil sampling and/or sub-surface excavations to understand the geology. The surveys and investigations themselves will be done by qualified specialists such as ecologists, cultural heritage specialists and soil specialists, along with support professionals.

AusNet Services will comply with all applicable laws in accessing your property, including compliance with any required COVIDSafe protocols.

If there is a voluntary land access consent in place, AusNet Services will abide by all access protocols set out in the land access consent form.

AusNet Services will minimise disturbance and do as little damage as possible when undertaking any surveys and investigations. AusNet Services will make good any damage caused while undertaking these surveys.

AusNet Services and its authorised persons will have appropriate public liability insurance in place that covers the surveys and investigations to be conducted on your property.

AusNet Services and its authorised persons accessing the property will carry identification which can be produced upon request by the landholder or representative of the landholder at any time when on your property.

A summary of the findings of surveys undertaken on your land can be provided upon request. Outcomes of the EES existing conditions or baseline assessments, based on desktop reviews and field surveys, will be published on the WVTNP website in the form of preliminary EES information sheets.

The results of technical studies will be publicly exhibited alongside the EES. Any confidential data collected during flora and fauna surveys, Aboriginal cultural heritage assessments and historic heritage studies will not be publicly linked to specific parcels of land.

Field surveys are being used to gather information for many different technical studies for the EES. There are protections under law for some of these things including for Aboriginal cultural heritage, historical heritage and certain flora and flora species.

If something significant is found, for example protected flora or fauna, AusNet Services will provide you with as much information as possible about what was found.

If an Aboriginal Place is discovered, following verification, AusNet Services will:

  • Let you know where the place is.
  • Provide you with sufficient information to ensure the place is not inadvertently impacted by ongoing activities on your property.
  • Record and register the place with First Peoples - State Relations (formerly Aboriginal Victoria).
  • Work with First Peoples – State Relations, local Traditional Owners or the relevant Registered Aboriginal Party to develop management strategies for the Aboriginal Place with the aim of avoiding or minimising harm during future planned works.

Generally, having Aboriginal cultural places on private land will not stop the existing land use from continuing. Aboriginal sites and places are protected by law; so, if something is found on your property, management strategies will be designed to protect the site or place, in some instances this may mean relocating and protecting the cultural heritage elsewhere. This would be done at AusNet Services’ cost. More information about Aboriginal cultural heritage is available on the First Peoples – State Relations website.

An easement is a right held by one person to access, occupy and/or use part of the land owned by another person, for a particular purpose.

Transmission line easements are needed to protect public safety and provide access to infrastructure to help maintain a reliable transmission network. In terms of public safety, transmission line easement terms ensure that only activities which are compatible and safe can occur within the easement area.

In terms of network reliability, the easement allows AusNet Services to efficiently access its infrastructure to maintain it and ensure it is operating as it should, including in emergencies.

Yes. Easements are registered on the property title.

Transmission line easements vary in width depending on the operating voltage, design of the towers, relevant design and safety standards, and site-specific conditions. Easements for a 220kV overhead transmission line range from 40m to 60m wide, and for a 500kV overhead transmission line, easements range from 70m to 100m wide.

Underground transmission electricity cable easements vary in width depending on the operating voltage, design and safety standards of the cable network and site-specific conditions.

Underground transmission electricity cables are usually buried between 1m to 2m under the surface.

Comparable220kV underground transmission cable easements are approximately 25m to 30m wide and for 500kV transmission lines, the easements will extend to approximately 30m to 35m.

Further information refer to the Landholder Guide: Land access, easements and compensation.

As transmission easements are largely free of vegetation, they have a low fuel load and can act as a line of defence against bushfires. AusNet Services also works with Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMV) for backburning operations.

A backburn is a fire lit close to the edge of an active bushfire, which burns out the fuel between the bushfire and an established control line. Backburning helps reduce the intensity of a bushfire by reducing fuel load. FFMV is responsible for planned control burns and preparedness activities, like slashing, mowing and creating fuel breaks on public land.

For further information refer to Managing fire risk - electricity transmission network available on the AusNet Services website under Regulatory publications / Bushfire mitigation plans. Alternatively, you can view AusNet Services' Managing fire risk - electricity transmission network fact sheet here.

Yes. Compensation will be paid to landholders where an easement is acquired over their property. All other parties holding an interest in the land on which the easement is located, who suffer loss due to the establishment of the easement or construction activity, will also be considered as part of the compensation process.

The value of easement acquisition may include consideration of:

  • Loss of market value and highest land use potential.
  • Loss of use of part of the land.
  • Loss of value caused to remaining land.
  • Pecuniary loss as a result of construction and development.
  • Loss of any additional value specific to the landholder.
  • Legal / valuation costs.

Landholders who have an easement on their property will be compensated under the Land Acquisition and Compensation Act 1986 which aims to ensure that they are no worse off financially.

If your property is in the proposed route, you will have an opportunity to discuss the impact that an easement will have on your property, where the easement may be located on your property and the disruption it may have on your use of your property e.g., your farming operations.

At this early stage of the project the proposed route is not yet determined. We are focused on investigating the single corridor to fully understand existing conditions and environmental sensitivities. We are also engaging with landholders to best understand their current land use and activities.

Once the proposed route is identified later this year, AusNet Services will contact every landholder within the proposed route, to discuss the requirements for an easement. This will involve engagement with landholders to understand their specific property operations, including discussing where adaptations or changes to their use or operations might be needed.

The process of easement acquisition - and ensuring the valuation of easement acquisition is fair and fully considers the impact of the easement - involves AusNet Services appointing an independent valuer to undertake a valuation in accordance with the provisions of the Land Acquisition and Compensation Act 1986, the Valuation of Land Act 1960, and relevant valuation principles.

For example, if the easement impacts on your activities as a farmer who uses agricultural equipment, we will work with you to identify alternative solutions including micro-siting of towers, alternative practices, and potential equipment replacement via compensation.

You will be provided with all information in writing.

AusNet Services recommends that you obtain independent advice to help you understand the valuation and acquisition process and to assist you in the negotiation of an agreement. AusNet Services will fund the cost of this independent advice.

AusNet Services recommends that you obtain independent advice to help you understand the valuation and acquisition process and to assist you in the negotiation of an agreement. AusNet Services will fund the cost of this independent advice.

Where you, as a landholder, obtain independent legal advice to assist in the process to negotiate an option for easement, and/or independent valuation advice from a qualified valuer to assist in the valuation, compensation and easement negotiation process, AusNet Services will reimburse the reasonable cost of this independent advice.

Further information refer to the Landholder Guide: Land access, easements and compensation.

Compensation will be paid to landholders where an easement is acquired.

The value of easement acquisition may include consideration of:

  • Loss of market value and highest land use potential.
  • Loss of use of part of the land.
  • Loss of value caused to remaining land.
  • Pecuniary loss as a result of construction and development.
  • Loss of any additional value specific to the landholder.
  • Legal / valuation costs.

If your property is in the proposed route, you will have an opportunity to discuss the impact that an easement will have on your property, where the easement may be located on your property and the disruption it may have on your use of your property e.g your farming operations.

For example, if the easement impacts on your activities as a farmer who uses agricultural equipment, AusNet Services will work with you to identify alternative solutions including micro-siting of towers, alternative practices, and potential equipment replacement via compensation.

You will be provided with all information in writing.

AusNet Services recommends that you obtain independent advice to help you understand the valuation and acquisition process and to assist you in the negotiation of an agreement. AusNet Services will fund the cost of this independent advice.

Compensation packages will be determined in accordance with legislative requirements including the Land Acquisition and Compensation Act 1986 and on an individual basis after assessment and consultation with landholders.

Details of how compensation will be calculated can be found in the Landholder Guide: land access, easements and compensation.

Initial high-level estimates indicate total compensation will be more than $50M across the project. The exact amount of the total package and the amount each landholder will receive will not be known until the end of the negotiation with landholders.

Landholders will be compensated based on the value of their land, and any impact on their existing business or operations. Some landholders will get more and some less, depending on individual circumstances – every claim for compensation will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

We won’t know the compensation package for each impacted landholder until we have the proposed route and detailed information about how the property is likely to be impacted, whether there is a tower on the property or an easement, how the land is used and other contributing factors. There is a lot that goes into it, which is why we can’t give a single figure. It will be very different for every landholder.

We would encourage landholders to engage with their dedicated Land Liaison Officer to ensure compensation packages are an accurate reflection of their individual circumstances.

No. Formal compensation is limited to the acquisition of an easement on landholders’ properties within the proposed route.

To ensure that offers of compensation are fair and that they fully consider the impact of the easement, AusNet Services will appoint a qualified, valuer to undertake an assessment of compensation through a valuation in accordance with the provisions of the Land Acquisition and Compensation Act 1986, the Valuation of Land Act 1960 and relevant valuation principles.

It is the role of the valuer to assess the level of compensation payable to landholders, and this assessment will include the impact of any infrastructure within an easement on your property.

The assessment of compensation will vary for each individual property based on a range of factors and is undertaken by a valuer using the methodology and framework established within the Land Acquisition and Compensation Act 1986 and the Valuation of Land Act 1960 legislation.

If you choose to negotiate an option for easement with AusNet Services, the elements of compensation and associated value will be discussed and negotiated with you during that process.

To ensure compensation is fair and fully considers the impact of the easement on your property, a qualified valuer will undertake all compensation valuations.

You will have opportunities to discuss the impact of the easement on your property with the valuer and provide information to assist in determining the compensation payable. By working with the appointed valuer, you can provide a clear understanding of your individual property characteristics and current land use.

There may be things about your property that the valuer needs to be made aware of, for example 'special value'. This is any additional financial value only available to the specific landholder in respect of the affected land and not to the market in general. You will be provided with valuation and compensation information in writing. If you obtain independent advice regarding compensation for the easement from an independent qualified valuer, the valuation obtained by you and the valuation obtained by AusNet Services will be considered and discussed with you as part of the process to calculate and negotiate compensation.

Where negotiated agreement cannot be reached, AusNet Services may, with the approval of the Governor in Council, compulsorily acquire the required easement under the Electricity Industry Act 2000 (Vic), the amount of compensation you receive is based on the valuation carried out by the Valuer General or a person who holds the qualifications or experience specified under section 13DA(2) of the Valuation of Land Act 1960 (Vic). A landholder will be able to provide evidence of loss in this process to inform compensation payable.

Further information refer to Landholder Guide: Land access, easements and compensation.

Yes, you can. If you obtain independent advice regarding compensation for the easement, the valuation of both parties will be considered during the negotiation process.

AusNet Services recommends that you obtain independent advice to help you understand the valuation and acquisition process and to assist you in the negotiation of an agreement. AusNet Services will fund the cost of this independent advice.

If you obtain independent advice regarding compensation for the easement, the valuation of both parties will be considered during the negotiation process.

Entering an option for easement is voluntary.

You can refuse to enter an option for easement.

AusNet Services will negotiate in good faith to enter into an option for easement with each affected landholder. Under the Electricity Industry Act 2000 (Vic) an electricity corporation, such as AusNet Services, may, with the approval of the Governor in Council, compulsorily acquire easements over private land to erect, lay and maintain powerlines.

Where a negotiated option for easement is agreed, easement compensation (80%) is generally paid at the time the option is exercised, with the balance paid at the time the easement is registered on the land title, which will be detailed in the option for easement.

Where an easement is acquired compulsorily, compensation will be paid in accordance with the provisions of the Land Acquisition and Compensation Act 1986.

AusNet Services can also discuss flexible payment options for the agreed easement compensation. This may include spreading the agreed easement compensation over a longer period, including annualised payments.

Changes to the proposed route are still possible in response to community and landholder engagement, technical studies, and recommendations made as a result of the Environment Effects Statement (EES) process.

We are also still considering alternatives at Hepburn Lagoon, Darley and Melton Aerodrome.

Our Land Liaison Officers will work closely with all landholders whose property is on the proposed route over coming months to understand their unique land use and requirements and to discuss easement requirements, tower locations and compensation.

The proposed route will be narrowed to an easement based on further discussions with landholders and the outcomes of technical and engineering studies, such as geotechnical assessments.

More information is available in the WVTNP Proposed route overview.

In selecting the proposed route, the feedback and concerns of landholders, the community and other stakeholders have been taken into consideration, along with land use submissions and findings of technical studies.

Input about land use, community values and existing conditions has informed the decision-making process as the area of interest was narrowed to multiple corridor options, a single corridor and now the proposed route.

The route selection criteria are designed to avoid environmental, social and cultural impacts of the project, specific to the area, landholders and communities. Where impacts are unavoidable, the aim is to minimise the impact of the WVTNP as far as practicable.

There will also be opportunity for landholders, the community and stakeholders to review and provide feedback on the EES when it is finalised.

Communities and landholders along the project corridor have provided feedback that underground construction should be considered, particularly in locations where the visual impact of overhead transmission lines is a community concern.

Underground construction of the project has been investigated by independent technical specialists. There are many factors that have been taken into account in selecting the proposed route, including agriculture and other land uses, visual impact, Aboriginal cultural heritage places, threatened flora and fauna and other community concerns.

The investigation has found that undergrounding the transmission line would require significant soil and vegetation removal and disturbance of Aboriginal cultural heritage, would limit opportunities for future renewable development, not meet the technical availability and reliability requirements of the electricity system and cost approximately 16 times more.

AusNet Services is still investigating alternatives in some sections as part of the visual amenity and landscape assessments currently underway as part of the Environment Effects Statement (EES), but we know this is an important issue and wanted to share these preliminary findings now with landholders and the community.

The key findings of the investigation have been shared with the community in the Underground construction summary. The full report will form part of the EES for the project.

Overhead transmission lines have a smaller construction and operational footprint with a tower every 450 to 550m and can be designed to avoid and minimise environmental and land use impacts.

Overhead transmission lines can span over sensitive areas, such as flora and fauna habitat, towers can be positioned to avoid specific locations, such as Aboriginal cultural heritage sites, and can be sited in places that are less disruptive to agriculture and other land uses.

Underground cables reduce visual impact along the line, however above-ground structures are still required. Reactive compensation stations up to 200x200m (4 ha) in size, and with structures up to 10m high, are required for HVAC underground construction every 30km.

Partial underground solutions require transition stations up to 2 ha in size where the overhead transmission line connects to the underground cable.

More information is available in the Underground construction summary.

Using the Western Highway to co-locate the WVTNP either overhead or underground has been raised by the community and stakeholders.

There is not sufficient space to add an overhead transmission line in the roadside reserves of the Western Highway. It also limits the future expansion of the road network.

Underground construction of the WVTNP in the Western Freeway/Western Highway road reserve would require lane closures resulting in significant traffic disruption over a long period.

Any other questions?

If you a landholder within the single corridor, your dedicated land liaison officer will be your main point of contact for all matters relating to your property. They will contact you to discuss access to your property, and to determine reasonable conditions of access that will minimise impact to you and your property where possible.

For interested community members, if you would like any further information about the project, please call 1300 360 795 or email info@westvictnp.com.au. To register for updates, visit westvictnp.com.au.

List of acronyms and their definitions

EMI

Electric and magnetic interference
EMFElectric and magnetic fields
ESOEnvironmental Significance Overlay
LGALocal Government Area
HVACHigh Voltage Alternating Current
HVDCHigh Voltage Direct Current
SLOSignificant Landscape Overlay
SWVLASSouth West Victoria Landscape Assessment Study
TECThreatened Ecological Community
VPO

Vegetation Protection Overlay