Since forming in May 2020, members of the HumeLink Project Action Group have been trying to work with power company TransGrid to have a proposed study corridor for high voltage transmission lines moved to a more suitable corridor on public land as a priority and away from productive farming land. However, despite 18 months of campaigning, the group says it still does not have any clear direction from TransGrid of what corridor they are studying to determine where this route will be.
Jen Dumbrell, co-chair for the HumeLink Action Group, says it is frustrating when people turn to the group for answers; answers they can’t give.
“Representing both landowners on the original route as well as the new route both of which affect the community of Tumut, we would like to have something of substance to tell our members,” Mrs Dumbrell said.
Chair of the action group, Bill Kingwill, said since the announcement of the new route in March, TransGrid have gone to ground.
“They have made a mess of the consultation process and now want a re-set – we are not interested,” Mr Kingwill said.
“We reject the two routes they have put forward and we reject their attempt to re-do the consultation phase.
“We want to send a clear message to TransGrid that the landowners are not going to be pushed around for the interest and profits of its foreign-owned multinational company. It’s time TransGrid got the message.”
The action group is encouraging all affected landowners along both corridors to the west and east of Tumut to get a sign for their front gate or fence, making the message crystal clear to TransGrid.
Mrs Dunbrell said the action group has the same message for landowners that they have had from the beginning, and that is for landowners to deny TransGrid access.
“By not engaging with TransGrid and not consenting to entry to your property, they can’t tick the box. If they can’t tick the box, they can’t move to the next stage of the process,” Mrs Dumbrell said.
“It’s the only way we can hold them up and for landowners to avoid getting locked into having their land acquired by compulsory acquisition.”
The action group has also made clear from the beginning that they do not oppose the objective of delivering renewable energy; they oppose the location of the HumeLink project study corridor in the region of their impacted members.
“We did not ask for a transmission line to be located within our highly productive farming land and community. We realise that infrastructure in this country is important but it’s also important that we listen to the landowners and protect those landowner rights. We have a voice and TransGrid need to listen,” Mrs Dumbrell said. “There are viable corridor options like our 2F option which, if selected, would have much less impact on agricultural production and rural communities and utilise existing transmission line easements and public land which TransGrid are aware of. Use them!”
Mr Kingwill said the action group acknowledges the ‘Piss Off Ausnet – Spud and Spa Region Group’ in Victoria who have been supportive of their efforts and who are having a similar battle with Ausnet.
“It is unnecessary and disappointing that we are still having to justify the damaging result these power lines will have on our communities, our livelihoods and our land for many generations to come,” Mr Kingwill said.
“We are bearing the burden of the rest of the state’s electricity demands with these proposed high voltage electricity highways.
“Given this is a major project to strengthen energy supply and security for all Australians, more Crown and State-owned land must be the number one priority for the likes of TransGrid and AusNet when planning projects of this scale.”
Mrs Dumbrell said the message is pretty simple.
“People before profits,” she said.
The HumeLink Project Action Group will be meeting with TransGrid tomorrow (Wednesday).
The Action Group is currently distributing signs for affected properties. Further details are available via the Facebook page “HumeLink Project Action Group” or by contacting Jen Dumbrell at 0407 922 412.