Government Departments are using semantics to distract communities and create confusion about controversial transmission line construction projects.
Communities in the NSW Southwest Slopes regions have been raising concerns about the impact of proposed overhead transmission lines required to connect Snowy 2.0 to the National Energy Market.
NSW Senators, Perin Davey, and Ross Cadell said the confusion lies in the fact there are two separate construction projects and, unless you ask about the specific project, Departments can avoid the specific question.
Deputy Leader of The Nationals, Perin Davey said the response she got on notice about the route of the HumeLink project didn’t match a verbal response given to Greens Senator Janet Rice regarding the Snowy 2.0 project.
“Both of us were asking about the need for easements through the highly sensitive Kosciusko National Park but because Senator Rice asked about Snowy 2.0 and I asked about the HumeLink project, we both got different answers,” Senator Davey said.
“While Senator Rice was told by Snowy Hydro that 81Ha of National Park easements were needed to connect Snowy 2.0 to the Grid, I was told by the Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner that the HumeLink project would not go through Kosciusko National Park.
“In reality, the community talks about HumeLink because that is the part of the proposal that goes over private land that they are being consulted on. But they consider the Snowy 2.0 project as part of it because the two are co-dependent,” she said.
Senator Cadell said it is no wonder community members are frustrated and confused when you have Transgrid and the Departments playing games and not being open and honest with the community or the parliament.
“I have been talking to communities along the proposed HumeLink route and they certainly don’t separate the two because they know that without HumeLink the Snowy 2.0 line goes nowhere.”
“Community concerns are the same regardless of whether it is National Park, State Forest, or private land. They want to know about fire hazards; they want to know about maintenance; they want to know about land clearing.
“At the moment, they are telling me they are not getting answers and I now understand why. It appears if you don’t word your question perfectly, they are not going to help you get the answers at all,” Senator Cadell finished.
The Nationals Senators said they will continue to pursue clear answers to ongoing community concerns when Parliament resumes in the New Year.
Senator Perin Davey: Chelsey Ballard – 0429 994 010
Senator Ross Cadell: Josh Hodges – 0411 135 367