Northern Grampians inclusion in the Powerline Replacement Fund
Member for Lowan Emma Kealy has spoken in Parliament this week, fighting to include the Northern Grampians Shire Council in the final round of the Powerline Replacement Fund (PRF) Program.
The PRF Program provides financial support to assist with the replacement of dangerous private overhead powerlines with underground or insulated powerlines in high fire risk areas.
Ms Kealy is calling on the Andrews Labor Government to reverse their decision and wrote to the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio in January asking her to immediately intervene so landowners in the LGA were eligible to apply for funding under the program.
“It is critical that properties in Halls Gap are able to get funding assistance to put Halls Gap’s power lines underground,” Ms Kealy said.
“But for some reason that the Minister has been unable to explain, properties in the Northern Grampians Shire Council are not eligible to apply for funding under this program.
“Halls Gap is full of overhead power lines and the Grampians is a known high bushfire risk area which has experienced a number of significant bushfire events in recent years.
“The Minister needs to act now and intervene to ensure land owners in Halls Gap and the broader Northern Grampians Shire Council area are eligible to apply for funding to put dangerous overhead power lines underground in this local high bushfire risk area.
"The future safety of Halls Gap residents and visitors to the area depends on the Andrews Labor Government taking swift and decisive action, which we know from history, is unlikely to occur,” Ms Kealy said.
The Minister has not yet provided a response despite the urgency with the final round of the program closing on 28 February 2018.