WA power abuse

26 Jul, 2007 07:00 PM
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FARMERS in the path of Western Power¹s proposed Eneabba to Moonyoonooka 330kV transmission line have criticised the utility for failing to adequately consult them on the route the line would take.

Western Power announced the preferred route for the new line three weeks ago, claiming the decision was made after extensive community consultation.

But some farmers in the area say they only discovered their land would be affected when they received a phone call from Western Power three weeks ago that informed them the line would run through their properties.

Concerned landowners have since formed the Midwest Powerline Action Group and recently held their first meeting to discuss contingency plans.

Mingenew farmer and group committee member Piers Blake said the community consultation fell a long way short of involving the biggest part of the community that would be negatively impac-ted by the construction and on-going imposition of this line.

³In some cases farmers whose land would be affected only found out about it from other farmers,² Mr Blake said.

He said the area¹s Western Power field officer was invited to attend the group¹s first meeting and initially agreed, but was advised by his superiors not to attend.

³We believe he has been instructed to only deal with farmers on an individual basis,² Mr Blake said.

There were alternative routes between Eneabba and Moonyoonooka that would sometimes traverse Crown and other govern-ment lands, and remnant vegetation.

³We believe Western Power are in quite a rush to build this powerline, so rather than nego-tiate with the Department of Environment and Conservation, the Environmental Protection Authority and other Government departments which would take time, they have engineered the community consultation process to give skewed results to favour the selected route,² Mr Blake said.

³They have achieved this by involving mainly stakeholders and sections of the community that will provide them with the answers and the back up they are seeking, which is to go through farmer¹s paddocks.

³They could also claim this is the cheapest option as little land clearing would be required.²

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