Aus Net Consultation4

We currently work alongside many businesses, farmers and communities across the state.

Community and stakeholder engagement is vital to the success of this project.

Our engagement activities are designed to provide opportunities for you to have a say in the development of the project and contribute to the Environment Effects Statement (EES) process.

We use a range of communication tools to keep everyone up to date including the project website, the online engagement room, regular eUpdates, advertisements in local papers and radio stations, webinars and community information sessions as well as phone calls and face-to-face conversations with landholders and stakeholders. We also established a Community Consultation Group.

Engagement approach

The EES Consultation Plan provides an overview of the guiding principles and objectives of the project engagement program, identifies key stakeholders and provides an overview of planned engagement activities and timeframes until the completion of the project. In addition, the plan outlines how your feedback will be used to inform the project.

We also produce Community Engagement Summary Reports that outline the engagement undertaken by the project team over set periods of time and the key issues and concerns raised with us by local communities and landholders.

Landholders

We understand that the project has raised concerns particularly for landholders in the proposed route.

We remain committed to working closely with you to minimise interruptions to your lifestyle, property and business or farming operations throughout the development of this project.

We recognise that the requirements of each property and landholder are unique, and that issues such as land access, easements and compensation are extremely important. 

This is why we have developed a comprehensive landholder guide that provides additional information about land access, easements and compensation for landholders affected by the proposed project. We have also developed a set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) that will be updated as the proposed project develops.

View Landholder Guide

Visit our new online engagement room

Take a virtual walk around our online engagement room to explore information about the project’s benefits, timelines, the Environment Effects Statement (EES) process and an interactive map of the proposed route.

The engagement room expands on the project’s comprehensive community engagement initiatives and activities that includes community drop-in sessions, online webinars and stakeholder briefings.

Visit online engagement room

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Webinars

The Western Renewables Link hosts webinars for the community to ask questions about the project. Hear from experienced specialists with a working knowledge of this project and the planning and approvals process. 

All webinars are recorded and available in the Resources section.

Upcoming webinars will be promoted via eUpdates, advertising and this website.

Essential Services Commission Statement of Expectations

AusNet welcomes the work by the Essential Services Commission to improve consultation with communities directly affected by new renewable energy transmission projects. The Commission has recently released a Statement of Expectations which will enable greater collaboration between communities and transmission companies on the important issue of land access. This valuable tool will provide clarity to all parties involved. AusNet will incorporate the new expectations into our project practices, as well as investing in the necessary modifications to our procedures, along with initiating training on the new requirements.

AusNet thanks the Essential Services Commission for its leadership and guidance on landowner and community engagement practices, and we look forward to closely working with them as Victorians accelerate towards our renewable energy future together. More information about the Statement of Expectations can be found on the Essential Services Commission website.

Easements & compensation

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. The easement terms outline what the easement holder and the landholder can and can’t do in the easement area.

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

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 Landholder Guide: Land access, easements and compensation contains information about land access, easements and compensation for landholders affected by the project. It also has new information about vegetation heights. This is in line with the AusNet Services Vegetation Management Plan, approved by Energy Safe Victoria.

The guide replaces vegetation height information previously published in the Living and working with the Western Renewables Link high voltage transmission line summary guidelines in June 2021.

View Landholder Guide

Traditional Owners

AusNet Services acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the lands on which the proposed Western Renewables Link will operate, and pays respect to their Elders past, present and emerging.

We recognise the role of each Registered Aboriginal Party in the management, protection, and promotion of cultural heritage on Country, cultural awareness and land access.

An important part of the technical investigations currently underway for the Environment Effects Statement is the identification of any Aboriginal cultural heritage present within the project area.

We are working closely with the Registered Aboriginal Parties across the project area to prepare Cultural Heritage Management Plans (CHMPs). The CHMPs outline the measures to be taken before, during and after the construction of the proposed project to manage and protect Aboriginal cultural heritage.

We encourage you to learn more about the Traditional Owners and their long and deep connection to Country by visiting the websites of the Registered Aboriginal Parties across the project area.

View Indigenous engagement

Community Consultation Group

The Community Consultation Group was established in April 2021. The group provides an opportunity for discussion between the project team, landholders, local community organisations, local government, and other members of the communities along the proposed project.

You can read the terms of reference and meeting minutes on the Resource page.

Community support services

AusNet Services acknowledges the uncertainty and concern around the Western Renewables Link, particularly for potentially affected landowners and communities.

We encourage anyone struggling with challenges to their own, a friend or a family member’s mental health and wellbeing, to contact one of the independent support providers listed below for free and confidential advice.

Complaints & feedback

AusNet Services views each complaint as an improvement opportunity, and we will do our best to resolve the issue to your satisfaction.

We will acknowledge receipt of your complaint within two working days. Our aim is to resolve your complaint within ten working days. 

Where we cannot reach a resolution within ten working days, we will keep you informed of the progress being made with handling your complaint and provide you with a revised timeframe for resolving your complaint. 

Landholders may wish to lodge a complaint or feedback directly with their dedicated Land Liaison Officer.

If you have a query, a compliment or a complaint, you can contact us by:

    Phone
    1300 360 795
    Mail

    PO Box 638, Ballarat VIC 3353

    If the complainant is not satisfied with the outcome after they have made a complaint to the project team, they have the following options:

    • Request escalation to a higher level of AusNet Services management for review.
    • Complainants may also pursue dispute resolution through the Energy and Water Ombudsman Victoria, which is an independent and impartial dispute resolution service that is free to Victorian customers.
      Energy and Water Ombudsman Victoria
      Phone: 1800 500 509
      Email: [email protected]
      Website: www.ewov.com.au