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In this edition we provide an update on the proposed terminal station near Kerang, the status of the planning and approvals process and engagement opportunities. 

Example of a typical terminal station – South Morang (image credit – Civil Infrastructure Group)

Terminal Station site

TCV has recently purchased a parcel of land in Tragowel, approximately 12 kms south of Kerang. Subject to planning and environmental approvals, the site is proposed as the location for a new terminal station required as a key part of VNI West. 

We have made it a priority to notify neighbours and local landholders of the land purchase and TCV will hold further information sessions in the area to talk to the local community and answer any questions. 

We do not have a final design yet, however the terminal station footprint is expected to be roughly around 300m x 800m – which is similar in size to many of the other 61 terminals stations across Victoria.

TCV recognises that sections of the draft corridor including the proposed terminal station site are flood-prone.  We will plan and design the terminal station to minimise and manage the potential risks and impacts from flooding. 

Further technical and engineering assessments will be conducted as part of the planning and approvals process, including a flood impact assessment. Importantly, we must prove to the water authorities that changes to the flow or storage of floodwater will not potentially increase flood levels for our neighbours during flooding events.

VNI West Regional Office

Transmission Company Victoria has opened a regional office in Kerang staffed by members of the VNI West project team, to provide landholders and community members with an alternative avenue to ask questions and access information about the project.

We encourage any community members interested in the VNI West project to come and visit us. Members of the project team will be available to have a chat, provide further information and answer any questions.

Opening hours: 11.30am to 5pm on Tuesdays and 8.45am to 2pm on Wednesdays  

Location: Shop 15, 47 Victoria Street, Patchell Plaza, Kerang. 

VNI West Regional Office

Planning and Approvals 

TCV has submitted a referral to the Minister for Planning to determine whether an Environment Effects Statement (EES) will be required for the project. 

The EES is a rigorous regulatory process to comprehensively assess the potential environmental and other impacts of major projects. 

You can view our referral on the Department of Transport and Planning website here

If the Minister determines that an EES is required, a detailed outline of the topics to be investigated in the EES will be prepared with input from relevant Government agencies. The draft scoping requirements would then be made available for public comment and feedback received would inform the final scope of the EES.

Community consultation is an important aspect of the EES, and we will share more about how the community can provide input and feedback in future communications. 

For more information on the EES process, please refer to the Department of Transport and Planning website.

Upcoming engagement

TCV will continue to work closely with landholders, communities, Traditional Owners and local governments in 2024.

There will be a number of opportunities in the coming months to chat with the TCV team in person and discuss the project.

Our project team will be at the Wimmera Machinery Field Days in Longerenong from 5-7th March. Drop in to have a chat, learn more about the VNI West project and get answers to your questions.

The next Community Reference Group meeting is scheduled for February 14, 2024. If you have something you would like the CRG to raise with TCV, please get in contact through the CRG Chair David Hale at CRGchair@rmcg.com.au

Get in touch

If you have a question you would like to ask, please get in contact through the details below.

Email: enquiries@transmissionvictoria.com.au

Phone: 1800 824 221

Website: transmissionvictoria.com.au

Office: Shop 15, 47 Victoria Street, Patchell Plaza, Kerang. Open11.30am to 5pm on Tuesdays and 8.45am to 2pm on Wednesdays.

TCV would like to thank the communities across the VNI West project area for taking part in our events this year, asking questions and joining the conversation about VNI West.

As we reach the end of 2023, we would like to take this opportunity to recap on the progress of VNI West this year and look ahead to 2024.

2023 Engagement Snapshot

Engagement with landholders, community members, Traditional Owners and key stakeholders has contributed significantly to the route refinement process for VNI West.

  • Direct conversations with landholders in the draft corridor
  • 22 in-person community information sessions and 5 webinars attended by over 1200 people
  • Ongoing consultation with Traditional Owner groups, including participation in On-Country Days
  • 2 meetings of the Community Reference Group, comprising 17 local representatives
  • Online interactive map with 2326 comments from 201 participants
  • Regular meetings with key stakeholders including local councils
  • Over 10 workshops with technical experts and local stakeholders

Information available

Our consultation and conversations provided the VNI West project team with many valuable insights, including identifying key topics of interest for the community.

We have focused our efforts on finding answers and developing materials to address these concerns.

Fact Sheets and FAQs are a good source of information and can be found under Project Resources on the TCV website. You can find information about:

Key milestones of 2023

Track across farmlandMay 2023

AEMO Victorian Planning and Transgrid (the company that is developing the New South Wales section of VNI West) completed the early planning and regulatory process for VNI West.

This work confirmed that the project will help deliver the required uplift in Victoria’s energy system to maintain electricity security, reliability and affordability.

At this time, a broad area of interest, up to 50km wide was identified as potentially suitable to host transmission infrastructure.

Tree beside a damJune-August 2023

Detailed desktop assessments were conducted focused on identifying sensitivities or constraints within the area of interest that should be avoided, where possible. Examples of identified constraints include ecology, cultural heritage, landscape and visual amenity, areas subject to flooding, agricultural infrastructure and activities and proximity to settlements.

Map of draft corridor for VNI WestSeptember-October 2023

Communities and farmers across the project area provided valuable details about land use and sensitivities.

This feedback was considered alongside TCV’s constraints mapping to narrow the area of interest to a draft corridor of approximately 2km wide.

This corridor was identified as likely to have the least impact on lifestyles, livelihoods and important land features in the VNI West project area.

Map of draft corridor for VNI WestOctober-December 2023

TCV has been largely focused on making contact with all landholders in the draft corridor to better understand how they use their land and any important property features which should be avoided. These conversations provide an important opportunity for impacted landholders to help identify a route for VNI West that has the least impact on their farms.

We also began in-field surveys to build our understanding of important ecological values, such as wildlife habitats and vegetation.

Next steps

In early 2024, TCV will refer VNI West to the Department of Transport and Planning to determine whether an Environment Effects Statement will be required.

If the Victorian Minister for Planning determines that an EES will be applied, TCV will undertake extensive studies on ecology, agriculture, cultural heritage, social values and more.

TCV will meet again with the communities, landholders and Traditional Owners that are impacted by VNI West to discuss the project, the studies and to seek feedback. Incorporating these insights will be an essential element of the planning and approvals process.

TCV’s team of Landholder Liaisons will continue to work closely with landholders in the draft corridor to help find the best route for the ~100m wide easement.

We will also be seeking access to a small number of private properties to conduct environmental field surveys for this initial phase of environmental assessment. Our land team will negotiate access agreements with landholders, including biosecurity requirements, before any field surveys commence.

We expect to have a good idea of the indicative easement by mid-year 2024, although the final alignment for transmission will not be confirmed until state and federal planning and environmental approvals are granted.

More information about our next phase of community consultation will be made available early in the new year.

Get in touch

If you have any questions about the information in this update, VNI West or would like to join our mailing list for Project Updates, please get in touch through the details below.

Email: enquiries@transmissionvictoria.com.au
Phone: 1800 824 221
Website: transmissionvictoria.com.au

TCV would like to provide an update on our recent community events, held throughout October.

This update also provides further information on the Community Reference Group, landholder engagement, environmental surveys and next steps for the VNI West project.

Community events

Between October 10 and 19, Transmission Company Victoria (TCV) held six information sessions including a webinar, attended by close to 500 people.

These events followed the release of the narrowed, draft corridor for VNI West in early October and provided an opportunity for people to ask questions about the route refinement process and the project.

Sessions were held in Charlton, Stawell, Boort and Kerang. Unfortunately, the session in St Arnaud could not go ahead after the local police advised TCV not to proceed following security concerns.

The TCV leadership team answered questions at the meetings along with representatives from VicGrid (Victorian Government representatives) and technical experts.

We received a lot of valuable feedback during these events and learned more about the topics that matter to the community.

At a glance, key topics of interest included:

  • Concerns regarding health impacts, such as mental health and impacts of Electromagnetic Fields
  • Bushfire risk
  • Impacts on farming and agriculture
  • The approvals process and consultation, particularly whether engagement can genuinely inform the process and the final decision on whether the project will go ahead
  • Landholder engagement, land access and compensation
  • The corridor selection process
  • Alternative options such as 'Plan B'.

TCV appreciated the opportunity to hear from the people impacted by VNI West and we recognise that this project continues to cause significant stress for some people and communities.

We would like to thank everyone who took time out of their day to attend these events and talk to us. This engagement has helped us to better understand community concerns and topics that we need to explore further and provide clear, accessible information on.

One topic of concern that was raised by community members at each event was bushfire risk. We have been working closely with the CFA to try and answer key questions and provide further information to address concerns. We have updated our website to include a dedicated page on fire risk, including answers from the CFA on bushfire risk and transmission lines.

Watch the webinar recording

Community Reference Group (CRG)

We have received five new CRG applications and will provide details of the new members soon as they are all confirmed.

This brings the total to 17 community members on the CRG representing a broad range of locations across the draft corridor. The next CRG meeting with TCV, and technical experts is scheduled for late November 2023.

If you have something you would like the CRG to raise with TCV, please get in contact through the CRG Chair David Hale at CRGchair@rmcg.com.au.

Following is a list of the CRG members who have agreed to share their names and where they live:

  • Andrew Borg, Redbank
  • Barry Batters, Sutherland
  • Brad McDonald, St Arnaud
  • Daryl Warren, Donald
  • Glenda Watts, Charlton
  • Glenden Watts, Yeungroon
  • John Wright, Terrappee
  • Marcia McIntyre, Kanya
  • Max Fehring, Kerang
  • Rachel Lloyd, Charlton
  • Vaughan Toose, Boort

There are three remaining spots open on the CRG and we encourage interested community members to apply through the link below.

Apply to join the CRG

Environmental field surveys

Field surveys on public land in the VNI West draft corridor began last week.

The data gathered from these surveys will build better understanding of the flora and fauna to assess the environmental impact across the draft corridor.

TCV will be seeking access to a small number of private properties to conduct environmental field surveys, for this initial phase of environmental assessment.

Our team will reach out to landholders to discuss this in more detail, including any biosecurity requirements.

Upcoming aerial surveys

As part of the environmental assessment process, we will need to capture high resolution elevation and geographic data to inform design routes refinement, cultural heritage management plans and environmental impact assessments.

In order to do this effectively, TCV will be undertaking aerial surveys during the month of November to capture light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data and aerial imagery.

A small fixed-wing plane will fly between 500m and 1km above the ground, along the route of the draft corridor. Flights will take place over several days in early to mid-November.

Landholder engagement

TCV’s land team is continuing to reach out to as many of the farmers and property owners in the draft corridor as possible.

Every landholder in the draft corridor has a dedicated landholder liaison, a key contact who can help answer questions on important issues, including farming with transmission lines, biosecurity arrangements, access agreements, compensation for an easement and other payments.

If you believe that your farm falls within the draft corridor and you have not yet heard from us, we apologise – it has been challenging to find accurate contact details for some properties.

We encourage you to call us on 1800 824 221 – noting that a discussion with TCV in no way implies agreement to have transmission infrastructure on your land.

However, the conversations the landholder liaison team has with landholders in this phase is our best chance of finding a location for VNI West with the least impact on farming and communities.

TCV’s landholder liaisons have identified about 540 properties in the draft corridor and so far, the team has made contact with over half of these landholders.

The final easement for VNI West will be approximately 100 metres wide and will not impact all of the ~540 properties in the broader draft corridor.

Next steps

In the next stage of the project, TCV will continue to talk to landholders, Traditional Owners and communities in the draft corridor to provide information and seek input on important issues such as opportunities for community benefits and ongoing route refinement.

The draft corridor will be narrowed considerably by mid next year, from a width of approximately 2km to an eventual easement of about 100 metres.

Through direct engagement with people within the draft corridor, TCV will build its understanding of how the land is used and discuss how to minimise impacts on land-use, cultural heritage and the environment through planning and design.

In coming weeks TCV will refer the refined draft corridor to the Victorian Minister for Planning to consider whether an Environment Effects Statement (EES) will be required for the project.

The EES is a rigorous and consultative regulatory process to comprehensively assess the potential environmental, cultural and social impacts of the project.

This process will take place over 12-18 months and includes opportunities for consultation and input by community and technical experts during the development of the technical studies that are prepared in connection with the EES.

Get in touch

If you have any questions about the information in this update, VNI West or would like to join our mailing list for Project Updates, please get in touch through the details below.

Email: enquiries@transmissionvictoria.com.au
Phone: 1800 824 221
Website: transmissionvictoria.com.au

TCV has today published a report narrowing the VNI West area of interest to an approximately 2km wide draft corridor between Bulgana and the Murray River north of Kerang.

In the project’s next phase we will work closely with people in and around the draft corridor to find the best location for the final 70-120m easement for this transmission infrastructure.

Draft corridor

The draft corridor for VNI West has narrowed the area of interest from up to 50 km wide to about 2km wide.

It will run from Bulgana to the Murray River, where it will connect to Transgrid’s section of the project in NSW.

This essential transmission project will harness clean, low cost electricity from Victoria and NSW, improving the security and reliability of electricity supply in both states.

VNI West is essential to meet growing demand for electricity and to help bridge the looming supply gap as our aging coal-fired generators retire.

Transmission Company Victoria (TCV) is responsible for developing the Victorian section of VNI West, and since May it has been working to narrow down the broad 5 km - 50 km wide area of interest for the project.

Almost 400 people attended TCV community meetings in July and TCV has regular workshops and meetings with Traditional Owners, local councils and important stakeholders across the project area.

An interactive map featuring the area of interest for VNI West was visited more than 4,000 times between May and August and contributed to shaping the draft corridor.

Hundreds of people posted more than 2,300 comments on the map, identifying important features, including landmarks, cultural sites, agricultural infrastructure and sensitive habitats.

The process to narrow the wide area of interest to a draft corridor incorporated insights and feedback from communities and landholders as well as initial input from Traditional Owners and environmental, technical and engineering studies.

To coincide with the release of the report on the draft corridor, TCV has updated the project’s online interactive map, which now shows where the draft corridor sits within the broader area of interest.

This enables people to input their address details and see where their property is, in relation to the draft corridor.

View the corridor on our interactive map

Not all the properties that are currently in the draft corridor will be in the final route for the transmission lines, which is not yet decided. The final easement will be approximately 70-120m wide.

Important areas of land use such as residential areas are largely avoided and the draft corridor is more than 6km away from major towns, including Charlton, Boort and Kerang.

A summary of the corridor report shows the narrowed corridor along with an outline of how we have used input from our interactions and conversations with people to influence the route refinement process.

Access the corridor report summary

Map of updated corridor

Landholder engagement

TCV’s land team has been working since August to contact landholders in the draft corridor.

Our commitment was to contact as many landholders as possible before publishing the corridor.

Where the land team had phone numbers for properties, they have called and provided information packs by mail or in person.

Landholder contact details have not been available for some properties within the corridor. In these circumstances, we have sent a letter and an information pack to the properties to advise that their land falls within the draft corridor and asked those landholders to get in touch.

Our team of landholder liaisons would like to speak with farmers, their families and property owners to build our understanding of the land in the draft corridor so that we can work with them to limit the impact of the transmission line.

If your property is in the draft corridor and you have not had any contact with our land team, TCV would like to help connect you with your landholder liaison.

You can do this by calling our phone number, 1800 824 221 or sending an email to enquiries@transmissionvictoria.com.au.

Talking with your landholder liaison does not mean you’ll have VNI West infrastructure on your property.

We have already had many conversations with landholders and the majority of these have been respectful and constructive.

The release of the narrower draft corridor marks the beginning of a new phase of focused consultation for VNI West with communities, Traditional Owners and landholders.

Our landholder liaisons will be working closely with landholders in this new phase to learn as much as possible about their farms and properties and identify the best location for the 70m–120m easement with the least impact.

A rigorous and consultative regulatory process to assess the potential environmental, cultural and social impacts of the project will take place over the next 12-18 months, with initial environmental field studies commencing soon.

Community consultation is an essential part of this process, and there will be opportunities for stakeholders and community members to make submissions and provide feedback.

Community engagement

To further narrow the corridor to actual route and easement requirements, we are committed to working closely with landholders, Traditional Owners and communities.

In coming months, the landholder liaisons will continue their discussions with landholders to find the best location for the 70m – 120m easement within the draft corridor.

To support this work, we are holding community meetings from Tuesday October 10 to Thursday October 19 in Charlton, St Arnaud, Boort, Stawell and Kerang.

For more details on the meetings, including dates and times, please visit the TCV website.

Community Reference Group (CRG)

Message from the independent Chairperson of the CRG, David Hale:

“The Community Reference Group has brought together 12 individuals from across communities that may be impacted by the VNI West corridor.

“This group has not been established to rubber-stamp VNI West.

“These community members are representing the very real and valid concerns of their families, neighbours, friends and wider community networks.

The CRG is intended to be a forum for sincere and open discussion; for community members to have their questions answered and discuss with TCV how it can improve its work on the ground.”

At this stage, the CRG's community members include:

  • Barry Batters
  • Andrew Borg
  • Colin Coates
  • Max Fehring
  • Rachel Lloyd
  • Brad McDonald
  • Marcia McIntyre
  • Vaughan Toose
  • Daryl Warren
  • Glenden Watts
  • Glenda Watts
  • John Wright

If you have something you would like the CRG to raise with TCV, please get in contact through CRGchair@rmcg.com.au

There are still several spots open for CRG members and we encourage interested community members to apply through the link below.

Apply to join the CRG

Get in touch

If you have a question you would like to ask, please get in contact through the details below.

Email: enquiries@transmissionvictoria.com.au
Phone: 1800 824 221
Website: transmissionvictoria.com.au

In October, TCV is hosting a series of public meetings across the VNI West project area to share details of the draft corridor with landholders and communities, as well as answer any questions.

We are holding community meetings from Tuesday 10 October to Thursday 19 October in Charlton, St Arnaud, Boort, Stawell and Kerang.

These meetings will follow the release of the draft corridor for VNI West and are a chance for TCV to listen and learn from the communities that may have the VNI West on their land, as well as answer any questions.

At our public meetings in July, people were generous in sharing important details about their farms, the environment and what they value about their community.

This information has played an important role in shaping the draft corridor for VNI West and hopefully reducing the impact of this transmission line.

Each meeting will include a town hall presentation and panel Q&A from 5:00pm–6:30pm, followed by a drop-in information session where you can talk to individual staff from the VNI West project team from 6:30pm–7:30pm.

We will also be hosting a webinar on Thursday 19 October between 4:00pm5:30pm. To attend, please register via our online form.

  • Tuesday 10 October 2023 - Charlton Park Complex, Charlton
  • Wednesday 11 October 2023 - Stewart and McDonald Hall, St Arnaud
  • Thursday 12 October 2023 - Boort Memorial Hall, Boort
  • Monday 16 October 2023 - Stawell Entertainment Centre, Stawell
  • Tuesday 17 October 2023 - Kerang Memorial Hall, Kerang

Community Reference Group (CRG)

On Monday 11 September 2023, the VNI West Community Reference Group (CRG) gathered in Charlton for its first meeting. The CRG was organised by TCV to establish a regular forum to engage with community representatives and better understand community issues and concerns.

The meeting’s Chairperson, David Hale of RM Consulting Group, said “I sincerely appreciated eleven community representatives joining the first meeting to voice their concerns and ask TCV a range of pressing questions; from the route selection process, to insurance, to the future approvals mechanisms.”

“There are 15 community members currently registered as part of the CRG, out of a possible 20 positions. I’m pleased there is a broad range of views already represented amongst this group, but would like to see the full complement of 20 positions filled in the near future,” he said.

If you are interested in joining, please apply using the link below:

Apply to join the CRG

Get in touch

If you have any questions about the information in this update or the project, please get in touch through the details below.

Email: enquiries@transmissionvictoria.com.au
Phone: 1800 824 221
Website: transmissionvictoria.com.au

Transmission Company Victoria (TCV) would like to provide an update on the timing of landholder engagement and next steps.

Landholder engagement

This week our land team will begin conversations with landholders in a draft corridor for the VNI West transmission project.

This is an area of approximately 2kms wide that runs from the Murray River to Bulgana.

Out of respect for farmers and property owners, we want to do everything possible to contact property landholders within the draft corridor before making the details of the corridor public. This may take several weeks.

Landholders who are within the draft corridor will soon be approached by a dedicated landholder liaison to discuss VNI West.

The landholder liaison is the key contact for landholders and will help answer questions on important issues, including land access protocols, compensation, as well as easements and transmission design options to minimise the impact of the VNI West infrastructure on farm operations.

In some instances, TCV will be asking for access to properties to undertake environmental field studies such as flora and fauna surveys, but not all properties in the corridor will be required for this work.

Landholders are eligible to receive $10,000, two payments of $5,000 over two years, for entering a land access agreement for a period of two years.

This payment recognises the time commitment required to negotiate these agreements, including time that will take a farmer and their family away from their normal work and routine.

Conversations with landholders will validate data collected so far in the planning process – an important next step as we continue the work to develop a final route. This includes verifying constraints identified in the recent Environmental Constraints Summary Report and through community feedback on the interactive map.

The diagram below shows the key stages of the process underway to progressively refine the route for the new transmission.

TCV will consult closely with landholders in the draft corridor as this work continues.

Refining the route for VNI West diagram

Draft corridor

The draft corridor has been identified following feedback from landholders, community members, government agencies and stakeholders, as well as data from ongoing technical, engineering and environmental assessments.

A range of factors have been considered including ecology, sites of known Aboriginal cultural heritage, flooding, landscape, agricultural activities and proximity to residential areas and towns.

After we brought together all the data collected through studies and consultation, we decided to focus on a broader corridor than initially contemplated for the next phase of the project to provide more flexibility and better options to find the optimal route.

The draft corridor we have identified is approximately 2km wide along most of the route. We recognise that this is a variation from the plan we originally put forward to publish a 500m-1km corridor.

In coming months, TCV will refer a refined corridor to the Minister for Planning to consider whether an Environment Effects Statement will be required.

VNI West cannot proceed without planning approval from the State and Commonwealth Governments, which will require comprehensive environmental assessments over the next 12–18 months.

The route for VNI West will not be finalised before 2025 and the actual easement for the project will typically cover only 70m-100m within the 2km draft corridor.

Outcomes of engagement

Reports outlining the key findings of previous community engagement have been published on the TCV website. This includes a detailed report on the outcomes of community events and the interactive map.

Access the reports

Traditional Owner Engagement

Barapa Barapa & Wamba Wemba Traditional Owners visiting the Murray RiverTraditional Owner engagement has commenced and will continue as the project progresses. TCV recently participated in preliminary On Country Days with impacted Traditional Owners to further develop the project’s understanding of cultural heritage and values, and opportunities to minimise the project’s impact on Country. TCV will continue to work closely with these Traditional Owner groups as the project progresses to ensure they are able to provide input into the route refinement process and project development more broadly.

TCV greatly appreciates the insights provided by Traditional Owners to date and looks forward to continuing to build meaningful relationships to help maximise project outcomes for Traditional Owners and the broader community.

Image: Barapa Barapa & Wamba Wemba Traditional Owners visiting the Murray River as part of On Country Days, May 2023

Community Reference Group (CRG)

The VNI West Community Reference Group is set to have its first meeting in mid-September to discuss the VNI West project and seek local insights for consideration in future engagement planning.

TCV would like to thank all those who applied to join the CRG and is looking forward to working closely with local community representatives.

There are still a few spots open for CRG members and as such we have extended the CRG application deadline. Applications will remain open until all spots are filled.

Apply to join the CRG

Get in touch

If you have a question you would like to ask, please get in contact through the details below.

Email: enquiries@transmissionvictoria.com.au
Phone: 1800 824 221
Website: transmissionvictoria.com.au

Transmission Company Victoria (TCV) would like to provide an update on the recent community information sessions held across the VNI West transmission project area and the outcomes of this engagement.

Close to 400 farmers, landholders and community members attended the open events at Boort, Kerang, Charlton, Navarre and St Arnaud to ask questions, share their views, and share how they live and work on the land.

This latest round of events was well attended and provided a valuable opportunity to listen, learn, answer questions and provide the community with details on the next steps for the project.

We also saw significant engagement from communities in previous months through our online interactive map. The map provides the opportunity for community members to add comments noting elements for consideration in the ongoing planning process, such as sites of local and social significance and environmental and agricultural constraints.

Community events

A number of key questions and common themes were raised during our community information sessions including:

  • Route refinement
    • Questions about the route refinement process, including Traditional Owner Engagement and the work to identify constraints.
  • Policy and regulation
    • Feedback and questions about Australia’s Climate Change policy and science.
  • Consultation
    • Feedback on the event format and alternatives for future consultation.
  • Alternative options
    • Feedback about alternative options to new transmission infrastructure such as nuclear energy.
  • Landholder impacts
    • Feedback on the landholder engagement process including access to properties and compensation. There were also many questions about farming with transmission and fire risk.
  • Whole of community impacts and benefits
    • Feedback related to the community-wide impact of VNI West, such as visual amenity and bushfire risk. Concerns were also raised about the future development of renewables and transmission.
  • Lack of trust and transparency
    • Questions about the RIT-T process, the NEVA Orders and concerns in relation to transparency.

A detailed report on the outcomes of engagement from events will be published in coming weeks on our website.

Engagement with community

Interactive map

So far, the interactive map has received 1844 comments from 152 participants.

Comments have identified numerous key constraints, which have assisted with route refinement. Examples include:

  • Areas prone to flooding
  • Habitats for endangered species
  • Areas of remnant vegetation
  • Existing and planned infrastructure
  • Sites of Aboriginal significance
  • Important agricultural considerations and areas of irrigation

Constraints identified by community members through the interactive map are carefully monitored and analysed by TCV to ensure these insights feed into the route refinement process.

Key constraints identified by community members have provided valuable local insights to support the work to determine the most suitable location for transmission infrastructure.

The interactive map will remain open until 5pm Wednesday 2 August. After this date comments provided by community members will remain available for public view.

Access the map

Landholder engagement update

TCV will soon be in a position to start contacting the landholders who may be directly impacted by the transmission lines. This is an important milestone and will allow us to have conversations with landholders to understand and directly address their issues and questions.

A dedicated Landholder Liaison will be appointed as the primary contact for each landholder in the corridor.

If a property is determined to be in the preferred corridor for VNI West, TCV will attempt to make contact with the landholder before the transmission corridor is announced publicly. Initial contact will be by phone, followed by email and a mailed letter. Indicative timings are below.

  • TCV has determined a preferred corridor for VNI West north of Kerang and in nearby surrounding areas. Work continues in the central and southern section to identify the best location for a preferred corridor.
  • TCV will begin landholder engagement in the north, around Kerang and nearby surrounding areas from early August. Engagement with landholders in the central and southern areas is planned to start from late August once a corridor has been identified.
  • TCV will release the entire preferred corridor from Kerang to Bulgana publicly in early September once all efforts have been made to contact impacted landholders, including a letter to farmers and property owners in the corridor.

The Landholder Liaison will work with landowners to discuss land access, compensation and benefits and to understand how TCV can reduce the impact to farming operations and the environment.

More information for land owners

Have your say

TCV recognises the important role the community plays in the planning and delivery of transmission projects, and we are committed to working with the community to help us shape the best possible outcome.

In the coming months, TCV will continue engaging with the community through in person and online events. Details of the events will be publicised once confirmed.

Expressions of Interest for the Community Reference Group (CRG) remain open. It is expected this group will commence engagement in the coming months. The CRG will provide a forum for community members to collaborate with the VNI West project team through the planning and approvals process for this essential infrastructure project and identify opportunities for community benefits sharing.

TCV would like to shape the format and scope of the CRG with its members and as such the Terms of Reference will be workshopped in the first meeting.

For more information and to apply, please visit the TCV website.

In addition to broader community engagement, TCV continues to engage regularly with key local stakeholder such as councils. Traditional Owner engagement is also ongoing and forms an integral component of our engagement program.

How feedback will be considered and next steps

Feedback generated from the events, via the interactive map and through stakeholder workshops will be used to help inform the route refinement process and shape future engagement planning.

TCV will publish a Route Refinement Report in September, which will announce the preferred corridor selected for VNI West. This will be advised through a project update, featured on the TCV website, in newspapers and on social media.

Key considerations and a description of how feedback has influenced the process will be included in the report.

Get in touch

If you have a question you would like to ask, please get in contact through the details below.

Email: enquiries@transmissionvictoria.com.au
Phone: 1800 824 221
Website: transmissionvictoria.com.au

Overview

With the release of the area of interest for VNI West in May, Transmission Company Victoria (TCV) is focused on building connections with the communities that could have this essential infrastructure on their properties and farms.

TCV is committed to ensuring that the rural towns and communities that may support VNI West are recognised and share in the benefits of the project.

Our community engagement program is already well underway, including more than 370 comments added to the interactive map on our new TCV website.

This information is being collated along with insights from our meetings with councils, local workshops, as well as the comprehensive environmental, cultural, engineering, agricultural and land planning analysis to guide the process to narrow the broad area of interest for the project to a 500 m – 1km corridor and then an indicative route by Spring.

In July we are hosting a series of public information sessions to answer questions and gather important local intelligence. For more details of these events or to register to attend click here.

Community Reference Group

TCV is setting up a Community Reference Group (CRG) as a forum for community members to work with the VNI West project team and share what is important to the different towns and regions that may have this infrastructure located on their lands.

TCV is committed to ensuring that local perspectives and the priorities of rural communities are reflected in the community benefit program for VNI West.

If you're living in one of the LGAs in the area of interest for VNI West - Buloke, Gannawarra, Loddon, Northern Grampians and Pyrenees - and are an active member of the community with a willingness to engage constructively, please apply to join the CRG.

The CRG will meet every two months from July 2023 and meetings may take place in person or online. A maximum of 20 people will be appointed to the CRG.

Submit expression of interest

Community Events

Between 3 July and 15 July, the VNI West project team will host a range of community events, providing local communities an opportunity to learn more about the project and ask questions.

The events are being held in Boort, Kerang, Charlton, Navarre and St Arnaud. Please visit the TCV website for more details and to register your interest.

Register to attend

Interactive Map

The interactive map provides an opportunity for communities to identify what’s important to them, including existing land use, environmental considerations, cultural sites and more. Details will be used alongside a broad range of planning, engineering, ecological, cultural heritage and visual amenity studies to chart the course for VNI West.

The map will be on available on our website until 22 July and we encourage all community members to make their mark.

Alternatively, there will be opportunities to add details to the map at any of the events in July.

Our team is available to answer any questions or help add details to the map. Please get in touch through the details below.

View interactive map

Landholder Guide

This week we published our Landholder Guide, which provides important answers for landholders on issues such as land access, compensation and farming around transmission.

TCV is committed to treating all landholders with respect and decency to ensure that they are fairly compensated for having this essential transmission on their farm or property.

At a minimum, payments will include:

  • Loss in market value of the property resulting from the easement
  • Financial loss suffered as a result of the natural, direct and reasonable consequences of the acquisition of the easement
  • Payment for reasonably incurred independent professional advice (for example, legal or valuation advice)

In addition to this, farmers and property owners with the VNI Wet infrastructure on their land will benefit from the Victorian government’s announced payment of $8,000 per annum per linear kilometre for 25 years.

For further information on landholder payments please refer to the Landholder Guide. All landholders potentially impacted will be appointed a Landholder Liaison to discuss their unique property and situation.

TCV recognises that landholders are key stakeholders for VNI West and mapping out the best route for this project relies on an understanding of how landholders live and work on the land.

If you are a landholder or a community member with questions about the Landholder Guide, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Access the Landholder Guide

What's next?

Work to refine the area of interest is continuing with desktop studies utilising databases including, ecology, Aboriginal cultural heritage, surface water and flooding, visual amenity, land use, agriculture, transport, aviation and heritage studies.

These focus areas are being used to build a constraints map, which will assist in identifying areas with the potential to support transmission infrastructure.

As part of our commitment to share information early and work as transparently as possible through the route refinement, we will share initial findings from this constraints mapping work in coming weeks.

This will enable community members, including landholders, to understand how we’re narrowing the area of interest to a corridor and some of the major issues that influence this work. Following this, we will release details of the 500m to 1km corridor once efforts have been made to contact landholders in this area.

Get in touch

If you have a question you would like to ask, please get in contact through the details below.

Email: enquiries@transmissionvictoria.com.au

Phone: 1800 824 221

Website: transmissionvictoria.com.au

Overview

VNI West is a proposed new high capacity 500 kV double-circuit overhead transmission line, which will deliver vital new transmission infrastructure to:

  • Carry clean, low-cost renewable power from renewable energy zones (REZs) in New South Wales and Victoria, in particular the wind and solar-rich regions of the Murray River REZ and the Western Victorian REZ.
  • Enable at least 3.4 GW of new renewable generation in the Murray River and the Western Victorian REZs.
  • Add 1,935 MW of electricity export capacity from Vic to NSW
  • Improve security and reliability in the electricity network as coal-fired power stations retire

Project Assessment Conclusions Report (PACR)

Summary

AEMO Victorian Planning (AVP) and Transgrid have recently released the Project Assessment Conclusions Report (PACR) which identifies the preferred network option for VNI West.

The PACR is the final report in the Regulated Investment Test for Transmission (RIT-T) and marks the end of the work to assess the business case for VNI West.

The PACR identifies the preferred option for VNI West, charting a broad corridor that connects it to Western Renewables Link (WRL) at a new terminal station at Bulgana and crossing the Murray River north of Kerang. This continues on to connect with EnergyConnect in New South Wales at the new Dinawan substation. It is known as Option 5A.

Option 5A is a variant of the proposed preferred Option 5 from the additional Consultation Report published in February 2023.

In this next phase of the project the focus shifts to the host communities and working with these important stakeholders as well as landholders and Traditional Owners to refine the route.

View full version of the PACR

Update map

map

Learn more about Option 5A

Stakeholder feedback on the Additional Consultation Report has been taken into account in the PACR

Since the Project Assessment Draft Report was published in July last year, AVP and Transgrid have been consulting on the VNI West option.

They recently undertook six weeks of community and stakeholder consultation over alternate options in Victoria, including where VNI West links to the Western Renewables Link project.

Communities urged AVP to undertake this additional work and it provided an opportunity to broaden our appreciation of what matters to communities in the broad area of interest for VNI West.

In total, 533 submissions were received in response to the additional Consultation Report, 519 of which have been published on AEMO’s website (14 submitters requested confidentiality). A large number of submissions (491) were received from concerned landholder and other community members. The remainder were received from councils, community organisations, environmental groups and consumer representatives.

The detailed feedback regarding specific properties or areas will be of great assistance in this next phase, when the identified area of interest is narrowed down to a preferred corridor.

Community engagement

Find more info about Community engagement