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Landowners Electricity Concerns

Government Only Partially Addresses Landowners Electricity Concerns

Federated Farmers Vice President, Tom Lambie today welcomed the Rural Affairs Minister, Jim Sutton and Energy Minister Pete Hodgson commitment to withdraw the draconian clause that would have retrospectively deemed all electricity lines to have been lawfully placed.

"The federation is aware of several landowners who can demonstrate that they or family members before them opposed the presence of the lines on their properties and have not signed any arrangement or agreement. Those people can continue to take action to protect their rights. They can also challenge the presence of other services such as fibre optic cables that were placed on their property without landowner knowledge or agreement," said Mr Lambie.

"The Minister must now proceed to set up a forum to allow landowners to work through such outstanding issues of legal placement of lines."

"Other changes identified in the select committee process, which the Ministers are supporting are an improvement. But, they do not meet the landowners concerns regarding maintenance of the corridors and the liability that falls on the landowner because of the presence and upgrading of power lines on their properties.

"Federated Farmers preferred position was to see Clause 8 rejected in total.

"The changes to Clause 8 now proposed by the government allow line companies to upgrade power lines so long as there is no injurious effect on the environment and health of the landowners. This does not take account of the increased liability faced by landowners.

"The general public and Ministers do not understand that once a power line goes across a property the landowner is expected to maintain the corridor. Costs can amount to many thousands of dollars a year. Landowners have no way of recouping those costs. Landowners are also being forced to take out substantial public liability insurance to protect themselves from liability of outage and fire that may result from those lines. "The costs of maintaining the corridor are part and parcel of the costs of distributing and transmitting electricity and must be included in the price of electricity."

"While we welcome the progress made, the federation will be lobbying all Members of Parliament to ensure landowner liability is removed and that a forum is created to resolve the issues surrounding the lack of lawful easements," concluded Mr Lambie.


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