Sunday, 15 June 2014

Powerlink update for the PRA conference field trip

By Kerry Ladbrook, PRA Board Member 
Kerry Ladbrook with microphone & PRA chair Joanne Rea centre at the field trip to "Sydeva", Yuleba June 12 2014

Powerlink Qld , a Government Owned Corporation, have been contracted by the private Coal Seam Gas Companies to supply high voltage power to Origin & Santos infrastructure in the North West Surat Basin.
In 2013 landholders in this area highlighted  through an e-petition that was presented to Parliament that this was resource requested infrastructure for the benefit of the coal seam gas industry and should not be coming under the the Acquisition of Land Act 1967 but the Petroleum & Gas Act.
In this particular area, landholders are impacted by multiple high voltage infrastructure.  “Sydeva” has three high voltage powerlines interconnecting between 3 switching stations on neighbouring properties.  All three of the lines on “Sydeva” enter or exit from the Yuleba North Substation which is located on our property “Bulah” approx. 7 kms to the North West.  Yuleba North Substation is the central hub & has 5 high voltage powerlines emanating from the substation. These range from 275000 volt Tower construction to 132 000 volt concrete pole construction. There will be an estimated 9000 vehicle movements associated with its construction. In total there are 8 sub or switching stations and all are interconnected with high voltage power lines in the North West Surat area.
With the support of Howard Hobbs, the local member for Warrego, our issues have been raised with his colleagues in State Parliament. 
Landholders are still experiencing difficulties with the Powerlink approach although minor policy changes have been implemented that enable landholders to access expert costs required to detail compensation earlier at the release of the Draft Environmental Impact Stage and before Community Designation. 
Before this policy change, landholders were expected to meet their own costs until compensation was agreed upon which negatively impacted on their ability to negotiate.  Powerlink Qld does require quotations to be provided and accepted before the new process can commence.
Powerlink Qld has tremendous power under the Acquisition of Land Act, so do make sure they act responsibly with clean weed washdown certificates prior to any entry (which has been a serious issue not adequately addressed when PQ first began to access our land), consult properly resulting in line or substation movements if needed and detail compensation early utilising the new policy change process. 
PRA board members Trent Hindman & Kerry Ladbrook
at the PRA field trip to "Sydeva", Yuleba, June 12 2014
If there are major issues do not hesitate to beat on the door of your local members Office or involve the Resource Company requesting the infrastructure and make them take responsibility for what is really just another one of their contractors.
Once Community Designation occurs, landholders lose significant rights.  There is only one avenue to follow under the ALA and that is community designation.  There is no second tier for commercial linear infrastructure which is a serious flaw that needs changing in the Acquisition of Land act 1967.
There are a number of points as landholders we have raised that we would like detailed in legislation for this type of development to protect our rights & address the impacts from this type of development  and these include:
·        Recognition and payment of landholder time throughout the process.
·        Payment of compensation at a commercial rate
·        Ongoing annual payments for the life of the projects- expected to be 50-80 years .
·        Acceptable access protocols with emphasis on fresh & current weed washdowns prior to entry to landholdings. 
Origin and Santos to their credit have recognised that this high voltage infrastructure is resource requested and not community driven, and are now detailing annual “ goodwill” commercial payments for the life of the Coal Seam Gas Industry or 30 years (whichever is the lesser). 
This is a separate payment to the “one off” payment made under the Acquisition of Land Act by Powerlink  and  the two are not connected. .

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