19 May 2024

Wagga leaders call for appropriate compensation regarding HumeLink project

| Jarryd Rowley
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Member of the NSW Legislative Council Wes Fang and Member for Wagga Wagga Dr Joe McGirr have expressed their approval of a motion requesting Transgrid provide more community support to affected areas. Photo: Wes Fang MLC Facebook.

A motion calling for Transgrid, the sole developer of HumeLink, to provide better compensation to properties affected by the project has passed the Upper House of the NSW Government.

Member of the NSW Legislative Council Wes Fang brought the motion in front of the Legislative Council on Wednesday (15 May), requesting the NSW Government ensure the Australian Energy Regulator and Transgrid approve and provide appropriate and adequate compensation for communities along the route.

“We are talking about support for the community when a renewable energy infrastructure project is slammed down on their properties,” Mr Fang highlighted during the Legislative Council’s most recent sitting.

“The community wants this project to be undergrounded. Time and time again, that message came through loud and clear in inquiries.

“It has come through loud and clear in the feedback the community gives us.

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Mr Fang said the Minister for Energy and the Environment Penny Sharpe had been reluctant to support the community and to listen to the voices of the people in the Riverina, saying that HumeLink should go ahead as an overhead project.

“If that is the case, it is only right that the community should be compensated fairly when such projects are imposed on them.”

Mr Fang highlighted the disparities in financial support to communities affected by the Central-West Orana Renewable Energy Zone which are being promised $128 million in support and communities affected by the HumeLink project which are expected to only receive $15.6 million.

“I do not think that 0.003 per cent of the project cost that is diverted into supporting the community is enough,” Mr Fang said.

“Central-West Orana receives $128 million; I do not think that HumeLink should get only $15.6 million. It is fair that this house and this parliament seek to make sure that all rural and regional communities receive their fair share when such projects are imposed on them.”

Ms Sharpe responded to Mr Fang’s comments stating that the NSW Government wasn’t opposed to the motion but that, unlike the HumeLink project, a vast majority of communities supported the Central-West Orana Renewable Energy Zone.

“The Hon. Wes Fang might like to know that about 95 per cent of landholders have come to an agreement on Central-West Orana, which is better than any other state or territory,” Ms Sharpe said.

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The motion was ultimately passed during Wednesday’s sitting.

Mr Fang expressed his approval of the decision on social media.

“I’m proud that the dual motions that were moved simultaneously by Dr Joe McGirr and myself, in both the NSW Legislative Council and NSW Legislative Assembly, has passed the Upper House today, in the Parliament of NSW,” he stated.

“We were calling on Transgrid to better support the community impacted by HumeLink.

“Not only did the motion pass, but it passed with the support of the Minns Labor Government and Minister Penny Sharpe. Dr Joe and I now look forward to the dollars hitting the ground and supporting the community.”

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