Central west landowners are "furious" that compulsory acquisitions for energy transmission infrastructure are forging ahead before the project has even been approved.
On Thursday, September 28, the NSW government lodged their environmental impact statement for a project which will connect the Central West Orana Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) to the state's energy grid.
But local landowners say they have been receiving acquisition notices for parts of their properties from as early as May.
"There are two camps of landholders, those that are negotiating with Energy Co and there's deep unhappiness in that camp and there's those that are not negotiating with Energy Co and there's even more unhappiness in that camp," Kathryn Reynolds a member of the CWO REZist group told the Daily Liberal.
"There are people who have said 'yes, we will host the transmission infrastructure' and when they've found the pegs marked out within 200 metres of their house, they've said, 'can we just move it to the fence line' and they just get hit with a brick wall.
"It's not being explained to them and it seems like the left hand doesn't talk to the right hand and they can't, can't even actually tell them what it is that is going to happen."
NSW upper house member Cate Faehrmann said the government's commencement of the compulsory acquisition processes before receiving planning approval for the project was "unconscionable".
"It is unconscionable for EnergyCo to notify landholders that their properties will be compulsorily acquired as soon as November when their project hasn't even received planning approval," Ms Faehrmann said on Friday.
"The environmental impact statement was only lodged yesterday and the community will only have 28 days to make objections.
"Not only is this a ridiculously short turnaround for an 8,000 page document, but to be sending out compulsory acquisition notices at this stage is indicative of just how farcical the consultation process has become for projects declared 'state significant infrastructure'."
Ms Reynolds said some of the concerns the community have about the overhead transmission lines include the inability to safely get farming equipment under the lines due to the easement, the removal of large numbers of trees from some regenerated farmlands and the potential impact on property values.
"If we just roll over in the central west then we've let the whole state down," she said.
"I appreciate it's an enormously difficult job, but our fear is we'll end up like the Victorians with the country crisscrossed with sagging transmission lines with not enough people out there to maintain them.
"Or they'll become obsolete because the projects have become obsolete and we'll still be stuck with sagging transmission lines."
Ms Faehrmann is chair of the newly established NSW Upper House Select Committee on the Feasibility of Undergrounding the Transmission Infrastructure for Renewable Energy Projects.
She said the committee is planning a visit to Central West Orana REZ in coming weeks to understand the impact overhead transmission lines will have on the area.
"We are doing the community consultation that a project like this needs because clearly the government isn't," she said.
"I'm calling on the government and EnergyCo to immediately pause any works or compulsory acquisitions for the Central-West Orana transmission lines.
"I'm also urging the Independent Planning Commission to extend the consultation period of the project's environmental impact statement exhibition."
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