Wilson Tuckey

Wilson Tuckey, the federal member for the region, has been active in promoting alternative corridors for the transmission lines:

Response to initial PLUG letter

15 August 2007

Plantagenet Line Upgrade Group
310 Healy Road
Narrikup WA 6326

Dear Ms Doherty, Mr Townsend & Mr Hollingworth

Thank you for your letter dated 6th August 2007 regarding the Kojonup to Albany Power Line Upgrade.

During a recent consultation round I drove to Kojonup and stayed overnight to make a contribution that the Grange Resources line should first go to Albany. I also argued it should follow the existing power line alignment.

I have since written a number of letters to Western Power, the most recent of which is enclosed.

In particular this identifies the poles used in the Roe Highway reserve which carries a high tension line with a minimum footprint which clearly could be accommodated within the Kojonup Albany road reserve.

You might choose to have one of your members visiting Perth to photograph these poles for the interest of your members.

Whilst the issue must be resolved at the State level, I will continue to make representations on the issue.

Yours sincerely



HON WILSON TUCKEY


Letter to Western Power August 2007

14 August 2007

Mr Doug Aberle
The Manager
Western Power
363 Wellington Street
PERTH WA 6000

Fax: 9325 5620

Dear Mr Aberle

I refer to my previous correspondence on the routes for new power transmission lines in the North and South of my Electorate.

In terms of visual pollution and the footprint of the towers, I note the new high tension line that parallels a section of Roe Highway around the Willetton area. These large single poles occupy far less land and leave no opportunity for weed and other invasion that can occur under framed towers. They can clearly also be erected in a much more narrow road reserve as occurs on Roe Highway, which should remove the need both in the North and South to cross farmland.

My constituents in the North advise that the positioning of poles or towers on Crown Land is not to be considered, and given the existence of firebreak clearings on this land, I ask why the poles or towers cannot pass along these clearings?

Modern day farming requires new technology such as GPS to maximise outcomes and I am advised the existence of power lines will interfere with its operation.

Farmers are constantly under increasing pressure to meet Occupational Health and Safety, quality and residue standards for grain and livestock production. Obviously this requires their being able to control access to their property and be aware of, and in control of, all chemicals brought on to their property. Consequently, unless it is Western Power's intention to fully fence the route across property, there are serious issues to be settled.

Clearly road reserves and/or Crown Land are the best alternatives and the Roe Highway poles can be accommodated in this situation.

Yours sincerely



HON WILSON TUCKEY MP


Response from Western Power

21 August 2007
Hon Wilson Tuckey,
Member for O'Connor
PO Box 1781
GERALDTON WA 6531

Dear Mr Tuckey

Thank you for your letters of 30 July 2007 and 14 August 2007 concerning the proposed transmission lines in your electorate.

As you are no doubt aware, Western Power has taken steps to meet the State Government's directive for greater community inclusivity during the planning stages of its new infrastructure projects. To this end, Western Power has engaged independent consultants to facilitate a new line route selection process to determine the optimum route for its future transmission lines.

New transmission line route selection process
This new process is based upon an initial corridor selection process and uses a set of sustainability criteria for evaluation purposes. After taking into consideration all the relevant social/cultural, technical, economic and environmental factors, the community is asked to determine line route corridors which will have the least impact upon the wider community,

Using this process precludes Western Power from putting the interests of any particular group of stakeholders ahead of others, and creates a 'level playing field' process where all stakeholders' issues are given equal consideration. Ultimately, it is impossible for Western Power to pick a line route that satisfies all stakeholders and, by virtue of the size of our State, some landowners will be affected wherever the line goes.

The old process
The previous process where Western Power did its own investigation in the 'area of interest' and determined where to place the line route has now been replaced with a process that entails engaging and consulting with the affected communities.

The new process
The new corridor selection process incorporates a significant degree of stakeholder (including potentially affected landowners) input and a multi-criteria analysis based upon a sustainable approach. A stakeholder reference group that is made up of volunteers from government agencies, local landowners and local authorities and local interest groups first identifies all the relevant local constraints and arrives at several potential line corridors for further investigation

In broad terms, the process involves the establishment of a 'picture' of constraints and opportunities in the areas of interest based upon stakeholder knowledge. This allows the definition of potential line corridor options that could be subsequently refined following more localised community input. The final phase of the corridor selection process is to assess each corridor option against sustainability principles using a sustainability weighting process.

Eneabba-Moonyoonooka transmission line project
With regards to the proposed transmission line in the northern part of your electorate (between Eneabba and Moonyoonooka), the preferred corridor was identified and recommended by an independent consultant, who took into consideration all the community input gathered through workshops and information sessions over the past eight months, as well as any other environmental, social, cultural, technical and economic issues relevant to the area.

The community engagement and sustainability assessment process for the proposed Kojonup to Albany and Albany to Wellstead transmissicn lines is still in progress, with a number of workshops and information sessions being held in 17 locations in the Albany/Kojonup areas. The results of these workshops, together with any information relating to the nominated line corridors will be made available to the community and stakeholders soon.

Utilising the existing corridor for Kojonup - Albany
Based upon the comments and suggestions received at the various workshops, we are pleased to inform you that we are now going to examine the viability of locating the new transmission line in a common corridor with one of the existing Kojonup Albany 132kV transmission lines.

GPS
With regards to the issue of GPS interference, Western Power is aware that some farmers have expressed concern about this potential problem and is currently working with the University of Western Australia School of Engineering to determine what, if any effect, transmission lines have on GPS systems. Once this is determined, Western Power will be able to take appropriate steps to address the problem directly with the affected landowners.

Biosecurity
As you would be aware, Western Power cannot access land to carry out its works without issuing a Notice of Entry to the registered landowner at least 5 days prior to entry. Entry is generally only necessary during construction and occasionally during maintenance, and is done in consultation with the landowner, after having undertaken all the necessary mitigating actions relating to biosecurity. Line inspections and insulator washing is generally done by helicopter, with prior notification given to affected properly owners, to ensure minimal impacts upon livestocks, or any farming activity. Where necessary, a "no fly zone" can be created over a particular sensitive area on a property should the landowner so request it.

Utilising poles instead of towers to limit the footprint of the line
As you rightly point out, poles can be used in certain circumstances. However, there are several reasons why poles are not suitable for this project. The first one is cost. Utilising steel poles would increase construction costs significantly due to the expense of steel and the number of additional poles required.

Towers can be placed as far as 500m apart on the line, thus comparatively fewer are needed on the line, whereas poles such as those on the Southern Terminal Kenwick Link 330kV line have an average span in the order of 170 metres. Without significantly increasing the height of the poles (over 60 metres) the line would require an inordinate number of poles, thus increasing both the cost and the impact upon the visual amenity of the area. This alternative design would also be unlikely to meet the Economic Regulatory Test, thus rendering the project unviable.

Utilising Crown Land
There are a number of reasons why Western Power has not considered using the firebreaks an Crown Land vested for conservation purposes for the construction of the line.

Firstly, firebreaks are designed to allow emergency vehicles to pass through, unobstructed. Western Power would be unable to construct directly on a firebreak. However, the new line could be located in parallel with it, in which case additional clearing would be required within the conservation areas, negating the benefits of using them in the first place.

Further, Western Power is required to obtain environmental approvals from the Environmental Protection Authority via the Department of Environment and Conservation for all its projects. Should the line route traverse such Crown Land, neither of them would support nor approve the project unless it could be demonstrated that there are absolutely no other viable route options for the line.

Lastly, current government policy aims to limit the clearing of native vegetation to prevent further increases in inland salinity and to protect the biodiversity values of the WA. Western Power must comply with all the constraints imposed by this policy, and to do otherwise would require this policy to be rescinded or changed.

Western Power appreciates that some of your constituents are not happy with the outcome generated by the stakeholder reference groups in their selection of potential line corridors. However, Western Power must continue with its community engagement process to select the optimum route for its new transmission line and to work with each affected landowner to minimise the line's impact upon farming activities,

Thank you again for writing to me, I trust the above information has been helpful in responding to your constituents' complaints about our process.

Yours sincerely



DOUG ABERLE
MANAGING DIRECTOR


PLUG followup letter to Wilson Tuckey

Hon Wilson Tuckey
Member for O'Connor
PO Box 5077
Albany WA 6332

6th September 2007

Dear Sir

Thank you for your letter to PLUG regarding our concerns of the impact the current corridor options will have on landowners.

Your suggestion on combining the Southdown and Albany Lines has merit; however Western Power has dismissed your suggestions along with the use of poles due to budget constraints. How does this cost compare with the proposed towers? We are looking at a 50 year + investment.

It appears that Western Power have their own agenda perhaps having already picked a corridor and are completely negative to any alternative options.

Hon Robyn Mc Sweeney has tabled a petition, with over 200 signatures, to the Senate and a public hearing is scheduled for the 26th September. We would appreciate your contributions to this hearing with what you have shown are common sense practical solutions.

Perhaps then Western Power will look outside the square e.g. biomass generators, wind farms and not just polluting coal from Collie. It is ironic that a local plantation energy company will produce and export fuel pellets when we need local power sources.

The PLUG group is not anti power being supplied to Albany and could live with a pole line but not massive towers.

Thank you in anticipation of your support.

Yours sincerely



On behalf of the PLUG


Letter to Western Power October 2007

HON WILSON TUCKEY MP
MEMBER FOR O'CONNOR

5 October 2007

Mr Doug Aberle
The Manager
Western Power
363 Wellington Street,
PERTH WA 6000

Fax: 9325 5620

Dear Mr Aberle

Whilst I am aware that you advised me in previous correspondence relating to proposed power line corridors in the North and South of my electorate, that the poles in Roe Highway as pictured in your own Web Site are more expensive than framed towers, I write to request they be reconsidered, more particularly as they could be positioned on road reserves as in Perth or, if no alternative exists, on rural property due to their vastly reduced footprint.

In the case of the Kojonup Albany Wellstead line, the financial contribution of Grange Resources, whom I presume originally contemplated paying the full cost of the direct service, should also compensate for the more expensive but much more acceptable use of these poles.

I am also concerned that, in the Albany instance, the controversial new corridor is even contemplated, when an existing reserve which carries the existing power line is available.

Yours sincerely

HON WILSON TUCKEY MP


Media release

M E D I A   R E L E A S E

WILSON TUCKEY
FEDERAL MEMBER FOR O'CONNOR

ROE HIGHWAY POLES THE ANSWER TO
MID WEST POWER LINE - WILSON TUCKEY

The MP for O'Connor, Wilson Tuckey, has drawn the attention of Western Power to its own website

http://www.wpcorp.com.au/mainContent/projects/currentProjects/southernTerminal/Specifications.html

which pictures and specifies its new 330,000 volt transmission system on the Roe Highway reserve

"If this system is OK for Perth residents, why not in country areas to the North and South of my electorate?" Mr Tuckey said today.

"The poles are only 1.5m at the base, thus being ideal for erection on road reserves or, if no other corridor is available, provide a minimum of interruption to rural activities as compared to framed towers" Wilson Tuckey said.

"The cost per unit would fall significantly were a large quantity ordered".


ABC interview

HON WILSON TUCKEY MP
MEMBER FOR O'CONNOR

9 October 2007

Mrs M Doherty
43 Willow Place
WILLYUNG WA 6330

Dear Mrs Doherty,

For your information I enclose below the transcript of an interview Mr Tuckey did yesterday with Western Power which drew a response from Western Power.

Script from interview - ABC Geraldton on 8 October 2007-10-09

The Liberal Member for O'Connor Wilson Tuckey says Western Power is bullying Mid West residents into accepting old technology for its proposed transmission line between Eneabba and Moonoyoonooka.

Mr Tuckey wants the utility to use its new 330-thousand volt transmission system with poles only one and a halt metres at the base, like those being used for a line at Perth's Roe Highway reserve.

He says the new poles would provide minimal interruption to rural activities.

"There it is sitting on their website, they'll even tell you how much it cost, and then they go and as I said try to bully farmers into accepting yesterday's technology, which is very intrusive to their properties, and of course the excuse for going through their properties is that they're too big to go on a road reserve."

Western Power's Major Projects Co-ordinator Ian Buchanan says the 330-thousand volt system was appropriate for the Roe Highway project, but not for the Mid West.

He says he's confident all options for the line have been explored.

" Well I have no idea what he means about old technology, we're using whatever is available too us, which is current, in terms of bullying farmers, that's not our practice, we've got thousands of kilometres of transmission line throughout rural Western Australia, if we had a reputation for bullying farmers we would not be able to survive in that environment."

Second story:

The Liberal Member for O'Connor Wilson Tuckey has called on Western Power to use its new 330-thousand volt transmission system for its proposed transmission line between Eneabba and Moonyoonooka.

Mr Tuckey has accused Western Power of bullying Mid West residents into accepting old technology instead of using the new system with poles only one and a half metres at the base.

He says the new poles would reduce interference with privately-owned farms.

"if they've got to go onto farmers' property, and 1 think they should compensate them adequately, a one-point-five metre footprint as compared to probably a 10 metre footprint maybe more square, is clearly of less intrusion on the farmers' property".

But Western Power's Major Projects Co-ordinator lan Buchanan has rejected Mr Tuckey's accusation of bullying, saying Western Power wouldn't have survived if that was true.

He says the 330-thousand volt system wouldn't reduce the line's impact on farmers.

"You have about twice as many poles as you do towers so whilst the footprint might be smaller which has been suggested by Mr Tuckey, you actually have twice the number of poles, whilst they might be a little lower in profile the fact that you've got more of them would increase the impact on farmers not reduce it"

Yours sincerely

Alana Lacy
Office Manager
HON WILSON TUCKEY MP