Questions and Answers



Western Power

Kojonup - Albany and Albany - Wellstead
transmission lines

Questions and Answers

September 2007

Western Power response to community Issues

Stakeholder Issue      Western Power Response
Compensation

How does Western Power calculate compensation for their transmission lines?

A key issue raised at the Information Sessions was the perception that compensation offered by Western Power is inadequate, particularly when compared to the ongoing compensation payments offered by wind farm operators, Alinta Gas and Telstra.

Western Power pays compensation for easements based on standard valuation principles and other relevant legislations, and as assessed by the Valuer General's Office or any other independent valuer.

Western Power is legally bound to work within the current legislations. This includes the Land Administration Act 1997, which sets the items under which compensation can be claimed, and the Energy Operators (Powers) Act 1979.

There are two separate payments available to landowners:

  • easement compensation; and
  • payment for loss of production as a result of work for investigation, survey and construction of the transmission line works on their properties. This is fully reimbursed to the landowner.

Western Power always endeavours to carry out works with minimal disturbance to properties. If damages occur on the property, Western Power will restore it either by paying the landowner to do so, or engaging the services of appropriate contractors.

Capital Gains Tax (CGT) is reimbursed to the landowner, including any reasonable costs associated with taking professional advice in calculating CGT. If the CGT reimbursement is subject to income tax, then Western Power will increase the reimbursement amount accordingly

If GST is applicable, Western Power will increase the amount of compensation accordingly.

Western Power understands that landowners are seeking a more attractive form of compensation for a transmission line on their property.

It is not possible for Western Power to work outside the current legislations and to do so would not be legal. In order to change the current compensation requirements, legislative changes would need to occur and this would need to be driven through your local Member of Parliament and representative farming groups.

If affected landowners wish to seek professional legal advice regarding easement documents, Western Power will contribute up to $500 towards the cost of this advice.

Community representation in the Consultation Process

Why did some landowners not know anything about the project?

Why were old maps used to select the transmission line corridor?

Why were some communities not represented on the Corridor Selection Panel?

Is there an opportunity to refine the transmission line corridors that have been identified by the Corridor Selection Panel?

In March 2007, Western Power commenced its investigation into a new transmission line from Kojonup to Albany and from Albany to Wellstead. As part of this project, Western Power held information sessions in May 2007, to provide some general information about the project, obtain expressions of interest to nominate for the Corridor Selection Panel and help identify the proposed corridors.

The information sessions were advertised using local news and radio media. Landowners along the two existing transmission lines from Kojonup to Albany were also invited to attend.

In May 2007, members of the community were invited to nominate for a Corridor Selection Panel. We received 24 nominations for the Kojonup - Albany line and 16 nominations for the Albany - Wellstead line. Everyone who nominated was invited to be in the Corridor Selection Panel. The panel members represented a wide spread of the community between Kojonup and Albany and Albany and Wellstead.

The corridors were selected using the most up to date maps that were available to Western Power at that time and enhanced by the local knowledge of the Corridor Selection Panel. Now that three distinct corridors have been identified, we will be able to gather more detailed and current information to work through the next stage of selecting the preferred corridor. This stage will also incorporate the information we gather from our forthcoming community workshops regarding constraints not noted on the current maps.

Western Power will use any additional information to refine the existing corridors, which may require some minor modifications to avoid any new constraints. The input of community members will assist in the refinement process.

Implications if accidental conflict occurs with transmission lines.

What are the legal implications for landowners if a collision occurs with a Western Power transmission tower?

What are the insurance implications for landowners with transmission lines on their property?

Once a preferred corridor has been identified, Western Power will work with affected landowners to identify the 50 metre wide transmission line easement within the 2 km wide corridor. We would aim to locate the transmission line in a way that minimises the likelihood of any conflicts.

Any damage to a landowner's property or to Western Power's transmission line due to collisions would be the responsibility of the person driving the vehicle at the time of the collision.

Western Power is unaware of any insurance implications associated with having a transmission line located on a property.

Need for the transmission line

Why is the transmission line required?

Western Power proposes to construct a new transmission line from Kojonup to Albany. Based upon the current demand for power and the anticipated growth within the Great Southern region, the transmission line is required to secure adequate power supplies to both existing and new energy users in the Great Southern region, by 2011.

If a new transmission line is not installed there may be a need to `shed loads' in the region as early as summer 2011. Load shedding ultimately means Western Power is forced to implement power cuts so that the system is not overloaded. This is an inconvenience to both residents and businesses, along with the economic impacts that result from power outages. Clearly, this is not Western Power's preferred solution.

A transmission line has also been proposed between Albany and Wellstead in order to supply Grange Resources Limited with power for the start up phase of the Southdown mine. This transmission line will supply the Southdown mine from the available spare capacity in Albany until 2011, when it is expected that the mine will go into full production and will require more power, which will be provided by the proposed Kojonup - Albany transmission line.

Irrespective of whether Grange decides to go ahead with its plans to develop the Southdown Mine, a steel lattice tower transmission line will need to be constructed between Kojonup and Albany to supply the Great Southern region

What are the technical considerations when planning a transmission line? When planning for a transmission line, Western Power needs to consider likely future growth projections for loads, generators and transmission capacity. Considerations for this project have included (but are not limited to):
  • Significant growth, expected in local industry;
  • Demand for power, projected to grow due to industrial and mining developments;
  • Increased power usage by existing customers and growth in local population; and
  • Proposed generators, including wind farms wishing to access the market and meet new demand. The proposed transmission line will accommodate these connections.

The transmission line is also important in helping to provide network security. This means that if faults occur in one part of Western Power's overall network, power can then be drawn from other parts.

Sustainability Assessment Process

What is a sustainability assessment?

A sustainability assessment is a process to assist us in selecting a preferred option when we are faced with various options to achieve a particular outcome. The sustainability assessment will compare the available options by considering the three key decision making factors: the economic cost of the project, the environmental impact of the project and the social impact of the project.

Historically, Western Power would select its preferred corridor and present to the community as a completed process. By engaging in a sustainability assessment, we encourage the community to have input into the outcome of where the transmission line will be built.

The process is designed to ensure that the corridor is selected on common values, which minimises the ability for different groups to lobby for particular transmission line routes. Instead, the process focuses on the relative importance of the decision making factors, which are then applied to a number of different transmission line corridors, with the expectation that one of the corridors will be identified as having the least impact on the wider community.

How was the sustainability assessment criteria selected? Representatives from Government, industry, specialist groups and the community have been used to develop a standard framework of 'Sustainability Principles', which can be applied to a multitude of large, complex projects.

The criteria must all be measurable within each of the corridor options, so that they can be used to compare the impacts that each corridor has on each criteria. Criteria that can't be measured or that are identical for all corridors cannot be used to compare the corridor options. This does not imply that they are not important criteria, only that they cannot be used to compare the options in this process.

How will the criteria weightings from the workshops be used to select the preferred corridor Landowners affected by the transmission line corridor options were invited to weight the relative importance of the criteria compared to each other. The weightings provided by stakeholders (including landowners) will then be used to qualify the relative importance of each criteria. For example, some stakeholders may consider that the criteria 'views' is more important than the criteria of 'impacts on recreation'.

In this instance if the first corridor had the least impact on views and another corridor had the least impact on recreation, the first corridor would be preferred as stakeholders considered the impact on views was more important than the impact on recreation.

It is important to note that this example uses only two of the 14 criteria and their respective weightings.

Once all of the criteria have been weighted, an integrated technical assessment is used to determine of the impact of each corridor option. The result of each of the technical impact assessments is converted into score for each criteria. The scores then provide a standardised method of comparing the extent of very different types of impacts against each other. A statistical process is used to compare the scores for all 14 criteria to each other and to compare the relative importance of those criteria. This process is called a multi-criteria analysis.Once this process is completed, one of the corridor options is expected to score the least impact on the community, based on the criteria and their weightings.

Fires

How does Western Power intend to prevent pole top fires?

What is Western Power doing to improve current pole top fire risks on existing lines?

Transmission lines are required to be designed and built to very high standards to ensure safety and reliability. The separation between live conductors (wires) and tower members is adequate to ensure that there is no chance of flashovers, which could cause fires.

The new transmission line will be constructed using steel structures (towers), which cannot catch on fire like the old wood poles.

Even with steel structures, wild fires under and adjacent to transmission lines can cause the conductors to anneal and sag below design limits. The solution is to keep vegetation under the line to acceptable levels. Grass and low level remnant vegetation does not usually contain sufficient fuel to cause a problem. Taller vegetation under transmission lines is removed or trimmed to maintain electrical safety clearances and to reduce 'fuel' to acceptable levels.

Western Power has recently submitted its proposed maintenance works program to the Economic Regulation Authority. This extensive program is designed, amongst other things, to improve reliability of power. 45% of the $3.5 billion recently allocated to Western Power will be spent in regional areas. Over the next 4 years, this is expected to produce improvements to all areas of the network, including the services and support we are able to provide to rural communities.

The reduction of pole top fires is receiving special attention, including:

  • Silicon coating of pole top equipment;
  • Aerial line washing;
  • The use of steel cross arms; and
  • Introducing steel poles and towers into our network.
EMF

What are the health effects of electromagnetic fields emitted by the transmission line?

Power frequency electromagnetic fields (EMFs) are a natural by product of electricity and are found where ever electricity is used. There are two components of EMF, the electric field, which is related to the voltage or pressure which forces electricity along the wires and the magnetic field, which is related to the current or the flow of electricity.

Over the past 35 years, more than a thousand studies have been conducted to examine the potential health affects from exposure to EMF. These studies have assessed both electric and magnetic fields, however the primary focus of the EMF health debate has focused on the magnetic field component. There are some studies, which suggest that there is a link, some that do not and others, which raise more questions. On the balance of all the research, the scientific evidence does not indicate that exposure to power frequency EMF is a hazard to human health.

It is important to note that EMF levels dissipate rapidly to negligible levels as you move away from the source.

Powerlines are not the only source of EMF. Some examples of EMF levels are shown below.

  • Transmission line, directly under the line - 10 to 200 milliGauss (mG)
  • At the edge of the easement - 2 to 50 mG
  • Electric blanket - 5 to 30 mG
  • Personal computer - 2 to 20 mG
It should be noted that guidelines for human exposure to EMF in Australia are:
  • 1000 mG for continuous 24 hour per day exposure.
  • 10,000 mG for a few hours per day (occupational purposes).

Western Power designs, constructs and operates all its powerlines and facilities in compliance with the guidelines recommended by the National Health & Medical Research Council of Australia (NH&MRC). This guideline is currently administered by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, an agency of the Commonwealth Department of Health charged with the responsibility for developing safety standards associated with electromagnetic radiation, and electric and magnetic fields. Whilst the EMF health issue will remain dynamic and a concern to the community, Western Power will continue to closely monitor overseas research and support such research here in Australia through its membership of the Energy Networks Association. It will also continue to take advice from the Australian Radiation Protection & Nuclear Safety Agency and other Australian health authorities on the issue.

Landowner options

What opportunities do landowners have to voice their ideas about the transmission line?

Western Power is available to answer queries and follow up on concerns regarding this project, or any other. Landowners can phone Project Officer Lyall Murphy on 9326 4744 or email lyall.murphy@westernpower.com.au or write to Western Power, GPO Box L921, Perth WA, 6842.

Other options for landowners who may wish to voice their opinions about the project include:

  • speaking with your local Member of Parliament;
  • lodging a submission with the Economic Regulation Authority;
  • providing comment during the public comment period set by the environmental Protection Authority during environmental approvals process; or
  • attendance at future information sessions scheduled to be held in late October 2007.
Alternate Power Options

Why can't the power just be generated locally to produce power using renewable energy such as wind farms?

Since the disaggregation of Western Power in April 2006, Western Power is no longer responsible for the generation of power. Western Power's charter, as the network operator, is to provide network access and infrastructure services to enable the transport of electricity from points of generation to points of demand. In order for generators to provide power into the network and for consumers to draw power from it, it is essential that sufficient transmission capacity be provided. Without this, the system is unable to transport the electricity to where it is needed.

A transmission line transports the bulk supply of the power throughout the network.

The existing transmission system servicing the Great Southern region cannot accommodate additional power stations (generators) in its current form, without augmentation. Providing additional capacity and network augmentation will allow for:

  • Meeting the growing electricity needs of residential consumers and the provision of bulk electricity supply to large industry and mines in the region;
  • Development of renewable energy projects; and
  • Maintaining the overall stability and security of electricity supply in the region.
Are alternative forms of energy considered in the sustainability assessment? The sustainability assessment was only used to select a suitable corridor for a transmission line. It did not consider any other options for the supply of power to Grange or to the Great Southern.

Grange has conducted its own studies on the provision of power to its mine and has determined that a transmission line is the most economic option. Regional generation has not been considered as part of the sustainability assessment of the transmission line corridors. The possibility of an alternate form of power generation, capable of providing for the Great Southern in place of a new transmission line cannot influence which of the corridors are selected using the sustainability assessment.

The potential for electricity generators connecting into the transmission line once the transmission line has been constructed can however be used as part of the selection criteria.

Grange Resources Limited

Why should landowners suffer the expense when a private company like Grange will benefit from a new transmission line when there is no regional benefit?

Grange Resources is a customer of Western Power and has the same rights to have a power connection as other businesses such as farms, wineries, residents and the like. The legislation that Western Power operates under to connect customers (Electricity Industry Act 2004) does not differentiate between large or small customers in this regard.

Many landowners in the Great Southern and elsewhere have benefited from this (and prior) legislation to have their farm houses connected to the electricity network via power lines crossing neighbouring properties.

There are significant potential longer term benefits to the community in having Grange's involvement in the project, as Grange will be required to contribute a significant amount to the construction costs. Once the transmission lines are constructed, they will belong to Western Power and will provide us with opportunities to further upgrade the regional electrical system in the Great Southern in the future, at a much lower cost (relatively speaking) to general consumers and new customers wishing to connect to the network.

Constraints

What constraints were used in selecting the proposed corridors?

What is the proposed separation of existing housing to the transmission line?

Is the proposed separation related to the perceived health effects of the transmission line?

A number of different factors and constraints must be taken into account when selecting a transmission line corridor. These constraints have been identified through discussion with local government authorities, communities and in house technical experience over a number of years.

Prior to selecting the transmission line corridors, a number of constraints were identified as being "no-go" areas. These were identified on social, technical or environmental grounds and included: conservation estates, areas with cultural or ethnographic value, airstrips, the Stirling Ranges and the Porongorups. Other constraints to be avoided where possible were features such as existing housing, structures and dams.

Western Power proposes to maintain a separation of 500 m from the transmission line to existing housing, wherever possible. In some circumstances this may not be achievable, however Western Power is committed to resolving these issues on a case by case basis with each individual landowner.

The minimum safe distance from houses, based on electrical clearance, is 25 metres. However, for aesthetic reasons, we propose to allow 500 metres separation in appreciation of the view that many people choose to live in the country to enjoy wide open spaces.

Lack of initial notification for project information sessions

Why did it take so long for landowners in the region to find out about the project?

Why didn't Western Power use the Synergy electricity accounts and shire rate notices to contact landowners?

During the criteria weighting workshops, some members of the community were concerned that they had no prior knowledge of the project and previous information sessions.

In March 2007, Western Power commenced its investigation into a new transmission line from Kojonup to Albany and from Albany to Wellstead. As part of this project, Western Power held information sessions in May 2007, to provide some general information about the project and obtain expressions of interest to nominate for the Corridor Selection Panel.

The information sessions were advertised using local news and radio media. Landowners along the two existing transmission lines from Kojonup to Albany were also invited to attend.

Once the Corridor Selection Panel had identified the transmission line corridors options, the process of contacting the potentially affected landowners began. Letters were sent to these landowners using the mailing addresses on the property's Certificate of Title. Any letters that were returned were then checked against the relevant Shire's ratepayer information. Of the approximate 800 letters sent, 60 letters were returned.

It was perceived that Western Power had not done enough to inform the community and could have used shire rate notices or Synergy Electricity account details to contact those potentially affected within the region.

Since the desegregation of Western Power into four separate business entities in April 2006, Western Power no longer sends out electricity bills or newsletters. Privacy legislation also prevents us from having access to other companies' databases. Another disadvantage with this option is that not every property has a power connection and many electricity accounts are in the name of tenants rather than property owners.

Visual impacts on properties Western Power recognises that the visual impact of its infrastructure can be a concern to local communities and other stakeholders.

Some section of the line may be visible to users of roads, from dwellings and from recreational areas.

The corridor selection process and the next stage of line route selection are committed to minimising visual impacts where possible. Things that can be done include positioning transmission lines through gullies and along existing fence lines and adjusting structure heights and span distances.

Visual impacts were also considered in the sustainability principles that were assessed in the corridor selection process.

A Visual Impact Assessment (VIA) will be undertaken for this project. The assessment will examine local character, natural areas, heritage areas and landscape value.

Information from the VIA feeds into the environmental approvals process. It can include recommendations on structure placement, structure heights and local screening methods.

Why can't the line be placed within the State Forest/Nature reserve, instead of private land? One of the great challenges faced by Western Power is balancing the various competing needs of different stakeholder groups. Wherever the line is located, someone will be impacted. As such, Western Power carefully considers and balances social, economic, technical and environmental considerations in making decisions.

Understandably, some landowners have expressed a preference for the line to be located on Crown Land or in a Nature Reserve rather than on their properties. They felt that this would provide a more direct route for the transmission line, which would in turn be cheaper.

Some of the key issues associated with travelling in a straight line, or through nature reserves include:

  • Associated environmental impacts including advice from the Department of Environment and Conservation that a transmission line is not a compatible use for a nature reserve; and
  • Any attempt by Western Power to run a transmission line through reserves that protect remnant native vegetation is likely to attract a higher level of environmental assessment. This would set back the project schedule by approximately 2 years, with no guarantees of approvals at the end of the process. If the project is not completed by Summer 2011 there is a high probability that serious power outages will occur throughout the region.
GPS implications

If GPS interference is experienced as a result of the transmission line, what will Western Power do to over come this?

Western Power has engaged a consultant to investigate the potential for interference from transmission lines and the effect on GPS systems. Current information would suggest that the transmission line is generally unlikely to cause interference to GPS. However, Western Power will continue to investigate the potential impact and explore ways to overcome any problems that are identified.

In order to assist with our research, Western Power is encouraging any landowner who may already have an existing line on their property and has experienced GPS interference to contact us. Please provide the details of the interference experienced and the make and model of the GPS system.

Aerial spraying and transmission lines

Aerial spraying is common practice in the farming community. What will Western Power do to ensure the safe and efficient operation of farming practices such as this?

Western Power will work with landowners affected by the preferred corridor to determine a line route that has, as much as reasonably possible, minimal impact upon farming activities and operations. The line structures (towers), for example, could be located along fence lines, or a suitable distance into paddocks to minimise the impact of access requirements for machinery, particularly for wide machinery such as boom sprays. Further considerations may include adjusting the height of the towers and varying span distance between towers to better suit particular farming operations.

With regard to aerial spraying, Western Power does not place limitations or provide any further guidelines to the normal safety regulations as required for standard aerial spraying practices. Safety is the responsibility of the pilot.

Construction and maintenance access to the line

What construction and maintenance access requirements will Western Power have?

Will Western Power inform local landowners when access is required?

Some landowners were concerned about construction and maintenance workers accessing the line through their properties without consent and potentially threatening Quality Assurance and Environmental Management System (EMS) accreditation.

Western Power is committed to improving the way we liaise with communities, including farmers.

Western Power will work with individual landowners to ensure that our construction and maintenance works do not affect the quality assurance and EMS status of properties.

We will endeavour to ensure that landowners are notified prior to us accessing the property for construction and then future maintenance purposes.

Western Power encourages long term, cooperative management strategies such as staff awareness training, vehicle equipment hygiene and vehicle and plant washdowns. We encourage you to contact us with any specific queries or requirements.

Western Power will also discuss noxious and declared weeds with landowners and the Department of Agriculture and Food to ensure brushdown/washdown facilities and signage is set up where applicable.

The Department of Agriculture and Food and AWB International can organise farm biosecurity warning signage for landowners that can be used to help with long-term management. These signs are placed on gates and direct anyone who needs to gain access to first call the landowner who can then advise them of the specific entry conditions.

A project specific Environmental Management Plan will be developed to manage these issues. In addition, Western Power is currently drafting a procedure to address biosecurity issues during maintenance and construction at an organisational level.

Movements and compliance of contractors will be closely monitored by Western Power during construction.

Although access roads are used on a regular basis during the construction of the line, once the line is operating there are minimal maintenance requirements, particularly because it is constructed from steel. Generally inspections are carried out annually and are done via helicopters.

Any damage that occurs to land during the construction of the line will be restored once construction has been completed. This will either be organised by Western Power, or Western Power will pay the landowner to restore the land. This will be discussed with property owners at a suitable time.

There is currently legislation before Parliament in regards to biosecurity and Western Power will comply with this legislation once adopted.

Soil erosion

How will Western Power combat potential soil erosion issues?

Western Power will use various methods to avoid contributing to soil erosion in the area, including:
  • Clearing to be minimised in erosion-prone areas where possible;
  • Breakaway ridges will be avoided where possible;
  • Clearing methods that keep vegetation rootstock in place may be used;
  • Water run off contours will be installed across sloping ground if problems arise around access tracks;

Any eroded areas will be restored at completion of construction and will be monitored in accordance with the Environmental Management Plan that will form a part of the construction contract.

Will there be opportunities for local employment? Western Power will encourage contractors to seek local employment where this is possible.

The construction of transmission lines is a specialist field and there are only limited companies within Australia who have accreditation to do so. As such, local employment will generally be for supply of materials.

The construction of this line will also enable growth in the Great Southern region and, in turn, create more job opportunities for locals.

What will the transmission line look like The most efficient and economic design for the transmission line is lattice steel structures. That is what Western Power is proposing to install for this project. Structures are generally about 50 metres high and have span distances of 400 - 500 metres.
Privatisation of Western Power

Who is Western Power and are there any plans to privatise the organisation?

Could some flexibility in compensation arrangements be written into easement documents so that if Western Power was privatised in the future, compensation arrangements may change to reflect a change in ownership?

In April 2006, following a decision by Parliament, the `old' Western Power separated into four completely separate energy businesses:
  1. Western Power - responsible for the transmission and distribution powerline network within the South West Interconnected System (SWIS);
  2. Verve Energy - a generation business that produces electricity at its power stations;
  3. Synergy - an energy retailer that sends electricity accounts, organises connections and helps SWIS customers manage their electricity requirements; and
  4. Horizon Power - is responsible for all aspects of generating, transporting and retailing electricity to customers in the Kimberley, Pilbara and parts of the Mid West and Goldfields (outside the SWIS).

Western Power is owned by the Western Australian Government and is required to operate in accordance with legislation enacted by the Parliament.

The Government's stated position is that they have no plans to sell or privatise Western Power.

Any change to Western Power's ownership status will have to be legislated and this legislation will deal with existing assets, such as transmission lines and associated easements. Western Power has not in the past and would not introduce a new clause into the easement agreements.

If the Grange line comes north of the Stirling's, and Western power chooses to return extra capacity to Albany via a transmission line from Grange back to Albany, is it possible or indeed preferable to use a single pole transmission line as against a tower?

Is this just a cost based decision, and if so what are the cost implications of the two choices?

The option to use towers on any line project is predominantly cost based. We estimate that the cost of installing poles is 1.3 - 1.5 times more expensive than installing towers. The use of towers does offer some advantages over poles in that: the towers can be spaced further apart, meaning there are less of them on landowner's properties, and towers can be constructed taller allowing us to span over some vegetation avoiding the need to clear it.
Assuming the current transmission line to the east of Albany Highway is upgraded to the same capacity as the present line to the west of the highway, and the return line from Grange is a single pole transmission line, how long would this provide Albany's power needs into the future? Using the most recent load forecast for the Albany region, upgrading the eastern line with a single circuit line along with the required associated infrastructure would provide for the regions power needs for approximately 20 years. If both of the lines in question were rebuilt and constructed as double circuit lines (and assuming the load forecast does not change) then this would provide for the regions power needs for at least 50 years.
Where the transmission lines go through timber plantations, what is the nature of the compensation?

Are there complications with respect to the tax implications of managed investment schemes, which are the basis of many of the plantations in the great southern?

Timber plantations are treated as a crop and compensation is assessed based on the loss of plantation resource. Components of compensation include discounted revenue, discounted costs and the net present value of the resource to be cleared, less the revenue achieved from the sale of any product that is cleared for the construction of the transmission line.

Compensation payments as a result of vegetation clearing for a powerline, is treated as income and must be included in annual income summaries.

The income tax treatment will follow the stadard practices for assessing tax, however how the tax payable is assessed will depend on the type of plantation investment that is selected.

  1. Ownership Investment:
    • Owner receives payment, which is treated as income in the tax year received or incorporated in standard farm income averaging process;
    • Past costs that were claimd as deductions stand unchanged; and
    • Future costs Expected cannot be claimed.


  2. Leasehold Investment - Where persons have invested in a Managed investment Scheme (MIS) or prospectus, the following will apply:
    • Investors are allocated woodlots, as defined in the specific MIS document, which typically range from 0.33 to 5 ectares in size;
    • The MIS Company will be the party who initially receives any compensation.
    • MIS companies normally pool harvesting revenue across the entire operational area and when revenue distributions are made, it is dopne equitably, even though propductivity varies from woodlot to woodlot. There is no record of wood harvesting from any particular woodlot;
    • MIS may in some circumstances at the time of plantation, establishment, underallocate woodlots on properties thus allowing for reallocation of investor woodlots for causes such as fire losses, vehetation clearing, other damages or establishment failure;
    • If an MIS company cannot reallocate investor woodlots, then there is potential that the lease is cancelled or reduced in size and the investor should be compensated via the MIS Company. This would mean that the specific investor would ultimately receive the income, minus expenses (usually defined in the MIS document). All tax deduction claims would stand but revenue received would be treated as income in the year received.

      The application of the above information will vary depending on the type of investment and specific circumstances. Landowners, plantation owners and investors should seek further advise from specialist accountants or the Australian Taxation office.

If landholders fully intended to grow plantation timbers in a particular paddock that is to be in the path of the transmission lines, but have not as yet planted, do they have access to compensation for loss of earnings? Assessments for compensation are not carried out by Western Power, but by Licensed Valuers. Western Power would usually engage the Valuer General's Office to carry out this work.

A standard principle of valuation is to assess compensation based upon the highest and best use of the land. If the highest and best use is to grow plantation timber then that would be adopted by the valuer and compensation assessed accordingly.

Is compensation paid as a one off or as an annual payment in recognition of loss of earnings? Under present legislation compensation is a one off payment, and is assessed on the market value of the land, recognising items such as:
  • The effect of restrictions imposed by the easement on the use of the land, such as the impact on farming activities;
  • The area of land rendered unproductive by structures and any access track;
  • Loss of rent. For example, where a landowner has an agreement with a tree plantation company;
  • Loss of future potential, such as tree plantations;
  • Impact on subdivisional potential where this can be shown to be real, not speculative; and
  • An allowance for future extra farm management costs.
Who would need to authorise a transmission line through a National Park and what is the likelihood of getting approval in this regard Any proposal likely to have a significant environmental impact requires approval from the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA). The EPA would assess (with advice from the Department of Environment and Conservation and the Conservation Commission) the proposal, with the Minister for Environment having the ultimate authority to grant approval. Western Power has received advice from both the district and regional DEC offices that they would object to such a proposal unless all other options were exhausted.

If Western Power were to refer a project to the EPA that traversed a national park, the project would most likely be formally assessed. This can potentially take at least two-years not including time allocated for appeals. The assessment may find that the environmental impact of traversing a national park is unacceptable and the project may not receive approval. It would not be in the State's interests to pursue a route through a National Park, as WP needs to have a viable line route in time to meet the predicted increases in the Great Southern's power requirements by 2011-12.