Power line strangles land prices

AGEING farmers in the path of a planned power line between Tenterfield and Lismore will have their retirement plans dashed if the project goes ahead, landholders have warned.

Grant Johnston, of the TransGrid Action Group, warned the value of properties in the path of the line would plummet between 30 and 40 per cent – well beyond any compensation being offered by the State Government.

Mr Johnston was part of a group that this week met with Energy Minister John Robertson in Sydney to argue against the line, saying it was far more than was needed by the population it was intended to service.

That line didn’t wash with the Minister, who said it was intended to guarantee power supplies for a projected 40pc jump in the region’s population.

But Lismore councillor and TransGrid opponent Simon Clough said the Minister’s figures were inflated.

“The population here (on the Northern Rivers) is growing at 1pc and Lismore’s finding it hard to hit half of that,” he said.

Cr Clough said the power line entrenched government support for coal-fire electricity at a time when its rhetoric and the wishes of the community were to move to other, cleaner, sources.

“Someone described TransGrid to me as a political organisation whose by-product is electricity,” he said.

“It’s a cabal of engineers who know nothing else, just doing what they do.

He pointed to Metgasco’s plan to generate clean power from coal seam gas reserves around Casino as a potential power source for the Northern Rivers and an alternative to the power line.

“They have the potential there to do a 200 megawatt power station, which could power this whole area for the foreseeable future,” Cr Clough said.

Mr Johnston said compensation was the core issue for many in his group – people who were close to retirement and watching their plans to fund their older years by selling their properties disappear with the power line.

Mr Johnston said a second meeting with Mr Robertson is expected in the next week or two.

“Metgasco has the potential to do a 200 megawatt power station, which could power this whole area for the foreseeable future.”



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