PUSH FOR POWER BOOST

The Great South Coast Food and Fibre Council and Victorian Farmers Federation are pressing a future state government to upgrade power lines in the region.

Executive Officer, Tony Ford, said it would like to see a $4 million pilot program to upgrade the line between Yambuk and Narrawong to a three-phase capacity supply.

He said the current single wire earth return (SWER) lines were hampering investment, as they could not carry enough power.

“There are plenty of people around who would invest in developing intensive dairy farms or irrigated dairy farms,” he said.

“We have great water resources, but – guess what – we have no power infrastructure.”

Mr Ford said the government had turned down requests for the upgrade.

“Regional Development Victoria has given us clear directions the government is not going to invest in poles and wires – and that really dismays us,” Mr Ford said.

“We are frustrated when the government is saying it will not invest in what we consider is basic infrastructure.”

He said since the privatisation of the electricity industry, little investment had occurred to upgrade SWER lines in the south-west.

“What once met the needs of small grazing, sheep and beef farms in a bygone era does not meet the needs of today’s large-scale farms and intensive operations such as feed mills, dairies and concentrated infrastructure,” Mr Ford said.

“A 500-cow dairy cannot cool milk, mill grain and run irrigation pumps on SWER power delivery without generator backup, which provides an impediment to existing operations.”

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