Member for South West coast Roma Britnell has called on the Andrews government to fund important energy infrastructure upgrades in the Tyrendarra area.
In Parliament on Wednesday, Ms Britnell said farms and other businesses in the Tyrendarra area were severely limited in how they could operate because there was no access to three-phase power.
Ms Britnell asked the government to fund upgrades and if an existing program that aims to improve energy efficiency, reduce on-farm costs and maintain farm competitiveness.
“There are farms and businesses who are relying on a SWER line, but they often find themselves without enough juice, so to speak, when their neighbour up the line are drawing energy,” Ms Britnell said.
“The lack of capacity in the SWER line means they are severely limited to what they can do and when, which means they cannot run their business efficiently and effectively.”
Ms Britnell said the push for three-phase power had been led by Tyrendarra farmer Bruce Knowles who recognised the opportunity that would be created with expanded productivity on local farms.
“Mr Knowles has installed diesel generators to ensure he has a reliable energy supply. This is obviously a costly exercise, not only the initial install costs of the generators but also the ongoing maintenance and operational costs, but without it, he could not be sure he would be able to milk his cows or keep his milk cool.
“Mr Knowles has been out advocating for his neighbours and others in the area to have better access to three-phase power and I commend him for the campaign he has so passionately carried out over the past few years.”
She said the issue was a relatively easy fix – with three-phase power just a few kilometers to the north, east and west of the blackspot area.
“I have no objection with the government’s program helping farmers improve energy efficiency and reduce on-farm costs and build competitiveness, but I do think we could do all of that and more by upgrading existing infrastructure and unlocking enormous potential in the south-west.”