The State Government’s $30 Million grant program to tackle rising farm energy costs fails to address one key issue – reliable supply – according to Member for South West Coast Roma Britnell.
Despite a survey showing reliability was a key concern for farmers – The government has ignored the long running community and industry campaign to deliver three-phase power to regions like Tyrendarra Mrs Britnell said.
“There are farms and other businesses in that area that are relying on antiquated infrastructure to deliver the energy they need to run their farms,” Mrs Britnell said.
“The equipment used on these farms and businesses is well above the capacity of the existing powerline infrastructure – it means they are faced with an unsuitable and unreliable supply, hurting productivity and limiting the opportunity to expand.
“The Minister and the State Government are aware of this issue, they know the economic gain an investment in three phase power would provide – I find it baffling they have failed to act on this.
“It once again shows they have no regard for the expert advice of industry or the needs of the farming community.”
Mr Britnell said while renewable energy must a place in helping power farms in the future – at the moment it’s not suitable and not reliable for what’s required.
“Dairy farms in particular need to cool milk in vats 24 hours a day – they can’t wait for the wind to blow or the sun to shine to ensure energy supply and battery storage still doesn’t have that capacity,” she said.
Mrs Britnell said she hoped this was part of a large plan that would include infrastructure upgrades.
“Rising energy costs and inefficient supply are hurting the probability of the agriculture sector,” Mrs Britnell said.
“With the Great South Coast Region the most profitable in the state with a farm gate value of close to $2.2 billion, the state government needs to act on issues that could help make our economic contribution even higher.”