Posted on 30. Dec, 2011 in News

The Baillieu Government has broken its election commitment to implement all 67 of the Victorian Bushfire Royal Commission’s (VBRC) recommendations, having announced today it will not be replacing the state’s network of powerlines as promised.

Shadow Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the Government had back flipped on its commitment to the Victorian community after announcing today that it will replace less than 1% of the state’s powerline network, as identified by the VBRC.

“Today the Baillieu Government has turned its back on its commitment to implement all 67 of the recommendations made by the VBRC,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

“After a year of fudging, the Baillieu Government has committed to replacing only 100km of Victoria’s powerline network each year – where, how and when it will start is anyone’s guess.”

Recommendation 27 of the Bushfire Royal Commission said the Government should implement the ‘replacement of all SWER power lines in Victoria’ with infrastructure in areas of highest risk to be replaced within 10 years. It also stated that all of the 22kV lines should also be replaced.

“Clearly, the Government has abandoned this recommendation, and in doing so, has made a fool out of Mr Ryan who said just four months ago that not implementing the full set of recommendations would make him ‘derelict’ in his duty,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

“Today’s announcement will see another committee set up, without a timeframe for when powerline replacement and augmentation will actually begin.

“Energy Minister Michael O’Brien says replacement will take 10 years, butVictoriawill have to wait at least another fire season before any powerlines are replaced.

“The Baillieu Government’s inability to manage the state’s finances has meant this whole project will rely on a cap-in-hand request to the Federal Government for $250 million with little detail about what this will pay for.

“Mr O’Brien’s plan also relies on Victorian families to pay for half of the cost through their power bills, which are already set to rise in just two days time.

“The Energy Minister has been hiding from this issue all year, having delayed the report, blocked its release and now released the Government’s response under the cover of New Year’s Eve.

“This is the Minister who, earlier this year, attempted to pass legislation preventing criticism being levelled at him.

“So it comes as no surprise that Mr O’Brien announced the broken promise when many Victorians are on holiday so this controversial decision will go largely unnoticed.”

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