Affected Landholder Concerns - 703 Hillcrest Road, Myrtleville
To whom it may concern,
We are writing to express our utter dismay in the handling of the landholder consultation process associated with the Humelink project proposal.
Our family home is located at 703 Hillcrest Road, Myrtleville, and is situated directly within the project study corridor. Our family home and prime agricultural property will be significantly affected if this project proceeds as indicated by the project corridor projections and yet we have had no contact whatsoever from any project representatives to discuss the potential location of the project or its impact upon our residence. The only contact we have received from Humelink is in relation to accessing our property to undertake various assessments within the study area. We have previously provided access in good faith and with the expectation that as the project investigations progressed, communication and consultation with us would be forthcoming. Unfortunately our experience could not be further from the truth. We are extremely disappointed that the persons responsible for this project and its delivery have such little regard for us as affected landholders and for the stress and angst they are causing to our young family.
The Humelink project website talks extensively of 'meeting and engaging with landholders, reaching out regularly and seeking landholder views' and yet we have experienced first-hand anything but these actions in practice by this organisation. How can a company spruik this information on their public domain and yet treat affected landholders with such blatant disregard? The attitude shown towards us as affected residents, thus far, has been appalling. We note the statement on the project website that you are newly 'committed to more robust, transparent and effective community engagement' but again we have seen nothing to demonstrate any commitment to this process whatsoever. This company's behaviour up until this point would in fact indicate that the policy in regard to landholder engagement and consultation is actually very different. The company appears to want to do nothing more than tick off a required part of the process with no genuine attempt to consult or engage with landholders at all, let alone seek to recognise, address or seek to mitigate the concerns identified. It is our assertion, which is supported by statements on the project website that the company's position is that the project has the support of State and Federal Government and as such can proceed as proposed and in the best interests of those stakeholders, regardless of the impacts of that decision on families like ours.
We are hard-working and reasonable people who understand the need and importance of infrastructure projects such as Humelink but we have been treated with nothing but contempt by the project and its proponents to this point and throughout this alleged consultation process. We have major concerns regarding the proposed route, its proximity to our family home, the potential health impacts associated with this proximity and the impact of the project on the viability of our agricultural enterprise, which is our livelihood. Unfortunately we have not been afforded the opportunity to raise these concerns, nor has anyone sought to engage with us in any capacity to address these issues. Our property. Glenkinchie, is our home, our livelihood and our children will be the fourth generation of the Ainsworth family to farm in this area. However, this project has the potential to significantly alter the legacy that we intend to pass on. How is it just for Humelink to determine that the impacts of this project to our lives and livelihoods are not worth consulting on or even giving us the opportunity to present the real life tangible impacts of this proposal? Why does this company continue to treat landholders with such disrespect and seemingly take advantage of our amenability to this point in expecting the project proponents to do the right thing by us? Is it too much to ask that our genuine concerns be addressed and responded to? It would certainly appear so.
We feel like we increasingly have less say in what other parties and then in turn ourselves can do on our own property. Our property is already bordered by the Taralga Wind farm and has the existing high voltage power lines running through it, both of which limit our options in regard to what agricultural activities, development or improvements we can practically undertake on our own land. How many constraints can one property and its owners reasonably be expected to burden before it is untenable? We have plotted our residence and made comment on the Humelink interactive map and yet our comments have not been published or acknowledged. Any reasonable person reviewing the map and the proposed project corridor can easily see that regardless of the location of the line itself within the study area that our family home will be significantly impacted and burdened by this development should it proceed as intended. And yet here we are without even an acknowledgement from the proponents of the project that we even exist let alone should have an opportunity to express our concerns. We are currently undertaking renovation works to our home, at considerable cost, and we find ourselves questioning whether we should even continue with these works as planned given the impact this project would have on the liveability at our family home. And so, we are left in complete limbo. For a moment, I urge you to imagine a large scale, high voltage electricity infrastructure project with known health implications being proposed next to your family home. And additionally, then envisage that the proponents of that development have not bothered to consult or engage with you at all, even though you know that this project has the potential to significantly impact your livelihood, property value and your young family's health and wellbeing. Maybe then you could begin to imagine the stress and angst currently being burdened by our family as a result of the inactions of your organisation. What human cost is this company happy to absorb for the sake of this proposed project?
To this end, due to our experience, disillusion with the current process and until the issues with consultation and engagement with us as affected landholders are addressed satisfactorily, notice is hereby given that no further access to our property by Humelink or any associated party is permitted.
We would appreciate a response in writing addressing the concerns raised in our correspondence and expect that this matter would attract your prompt attention given the commitments to improving communication and consultation with affected landholders stated on your website.
Matthew & Sarah Ainsworth