This email is sent on behalf of Peter Rose.
I thought I would email you to express my complete dismay at the consistently duplicitous behaviour of TransGrid regarding the proposed HumeLink route.
As you are aware, we (BRAG) have asked TransGrid to prepare a cost benefit analysis for each of the two alternative proposed routes (i.e. TransGrid's proposed Northern route through our properties and BRAG's preferred Southern route which runs parallel to the existing transmission lines).The Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner has also asked for this information and a comparison of the two routes.
We waited until February 2022 to give TransGrid more time, however, what we have received was a coloured block chart scant on data and which showed that there was little advantage to either route. TransGrid still prefers the Northern route. As you know, the main issue for TransGrid is the potential reputational damage it will suffer if it has to go back to the landholders on the Southern route to whom they already wrote last year congratulating them that TransGrid was not proceeding with that particular option. Of course, TransGrid has consistently maintained to BRAG and the Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner that both options are still on the table? TransGrid has stated that it has undertaken a comprehensive environmental impact study of the Northern route. On our property, the environmental contractor had not yet sent in his report when TransGrid made that representation in its February document favouring the Northern route. The contractor told us he could only look into specific sites and that this was by no means a comprehensive environmental audit. To-date none of us have seen an environmental report or any of the underlying studies that may have been fed into it. We are concerned about the independence and value of any such environmental report in light of TransGrid's recent conduct. It was up to BRAG on our recent Zoom call to inform TransGrid of the platypus that live in Bannaby Creek (as to which there have been multiple, independent sightings which can be verified in sworn witness statements if it comes to that). If the Northern route progresses, TransGrid's heavy vehicles will need to breach Bannaby Creek in the exact area where the platypus live. There was no comment from TransGrid about this issue. In addition, we also informed TransGrid that there have been separate koala sightings on Adervale Road, in Mares Forest and at Hillasmont (again this can be the subject of sworn testimony if necessary). It is not unreasonable to assume that with the recent devastating fires that these forested areas are a logical place to find koalas if you were looking (which TransGrid clearly is not)? The Northern route will directly impact the exact areas where the koalas have been sighted.
A further disturbing event which has recently occurred in which representatives of TransGrid have openly lied about the extent of its consultation with various members of BRAG. This includes a representation that it had contacted an affected landholder "53 times" when in fact, direct contact was only made once, and the alleged contact referred to was TransGrid publishing generic information on its website. There is corroborating evidence of this chain of events. TransGrid's complete disregard for transparency and failure to consult in any meaningful way with BRAG has left the group with no choice but to inform TransGrid formally that they no longer have access to any of our properties.
As of today (14 February 2022), TransGrid has contacted many of the BRAG members with a view to showing them the map of the narrowed 200m easement for the Northern route as it impacts their specific properties. This shows that TransGrid has already made up its mind without having regard to the concerns of the group. We have been told by TransGrid that there is no equivalent map of the Southern route and we can only presume that TransGrid have taken little to no steps to properly consider the feasibility of the Southern route as it made up its mind last year as to the where the transmission lines would go. The past 6 months engagement have been mere theatre on their behalf. We have set up a website and Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts on which BRAG will post extensively about their disappointing interactions with TransGrid. Perhaps, then the board of TransGrid and its shareholders will get a clear feel for the problem they have created. We already have further interest from the News Media both conventional and social about these issues, particularly the role the State government has with TransGrid.
Wendy, I know that you have been very helpful to us. I look forward to your continued support and involvement before this escalates into a much bigger issue.
Personally, as an economist, I am pro-corporate enterprise and have lectured extensively on the benefits of the private enterprise system. However, I am deeply saddened by this experience - it has all of the hallmarks of how a big corporate should not behave - bullying and disregarding the legitimate concerns and interest of affected stakeholders.
Sadly Cheers Peter Norman Charles Howland Rose