Bailleu Fails To Explain Bushfire Region Power Cuts
There will be added confusion this summer for both homeowners and businesses in bushfire prone areas over the Baillieu Government’s action to cut power to bushfire affected regions, Shadow Minister for Energy, Lily D’Ambrosio said today.
“The Baillieu Government’s response to the Power Line Bushfire Safety Taskforce’s report has been light on detail and failed to explain the taskforces power cut recommendations,” she said.
“Recommendation 32 of the report provides authority to disable the auto reclose system on Single-wire Earth Return (SWER) lines, which could result in power being cut to communities for extended periods of time.
“Victoria is about to enter its high risk fire period and the fact that the Government has not informed the Victorian public will add to the confusion of Victoria’s regional communities in high fire risk areas.
“Individual households that have electric water pumps need to know what implications these power cuts will have on the ability to defend their homes against bushfire, and what the loss of power will mean for industries such as dairy and livestock farms.
“Mr Baillieu also needs to explain what these power cuts will mean for community radio services that provide vital information to residents facing bushfire threats.
“374 excess deaths occurred in Victoria during the heatwave in late January of 2009 in the lead up to Black Saturday, and it is vital that the Government ensures that any power cuts will not place greater stress on the elderly and those at home with medical conditions.
“To date no information has been provided to the public from the Government, Energy Safe Victoria, the Country Fire Authority or the Department of Sustainability and Environment over these possible power cuts.
“The Taskforce stressed the importance to the Baillieu Government of the need for an effective communication strategy when implementing the reports recommendations, however this has clearly fallen on deaf ears.
“For Mr Baillieu to authorise the report to be dumped at Christmas and blatantly refuse to elaborate on the details of the report shows his Government’s absolute disregard for Victorians living in bushfire prone areas.
“Mr Baillieu made a commitment to Victorians prior to the 2010 election that he would implement all of the commissions’ 67 recommendations ‘lock stock and barrel’.
“For Mr Baillieu to adopt recommendation 32 without explaining the details of how these power cuts will work is a slap in the face for Victorians living and running businesses in high risk bushfire areas.”